Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sabang Town

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The cozy Sabang is an historical town and it shows. Many old colonial buildings are still standing, shadowed by huge trees that the Dutch once imported from Suriname. Sabang is one of the few towns in Indonesia which still has a sleepy old colonial atmosphere combined with a very social and friendly people.

Due to its excellent harbor and good water supply Sabang became an important coal loading station for ships en route between Europe and Asia. Sabang was once even bigger than Singapore. The Merbabu Graveyard has many odd and interesting gravestones from these times.

The main attraction is however the atmosphere and the people. It is a pity not to try it out. Enjoy eating out, the coffee shops, the morning market and the nearby beaches. Pantai Kasih is a very nice beach in walking distance. Further down are the beaches Pantai Tapak Gajah and Sumur Tiga. The reefs along Sabang Fair are reportedly nice for snorkeling.

An oddity in Sabang is that shops close between 12.00 and 16.00 or 17.00.


Don't miss the traditional Acehnese coffee shop. Order a cup of coffee and sit down. Traditional cakes on a plate will be placed in front of you. When you are finished just tell how many you had. The locally grown Acehnese coffee is excellent. It is normally filtered before served, however, in the countryside the coffee is sometimes served unfiltered. If you cannot wait for the coffee beans to sink, remove them with a spoon. The remaining beans you just spit out. Beware of coffee shops serving instant coffee. Support the local coffee farmers! A small glass costs normally around Rp. 3.000. A nice coffee shop is Pantai Jaya on the water front, open 05.00-22.00. Next to it is the juice bar Jambu Itebe, open 09.00-23.00. Both are nice. They also serve noodles.

All kinds of Noodles, called "mie" in Indonesia, are popular in Sabang. "Mie Jalak" is a Sabang specialty. Pulau Baru on Jl. Perdagangan 29B has become famous for it. A portion is Rp. 10.000. For good Minangkabau food (West Sumatra style) try Lumbung Sari on Jl. Perdagangan 7 (Ph: 0658-22678) or Perkasa Utama on Jl. Perdagangan 157 (Ph: 21185). Aneka Ria has nice and price worthy sandwiches.

All the food stalls ("kaki lima") that once used to congest the main street have been moved to a new place called Rek, next to the Police station. Nice BBQ Chicken, Octopus Stay, Duck, fried potatoes and much more are sold in stalls around a square filled with tables and chairs. Recommended. Otherwise there are many restaurants along Jl. Perdagangan and in its vicinity. Beyond the RSU hospital on the sea front are a few nice places serving juices and light food in the evenings. Just walk north along Jl. T. Umar and you will see it. One of the nicer coffee shops is Paradiso Cyber Cafe', popular amongst young people with laptops. There is free Wi-Fi.

Fresh fish is the specialty of Sabang Food Court in Pasiran. Go out of town along the harbor. On the right hand side before the road split up in two. Only the sign is visible from the road. Ph: +6281377109903, +6282160003602. Grilled fish, live fish, lobsters, one open area and one aircon-area. Open 24 hours. Also catering. Nice night view over Sabang harbor.

Beer or other alcoholic beverages are normally not available in restaurants, but in places serving Westerners, alcoholic beverages are often available for non-Muslims.


1. Sabang Hill Hotel - The classical hotel with the grand view over Sabang has just opened again. Once a beautiful building but now painted in many bright colors. The view and the layout is still the same though.
Sabang Hill. Ph: +62652-21999, 22 rooms. Aircon, bathroom: Rp. 300-1.000.000. Suite: Rp. 1.150.000. Incl. breakfast. Discount on weekdays and for longer stays. Restaurant, complete bar will open in Nov. 2011. Conference room for 30 persons. Free Wi-Fi. Pick-up at Ferry on request; Rp. 50.000.

2. Wisma Zahira
Jl. T. Umar. Near waterfront. +6281348820811. 9 rooms. With aircon, bathroom: Rp. 250-350.000. Free coffee and tea.

3. Kartini Home Stay
Jl. T. Umar 25. Ph: +628126925510, +6285270655169. 5 rooms. One with fan, bathroom: Rp. 100.000. Four with aircon, bathroom: Rp. 200-250.000. Incl. breakfast, coffee and tea.

4. Sabang Guesthouse
Jl. T. Umar 23-25. Tel: 0652-21186. 8 rooms. With bathroom, aircon: Rp. 325-350.000 incl. breakfast, coffee and tea. Free Wi-Fi.

5. Hotel Putra Salju
Jl. T. Umar 16. Tel: 0652-22747. 10 rooms. With aircon and bathroom: Rp. 200-450.000.

6. Guesthouse Pantai Kasih
Jl. Sultan Hasanuddin 10. Ph: +62652-21066, +681377347444 (Ayie), www.pantaikasih.com6 rooms. With fan, bathroom: Rp. 200.000. With aircon, bathroom, TV: Rp. 350.000. Incl. breakfast. Directly above the nice Pantai Kasih beach.

7. Nagoya Inn
Jl. Cut Meutia 34. Tel: +62652-22311, +62812 699 6068 (Mr. Parlan), fax: +62652-22411, 19 rooms. Aircon, bathroom, hot water, satellite TV: Rp. 250-500.000, incl. breakfast, coffee and tea. Free Wi-Fi. Conference room for 50 persons.

8. Pulau Jaya Hotel
Jl. T. Umar 21. Ph: 0652-21344. 23 rooms. With fan, outside bathroom: Rp. 35-112.000. With fan and bathroom: Rp. 120.000. With aircon, bathroom, TV: Rp. 180.000.

9. Kartika (former Sabang Jaya)
Jl. T. Umar 17-19. Tel: 0652-22168. 14 rooms. With fan, outside bathroom: Rp. 80.000. With aircon, bathroom, TV: 180.000.

10. Losmen PUM (former Irma)
Jl. T. Umar 3. Tel: 0652-21148. 13 rooms: With fan: Rp. 50.000-75.000. With aircon, bathroom, TV: 130.000.

11. Losmen Sabang-Merauke
Off Jl. T. Umar. Tel: 0652-21928. 12 rooms with one, two or three beds. Very basic . Run down.

12. Losmen Calok
Jl. Malahayati. Ph: +6285260362584 (Roma). 8 rooms. With aircon, bathroom: Rp. 150-225.000.

13. Hotel Holiday
Off Jl. Perdagangan. Tel: 0652-21131, 24 rooms. With fan and bathroom: Rp. 100.000-200.000. With aircon: Rp. 250.000-350.000.

14. Mess Pamen
Jl. Perdagangan 60. 5 rooms. With aircon, bathroom. Owned by the Water Police. Strategic location.

15. Penginapan Pondok Tapak Gajah
Lingkungan Keuramat, Jl. Agus Salim. Near Merbabu graveyard. Ph: 0652-22378, +6281269546700, +6285360608300, 12 rooms. With fan, outside bathroom: Rp. 75.000. With fan, bathroom: Rp. 125.000. With aircon, bathroom, TV: Rp. 200.000.


Zazuli said...

I've never been there, even I'm an Acehnese --"

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