Get your adrenaline up!
Pulau Banyak archipelago is not an ideal spot only for pure enlightenment and meditation seekers or 'beach bums', but the place can also increase adrenaline in your blood.
The local resident, Charlie and his team, offers a great "Tamasha Tour" around the scenic Pulau Banyak archipelago. The tour includes Asok Island, Lambodong Island, Madangkati Island and Haloban Island. You start from Pulau Balai or potentially from another place within the archipelago. Heading over by boat to Asok Island, where you will put up tents. There is your base from which you will make numerous excursions, such as for snorkeling by traditional Indonesian boat and visiting the other tropical coral islands. You may want to paddle the kayak, surf on Ujung Lolok, explore the island jungles, catch some fish and swim in the fresh waters of Haloban. Life-long experiences guaranteed...
Price: 2.500.000 Rph for 2 people, 3 days / 2 nights, all inclusive (transport, food and bottled water, tent and snorkeling equipment and lamps).
Tamasha Surfing Tour
Charlie and his brother reacted to growing demand for surfing trips and started to organize a day tour to the surf area in the archipelago. They can take you there from Pulau Balai, by which you eliminate the need to stay on live-aboard vessels, which are very expensive and operated for example from distant Banda Aceh. The best spots for surfing are southern points of Pulau Tuangku a Pulau Bangaru, specifically at Ujung Lolok and Ujung Lakita.
Price: 2.000.000 Rph for 4 people, 1 full day, all inclusive (transport by a large boat, food and bottled water).
Contact: Charlie Khalid, email: Charlietamasha@gmail.com, ph. +(628) 1260367148
Boat name: ANUGERAH JAYA
Other activities you may embrace:
swimming - you can swim literary everywhere off Pulau Tailana or any other islands in the archipelago with most of the beaches having gradual decline into the water. Beware the windward sides of some outer islands closer to the reef, though. It might get pretty rough.
snorkeling - is doable off many island beaches; however one of the best spots for marine life is in a lagoon just about 10-minute boat ride away from Pulau Tailana. It can be arranged from Pulau Tailana. Unfortunately, a great deal of coral has been destroyed by the infamous tsunami that swept through the area in 2004 and also owe to the past bad habits in the form of dynamite fishing.
kayaking - paddling in the crystal clear waters is one of the greatest activities that one can absorb in this scenic area. Rental kayaks can be arranged from Pulau Tailana or Pulau Balai.
boating - the typical Indonesian motor boats cross the waters of Pulau Banyak. They tend to be fishing boats or just vessels that are used by locals for transfer between islands. It is pretty to arrange a tour or charter one for a whatever reason. This can be done also from Pulau Tailana.
surfing - is still quite an underdeveloped activity in Pulau Banyak, despite the fact there is a couple of surf breaks in the south west of the archipelago. Anyway, there are no surf resorts at the moment, so that means you can either organize it by yourself by arranging transport on the spot or get it organized by one of several operators based further northwest of Pulau Banyak in Banda Aceh (still Aceh region). UPDATE: Surfing trips can be now also arranged via Pulau Tailana or by Charlie (see tours above).
sunbathing - is not really a physically-demanding activity. It is free and easy to do. Just lie down on the white sand beach that surrounds you and catch some sun tan.
fishing - on numerous occasions, several fishermen from neighboring islands or even from as far as Banda Aceh region land to the coast of Pulau Tailana. That is where your opportunity lies. You might want to interact with them, and they might invite you aboard!
island hopping - can be arranged ad hoc from Pulau Tailana. Local boys will take you to the array of beautiful islands and islets that comprise the spectacular landscape. It is guaranteed the sights will take your breath away. It is wholly up to you and your time allowance how long and how many places you desire to explore.
jungle exploration - Pulau Tailana's lush interior hosts a comparatively small 'private' jungle. If you want to venture to a more intricate forest area, head for instance to Pulau Haloban, which is just across the lagoon. You will be able to hike a jungle also within an island-hopping tour.
village visiting - is one of the greatest ways how to get to know the distinctive culture, its customs and traditions and, most importantly, how to interact with locals. By the same token, although the majority being Muslim (see autonomous region of Aceh), the population of these islands adopt mostly open-minded and liberal approach in their acts and thinking. Visiting fisherman's villages on Pulau Haloban is highly recommended.
Scuba-diving - with abundance of fish, scuba-diving is becoming more and more popular. Yet there are no dive resorts in the islands at the moment. Divers use live-on-board ships run by dive operators from Banda Aceh etc.
Turtle experience - Do you want to take an active role in saving the local population of leather-back sea and green sea turtles and participating in their tagging and protecting their nesting sites from poachers, make sure you you do not fail to visit Pulau Bangkaru on the far west end of Pulau Banyak. More information on acehturtleconservation.org
External links / partners:
Further reading about the Aceh (including Pulau Banyak) and the North Sumatra regions: sumatraecotourism.com
If you are interested in environmental issues and keen on participating in saving sea creatures, go to: acehturtleconservation.org
More information on Pulau Banyak on Wikipedia: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banyak_Islands