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PULAU BANYAK > WHAT TO SEE AND DO


IN THE VILLAGES

Click to enlargeWeddings and circumcision-ceremonies are colorful and interesting to see. Traditional dances have their origin mainly in the Minangkabau culture (West Sumatra), but are specific for Pulau Banyak. A very special dance is "Lansir Madam", an odd remnant from the Dutch colonial times. In the village of Ujung Sialit traditions have their origin in Nias.

The languages spoken on the islands are Jamee (similar to Minangkabau), Haloban (the original language) and Nias.

Desa P. Balai and P. Baguk are both located on the relatively small island of Pulau Balai. They have since long grown together. It is the administrative and commercial center for the sub-regency Pulau Banyak (the eastern part of the archipelago) and the main entry point for visitors. Almost 3.000 people live here. The local language is Jamee.

As these two villages were very heavily damaged by earthquake and tsunami in 2004 there is not much left of the former accommodations. The island sank more or less one meter. Last time most houses along the waterfront stand in water but now many houses has been renovated and many permanent houses built using solid stone walls and painted with the colors of conspicuous”. There are some Losmen opened, from using fan to air conditioner. There are many options for having meals as well.

Click to enlargeIf you prefer village life, P. Balai and P. Baguk are rather nice. Balai is the main administrative village in Pulau Banyak, so it is quite “modern” compare to other villages”. The accommodation is nice and food is good, especially the fish. “One more thing, you should try their traditional coffee and cake at local warungs. Once a week they have traditional market called “Pekan”, many people sells their vendible/goods such as fresh vegetables, fruit, cake, clothes, and electronic stuffs. It is close to several other nice islands and it is easy to charter a canoe or boat. Nice nearby islands are Pulau Asok, Pulau Panjang, Pulau Rangit, Pulau Sikandang, and Pulau Biawak.

Many tourists or travelers skip this island and more prefer go directly to the other island. They do not put Balai as they’re transit before continue to other islands, but many people did not know Balai keeps a little secret, Balai is the only island where we can enjoy sunrise and sunset. Just go to the fisherman’s jetty (in front of Losmen Lae Kombih) then enjoy the beautiful scenery of the sunrise, you can see local people start they activity with the sunrise background on it. And for the sunset, you can go to Ferry’s jetty, or the background of the village, amazing sunset will serve your eyes.

Desa Teluk Nibung is not far from P. Balai, just over the water on the island named Ujung Batu. More than 1.000 people live in this village. Teluk Nibung has a very beautiful Mosque in the old style. There are interesting rock formations on the northern end of this island. They are best seen from a boat. Otherwise there are mostly small orchards.

In the other sub-regency Pulau Banyak Barat has four villages. Pulau Banyak was recently divided into two sub-regencies. Desa Ujung Sialit with its app. 600 inhabitants is located on the northeastern point of Pulau Tuangku. The inhabitants are all of Nias descent and arrived in the first half of the last century. It has the only church in Pulau Banyak. They are Christians and speak Nias language. Nearby is the nice Pulau Pabisi.

Desa Suka Makmur is a new village with less than 500 inhabitants south of Ujung Nias. A boardwalk leads through the mangroves into the village.

Click to enlargeDesa Haloban and Desa Asantola was the administrative center of Pulau Banyak before the Japanese occupation. Now Haloban has become the center for a new sub-regency Pulau Banyak Barat. Around 2.000 people live in these two villages grown together. They have their own language, Bahasa Haloban, which unfortunately is less and less used by the villagers.

Haloban has no nice beaches by itself, but many of the best islands of Pulau Banyak are spread out in front of such as Pulau Tailana, Pulau Balong and Pabisi. Behind is the untouched and unknown jungles of Pulau Tuangku. From here you can climb the highest mountain in Pulau Banyak, Gunung Tiusa; 313m above sea level, enjoy the beautiful scenery of the islands in Banyak archipelago from the top. Haloban is a good starting point for jungle trekking,there is a accommodation available. Try to do trekking to Pasir Panjang, a long beach with a lovely waves, camping there and enjoy the night with a gorgeous view of thousands flickering stars. Haloban is also known as a famous for its fantastic fish dishes. There is only have a one Losmen called Alengmoon, a small housings but owned by a very nice family and the meals is extremely delicious Big parts of Haloban were destroyed by earthquake and tsunami. The houses near the waterfront get flooded at extreme tide.

ISLANDS WITH BUNGALOWS

Click to enlargePulau Palambak Besar is the forth biggest island in Pulau Banyak. It takes a few hours to walk around it. It has white sand beaches almost all around it. Palambak Besar is known for its perfect beaches. In the middle of the island is a swamp forest and a couple of small hills. There are a few huts where caretakers of the palm tree orchards live. The caretakers are very friendly and helpful.

Palambak Besar was in the old days the most popular island amongst back packers. There were three small resorts, PAP, The Point and Bina Jaya but now there is only one resort in Palambak. I can say it is the most “modern” resort among others in Pulau Banyak. It called Lyla’s Bungalow.

To the east is Pulau Palambak Kecil, nice for a day trip. Outside the northeastern point were nice sand banks before tsunami. Now they are growing back up again.

Click to enlargeThere are a fair number of birds on Palambak: Great-billed Heron, Pacific Reef Egret, White-bellied Fish-eagle, Brahminy Kite, Common Ringed Plover, Pink-necked Green Pigeon and Pied Imperial Pigeon. Sometimes a Hawksbill turtle can be seen laying eggs.

Pulau Tailana is one of the more well known islands amongst visitors to Pulau Banyak. At the left side from the bungalows, you will find a “swimming pool”, the wide shallow calm and clean sea waters with a coral around. In front of the island is a good spot for kayaking as well. You can do island hopping by kayak to the island nearby. The island is relatively small, but has many other islands in its vicinity, for example Pulau Balong, Pulau Matahari and Pulau Ragu-Ragu. To the east of Pulau Tailana is an area where Dugongs often are sighted. There are 5 bungalows available here. More info, Mawan (+6281360170808, e: dmawan_skl76@yahoo.com)

These two islands, Pulau Tailana and Pulau Palambak Besar have different characteristics and both are well worth a try. If you have time, try both. See under ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD.

OTHER CORAL ISLANDS

Click to enlargeThere are too many islands to mention them all. Most of them are really nice and camping is ideal for the adventurous who doesn't want to share an island with other foreigners.

You can camp on most islands. Pulau Asok is a best side for camping, a small island with a two sides of beaches. Just call a local operator for prepares everything, boat, tents and camping equipment will be prepared. If you prefer more private, just ask them to drop you there with all equipment, and tell them when you want to be picked again. The other nice island for camping is Pulau Pandan. More info for Camping and Island Hopping, Rega (+628190990804 or +6282161997974, e: regavia@yahoo.com) and Anhar (+6285277711108)

Click to enlarge

Fish is always easy to find; either buy from a fisherman or fish yourself.
There are lots of boats available for charter to do island hopping or just go around the archipelago. The scenery is fantastic and Turtles, and Mantarays are often sighted. The area between Sikandang and Tailana is also the home of the rare Dugong (a kind of Sea cow).

Good place for snorkeling besides Tailana is behind Pulau Biawak, and a spot called “gosong si Encong”. A small motorized canoe can take up to four passengers. It is slow, but cheap. A big diesel powered fishing boat cost a bit more, but you can be more to share it. It is more comfortable, but cannot enter shallow areas and rivers. Speed boats are fast and convenient and allow you to see many places in one day enter shallow areas and rivers but it cost quite exclusive.

Click to enlargePulau Sikandang has a gorgeous beach as well, almost same as Palambak, it has a long white sandy beaches. Worth for swimming and have some spot for snorkeling. There is a bungalows in Sikandang called Nina’s Bungalow.

Pulau Panjang, an island close to Balai, the most favourite site for fisherman. Sometimes local people visit this island just for recreation.

Pulau Balong and Pulau Rangit is also a worth island to visit, just for relaxing, swimming, sunbathing and photo hunting.

The islands along the east coast of Tuangku are covered by mangroves and are mosquito ridden. Beware that the sun can be very strong and the reflections from the sea makes it so much more powerful. Use good sun lotion or sun block. Don’t forget a hat or cap and sun glasses.

Contact Person for more info
Anhar : +6285277711108 (Haloban)
Rega : +6282161997974 and +628129099080, e: regavia@yahoo.com (Medan)
Mawan : +6281360170808, e: dmawan_skl76@yahoo.com (Singki and Balai)

PULAU TUANGKU AND TREKKING

Enjoy the pristine jungle of Pulau Tuangku. Gunung Tiusa/mount Tiusa is a challenge for you who love extreme sport. It is hiking for 3 hours to the top, but your fatigue will be paid once you reach the top of the mountain. The fantastic scenery will be presented, green small island with the white sandy beach and green with blue color mixed on the sea water. What a spectacular experience you won’t forget.

If you are looking for fun and relax trekking, Pasir Panjang is a best option for you. Trek in daytime and sleep on a fantastic beach at night. Nothing beats that.
More details, Anhar (+6285277711108)

SURFING

Surfing is good in Pulau Banyak. Until now most surfers visit and stay in Pulau Banyak with a ship, so called live-on-board. Most of them come exclusively for the surfing. Surfing in Banyak is like blooming flowers. Surf basic resort has been two places in Ujung Lolok. Many boats come from other area just want to feel the spectacular waves in Banyak.

An alternative for surfers is to charter a local boat in P. Balai and arrange the surfing themselves, either camping or sleeping on the boat. That would probably be cheaper, more adventurous, and less comfortable.

The two major areas where surfer boats visit are the southern points of Pulau Tuangku and Pulau Bangkaru, Ujung Lolok and Ujung Lakita respectively. Pulau Tuangku is by the surf operators called the Treasure Island and Pulau Bangkaru is called the Turtle Island. Note that Pulau Bangkaru is protected. The sea west of Pulau Bangkaru is a mating area for turtles. Propellers can injure turtles.

Click to enlargeThere are 3 surfing spots in Ujung Lolok called Dindos, Lolok Point and Guntur. One is in Ujung Lakita called Cobra.

There are two basic surf resorts at Ujung Lolok at the moment.

One is Banyak surf Bungalows, you can visit www.banyaksurfbungalows.com

The other one is Floating Bungalows owned by Erwin (+6285261008699 and +6285284205000)

A few local boats sometimes bring surfers to Ujung Lolok:
If by speedboat, it cost Rp.2.000.000 one way.
If use traditional fisherman boat (charter) it is Rp.2.500.000/day. Sleep on board.
Meals will charge Rp.100.000/day/person. You can also bring your own food and ask them to cook for you. For more details call Mawan (+6281360170808, e: dmawan_skl76@yahoo.com).


KAYAKING

See more in the new special section KAYAKING. Pulau Banyak is just perfect for kayaking. You won't regret it.

Feel the experience of island hopping by kayaking. If you love to do different thing, try kayaking around the archipelago with our professional guide. You can stop by from one island to others. More info, Rega (+6282161997974 0r +6281290990804, e: regavia@yahoo.com)

 

TURTLE WATCHING

Do you want to see turtles laying eggs on one of the most beautiful islands in the world? See more in our special section TURTLE CONSERVATION. You need a special permit from YPB (Yayasan Pulau Banyak). Visits are only allowed at certain times. A volunteer program is also available.

Click to enlargeFISHING

Join a traditional fisherman in his canoe on deep sea fishing or charter your own boat. Fishing is great in Pulau Banyak. See further under FISHING.

SOUVENIRS

You can find t-shirts, caps, sarongs for sale in several places. If not contact Mr. Ermadi on phone +6285276911792

 

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