Sumatra, staying on Pulau Weh. Bungalows and slowing life down

Pulau Weh

Pulau Weh

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.

iboih beach

iboih beach

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.

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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.

weh map

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About Trueworldtravels

Following my heart around the planet. Bringing to life the unique world around us through writing and photography.
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12 Responses to Sumatra, staying on Pulau Weh. Bungalows and slowing life down

  1. Elaine Segura says:

    This looks like paradise,Ryan. I will be surprised if you leave anytime soon!

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  2. ellengerl57 says:

    Wonderful descriptions. It does sound like an out of the way place that is bound to get more popular.

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  3. ellengerl57 says:

    Love your view!

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  4. Lara says:

    This sounds like perfection! I’m off tp sumatra soon and would love to stay at yulia’s but can’t seem to find their contact details. Would it be possible for you to email their contact details through to me?:)
    Thank you for making me even more excited for my trip!

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    • Hey Lara, they don’t have a website, but this phone number may work: +6282168564383. I know one of the guys there has a website that he’s making, but I can’t remember it for the life of me. Most of the accommodations don’t have websites, and you shouldn’t have any trouble getting a room an Yulias. Especially being the last one at the end of the trail, it gets filled up last and stays the most peaceful. It’s an beautiful spot. It’s definitely nothing fancy, but hey it’s Indonesia and if you want fancy go to hawaii :). Just slow down and enjoy island life.

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  5. Daniel says:

    What were the facilities like at yulia in terms of fresh water showers etc?

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    • Hey, they had a block of showers and toilets with fresh water. I’m pretty sure they had some bungalows with bathroom attached, but I liked the one on the water and it was cheaper.

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      • Daniel says:

        Awesome thanks for the reply! I love diving, just hate being covered in salt for long hours afterwards and reading some of the accommodation reviews there was some saying the water in the showers was salty but looks like that isn’t the case!

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  6. Some great diving, and cheap. I dove with Iboih Dive Center and they were awesome. Heres the link to my small post about it- https://trueworldtravels.com/2014/11/22/cheap-diving-in-pulau-weh-the-kingdom-of-eels/ Would definitely recommend them. They would pick up and drop off at the dock in front of where you stay so you didn’t have to make the walk to the shop. I don’t remember ever having a problem with fresh water. Enjoy

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    • Daniel says:

      Cheers for the info, have just noticed you have links to the HUBB etc – I found you searching for Pulau Weh but I am a massive reader of ADVRider and Horizons Unlimited as well, always planning that RTW trip.

      Ride a KTM950 Supermoto myself, perfect for riding around Alps/Dolomites once you get over the lack of wind protection! Safe travels dude!

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      • Nice, ya I’ve left my bike in Bulgaria for the winter and heading back in spring to continue around Europe. The hardest part about the trip is just deciding to do it. My planning was pretty minimal and it worked out 🙂

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