Pulau Weh is the perfect place to melt into for a week, or a month, or as long as your heart desires. Once you get away from the taxi drivers at the harbour, everything slows down. When you arrive to Iboih Beach its time to enjoy the little things in life and not rush anything. The shady street along the beach has a few restaurants and stores, and a couple dive shops.
Nobody is looking to try and pressure you into buying things or go places with them like a lot of other places in SE Asia. You will encounter nothing but smiles, hellos, and people who would like to talk with you. The aqua blue waters lay still with boats rocking to the motion of the ocean. Groups of young kids laugh enthusiastically while playing marbles in the dirt. Little girls giggle as they cruise around on bikes that they cant even touch the peddles on. Groups of men of all ages sit and chain smoke. A few street vendors cook up omelettes and pancakes on their carts sending savoury and sweet smells into the air. Young muslim girls giggle to each other under their headscarves at the sight of goofy white guys.
From the village, a path leads north into the jungle along the water. This is where to find your new home. There’s about six places with bungalows scattered on the hillside along the path. If you don’t feel like walking much, you can grab one of the first spots, which are more expensive. A lot of people like Ericks Greenhouse, which is the first one you will come to. If you like to smoke weed then this is probably the place for you. Any meal cooked up can be made “happy”. Being a strict muslim area, it’s hard to find alcohol and it’s very expensive (so it’s a smart idea to bring some with you). Marijuana is very relaxed though, and when I arrived to the island I found myself smoking a monster joint in a group with three police officers.
Welcome to Pulau Weh. There’s some nice bungalows along the way, but it’s definitely worth the walk to continue down the path till the end. It’s only a ten minute walk, at most, to get to the archway, which will welcome you to Yulias Bungalows and Restaurant. They have bungalows right on the clear blue sea and on the hillside. There’s a main house right on the shore, and attached is a restaurant and big covered deck with lots of seating to enjoy the beautiful view. Theres a lower area over the water with lounge chairs, and snorkelling equipment to hang out with all the colourful life swimming around you.
It’s owned by a local woman named Yulia and her husband. An awesome group of young guys, some of them family, run the place. Fun people to hang out with and pass the day away (and get hustled at chess). My bungalow is hands down my favourite spot I have ever called my temporary home. The bungalows at the waters edge over the sea are the best. They’re built up high on stilts, and you almost feel like you’re up in a big tree house. You go to bed at night to the sound of the ocean lazily flopping against the rocks, and wake up in the morning looking out the windows from your bed over blue paradise.
They have large porches, which hang out over the sea with a big hammock to lay in and sway in the warm breeze. It’s the most peaceful spot, and it would be easy to end up living in it for a long time. The best part is that it’s only 70,000 rupiah per night (less than $6), and the restaurant serves nice meals for around one to two dolIars. I’ve fallen in love with Pulau Weh. Oboih is on the east side of the long arm that goes out at an angle to the northwest.