(c) June 2009 Oliver Bonten
Pulau Weh in Indonesia had been on my diving wishlist for quite some time; I had already planned to go there in 2003, but the Indonesian government had closed Aceh for tourists. Some time after the December 2004 tsunami, Aceh was opened again, and now I finally managed to visit the place.
Pulau Weh is an island north of Banda Aceh at the northernmost tip of Sumatra, so it is literally at one end of Indonesia. Banda Aceh had been badly hit by the tsunami but on Pulau Weh the destruction was much more moderate since due to the size of the island, most of the waves did not break.
Reaching Pulau Weh took some time. I used KLM to fly via Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, since they were one of the few airlines that were not cutting back on diving luggage allowance: they took a moderate surcharge only. My previous experiences with KLM (in the 1990s) had not been very good, but this time I was pleasantly surprised ... the service was almost as good as on an Asian airline. The easiest way to reach Banda Aceh from KL is Air Asia , a Malaysian budget carrier. Firefly is another budget carrier that flies to Banda Aceh, but they fly from Penang, not KL. Other options are to fly via Jakarta or Medan, which is a lot more expensive and also takes more time. The airport at Banda Aceh does not issue Visa on arrival, so I had to get an Indonesian visa at home, which is a bit of a hassle.
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