The charm of Sabang, Weh Island, Indonesia

Sabang is a city located on Pulau Weh and is a gateway in the western end of Indonesia. Sabang has an area of ​​156.3 square kilometers with the highest peak of 617 meters above sea level. Because it is located on Pulau Weh many people refer to Pulau Weh as Sabang Island. Weh Island itself is the main and largest island separated from the mainland of Aceh by the Bengal Strait.
Besides directly bordering with 3 countries namely Malaysia, Thailand and India, Sabang is also a very unique region for Indonesia. That's because this is where you can find the Zero Kilometer monument which is the forerunner of the term, "From Sabang to Merauke". Now, Sabang has become Indonesia's marine tourism destination that offers a paradise for divers. Here you can enjoy the underwater world by diving to find hundreds of species of fish and natural rich coral reefs that are not planted or cultivated.
The waters in Sabang are the meeting place of the Indian Ocean and the Malacca Strait. Currently Sabang also complements its tourist attractions with the holding of the Sabang International Regatta.
The charm of Sabang offers beautiful shoreline, clean and blue sea water and green trees. However, not only marine tourism can be found in Sabang. There are mountains, lakes, beaches, sea, and forests that are still natural and awake waiting to be visited. Not to mention that your interaction with the local community will provide a memorable experience.
Sabang is a beautiful small city with a hilly land structure so local residents call the city of Sabang by two names namely the city below and the city above. Sabang consists of five large and small islands, namely Weh Island as the largest island, Rubiah Island, Klah Island, Seulako Island, and Rondo Island. The population is around 26,000. Sabang is divided into two sub-districts and 72 villages. The topography includes lowlands, undulating, hilly and mountainous land and rocks along the coast.
The Sabang border to the east is the Malacca Strait, the west with the Indonesian Ocean, the north by the Malacca Strait, and the south by the Indonesian Ocean. During the Kingdom of Aceh, the territory of Pulau Weh itself was a place to be evicted or transferred "geupeuweh" to someone who was subjected to severe punishment from the kingdom. The term geupeuweh is then attached to the name of this island and goes with the time and then the pronunciation is shortened to Weh and is interpreted as a separate island.
The word "sabang" comes from the Acehnese language "saban" which means equal rights and position in everything. This is related to the presence of Sabang which was once visited by outsiders to open a garden (seuneubôk) or other businesses. These migrants came from various regions with different cultures, both attitudes, values, and customs. Gradually, assimilation occurs where the differences eventually fade and their positions become the same.
The term saban has long been attached to Weh Island which then slowly changes its name to "Sabang". Sabang is the only area of the Kingdom of Aceh that can be fully controlled by the Dutch East Indies Government. Since 1881, Sabang has been designated as a natural port called Kolen Station. The Dutch East Indies Government then built various facilities and infrastructure. Especially after 1887 when Sabang Haven obtained the authority to build port support facilities.
In 1895, Sabang became a free port area of Vrij Haven managed by Sabang Maatschaappij (Maatschaappij Zeehaven en Kolen Station). At that time the name Sabang became increasingly popular in the archipelago and internationally as a port of international trade circulation.
World War II had destroyed Sabang until 1942 occupied by Japan and made it a maritime base of the Japanese Navy. Unfinished repairs due to the war, the physical damage of the island was getting worse after the Allied Forces bombarded it, causing Sabang to close.
It was only after the independence of Sabang was established as the center of the United States Navy Defense (RIS) and all assets of the Sabang Maatschaappij Port were bought by the Government of Indonesia. In 1965 the Sabang Township government was formed and pioneered efforts to reopen the Sabang Free Port and Free Trade Area. This effort was only officially inaugurated in 2000.
The activities of the Free Port and Sabang Free Trade began to throb with the entry of goods from abroad into the Sabang Region. However, in 2004 Sabang stopped again because the central government set a state of martial law for Aceh. After the peace agreement between the Government of Indonesia and GAM on August 15, 2005, Sabang was again busy.
Sabang Free Port was reopened to accelerate Aceh's economic development through economic relations with foreign countries. In addition, a variety of marine destinations and cultural uniqueness of Aceh were re-introduced so that tourists arrive to enjoy the charm of the most western island in Indonesia.

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