Great Barrier Reef, Maldives, Aceh

Dec 29th, 2009, in Travel, by

DivingThe BBC says Pulau Weh in Aceh is the next great location for diving enthusiasts.

As mentioned in my previous article, the BBC World News show Fast Track featured Indonesia recently.

A story about Acehnese tourism five years after the tsunami – watch it here – was surprisingly positive.

It featured some of the dive sites near Pulau Weh, a small island off the coast of Aceh, the northernmost province of Sumatera.

Pulau Weh Diving
Diving near Pulau Weh, Aceh.

According to the feature, unlike more popular locations, its relative isolation has helped it be preserved and not destroyed by pollution, overfishing or tourism. One of the unique attractions in the area is a very rare undersea geothermal vent. While the 2004 tsunami did damage the coral, it has subsequently recovered; some locals have also helped the undersea life by grafting and growing new coral.

During the report, we meet two dive operators: Pak Dodent, the director of one of only two local dive shops in the area; and Ben Stokes of Dive Safari Asia, an English-based diving company which leads groups to more remote/isolated Asian diving locations.

It also said while few people come specifically to see the tsunami sites, local residents are surprisingly happy to show you tsunami relics and discuss their experiences. A Tsunami Museum also recently opened in Banda Aceh.

Tsunami Museum
Tourists visiting another famous tourist attraction in Aceh

The question is: Having seen the report above, would you consider visiting Aceh on your next holiday, especially if it was for diving? Why or why not?

And regardless of your answer to the previous question, what could the Acehnese government do – in your opinion – to encourage more visitors?

36 Comments on “Great Barrier Reef, Maldives, Aceh”

  1. brian astaga says:


    Pornstar moustache like Merv Hughes, large rotund figure, shorts, thongs, Bintang singlet and of course a never ending supply of the local product in my hand at all times.

    ha ha ha

    im similar mate, so it will be merv hughes and david boon on the back seat with with achmad and his ukelele, 😛 LOL

  2. andy says:

    Then we could have a Bintang sculling competition with some of the resident pests here like Cukurungan. If they can handle the pace. Maybe for Assmad’s sake we can play a few Kevin Bloody Wilson CDs to go with his ukelele.

  3. Oigal says:

    Thanks RD, actually remote beaches are somewhat out of the question at the present time. Call it the idle wish of the bone idle, prefer the spoilt life but with clean, nice beach.

    Unfortunately, that means people and that seems to mean litter and pests.

  4. BenStokes says:

    Some interesting comments. Particularly from Andy:

    In Aceh unfortunately you wouldn’t even have to import terrorists from the backblocks of Java to these parts as many locals would put their hand up to blow up themselves and the rest of us with them.

    In Bali you’ll always be welcome, just remember to be vigilant and excercise caution when travelling to more remote areas of the island. In terms of news channels I’d recommend Fox over BBC any day. And remember stay cautious.

  5. Parvita says:

    I went diving to Pulau Weh in 2007 with National Geographics doing reef check. It is a beautiful little island with lots of potential for tourism. At that time, there was only one dive center owned by a Belgian (or Dutch?) that charges in Euro. I heard that there are other dive centers there now operated by Indonesians with reasonable price.

    The diving itself is uncomparable to Bali, Derawan, Raja Ampat (Papua) or Bunaken. Maybe there are sites that I haven’t seen or maybe there are some more new sites found after 2007, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t rate the diving more than those I mentioned above. If you love morray eels, that’s the place to go. Just be careful where you place your hands when you are taking pictures.

    Acehnese are also not trained to serve tourists as well. My experience there was that the locals being the guides are so laid back and doesn’t have the concept of time. Very slow at responding. Maybe the kind of coffee they drink has something to do with that?

    I didn’t have problems wearing shorts and hanging out with bikini around the resort area and the beach.

  6. copyproof says:

    Having seen the report above, would you consider visiting Aceh on your next holiday, especially if it was for diving? Why or why not?

    Well, I’d love to!!! but (I heard it from the news) they said it is forbidden for women to wear pants @Aceh.. Is it really true? Could somebody who live in Aceh tell me how exactly it is?
    If we are really going to go there, should we wear jilbab/hijab??

    Those kind of rules give me second thoughts really.

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