IN THE VILLAGES
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. Most houses along the
waterfront stand now in water. Until recently only one losmen were
in operation, but one more have started and more is on its way.
If you prefer village life, P. Balai and P. Baguk are rather nice.
The accommodation is nice and food is good, especially the fish. It
is close to several other nice islands and it is easy to charter a
canoe or boat. Nice nearby islands are Pulau Baguk, Pulau
Panjang, and Pulau Tapus-Tapus.
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.
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 it. Behind is the
untouched and unknown jungles of Pulau Tuangku. From here one can
also climb the highest mountain in Pulau Banyak, Gunung Tiusa; 313m
above sea level. Haloban is a good starting point for jungle
trekking. See below. There is a accommodation available, famous for
its fantastic fish dishes.
Big parts of Haloban were destroyed by earthquake and tsunami. The
houses near the waterfront get flooded at extreme tide.
ISLANDS WITH BUNGALOWS
Pulau 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
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. At the site of The Point the Regency government has built
and rebuilt some bungalows. It was open for a few years, but are now
closed again as the manager passed away. Where PAP once were, three
bungalows have been built again, however, at the moment closed for
renovation. On the very attractive beach between PAP and the former
The Point is a new nice place with four bungalows.
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.
There 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. It was a popular daytrip island and have
always had better snorkeling then most other islands. 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 three bungalows available here.
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
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.
Just going around in a boat is highly recommended. 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). 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 allows you to see many places in one
day. See under
Islands worth mentioning are Balong, Tambarat, Biawak, Pabisi,
Lambodong, Panjang, Ragu-Ragu, Sikandang, and Asok. The islands
along the east coast of Tuangku are covered by mangroves and are
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.
can camp on most islands. The Guide groups have tents and other
equipment for rent. Fish is always easy to find; either buy from a
fisherman or fish yourself.
There are lots of boats available for charter for as many days as
you like. You are taken around, given food and looked after by the
boat crew. Two community guide groups have been established in July
2009. Contact them directly or ask at the offices of YPB in Balai or
The Adventurers Group in P. Balai:
Chalid, ph: +62813 7738 9208.
Tiusa Long Beach in Haloban:
Mr. Sahmil, ph: +62813 7099 7963
PULAU TUANGKU AND TREKKING
See also new special section on
JUNGLE TREKKING, a
special and different activity for Pulau Banyak. Trek in daytime and sleep on a
fantastic beach at night. Nothing beats that.
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. Links to a few of them can be found in
USEFUL LINKS page.
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
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. There is a basic surf resort at Ujung Lolok.
few local boats sometimes bring surfers to Ujung Lolok.
For two days and one night, incl. food and drink with a boat as
in the photo:
One person: Rp. 1.500.000. For additional days; Rp. 500.000 per day.
For 2-3 persons: Rp. 2.000.000. For additional days: Rp. 1.000.000
Contact ph: 0812 6775 9846 (Mr. Asmin)
With a traditional motorized canoe from P. Balai to Ujung Lolok
and back next day: Rp. 500.000. If return are 3-4 days later: Rp.
650.000. Not including food. The canoe driver can double as a cook
for an additional Rp. 100.000 per day.
Contact ph: 0821 6516 7649, or 0813 7247 5878 (Mr. Antar)
more in the new special section
KAYAKING. Pulau Banyak is just perfect for kayaking. You won't
you want to see turtles laying eggs on one of the most beautiful
islands in the world? See more in our special section
You need a special permit from YPB (Yayasan Pulau Banyak). Visits
are only allowed at certain times. A volunteer program is also
a traditional fisherman in his canoe on deep sea fishing or charter
your own boat. Fishing is great in Pulau Banyak. See further under
You can find t-shirts, caps, sarongs for sale in several places. If
not contact Mr. Ermadi on phone 085276911792
>> SEE ALSO