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Scuba diving in Sumatra

Volcanoes, rainforests and beautiful coral reefs, Sumatra has something for every kind of adventure seeker.
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Diving in Sumatra

Quick facts

Diving in Sumatra doesn’t really come out on top of the list for Indonesian diving destinations but it has treasures to behold, and offers a more personal experience as dive sites are less crowded. Up at the northwest tip of Sumatra, Pulau Weh is the highlight. Accessed via Banda Aceh, Pulau Weh is located in the Andaman Sea and can be dived year-round with warm water temperature averaging at 84°F (29°C).

Blessed with great visibility that sometimes extends to 131ft (40m), diving at Pulau Weh consists of wall dives, coral gardens and boulders. At the outer reefs, there are also several exciting drift dives to experience. Being a volcanic area, there is also a black sandy reef called Anoi Hitam. Notably, there is a custom on the island not to dive from 7pm on a Thursday to 2pm on a Friday.

Another dive destination in Sumatra is Padang. Originally discovered by the surfing community, it is also possible to dive there year-round in warm waters. Visibility is about 50ft (15m) closer to land but further out, there are some beautiful pinnacles in the open sea to visit. Macro dives are plentiful here and underwater conditions are typically easy and calm, suitable for new divers.

The third area for diving is at the Riau Archipelago. Dive centers are based on Bintan Island and there are several healthy coral reefs and sandy bottoms to explore for critter hunting. Currents pick up here during December to February and this is a time for drift dives.

When to go

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Pricing on request

What to see

A highlight at Pulau Weh is its variety of moray eels. From giant morays, fimbriated morays, snowflake morays and blackcheek morays, they are everywhere. At coral gardens, look out for seahorses, nudibranch, ghost pipefish and bluespotted ribbontail rays. Night dives at Pulau Weh are rewarding, revealing many types of crab and shrimp. At dive sites with walls and boulders, you can often spot whitetip sharks and large reef dwelling stingrays. There are also schools of fusilier, snapper and trevally to admire. Keeping your eyes on the blue may reveal passing eagle rays and possibly a manta ray.

At Padang, find scorpionfish, leaf fish and pipefish camouflaged in the reef. Out at the pinnacles, there are groupers, sea turtles and schools of barracuda and trevally patrolling the area. Sandy bottoms around Padang often reveal hiding stingrays. At the Riau Archipelago, take slow and easy dives around Bintan Island to comb through the pristine coral reef for a myriad of small critters like gobies, octopus and shrimp.

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