Pantai Sumur Tiga in Pulau Weh, Sabang
Pantai Sumur Tiga is another one of Indonesia’s many “must-visit” destinations. It is located on the east coast of Pulau Weh, approximately 15 minutes from Sabang, in the Aceh province, northwest Indonesia. Literally translated to mean “the Beach of three wells,” Pantai Sumur Tiga was given that name after the five fresh water wells you will find along the coast. The main stretch is situated around the third well, “Sumur Tiga,” though the actual beach stretches much further than that, making it the longest beach on Pulau Weh.
Once a very isolated beach, frequented mostly by locals living in the nearby area, and the occasional foreigner, Sumur Tiga may very well have been one of Indonesia’s best kept secrets. It has now, however, become a much more popular destination among those who enjoy diving and snorkelling, or simply those who want to relax and do absolutely nothing at all. It nevertheless remains fairly secluded – an ideal getaway from the stress and bustle of everyday life, and the perfect place for those who don’t quite fancy the more “commercial” tourist areas.
Picture this: Stepping foot into a stunning, natural painting — sparkling, crystal clear water, the sea breeze and summer sun, white sands, scattered with coconut trees and exotic species of flora, rarely found on other beaches. The natural beauty and serenity of Pantai Sumur Tiga is sure to leave you in awe, and is almost enough to make the entire trip worthwhile.
Days on Pantai Sumur Tiga are best spent lying on the sands, or sitting in the grass under the palm trees, listening to the sounds of the wind through the trees, and the crashing of the turquoise sea against the sand. The peace and tranquillity found here will no doubt leave you feeling so happy and refreshed by the end of your trip, you’ll never want to leave. Have a chat with the local residents to hear the local legends of Pantai Sumur, or maybe simply about their favourite past times here. Take a swim, if it suits your fancy. With water so clear, it will be hard to keep out of it! For the snorkelers and divers, though coral is rumoured to be better on other beaches on Pulau Weh, the variety of fishes and other ocean-life will more than make up for it.
Somewhere near the fourth well, (Sumur Empat) there is a historic bunker from the time of the Japanese Occupation. It was built through slave labor during World War II, and is unfortunately not very well maintained. If you travel along the road further south, past the fifth well (SumurLima) you will come to another beach — a black sand beach. There is another, larger Japanese bunker here. This area is also a popular weekend hang-out place among the locals.
In short, Pantai Sumur Tiga: Secluded and serene. White sand, crystal clear water, summer sun, exotic coral, rich ocean-life, friendly people, tropical resorts. What more could you want? Just don’t forget to bring your camera!
Sumur Tiga has a variety of resorts and bungalows situated just minutes-walk from the beach, and ranging from very affordable to high-end. Most hotels are equipped with diving and snorkeling gear, so you won’t necessarily have to lug your own around from wherever it is you’re coming from. The best time to visit would be during the summer season (of course) or immediately after the rainy season if you don’t want to see so many other people.
Getting to Pantai Sumur Tiga is quite a journey, but one that will be worth it. The first step is to fly to Banda Aceh Airport, which is accessible domestically from Medan (North Sumatra) and Jakarta (the country’s capital city) and internationally from Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia.
After arrival in Banda Aceh, take a taxi to Ule Lhee, the port of Aceh. From there, you have a choice of a “fast boat” or a ferry to Sabang, the port on Pulau Weh. The fast boat takes approximately 40-60 minutes, while the ferry can take 1.5-2 hours. (Take note of the duration of the boat ride, if you need to catch a flight home on the same day!)
Boats depart from Aceh to Sabang twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon. Afternoon trips are recommended, as you will get to experience not only the sunset, but you will also have the chance at dolphin sightings as you approach Pulau Weh. From the Sabang port at Pulau Weh, take a taxi or if you’re feeling more adventurous, a becak (local rickshaw) to your final destination of Pantai Sumur Tiga.
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