Budget Travel Indonesia | Pulau Weh (Sabang) | Snorkeling at Iboih & Pulau Rubiah

Iboih is located on the north west 'arm' of Weh island. I use the word 'arm' because that's what that part of Weh looks like. This area is mostly popular amongst backpackers, divers and snorkelers.

Rubiah island is located just few hundred meters away, opposite of Iboih, So the area in between them is a huge sea garden protected from the rough waves from the Malacca Strait and Andaman Sea - a perfect spot for snorkelers, swimmers and freedivers. 

Rubiah Island; photo taken on Iboih beach
We came here from the Kilometer Zero site at the tip of the north west arm which took us around 15 minutes by a taxi van. 

You'll reach a beach not far from Iboih entrance and on your left would be shops, dive centers, a surau and guesthouses. 

Iboih area entrance
The surau at Iboih beach

In Iboih, this is like the little 'commerce' area; further up, Iboih can only be accessed on foot and that is where most backpackers would head to as there are quite a number of chalets with huts standing on stilts above the water edge right up to the cliffs. The shoreline there is rocky.

It was around 10 in the morning, we didn't want to waste anytime so we immediately rented a whole boat to ourselves that has a see-through middle part on the floor for underwater viewing. 

For Rp. 600,000, the boatmen took us around the sea garden, stopping wherever is good for some snorkeling and of course, waited around for us until we are done for the day. Perfect.

If you need buoyancy aid (in laymen's term life jacket :P), fins and goggles for snorkeling, you'd have to rent those separately from the vendors on the beach at Rp 40,000 for the whole set. 
My sister rented a snorkeling gear set from that lady in the back

Chalets at Iboih; photo taken from our boat

I did plan to stay at one of those huts above the water, I read in a review they could see fish swimming from the balcony, but I don't think it'd be suitable for my mom as she might have some difficulties to make her way to the room hehe.

We started our snorkeling at a spot near to Iboih side; somewhere in front of those chalets. There is one coral that seemed to be the dominant species (but I don't know the name ha ha); we also spotted anemones here and there too, and where there are anemones, we could always expect to find Nemo ^^.

There's one anemone colony just below my left arm there ^^

Can you spot those little clown fishes?

After a while, we got on the boat again and made our way to the other side of the sea garden, that is Rubiah island. The water here is just beautiful. There is a weak current along the island towards the south end, so we just glided with it while kicking our fins towards the spots that we wanted to see and occasionally dove into the water. The boat just tagged along with us.


I think I saw giant tentacles coming out of a hole in one of the big rocks, at the risk of exaggerating this, I think that could have been a lobster!

A couple of hours later, the boatmen docked at the jetty at Rubiah island situated down the middle of the shoreline. This was where we stopped for lunch. 

My mom admiring the colorful fishes teeming right below the restaurant deck

We had nasi ayam penyet and satay kurita, local delicacies. The former is special rice with chicken on the side and the latter is octopus satay served with white rice. 

Nasi ayam penyet

And of course we had to have a view for lunch too, so we sat at the end of the deck overlooking the crystal clear water below..

What a view huh? 

The boatmen had their lunch back in Iboih, so while waiting for them, we swam near the jetty .. nothing much to see though..

So many see urchins ..

After their lunch, the boatmen came to fetch us again and we continued our snorkeling a little bit more from the jetty towards the south of Rubiah island before heading back to Iboih.

Heading back towards Iboih

Just for the record, this was the first time ever that our mom followed us on one of our snorkeling trips, now she really knows how her daughters jump off boats ha ha.. thank you for not freaking out mom <3

Back at Iboih

Later, we had another amazing view of the island while eating Rujak Aceh.


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