Have just had fantastic 2 weeks there. Very excited at my new confidence. Wind every day, fantastic hosts, slow quiet rural beach village, good clean accommodation and great local food, clean air, amazing local people, who have rebuilt after the devastating tsunami of 2004. Inspirational and very welcoming. I took my own gear but you can hire latest F One gear. I took some lessons with Regis, who proved a terrific teacher - not too verbal and very encouraging. His partner Alice (say Aleees) is lovely and a great cultural guide. Aceh Kitecamp is situated at Yudi's Place, not a 'resort' but way above the usual homestay guest rooms. Winds were TOO good when I arrived which put me off, but the boys still got out and got air in 35 knots! Should have gone in the mornings before it got too windy! Mostly it was 13-20 knots. They only have two seasons, not Wet and Dry, but Offshore and Onshore. (Surfing and, now, Kitesurfing.) Yudi, a local surfer, and his Scottish wife Sarah are great co-hosts. I travelled alone so it was good to be in a safe friendly environment. Their website server had a fit last week but the kitecamp is on Facebook.
... nice work scaredykite I was wondering how the kite camp was going.
Just wondering, did you see any waves near the camp or around the area??
Any pics please? Are there many places to stay there?
I stayed in Loch nga in the mid 90's. About 1/2 hr out of Aceh. Used to be a great right that didn't break that often, but ran into guys that stayed there for weeks on end for the chance it might. there also was a peak out infront of the golf course and a bit of a left as well. Not big waves but nice.
But that was in the days before I kited and before the tsunami.(Golf course is probably gone now)
Can only imagine that if there is wind the waves would be a mess.
some wave pics
ANSWERS TO QS IN MESSAGES-
How did you get there (which airline) & did you have any hassle with gear bags etc?
Air Asia was cheapest - Gold Coast to KL to BA.
No hassle with gear - I paid for extra up front.
Given that Aceh has a stricter interpretation of Islam than the majority of Indonesia, how did you find travelling there?
Out of respect I covered up with long shorts and T shirt when going to town, but in the camp and at the beach, bathers etc.
Again, given it's Aceh, was access to alcohol an issue, generally, and at the camp? (can't go kiting and not have a beer post-session ;-) )
Couldn't agree more! Beer was no problem, nice and cold - perhaps if you wanted more complicated spirits etc you'd have to get it yourself in BA? Although Yudi always said "Whatever you want, I can get you."
Did you get a sense of any political/security problems - I've read on a couple of sites that there might be "issues" in Aceh between previous GAM comrades?
Well nothing was obvious to me. And this is a small village, much smaller than in pre-tsunami days. There was and is a military base just outside town, so it's always been a secure place.
On a more important note, tell me about the food - how good/bad was it?
I tend to eat local wherever I go, so I did and wasn't disappointed. All the usual Indonesian dishes, plenty of fresh fish, fresh fruit and fantastic local coffee. AND Regis, missing French bread, often baked delicious baguettes! AND Alice is a very resourceful patissiere, managing great flans, tartes and creme brulee in a very basic kitchen!! This is not on the menu - they just felt like it at the time. Lucky me : )
If you don't mind, how much did it cost for the two weeks?
The prices for accommodation are on the website - I took the option of food included and am glad I did. Had no decisions to make - pure relaxation. Air Asia fares fluctuate but I got them pretty cheaply. All I had to pay extra was airport taxes, and beers at about $2.75 (expensive in Aceh). About $2 if you can be bothered going out and getting them yourself. Going to BA in a labi labi (tiny bus) is about 60c each way; laundry (washing and ironing) is 77c per kg; massage is $7.70. Airport transfers by hire car are $16.50 each way. Scooter rental is about $7 day.
Answer to another private msg -
Onshore windy season starts in May - better check with Regis on website when it finishes?
Looks awesome and even quite windy for south east asia in the off season
I've actually booked a flight there in July and hoping i don't kill the wind by showing up(i know i know its a bad habit of mine )
P.S. have u always had bi-polar or do u just bring out scaredykite when there's no wind
Hope you have a blast in July. I took some rain with me but it didn't kill the wind.
Yeh it's not typical SE asian winds there, just at the tip of Sumatra on west coast.
No I'm Scaredykite whenever there is not absolute perfection in the elements i.e. all the time
ahh my bad
Maybe u can help me with accommodation then
I haven't made up my mind on where to stay yet and the kitecamp sounds like the logical place to be as its near the beach
It didn't say anything about wi-fi so that usually means there ain't any?
I'd prefer to stay somewhere with it to help with booking further flights/accommo/wind etc
and would even stay at 1 of the hotels in Aceh as its a short drive away
Thanks for all the info your've posted as you have covered alot... Regis definitely owes u a beer or 2
what about flat water lagoon type stuff for the misses??? spewing... we had such a good time at sri lanka we decided to go back instead of going onwards to Aceh...
Yep, they have wifi - free.
Yeh don't worry, I'll be after that beer from Regis
Yep, that's where the right is. And the cement factory was smashed but is back bigger and better than ever, I'm told - French money.
OK, this is where it gets technical - or, to be honest, personal.
Remember I am scaredykite.
When I first arrived they were kiting on the lagoon (see the pic on their website) but I kept saying I was waiting for 'milder' conditions. You can't stand up in the lagoon, and that's what I was used to. After some incredible night storms early in my stay there was quite a current in the lagoon too - parallel to the shore. (The rain was unseasonal - it's usually in the Offshore season.)
Regis put no pressure on me but suggested we go look at the black sand beach a couple of bays south. Big shallow area - just right. I had a fantastic time there for the rest of my stay. But NOW that I'm happy in 20 knots etc and don't need to be able to stand up all the time I can't wait to get back there to that beautiful aqua lagoon with the white sand beach.
sounds like a great place and your review, thoughts, answers and feedback are fantastic.
Will have to put it on the list for next year.
Thanks BoardGirl - it's on my list too : )
Answer to private message:
Because there hasn't been much wind around I will feel like a total
beginner again and will probably need lessons. Any suggestions?
Lessons with Regis were great - and cheaper than here. He is an excellent teacher. I was a bit worried about the language difference - his French accent But it wasn't a hindrance. I always understood and he is not too verbal when teaching. Addresses one thing at a time. Very patient and encouraging, and direct.
Thanks for kind words.
Basically I was fed up never getting to the beach when conditions were right. Thought it might help to have 2 weeks at the beach, but didn't fancy taking 2 weeks off to go to Sandgate
I found out about it on some forum and followed arguments about the wind. Found out about the kite camp and figured they wouldn't be likely to put it where there was no wind. Started hassling Regis, and keeping an eye on Air Asia specials.
None of my friends could get the time off so bit the bullet and chose mid May to leave, to give some leeway for the wind change to occur.
Didn't take bravery so much as optimism, which can be its own reward As it happens I was rewarded with a great time as well.
You were brave, a pioneer!
The place is certainly different from pre-tsunami days - quieter, fewer people. They want to tell you about the tsunami and are inspirational - resilient, cheerful, welcoming. Families are growing again and life continues.
Looks like the peak is still there! But obviously that photo is not in the windy season. The right hander ( 2nd of regis's photos) is more toward the cemet factory and is fantastic to surf. Looks like fun to kite as well.
If I do get back there I'll definatly take surfboard and kite gear! (And a stubbie cooler this time)
Is it glassy in the morning and then the breeze comes on? IE: surf early and then
been thinking of somwhere for next year, this look perfect
Thanks for the detailed review. I think you helped to nail down my kite vacation in August. Massages should keep the misses busy while kiting.
we let you know the statistics of wind for May and June, 2012 soon
Scaredykite, thanks for the review and Q&A, I've been looking around for kite holiday possibilities.
One more question though, do the locals up there speak Indonesian or their own local dialect ?
this place has the potential to be the mui ne of indonesia for the off season
im glad to be going in july and seeing it before gets too big
if you have been to mui ne in the summer your know what im talking about