The archipelago Pulau Banyak is located off the west coast of Sumatra, in between the island of Simeulue in the northwest and Nias in the south. The land area covers ca. 15,000 ha. while the sea that belongs to the kecematan (district) Pulau Banyak covers 212,000 ha. The site, formerly listed as a Marine Park on a provincial level, with the Wildife Reserve status for Pulau Bangkaru, was designated a Nature Park under direct KSDA management in 1996.
Yayasan Pulau Banyak has requested to assign Pulau Bangkaru the status of Wildlife Reserve on a central level to improve its protection status.
Major habitats on the archipelago’s islands, identified thus far are lowland, freshwater swamp and mangrove forests. On the hills of Pulau Tuangku and Bangkaru the forest has characteristics of hill forest which is situated quite low, presumably below 300m.
The park’s main attraction are the beautiful coral reefs surrounding the islands. Three species of sea turtle are known to nest in the area. The turtle nesting site on Pulau Bangkaru can be visited with the supply ship of Yayasan Pulau Banyak once per week.
Pulau Banyak Nature Park can only be reached by boat. Inquiries about departures from Tapaktuan can be made by phone: ++ 61 656 21 352.
Note that even in cases of fixed schedules, passenger boats, freighters and fishing ships tend to sail on demand, rather than on schedules. Weather conditions during the west monsoon (Aug-Nov) often cause changes in schedules.
Accommodation on the islands is fairly simple. Tourism is just taking off in Pulau Banyak. Visitors should therefore not expect luxurious bungalows and elaborate food. Accommodation is sufficient and caters for the basic needs. It is excellent to enjoy the natural surroundings of these islands. Bungalows can be found on the islands Palambak Besar and Ujung Batu.
A highlight of staying in Pulau Banyak is a trip to the sea turtles. They are organised by the Yayasan Pulau Banyak. Three-day turtle trips leave every Saturday from Pulau Balai. Other points of interest are – not exhaustive – given in the map above and cover nice rivers, mangroves, mountain treks and various caves.
Wildlife in Pulau Banyak
Pulau Banyak is the home of several rare animals. Pantai Amandangan on Pulau Bangkaru is probably the most important nesting site for Green turtles in all of Western Indonesia. Approximately 3.000 turtles lay their eggs in this beach. The Hawksbill turtle is also common in Pulau Banyak, but the numbers of Leatherback turtle are relatively low.
The Dugong is present in Pulau Banyak and sightings are relatively often reported. Yayasan Pulau Banyak is seeking funds to protect these animals and their feeding and breeding ground. The Dugong is not hunted in Aceh, but occasionally they get caught in nets.
The sea gardens of Pulau Banyak were until only five years ago extremely rich with a very large variety of corals and fish. There is very little data about the present variety of species.
The two larger islands, Pulau Tuangku and Pulau Bangkaru, are covered by virgin forests. The flora and fauna of these two islands is only known to a small extent. Larger animals that are present are Crocodiles (reportedly) and other reptiles, Monkeys, Wild Boars, Mousedeer (reportedly), and Squirrels. The bird life is relatively rich considering the size of the islands and the distance to the mainland. For example the Hill Myna ( in Indonesian the local name is Beo Nias) is present in Pulau Banyak.
Pulo Aceh is another group of islands off the north-westernmost tip of Aceh. An advisor to Yayasan Pulau Banyak has recently started to slowly build up an activity this area. The goal is to save the forests, the reefs, and wildlife of these beautiful islands. The way of achieving this will be through awareness raising and development of community based eco-tourism. This program has not yet found any funding except for the private money of the Indonesian couple that has devoted themselves to rescue these islands.
For further inquiries about Pulo Aceh please send an e-mail to: email@example.com and it will be forwarded.
* Storkbilled Kingfisher – Pelargopsis capensis
* Edible-nest Swiftlet – Aerodramus maximus or
Black-nest Swiftlet – Aerodramus fuciphagus
* Pink-necked Green-Pigeon – Treron vernans
* Pied Imperial-Pigeon – Ducula bicolor
* Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus
* Common Sandpiper – Tringa hypoleucos
* Beach Thick-knee – Esacus neglectus
* Little Ringed Plover – Charadrius dubius
* Brahminy Kite – Haliastur indus
* White-Bellied Fish-Eagle – Haliaeetus leucogaster
* Pacific Reef-Egret – Egretta sacra
* Great-billed Heron – Ardea sumatrana
* Asian Glossy Starling – Aplonis panayensis
* Hill Myna – Gracula religiosa
* Plain-throated Sunbird – Anthreptes malacensis
* Green Turtle – Chelonia mydas
* Hawksbill Turtle – Eretmochelys imbricata
* Leatherback Turtle – Dermochelys coriacea
* Anemonefish – Amphipirion spp.
* Batfish – Platax spp.
* Blue-Ringed Angelfish – Pomacanthus annularis
* Groupers – Serranidae
* Napoleon Wrasse – Cheilinus undulatus
* Oriental Sweetlips – Plectorincus orientalis
* Stingrays – Dasyatididae
* Various Rockcod species.