Home Banyak Island Pulau Banyak or Banyak Islands is like a dream come through; uninhabited coral islands, fantastic beaches, snorkeling, turtles, surfing, pristine jungles and such a laid-back atmosphere that you will forget time.
Banyak Islands consists of 30-40 islands. The locals say 99, but they count big islands several times. Approximately 7.000 people live here. The main village is Desa P. Balai, which forms one settlement together with the village Desa P. Baguk on the island of Pulau Balai. The other villages are Teluk Nibung, Haloban, Asantola, Ujung Sialit and Suka Makmur. The concept of time hardly exists in Banyak Islands; wonderful when you are at the beach, but frustrating when waiting for the boat. Pulau Banyak is not a very big tourist destination and still very Indonesian.
IN THE VILLAGES Weddings and circumcision-ceremonies are colorful and interesting to see. Traditional dances have their origin mainly in the Minangkabau culture (West Sumatra), but are specific for Pulau Banyak. A very special dance is "Lansir Madam", an odd remnant from the Dutch colonial times. In the village of Ujung Sialit traditions have their origin in Nias.
The languages spoken on the islands are Jamee (similar to Minangkabau), Haloban (the original language) and Nias.
Desa P. Balai and P. Baguk are both located on the relatively small island of Pulau Balai. They have since long grown together. It is the administrative and commercial center for the sub-regency Pulau Banyak (the eastern part of the archipelago) and the main entry point for visitors. Almost 3.000 people live here. The local language is Jamee.
As these two villages were very heavily damaged by earthquake and tsunami in 2004 there is not much left of the former accommodations. The island sank more or less one meter. Most houses along the waterfront stand now in water. Until recently only one losmen were in operation, but one more have started and more is on its way.
If you prefer village life, P. Balai and P. Baguk are rather nice. The accommodation is nice and food is good, especially the fish. It is close to several other nice islands and it is easy to charter a canoe or boat. Nice nearby islands are Pulau Baguk, Pulau Panjang, and Pulau Tapus-Tapus.
Desa Teluk Nibung is not far from P. Balai, just over the water on the island named Ujung Batu. More than 1.000 people live in this village. Teluk Nibung has a very beautiful Mosque in the old style. There are interesting rock formations on the northern end of this island. They are best seen from a boat. Otherwise there are mostly small orchards.
In the other sub-regency Pulau Banyak Barat has four villages. Pulau Banyak was recently divided into two sub-regencies. Desa Ujung Sialit with its app. 600 inhabitants is located on the northeastern point of Pulau Tuangku. The inhabitants are all of Nias descent and arrived in the first half of the last century. It has the only church in Pulau Banyak. They are Christians and speak Nias language. Nearby is the nice Pulau Pabisi.
Desa Suka Makmur is a new village with less than 500 inhabitants south of Ujung Nias. A boardwalk leads through the mangroves into the village.
Desa Haloban and Desa Asantola was the administrative center of Pulau Banyak before the Japanese occupation. Now Haloban has become the center for a new sub-regency Pulau Banyak Barat. Around 2.000 people live in these two villages grown together. They have their own language, Bahasa Haloban, which unfortunately is less and less used by the villagers.
Haloban has no nice beaches by itself, but many of the best islands of Pulau Banyak are spread out in front of it. Behind is the untouched and unknown jungles of Pulau Tuangku. From here one can also climb the highest mountain in Pulau Banyak, Gunung Tiusa; 313m above sea level. Haloban is a good starting point for jungle trekking. See below. There is a accommodation available, famous for its fantastic fish dishes. Big parts of Haloban were destroyed by earthquake and tsunami. The houses near the waterfront get flooded at extreme tide.
Traditional values are still strong and the locals appreciate tourists showing respect for their way of life. For example “decent” dressing in the villages, but out on the islands and the beaches, nobody cares.
Quoted from :http://www.sumatraecotourism.com/pulaubanyak/whattosee.html