Amazing Weh Island Aceh Indonesia
Weh Island or Pulau Weh or Pulo Weh (by the local population commonly referred to only as “Sabang”, the name of the largest city) is a small active volcanic island to the northwest of Sumatra, 45 minutes by fast regular ship or 2 hours by ferry from mainland, Banda Aceh. It was originally connected to the Sumatran mainland and became separated by sea after the volcano’s last eruption in the Pleistocene era. The island is situated in the Andaman Sea. The largest city on the island, Sabang, is the northernmost outpost of Indonesia.
The island is known for its ecosystem; the Indonesian government has declared 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi) of inland and sea around the island as a wildlife protection area. A rare megamouth shark species was found on shore and the island is the only habitat for the threatened toad, Duttaphrynus valhallae (formerly Bufo valhallae). Coral reef areas around the island are known for their large variety of fish species.
Banda Aceh is the provincial capital and largest city in the province of Aceh, Indonesia, located on the island of Sumatra, with an elevation of 21 meters. The city regency covers an area of 64 square kilometres and according to the 2000 census had a population of 219,070 people. Banda Aceh is located at the northwestern tip of Indonesia at the mouth of the River Krueng Aceh.
The city was originally named Kutaraja, and determined as the provincial capital in 1956. Kuta Raja means “City of the King”, in reference to the founding of the Aceh Sultanate from Champa origins. Later its name was changed to Bandar Aceh Darussalam or popularly known as Banda Aceh, with the first part of the name coming from the Persian bandar meaning “port” or “haven”. It is also referred to as the “port to Mecca”, as Islam first arrived in Aceh before spreading throughout Southeast Asia.
Banda Aceh was not frequently the subject of international discussion until December 26, 2004, the day the Indian Ocean earthquake struck off the western coast of Sumatra. Banda Aceh was the closest major city to the earthquake’s epicenter, and suffered further damage when a tsunami struck shortly afterward. It was the worst hit area out of all the locations hit. 167,000 people died and many more were injured. The tsunamis resulted from an earthquake of magnitude 9.3 and struck at about 6:58am. The epicenter was about 155 miles off the coast of Banda Aceh.