The next part of our trip started with a flight to the northern tip of Sumatra and I got to do something I’ve never done; walk into an airport without a ticket and buy one on the spot! It was quite a bit cheaper than if we’d had got them online before we travelled which was a pleasant surprise, I paid my £4 airport tax and the whopping £2 extra they wanted because lou’s bag was overweight (hehe!) and off we went.
We landed in Banda Aceh and checked into a air conditioned hotel, a far cry from the jungle we had called home for the past week. We had hot showers and western food which was a welcome change from the mountains of rice I had been eating. The next day we set out to visit the town and in particular the tsunami museum. 10 years ago the town was off limits due to the civil war between Ache and Indonesia, which went on for 30 years but came to a sudden end when the province was hit by the boxing day tsunami killing 220,000 people in the Aceh province. We went to visit the tsunami museum which is said to be excellent but it was the day of national elections and almost everything in town was closed so we spent the day being lazy and left the next day for the island of Pulau Weh.
We got up early the next day and took a taxi out to the harbour, purchased tickets on the fast ferry out to Pulau weh, located at the extreme north of Indonesia. On the way we sailed past a pod of 20 dolphins and arrived on the island in search of a bit of beach paradise. Our place of stay was a beach hut that sat on stilts over a golden sandy beach lined with palm trees and a deep blue ocean for a view. We spent the first day snorkeling with the fish off the coast and walking along the beach enjoying the tropical bliss. We managed to charter a traditional fishing boat to take us snorkeling further down the coast, the boat was fantastic and insane maybe 10 meters long and painted in bright blue, we swam out 20 meters and climbed upon the back (when I cut my foot to pieces on the barnacled bottom) and the fisherman started up the loudest diesel engine I have ever heard; controlling the throttle with a lump of wood under his foot and stopping it with a dirty rag in the air intake. 30 minutes later we stopped at a bluff and jumped in to the deep ocean and goggled at the array of marine life beneath us.Our last day on the island we arranged to have a tuktuk take us around the island to see the sights and we were greeted by our guide called ‘Leman’ in the morning with a moped and 4man side cart. We travelled to the golden beaches on the other side of the island, got chased down the road by monkeys, dipped our feet in hot volcanic streams, went swimming in waterfalls, visited (a somewhat underwhelming) volcano and saw some spectacular views. It was an excellent day and good end to this part of our journey. The day after we took the ferry back to Sumatra and flew to our next adventure on the island of Java.