Be part of the daily life of the people in Haloban on Pulau Tuangku: for the very first time we offer the possibility to rent a house directly in the village of Haloban. The rather small house has two bedrooms, one living room, a bathroom and a kitchen. It is spatial enough for 4 people but you can get extra mattresses.
You can cook by yourself or eat outside but you can choose the common and comfortable way as well and take our services.
For all the travellers who have only limited time to visit Pulau Banyak or don’t want to waste time using unreliable public transport taking speedboat provides a time saving option, it is only according to weather conditions.
You also have the possibility to move forward to Nias or Simeulue directly from Haloban (Pulau Banyak Barat).
We in Haloban are working together with Mr. Has. He supplies following routes and prices:
Papua is the the final frontier, the easternmost province of Indonesia. Don’t mix it up with Papua New Guinea, which is an independent state, both located on the word’s second biggest island called West Guinea. Its major city is Jayapura with an AirPort in Sentani, a town close to the city, located near the beautiful Lake Sentani. The infrastructure of Papua is mostly based on reasonable inland flights.
Papua formerly known as Irian Jaya can feel like a different country. Once you have arrived there you can explore a kaleidoscope of cultural, natural, and ecological diversity, which is unique in the word.
More than 80% of the population are Christian. There is also substantial practice of animism, the traditional religion for many Papuans.
Papua is probably derived from the Malay word papuwah (“fuzzy hair”). In 1545, a Spanish explorer called the island Nueva Guinea. In 1884, the western half of New Guinea was officially recognized as Dutch New Guinea, the northeastern section became German New Guinea, and the southeastern quarter became British New Guinea. In 1905, Australia took over the territory, renaming it the Territory of Papua. After World War II, the British and German territories were combined and jointly administered by Australia as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea. Now, Papua is the biggest province of Indonesia and the highest taxpayer of the land conditioned by the Grasberg Mine, the word’s largest gold mine and three largest copper mine. It is located at the highlands near Puncak Jaya also known as Carstensz Pyramid (4.884m), the highest mountain in Papua and also one of the Seven Summits.
The stunningly beautiful and lonely withe beaches of Papua are still not frequented by western visitors. You will face an extraordinary untouched natural beauty accompanied with local authentic atmosphere, mightily friendly and hospitable people and on top on this delicious traditional meals for cheap prices.
Where to go? Where to stay?
Probably you will arrive on Papua at the Sentani Airport. Sentani offers a great first sight and step to Papua, which is still a hidden place for western visitors.
You can easily spend some couple of days in Sentani, roam around the lake, visit villages, get the first breeze of Papua, take the chance to acclimate but don’t except to much, Sentani is a busy town – nevertheless I loved to discover it.
There is a plenty of Indonesian hotels but the best choice offers Izy Guesthouse with nine spatial, clean and pretty bungalows with attached bathroom owned and managed by a charismatic lady called Sherly. She speaks a beautiful English then she has spent a lot of time in Australia and Papua New Guinea. The guesthouse has a nice garden with a cozy canteen where you can have tee and coffee the whole day, breakfast is also included.
It takes only two hours from Sentani to Biak Island by aeroplane. You will arrive in Biak City which is the largest population centre on the south coast. The rest of the island is thinly populated with small villages.
Biak itself and the small islands to the south of Biak offer a plenty of beautiful white beaches and great diving and snorkelling spots. You will truly find yourself in paradise.
Heading to the north of Biak you will cross nice and tidy villages. It takes a 2 hours ride by motorcycle from Biak City to Wafsarak Waterfall.
On the way to Wafsarak you will pass by the beautiful Batu Picah Beach.
Close to Biak City there is a historical site, the huge Japanese Cave which remembers on the Battle of Biak (1944). In World War II, a strategic airfield of the Imperial Japanese Army was located on Biak, serving as a base for operations in the Pacific theatre. American forces eventually captured the island killing 4.000 Japanese solders during the battle.
There is only one Guesthouse out of the city which is in Bosnik village, the Bosnik Beach Guesthouse. It is owned by Ibu Augustina (Phone: 0062 (0) 852 4403 2326), a very kind and diligent lady who speaks a good English. The tidy wooden house has a couple of nice stylishly furnished rooms, those which face the see with attended bathroom. Traditional breakfast is included and it offers a great base to explore the surrounding white sanded beaches of Eastbiak.
There is a market in Bosnik which gets busy three times a week, it is really worth of a visit.
Baliem Valley – one of the world’s last fascinatingly traditional areas
Wamena and the Baliem Valley
One of the unforgettable treasure of Papua is Baliem Valley, a place of an everlasting culture and untouched tribal life of Papua’s native inhabitants. The stunningly beautiful Baliem Valley lies high up in the mountains of central Papua at an altitude of 1.600 meters above sea level, hemmed in by steep green mountain walls.
Baliem Valley is 72 km long, and 15-31 km wide in places. It is cut by the Baliem River, which has it source in the northern Trikora Mountain. It gets very cold in the night (around 12-15 degrees Celsius) and it is mostly sunny and warm by daytime.
By trekking, you can witness traditional ceremonies, traditional markets and the way of life of the Dani tribe.
The only access to the Baliem Valley is by flying to the town of Wamena. From Wamena into the interior of the Baliem Valley you can rent a car, travel by public bus or just walking.
Even if time is changing quickly the valley and surrounding highlands remain one of the world’s last fascinatingly traditional areas. Visiting the Baliem Valley and trekking through high mountain scenery, takes you to places, which you could never ever have imagined.
The main town and base centre of the area is the fast rising Wamena. The town is nothing special but offers good opportunities for shopping food and also souvenirs. There are some hotels and guesthouses in Wamena. Baliem Guesthouse belongs for sure to the best choice lodgings of the town. The prices of the clean and nice rooms starts at 400.000rp, breakfast is included.
The internet is a bit slow in Wamena, the interior of the valley has no net at all. There are some villages with small kiosks but it is good to take your own food. If you are planing to spend a night or more in the interior the villagers will be happy if you bring them coffee and sugar or rice, they will offer you a place to stay.
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact me.
Pulau Banyak is for sure one of the most beautiful destinations on Sumatra. The area is surrounded by pristine, white beaches and uninhabited coral islands. You can go for small jungle trips on Pulau Tuangku and Bangkaru, Ujung Lolok on Pulau Tuangku is a great spot for surfing and you can snorkle everywhere around the islands.
With an area of 123 square miles (319 square km), the group lies north of Nias and 18 miles (29 km) west of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean.
The islands Pulau Banyak lie within the Aceh Singkil Regency in Aceh Province, and are divided into two districts: Pulau Banyak District and Pulau Banyak Barat District (Western Pulau Banyak). Pulau Balai is the seat of the Pulau Banyak District, and Haloban is the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District.
The islands vary in their land cover; most are sandy with limited vegetation, while the larger islands have deep rainforests and are fringed by intertidal mangroves. The fringing coral reefs are habitat to diverse species, including green and leatherback sea turtles, pelagic and coral fish, and varieties of octopus, lobster, and other sealife. The weather is tropical; August to January are the rainy season, followed by a dry season from approximately February to July.
Once if you have arrived to Sumatra, Medan you can take a shared or privat car to Singkil (Contact: Darmawan’s Phone: 0062 (0) 812 8431 4851, 0062 (0) 813 77219667 or Satiman’s Phone: 0062 (0) 822 9410 7162), from where you can reach the islands by boat. There are two villages with accommodation possibilities: Balai and Haloban (see Haloban – Daswan&Reka Homestay) and you will find bungalows on the uninhabited islands around. Sikandang, Tailana and Bangkaru have operated bungalows, on the other islands you can find camping possibilities but for that reason you have to have a contact.
This island is the biggest of Pulau Banyak with three villages called Haloban, the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District (Northern End), Ujung Sialit, the Christian village and Suka Makmur. You can search for jungle experiences around Haloban, staying in the South called Ujung Lolok you will find yourself at one if the best surfing spots of Sumatra.
If you prefer to stay in a village in the calm Haloban you will find accommodations. You can use the village as a base for your daily trips around Pulau Banyak.
One of the most beautify spots but indeed it is very difficult to compare the islands and make a ranking. You can do a daily trip from Haloban and enjoy this scenic island like Robinson Crusoe without disturbing by anyone. There is also camping possibility on this incredible beautiful place (for that contact Daswan: 0062 (0) 813 70821060).
Haloban, the still hidden fishing village, is the second most important place (after Balai) of Pulau Banyak, the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District (PBB) and it is also our home. If you would like to come to the islands but you prefer to stay in a village our house is welcoming you, we have a small but clean guest room. It will be a simple homestay and from here you can make daily tours even overnight trips with camping possibilities to everywhere around Pulau Banyak. (See Activities around Tailana).
There is also a losmen (Indonesian Guest House) in Haloban and you will find small food stalls and some stores to buy your daily needs as well.
If you arrive in Singkil there is every second day a boat from there directly to Haloban. It takes around five hours to get there. Actually Haloban is the closest village to Pulau Tailana. You can find transportation from Balai to Haloban as well but it could be difficult, better to call us before you arrive.
You can contact Daswan and me if you are heading for Pulau Banyak and Haloban.
Haloban is the most important village already merged with Asantola on the biggest island of Pulau Banyak which called Pulau Tuangku, it is as mentioned above the seat of the Pulau Banyak Barat District (Western Pulau Banyak) with a population of around 1500 persons. The major sector of the local economy is fishing but it already has a high school. Actually, this village owns Bangkaru, the turtle island and Pulau Asok.
History of Haloban
Summer 2017 we renovated a small house furthermore extended it with a new kitchen and washing room. It is still an Indonesian style apartment and it only has the average standards of the village, which means amongst others no flush toilet, but we were focussing on cleanliness and brightness and it was important for us to make the it spatial.
At our homestay we offer you full service and can also help you to plan and organize your trips.
So if you would like to be part of our Indonesien life, welcome home!
A beautiful hidden place for surfing, experiencing impressive traditional life, drifting on long beaches and relaxing.
Simeulue Island is located at the tip of Aceh province approximately 150 km off the coast of West Sumatra surrounded by the Indian Ocean, north of Pulau Banyak. It has an area about 2300 km² and a population about 85.000 inhabitants.
To reach Simeulue you can take a direct flight (280.000-480.000rp) from Medan to Sinabang by wings air or you can cross the sea by ferry (less than 50.000rp).
Every day at 13:15 wings air departure from Medan to Simeulue and there is also a daily flight from Simeulue to Medan at 14:55.
Twice a week there is a ferry from Labuhan Haji (8-9 hours), twice a week from Singkil (∼12 hours) and three times from Meulaboh to Sinabang. The schedule can change due to weather conditions or for any other reason.
Here you can see the schedule of the ferries (from September, 2016):
Meulaboh to Sinabang: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday – departure time at 15.oo o’clock in the afternoon.
Labuhan Haji to Sinabang: Saturday – departure time at 13.00 o’clock in the afternoon; Wednesday – departure time at 10.00 o’clock in the morning.
Singkil to Sinabang: Monday, Thursday – departure time at 17.00 in the afternoon.
Sinabang to Meulaboh: Monday, Thursday, Saturday – departure time at 18.00 o’clock in the evening.
Sinabang to Labuhan Haji: Tuesday, Friday- departure time at 22.00 o’clock in the evening.
Sinabang to Singkil: Wednesday, Sunday – departure time at 22.00 o’clock in the evening.
If you come to Simeulue you don’t have to stay in an expensive resort, even if your goal is to surf everyday you can arrange it very well on your own. Frazha Homestay located in the small village of Alus Alus (southwest coast) half an hour by motorbike from the capitol city Sinabang owned an managed by Mr. Akil and his wife is a great place to stay, if you like to organize your day by yourself, if you like to be self-sufficient, if you don’t want to pay more for accommodation than 150.000 rupiah, if you like to live your own Indonesian life, if you like to have an own garden at the seafront and if you like to spend your time at a calm, peaceful cottage. Are you a surfer or not, you will be happy at Frazha with its palm trees directly at the seaside, close to everything what you can need and far away from everything what you maybe don’t need. Frazha homestay has four rooms with attached toilets on a cottage with two wooden houses. The kitchen is in the main house and even if you plan to be self-sufficient, Mr. Akil and his wife can help you for surearound
the kitchen if you ask them kindly. Mr. Akil’s wife is indeed a beautiful cook. For your daily needs you will find small shops around the villages, otherwise you should go to Sinabang (the road is good!). Mr. Akil and his wife are very hospitable. If you need something special from the town you can ask the family with certainty to help you as they commute everyday between Frazha and Sinabang.
Before your arrival you should contact Mr. Akil and it is better to book in advance.
Your phone will work very well in Alus Alus, you can even use internet, it won’t be very quick but it is alright.
I have to mention the water in the toilet and in the shower at the cottage because it is really clear and fresh. They use natural ground water and it has a really good quality. Yes, it is cold.
There is electricity everywhere around but due to weather conditions it is often off. Take your torch and candles with you but in the worst case there is a generator as well.
About the prices: I was just a guest in Frazha, I spent two months there (July and August, 2016), for that I just can give you an approximate idea about the costs. One night per person is for 150.000 rp. It is for your bed, the food is extra. One kg of a fresh fish can costs between 30.000 and 70.000rp, depends on the weather and sure on the species. To refill the big 10L bottle of drinking water costs 4.000rp, a sack of 10kg high quality rice costs around 120.000rp.
In most of the cases you will need a motorbike (60.000-100.000rp depends on the duration of your rental). If you are on Simeulue for surfing you have to catch your waves around the shore and the small islands, if you just plan to relax and to get to know the island it is also very nice to go around by motorbike. The roads are great and mostly safe (your biggest enemies will be the cows). But if you don’t feel comfortable about the idea of driving a motorbike Mr. Akil can organize beautiful trips for you without bikes as well.
Let me focus on the activities around Alus Alus and in general on Simeulue:
Enjoy the Frazha garden
Go for a walk at Alus Alus’ beautiful long beach
Play in the waves behind the garden (swimming will be difficult)
There is every day a sunset
Play football or volleyball around the villages before Maghrib (prayer after sunset)
Visit the coconut factory in Alus Alus
Visit the fisher villages around
Take a fishing boat to other small islands
Learn about the tradition (on Simeulue you will still find fakirs)
Be part of it
Mr. Akil knows his home island Simeulue very well. You can ask him about the tradition, folkway, rites and he can also show you hidden places for snorkeling and tracking.
He is a great host and you will see him always smiling next to his beautiful wife.
Take the Mentawai Fast from Padang (only twice a week!) to Muara Siberut and you will get close to the last native inhabitants of Sumatra, who live in the swamps of the island.
Muara Siberut is a busy small town. It takes around 20 minutes by ojek (motorbike taxi) from the harbour to get to the town. It shouldn’t cost more than 25.000Rp. Ibu Ar (mum Ar) and her guest house is well known in Murau. The lady owns and managing the hostel on her own, her husband passed by last year. Her full name is Ibu Ar Syahruddin and if you ask the guys at the harbour to bring you there, they will do it and you won’t need to discuss any more with them about who knows what else.
Ibu Ar’s Phone: 0813 6304 9506
You can contact her before you arrive but actually it is absolutely no need to book in advance, so you can go there wherever you want and there will be for sure somebody at home.
It is a wooden house, the rooms are small but nice and tidy. The price for two is 100.000Rp. Toilets are outside.
In Muara itself you will still have a phone signal, your mail server and what’s app will work more or less but it is easier to forgo Facebook. You will have electricity by night and in the morning but it can happen by daytime that it vanishes for some couple of short hours.
Muara has shops, you can buy drinks and food. You will find medicaments as well and a lot of warungs (local restaurant). For your basical needs there is a service.
The Indonesian government started with aid projects, organised villages with small schools, shops and religious education (Islam, Catholic) came into being in the swamps of Siberut. Most of the natives live nowadays in those communities. There is still no electricity over there, no signal but what you will find for sure is an incredible beauty.
A great chance to get closer to the tradition and culture of the natives of Mentawai is to stay with them in one of their villages.
Madobag is the village of my friend Gejeng. He is a very competent guide with license. He must be around 35 years old, nobody knows it exactly, as he was born in the jungle and lived there as an aborigin for a very long time.
I asked Ibu Ar to become our contact to reach Gejeng, then Gejeng himself still doesn’t have a phone or email.
So if you would like to see and experience the daily life of the people in the jungle, if you would like to stay there for a night, some days, a week or even longer, Gejeng can help you and show you the almost forgotten spirit of Mentawai. He is a swine herd, which is the traditional work of the Mentawai natives and a hunter with his six dogs.
Stay short or long, everything is manageable. One night in a village with a small trekking tour to visit people who still stay outside of the “civilisation”, or some couple of days with longer treks, it is up to you and your imagination. Our phantasy is their daily life.
To contact Gejeng just ask Ibu Ar, she will send somebody for him and Gejeng will come to Murau.
Which means, you don’t have to book any tour from the mainland. You can go there, have a look first and you can organise your tour by yourself. Gejeng became my friend, he knows and loves his land; his mind is beautiful.
How can you prepare yourself for the jungle? Gumboot. The only thing which is indispensable is gumboots as you will cross swamp area. There are enough gumboots in the villages, it is not necessary to bring your own boots.
Gejeng works together with his friends. There are five more guides in Gejeng’s village. I had the chance to get know Andi. He joined our tour and was really good taking care of me.
And if you wish to explore South Siberut riding a motorbike by yourself, just ask for a Honda and enjoy.
If you have any questions, would like to know more about your possibilities, see more pictures or everything else, you are always welcome to contact me on: