Pulau Weh Dive Sites

You could describe Weh Island as being roughly “U” shaped, with the two struts forming a deep bay. Most of the favored dive sites are along the western side of the bay, and this is where the two developed beaches with dive shops are located, Iboih and Gapang.

Iboih is a bit larger and more developed than Gapang, but the actual beach here is in small patches, rather than Gapang's long expanse. There seems to be only one dive operator in Iboih, Rubiah Tirta.

The island's main city is Sabang, on the northeastern tip of the island. In fact, many Acehnese will refer to Pulau Weh as 'Sabang'. There's not much to see or do in Sabang, so about the only reason to go there is if you have a desperate need of an ATM. The only one on the island is there.

Pulau Weh Diving

Most operators seem to do two single-dive boat trips per day (except Friday). The dive sites are generally little more than 15 minutes sailing from either Gapang or Iboih, so boats will return to their base after every dive. They will do one dive in the morning and another after noon. There's usually time for a late afternoon or night shore dive, and if enough people are interested, additional boat dives can be arranged.

It's perhaps worth noting that owing to the conservative nature of Aceh province, there's usually no diving on Friday mornings, and shops may not open until after noon prayers. You should also be aware that most shops and restaurants do not sell alcohol.

Batee Tokong

Batee Tokong at a Glance

Depth: 30 m
Currents: Sometimes Strong
Season: May - Oct.

Batee Tokong is a pinnacle off the northern tip of Seulako Island. The tip of the rocks extend out of the water almost all the time. Currents can sometimes be a bit of a challenge here, but most dive guides will have you drop on the sheltered side of the pinnacle, and possibly stay there is currents are strong.

This is a favored site for most divers around Pulau Weh. For one thing, there are even more morays here than at other dive sites. It's not unusual to find a large rock with three or more of the eels bobbing about in various holes. In addition, there's a good chance of seeing larger things on the deeper portions of the dive. Sharks and large rays are not unusual.

The Canyon

The Canyon at a Glance

Depth: 30 m
Currents: Sometimes Strong
Season: May - Oct.

Also called: Pantee Aneuk Seuke

The Canyon is another popular dive site that can have some big fish. It is just off the northern tip of Weh Island. The canyon is really a large boulder split and weathered with several deep crevasses that you can easily swim through. On the seaward side of the boulder is a steep drop to 45 meters or more. Coming through the larger crevasse you're confronted with a spectacular sight of deep blue ocean, loads of fish, and huge gorgonian fans lining the opening. It really is breathtaking, if you'll pardon the expression.

Gapang House Reef

Gapang House Reef at a Glance

Depth: 15 m
Currents: Nil
Season: May - Oct.

The house reef at Gapang is a surprisingly good dive site for day or night diving. You can just walk into the water from the Lumba Lumba diving centre and have a nice easy dive. The reef did suffer some bleaching around 2010, but it's recovering well. Once you get past the rocks near the shore and dive, you'll find a sandy bottom with scattered boulders and bomies. There are quite a few fish for so close to shore, including several schools of razorfish, and many types of scorpionfish, such as spiny devilfish and flying gurnards. Friends who also dived here reported some octopus and cuttlefish.

Hot Springs / Underwater Volcano

Hot Springs at a Glance

Depth: 10 m
Currents: Nil
Season: May - Oct.

This is very much a 'fun' dive site that isn't in the least bit challenging. This site is just off-shore very close to the base of the big bay formed by the crescent shape of the island. Just around five meters down the sandy bottom is interrupted by several volcanic vents streaming bubbles of gas into the water, as well as warming it up considerably. There aren't a lot of fish around, but those you do see tend be be rather docile. There were a lot of pufferfish in particular, that just seemed to lay around on the sand and weren't too fussed about a bunch of divers showing up. Also around were some bannerfish and a small school of bright yellow snapper.

Because the dive site is so shallow, it's often done as a second dive / same tank with the Tugboat Wreck in Sabang Harbor.

Limbo Gapang

Limbo Gapang at a Glance

Depth: 25 m
Currents: Usually Mild
Season: May - Oct.

Limbo Gapang isn't quite as teaming with fish as many of the other dive sites, making it a little less popular, but what it lacks in volume it makes up for with the unusual. This site is just off of Gapang Beach, less than five minutes from shore by boat. A buoy marks the top of the pinnacle, which is just a few meters below the surface.

Among the many unusual critters you can see here are a large number of mantis shrimp, banded coral shrimp, several nudibranchs, an octopus or two, and many other crustaceans, fish and eels.

Pantee Peunateung

Pantee Peunateung at a Glance

Depth: 30+ m
Currents: Can be strong
Season: May - Oct.

This is potentially one of Weh's best dive sites, with frequent reports of mantas, sharks and even whales. However, these can be rare, and what you're most likely to see are large schools of jacks, performing a graceful ballet as they ball and swirl. You'll also almost certainly see barracuda, while the reef here, like The Canyon, is well covered with large fans.

Being on the exposed western face of Weh means there can be strong currents on this dive, which also tends to go deep, so it's recommended for experienced divers only.

Rubiah Seagarden

Rubiah Seagarden at a Glance

Depth: 30 m
Currents: Generally Mild
Season: May - Oct.

Rubiah Seagarden - often abbreviated 'RSG' by dive shops - is an easy dive site often used for the first check-out dive for new arrivals. The bottom is mostly sandy, but there are a few large boulders, and it's on these that you'll see a few red bubble anemones like the one pictured. You'll also find a very large field of garden eels.

As at most Weh dive sites, you'll almost certainly spot some honeycomb morays and, if you look carefully, some interesting flatworms.

Tugboat Wreck

Tugboat Wreck at a Glance

Depth: 15 m
Currents: Nil
Season: May - Oct.

The tugboat wreck in Sabang Harbor is a fun and easy dive. The boat is just offshore, although it's about 15 minutes by speedboat from Iboih or Gapang. The bottom is at just 15 meters, while the top of the funnel is right around 5 meters, perfect for a safety stop. There are lots of fish hanging around the wreck, as well as quite a few pipefish on the roof of the bridge. There were also a few nudibranchs and a colorful smallscale scorpionfish.

Since the dive is so shallow, and there isn't much to see once you've circled the wreck a few times, this dive is usually combined with one on the underwater volcano, which is also shallow. You dive the wreck and surface with around half a tank, and then dive on the hot springs with the rest of your tank.