Pulau Weh with the Kids

July 22, 2019

When we had to change our original plan to visit Sri Lanka due to the terrorist attacks, we have been very sad. The sadness immediately went away when we took the change of destination to Malaysia (offered by Oman Air to travellers to Sri Lanka) as chance to explore also a part of Indonesia we haven’t seen yet.
Fede as diver was always fascinated by the idea of visiting Pulau Weh. We were not sure though that visiting Pulau Weh with the kids was a good idea. We could not find other family blogs mentioning it. Despite that we decided to explore Pulau Weh with the kids! Here is a short story of our adventure there! If you want to know why we think you should visit Pulau Weh with the kids, check here.

From Kuala Lumpur to Pulau Weh with the Kids

The nearest airport to Pulau Weh is Banda Aceh. Banda Aceh is well connected with different asian cities and especially with Kuala Lumpur (more than 3 daily flights!): perfect! So we booked our flight with Air Asia. Among the different housing options, we picked Freddies Santai Sumurtiga
that helped us to organise the transfer from the airport to the island and
finally to his resort.
In the early morning we took a Grab ride to the Airport from our hotel in Kuala Lumpur. There we had to self tag our bags (first time we did that!) and drop them at the counter. During the process, Fede lost his sweater. A tragic lost, considering the abuse of air conditioning in Malaysia. We went through different security checks, and after the first one (which we thought to be the only one), we bought a bottle of water.

During the second check they asked us to drop the bottle, but when we said it was for the kids, everything was magically fine!
Don’t under estimate the power of little cuties 🙂

After a quite flight of one hour and half (a perfect duration to avoid any
inflight kid tragedy), we landed in Banda Aceh. A driver, as agreed, was waiting, outside with our name. As first thing we asked him to take us to lunch. He took us to a small place where they serve local food (probably connected to agency that recruited the driver). After a nice local meal (Mee Goreng with Banda Aceh sauce), the driver asked us if we wanted to have a tour or go directly to the harbour. We opted for the tour as you can read in this separate blog post.

Following the tour, the driver took us to the harbour, where he bought the
fast ferry ticket for us and greeted us. Giò felt asleep in the stroller and slept for all the journey till Pulau Weh. Luckily the sea was quiet and the transfer smooth!

As agreed, another driver was waiting for us in Pulau Weh and took us to our final destination: Freddies Santai Sumurtiga.

Our room is not big but has everything that we needed. Bigger rooms are
available, but all of them had beds on top of the bath, which with little
ones jumping everywhere, it is not ideal. From the balcony of our room
we had an iconic view over the sea 🙂 We really enjoyed it for all our stay!

Before dinner we did a quick bath, just to taste the sea we haven’t seen since almost one year (last bath was in July 2018 in Yucatan).

Day 1 – Relaxing and diving

We all woke up very early and went to the buffet breakfast offered by Freddies. The buffet was very reach, with fresh fruit, cereals, ham, cakes, and anything else you can imagine!

One of the reasons we picked Pulau Weh is its crystal clean waters, and the
incredible underwater life. One of Fede’s dreams was to dive there. So Michi, despite the challenge it implied, offered to stay alone with Tommy and Giò during the time Fede was diving.

Diving in Pulau Weh is magic! Fede opted for Monster Divers services as suggested by Freddie. The dive centre is located on Gapang beach, a wonderful exotic beach protected by a bay (which means calm waters). The pick up from the resort is included if you book at least two dives per day. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the team is very nice. The diving shop was also visited by two funny monkeys, trying to steal food from the customers.

The dive were very nice, but unfortunately Fede got a bit of cold from air cond, so he had quite complex compensation that made them less enjoyable than planned.
Lesson learnt: don’t loose your sweater in the airport!

Meanwhile, Michi and the kids have been spending the morning at the beach in front of the resort. The built sand castles, galleries. They also had a quick bath in the sea. Unfortunately the beach there was not protected by a bay, so the waters were not so quiet due to the waves hitting the beach. Too much for taking 2 little ones alone in the water.

When Fede came back from the dives (deaf on the left side…), we had a quick snack and then the whole family went again to the beach.
This time the two little fishes spent lot of time in the water
swimming like professionals!

Since the positive experience in Mexico with Tommy, we opted to take with us two swimming jackets with different buoyancy levels to help the kids swimming.
They worked really well, and seeing how Giò, who is only two year old, is able to move around in the water is really cool!

Taking the out of the water for dinner was really a challenge!

After dinner, Fede and the kids spent time on the balcony: they relaxed on the hammock, watched the sea, listened to fantasy Pirates stories by Fede.

Day 2 – Tour around the island

This time we woke up more slowly. We booked a tuk tuk to tour the island. Our driver, Kus, picked us up at the resort. After a quick stop to watch the
panorama, we headed to visit the Waterfall. After a walk of 30 minutes, starting in a valley with rice fields, and entering the forest we reached the waterfall. The adventure was very exciting kids (Giò spend most of the time on dad’s shoulders), but not challenge free. There trail cross the river in the different points and not always there is a bridge. That’s how we lost a pair of sunglasses in the river while passing the kids from one bench of the river to the other.

The waterfall has a small pool of fresh water at the bottom. There we made
friendship with Gonzalo and Teresa, a nice couple from Madrid who recently migrated to Penang (Malaysia). The temperature of the water in the pool was perfect to get refreshed from the trail in the jungle. Tommy and Giò loved swimming there! Amazing thing to do in Pulau Weh with the kids!

Back to the tuk tuk, we asked Kus to take us to Iboih beach. At the restaurant at the end of the Peer, we met again Gonzalo and Teresa, we found out that they are staying near by our resort, so we agree to meet for dinner. After a lunch with the magic view of the blue waters of Iboih bay, we got to the beach. The waters are quiet, so it’s easy for the kids to enjoy them 🙂 We are even able to snorkel and explore the underwater world while swimming with them. A great afternoon of fun 🙂 There was lot of underwater life, despite the number of boats coming and going from the beach (most of them carrying snorkelers to Pulau Rubiah, an island just in front). We described the fishes we saw to Tommy, he looked over excited and he wanted to try the mask, but he was still to worried to put the face in the water. So no introduction to snorkelling also this time… Around 4.30 PM as agreed with Kus, we picked up our things to get back to the resort. On the way back, Tommy and Giò fall asleep.
A pity because on the way back we crossed several monkeys, they would have gone crazy for them!

For Dinner we stayed at Freedie. Gonzalo and Teresa joined us, for a nice evening of chit chat. The kids where so tired that they collapsed
again during dinner 🙂

Day 3 – Snorkelling

Following Fede’s nice experience with Monster Divers, we opted to book a
snorkelling tour with them. Monster Divers organised a tuk tuk to pick us up and bring us to Gapang beach.

The beach, as mentioned above, is as nice as the one of Iboih, but with almost no boat traffic! Much more safe and quiet for the kids!
As soon as we got there, the kids had fun with the Diving shop swing and the two monkeys that are always around it.
A girl taking a diving course, offered to Tommy a banana to attract the monkeys, but he was a bit scared of approaching them. He was anyhow very excited to observe them! Another amazing experience in Pulau Weh with the kids!

Monster Divers team took us to Pulau Rubiah. We have been told that the waters there are usually crowded with snorkelers. Luckily for us we got there at a time that only an Malaysian family was there as well.
Fede considered one of the best snorkelling of its life (he had been snorkelling and diving in different paradises world wide). The highlight of the snorkelling was an amazing giant maculate moray eel.

The kids loved swimming in the water on the back of Fede and Michi, while they were exploring underwater. They also spent few time on the beach playing with other kids. Time went very fast! By the time we thought to explore the nearby beach, more than one hour and half was gone, and Monster Divers boat was ready to pick us up.

After a quick lunch at Monster Dive café, we spend the afternoon at Gapang beach, playing with the sand and exploring underwater life.

For dinner, this time we opted for the buffed dinner at Freddies (while usually we ordered à la carte). The buffet menu was inspired by Mexican traditions. We appreciated that Freedie introduced the menu and asked to all the participants about their day. Really a nice old men! The food was great, of course!

After dinner, Fede and the kids spent time relaxing on the balcony.

Day 4 – Just relaxing in Pulau Weh with the kids

We decided to spent our last day in Pulau Weh relaxing at the resort. Fede took the chance to visit a local doctor to be sure everything is fine with his ear.
Freddies’ team was amazing, one of his employee took Fede to the hospital and around the city to get the medicines prescribed!

The day passed very quickly between swims and sand castles. Taking Tommy and Giò out of the beach was really a challenge… especially
knowing that the following day they would not have gone to the beach.

For dinner, we visited Gonzalo and Teresa. They were staying at Casa Nemo, a nice resort not far away from Freedies one. We have not stayed there, but
personal was nice, and Gonzalo and Teresa reported the rooms to be very nice, so we would recommend it 🙂
We talked a lot during dinner. It is nice to hear about stories of expat people.
As matter of fact we are expat too, but surely we cannot compare our move to Switzerland to the move of Gonzalo and Teresa to Malaysia! During the dinner, we organised as well to meet in Georgetown. Read the blog post about Penang to know more!

What’s next?

After exploring Pulau Weh with the kids, we moved back to Malaysia. You will be able to read more in the next posts!

If you enjoyed reading this post, and would like to thanks us, feel free to use one of our referral links for AirBnb or Booking.com: both of us will get a discount 🙂


  1. Comment by natascia

    natascia Reply August 5, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Che bella esperienza!! Mi sai dire se avete fatto dei vaccini e quali?

    • Comment by federico

      federico Reply August 5, 2019 at 9:35 am

      ciao natascia,
      nessun vaccino extra oltre a quelli da piano vaccinale 🙂 fede non aveva fatto il vaccino epatite b & c e quindi l’ha fatto prima di partire (è buona cosa farlo al di là di viaggi in giro per il globo).
      se viaggi in altre parti di sumatra, il vaccino contro la malaria potrebbe essere raccomandato (guarda qui: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations/asia-east/indonesia/indonesia-malaria-map), ma non nella zona nord dell’isola 🙂

  2. Pingback: 10 reasons to go to Pulau Weh with the kids - Small Globetrotters

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