Interlude – Banda Aceh (Or how to do a dive trip to Weh in 4 days)

Backdated to 8May’09 long weekend.

In the long weekend last May (yes i do a lot of long weekend mini getaways), i reached Pulau Weh, in Aceh province. Contrary to what most people think, Banda Aceh is not the run down, dilapidated place due to the tsunami and unsafe due to the ex-separatists movement. In fact, it is be the total opposite.

More after the jump…




Getting there
From KL to Banda Aceh: AirAsia flies 3 times weekly. By careful planning, I was able to reach from SG to My timings were 0910 to 1005 (SG to KL),  1155 to 1220 (KL to Banda Aceh). There was just enough time for transit, so SG to KL time should be earlier. From the airport, take transport to Ulee Lheu harbour (around 30 minutes). The fast boat leaves the harbour at 1600hrs and arrives at 1700hrs at Balohan harbour on Pulau Weh. From there, its a 45 min ride to Gapang beach (ibioh is a bit further i think).

Getting back
Set off very early. Lumba-lumba arranges transport at 7am, and reaches Balohan in time for the 0830 boat. Reach at 0930hrs. You will have some time (i struck a deal with the motorised 3 wheeler driver to explore Banda Aceh and get some souvenirs). The flight is at 1245 to 1510hrs. (BA to KL) and just plan the KL to SG flight accordingly (again with time for transit).

Here’s an update on AirAsia’s flights. It seems the KL to BA flights now go from 1335 to 1400hrs. There should still be enough time to catch the 1600hr boat (factoring the 30min ride to the harbour). Personally I don’t like the change, since it’s a bit tight especially if there are flight delays.

On the way back its 1425 to 1650, later timings again. This would allow for more time to be spent in Banda Aceh itself =) Probably thats the only reason for them to move the timings that i can think of.

The Dives
I stayed at Lumba Lumba Dive. They do 2 dives a day, plus you can arrange for shore dives in the evenings. The beach is a rustic undeveloped stretch. Nothing to do there but eat and sleep. There is a lovely warung just out on the main road, serving local fare. Diving sites Batee Tokong is great (sea fans) are nice. Currents are strong, more pelagic stuff can be found.

So in 4 days of leave, I spent 1 day going there, 2 days diving, 1 day returning to Sg. All in all a great short break.

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