All posts by Reka

Every step is a new destination.

Haloban – Homestay

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 my home. If you would like to come to the islands but you prefer to stay in a village my house is welcoming you, I 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).

Haloban
Midday heat in Haloban

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 Herli or me before you arrive.

You can contact Herli or me if you are heading for Pulau Banyak and Haloban.

Contact:

  • Herli’s Phone: 0062 (0) 852 7692 2913
  • Reka’s Phone: 0062 (0) 822 7334 0892, Whats App: 0043 676 6490 319
  • Email: smile.theworldsmiles@gmail.com

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.

Homestay

Summer 2017 I 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 I was focussing on cleanliness and brightness and it was important for me to make the it spatial.

Washing room
Our white toilet
The living room
Bedrooms
The kitchen

The homestay offers you full service and can also help you to plan and organize your trips.

So if you would like to be part of the Indonesien life, welcome home!

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Pulau Simeulue – a paradise for everybody

A beautiful hidden place for surfing, experiencing impressive traditional life, drifting on long beaches and relaxing. 

Coastal road


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).

Simeulue…

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.
The beach behind the Frazha cottage – if the sun is shining
The beach behind Frazha – during storms

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.

The main house of Frazha
The garden and the guest house


Contact:
Akil’s Phone: 0062 (0)811 6811 772, email: akil.rozha@yahoo.com

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.

Simple, clean – to feel good


The cottage’s kitchen


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.

The never ending road around Simeulue
On the way from Alus Alus to Sinabang
Costal scenery
On the way from Alus Alus to Labuhan
Scenic bay
Palm tree-lined road near Alus Alus

 

Let me focus on the activities around Alus Alus and in general on Simeulue:

  • Enjoy the Frazha garden

    Garden of Frazha
  • Go for a walk at Alus Alus’ beautiful long beach

    Enjoy…
  • Play in the waves behind the garden (swimming will be difficult)

    Alus Alus Beach
  • There is every day a sunset

    Near by Alus Alus
  • Play football or volleyball around the villages before Maghrib (prayer after sunset)

    Football-time in Alus Alus
  • Visit the coconut factory in Alus Alus

    Lunch break at the factory
  • Visit the fisher villages around

    Village of Labuhan
  • Take a fishing boat to other small islands

    Mincau Island
  • Prowl around

    Paddy
  • Surfing
  • Tracking
  • Snorkeling
  • 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.

For more information use Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/akil.rozha/media_set?set=a.10206158200147972.1073741911.1652733731&type=3&pnref=story

Daswan, me, kakak, abang Akil, Rizki and Sophie

 

It is a place to feel good, it is a paradise for everybody. 

The adventurous swamps of Mentawai

 

Under me the swamp and above the sky


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

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.

Ibu Ar’s guesthouse

 

The homy balcony

 

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 village


 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.

My beautiful friend, Gejeng

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.

A traditional house

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.

 

Tarason and me

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.

 

Andi. Sometimes there is a chance to cross the river dry.

 

Inside a traditional kitchen

 

Enough for everybody

 

Gejeng, me, Andi and Rostam

 

And if you wish to explore South Siberut riding a motorbike by yourself, just ask for a Honda and enjoy.

Pompon – a wooden fishing boat

 

The abandoned beach next to Muara

 

For a walk
At the river side

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:

smile.theworldsmiles@gmail.com

On the way

Visit Bangkaru

The second biggest island of Pulau Banyak ’99’ islands is Bangkaru, the turtle island. Every night throughout the year you can see green turtles laying eggs on the marvelous beaches  of Bangkaru Nationalpark.

Beaches are plane

Bangkaru is for sure one of the most special places on Sumatra. The Island is a desert island, there is only one cottage (pondok) built up by the government for the rangers, who take care and protect the turtles.

I heard, ten years before there were nearly on every island turtles and the locals say, you could get lobsters even at the toilet in the villages. The business was booming until the eco-system couldn’t catch up with the mass fishing any more. The province Aceh woke up, sent rangers to the last turtle paradise to save this treasure of nature. But one thing is remained completely untouched by the people: the island itself. The reason is funny, the locals believe Bangkaru is a place of ghosts, so they never came to log trees and never killed the animals on the Island. I was there this summer (2015), I couldn’t see any ghosts but a real jungle with giant plants.

IMG_7620
Giants

If you stay on Bangkaru you will stay together with the rangers. Real hard outdoorsmen, which means they also know how to cook like heaven…

Night by night they are observing the eggs laying turtles and if is necessary, which happens ever and anon, they protect them as well for the fishermen who come to steal the eggs – ever and anon.

IMG_7619
Their trace

Mr. Usup is one of the brave rangers. There is no phone signal at the Island – about the internet is no need to speak. So the guys are really alone with the nature. And if something happens, it is Usup who is running up the mountain, which takes two hours, to be able to contact the outside world.

The pondok is big enough to have some dormitories for us visitors.

IMG_7533
The pondok

As I came to Bangkaru, my friend Langlang Buana (he is a speed boat driver) took me there.

IMG_7589
Mr. Langlang Buana

The most comfortable, straightest and easiest way to get to Bangkaru is to contact Darmawan (Tel.: 0821 6645 7040, Email: dmawan_ skl76@yahoo.com). He speaks a great English so you will enjoy a very informative trip and he is also a really cool man; it will be a great experience with him. You will find our Darmawan on Facebook as well under Dar Mawan. He is also Director of CV Pulau Banyak Travel, so wherever you would like to travel by car on Sumatra, he can help you.

1425766_616727461699776_94160565_n.jpg

How much does it cost to get to Bangkaru? If you are a group it costs around one million rupiah per person, if you are a couple the price is three million for you two. And if you are alone, life is always an adventure…

Why is it so expensive? It is special, that is for sure one of the main reasons. The organizer pays permission for you as well. On the other hand the infrastructure is not given, too. Everything, the food, the drinks, medicaments, everything is from the mainland. Last but not least there is one more exciting reason behind the price: it is a bit difficult because of the waves to enter the island. You need for sure a speed boat and an experienced driver as well. He has to catch the right wave and so you will surf easily, safe and quickly to the welcoming beach of Bangkaru. Enjoy.

Telefon & Internet & Money on Pulau Banyak

If you have an Indonesian SIM card from Telekomsel, you can use your phone 24 hours a day but no other provider works in this area. Telekomsel offers 4G, but not everywhere and not always.

You should cary cash with you, it is possible but not easy to get money on the islands and villages. There is an ATM in Singkil, but it is sometimes out of work. The safest way is to take money from the bigger cities around.

Activities on Pulau Banyak Barat

  • Visit Haloban, the fishing village next to Tailana. It takes around 25 minutes to get there by fishing boat. 80% of the population works still on the sea searching for fishes, octopi, crabs and shells by day, by night, by storm, by sun.
    Haloban
    Be part of the game
    In a silent evening.
  • Visit Ujung Salit, the only Christian village in this area. Its inhabitants originate in Nias.
    Ujung Salit
  • Relax and snorkel around the stunningly beautiful small island called Pulau Pandan.
    Pulau Pandan
    The only visitors: we
    Indeed small
    Same same but different
  • Visit Air Dingin (cold water) to have a refreshing bath and see some monkeys.
    Around Air Dingin
    Wilderness
    Great vegetation
    Our fishing boat
  • Be part of traditional events
    Wedding ceremony in Balai
    Wedding decoration in Haloban
  • Cruising around the islands. Catch sight of dolphins, turtles and if you are lucky sometimes you can see dugongs.
    Departure from Tailana
  •  
    On the way to Pulau Ragu Ragu
  •  
    On the way back to Tailana

About Tailana

Pulau Tailana is one of the stunningly beautiful islands of the remote Pulau Banyak situated about 30km west of Aceh Singkil at the east cost of Sumatra in the Indien Ocean. Pulau Banyak (lot of islands) is a cluster of many mostly uninhabited islands with ginclear waters, white beaches and vast quantities of palm trees.

Tailana’s crystal clear, calm water is home for corals, lobsters and small fishes -the big ones are already on the market. The small tropical island is indeed a great spot for snorkling and relaxing. It belongs for sure to the last Beauties of the world.

Prices on Tailana

Single: 100.000Rp

Double: 125.000Rp

Triple: 150.000Rp

Facilities: 125.000Rp per person which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, tee&coffee all the time, drinking water, fruits, electricity and laundry possibilities.

It means:

If you come alone: 225.000Rp per day/night

If you are two of you: 375.000Rp in total per day/night

If you are three of you: 525.000Rp in total per day/night

 

Bungalow on Tailana

 

Interior design

 

Canteen

 

 

Everywhere dill around the cottages

 

Also the kings visit this place on foot…

Activities on Tailana

  • Just relax…
    If reality makes you feel prepossessed
  • Play volleyball
    We are ready
  • Kayaking
    It is not so far but far enough to the next island
  • Snorkling directly around the island or nearby
    Between the sun above and the corals under you is your skin…
  • Fishing
    The fishes are not akways willing but often
  • Surfing à la Tailana
    *wuhuuu*
  • Cocking and eating
    Happy non-birthday
    …and who ordered lobster today?
  • Enjoy the sunset…

How to get to Tailana

Wherever you are, Medan, Bukit Lawang, Banda Aceh, Pulau Weh, Ketambe, Padang, Bukittingi or Lake Toba we can help you to find transportation to Singkil, which is your stepping stone to get to Pulau Banyak:

You can call Mr. Darmawan in Singkil directly, he has shared and private cars around Sumatra:

Darmawan’s Phone:  0062 (0)821 66457040

Darmawan’s Email: dmawan_ skl76@yahoo.com

Or you just contact the island directly by calling Mr. Mali: 0062 (0)813 60991595.

From Singkil you have different possibilities to come to Tailana:

  • The old common way, which can take a very long time is to go to the harbour in Singkil and go by public boat to Pulau Balai, which is the first island in Pulau Banyak from Singkil. The cargo ships are leaving everyday except holidays between 9 o’clock in the morning and two o’clock in the afternoon – and we never know exactly when. The cruise takes around three to four hours and costs around 30.000Rp. If we know, you are on the way to Balai, somebody (mostly Erwin) from our team will waiting for you at the harbour. From Balai it takes around one and a half hours to come to Tailana by chartering a boat, it costs around 150.000Rp per person.
  • Twice a week there is a ferry from Singkil to Balai (Tuesday and Saturday). It costs 25.000Rp, it leaves at 11 o’clock in the morning and it takes around three and a half ours.
  • You can go first to Haloban which is the closest village to Tailana. This is the cheapest way! But only every two days goes a boat from Singkil to Haloban. It costs 50.000Rp. (Read more about Haloban above.)
  • You can charter a speed, which goes directly to Tailana. It’s always better to leave in the morning, it takes between one and a half and two hours and costs 2.000.000Rp.

 

Harbour in Singkil

 

Contact Pulau Tailana

Manager: Mr. Mali

Mr. Mali’s Phone: 0062 (0) 813 6099 1595

Reka’s Phone: 0062 (0) 821 6569 9220

What’s app: 0043 676 64 90 31

Email: smile.theworldsmiles@gmail.com

On Facebook there is a group called Pulau Tailana, you are always welcome to join it.

Pulau Tailana