Things to Do

Swim, snorkel or dive in Sabang and you’ll encounter an amazing variety of sea creatures, from the colourful dory fish, the playful dolphin to the majestic whale shark. In addition to its breathtaking marine life, Sabang also has an underwater volcano, offering you a chance to experience a unique dive.

Iboih Beach

Iboih Beach and the small Rubiah Island located 100 metres across from it are Sabang’s most popular tourist destination. It is also a nature conservation area.
Rubiah Island seen from Iboih Beach

Iboih people work together to protect this beautiful place – a local elder leads education effort to abandon harmful fishing practices and every 3 months locals get together to clean up the beaches. There are plenty of activities here to suit casual and more adventurous visitors alike.


The clear and calm water at Rubiah Island is great for a relaxing swim. Although if you’re already preparing yourself to get wet, you might as well snorkel and enjoy watching its abundant fish.

Round trip from Iboih Beach to Rubiah Island costs Rp 100,000 per boat (regardless of passenger count) and Rp 15,000 per passenger (for life jacket).
Tourists relaxing and swimming at Rubiah


Snorkelling at Rubiah is highly recommended. You’ll encounter plenty of sea creatures such as parrot fish, dory or if you’re lucky, a sea turtle. Even if you cannot swim you should still try snorkelling – hire a buoyant life jacket, stick to shallow water and you’ll see little fish dart around you in no time (yes you can even see fish in shallow water!)

For a mere Rp 40,000 you can hire a full set of snorkelling equipment (life jacket, snorkel, mask, fins) from one of the many equipment hire vendors at Iboih. Boat hire from Iboih to Rubiah is Rp 100,000 (round trip) but you can skip paying Rp 15,000 for life jacket because your full set already includes one.

  • Buy a bag of cooked instant noodles (Rp 5,000) from one of the food stalls at Rubiah. Use the noodles to lure fish to you – it’s a lot of fun! Please dispose of the bag responsibly.
  • You may want to consider hiring an underwater camera operator for Rp 150,000. Give him your memory card and he’ll capture your moments with his waterproof camera. He can also double as a guide – ask him for good snorkelling spots.
  • You can ask the equipment hire man to arrange other things for you: boat, camera operator etc
Snorkel equipment hire vendors can be found all over Iboih.
This pictured man has corrective lens masks - great for those
who need glasses to see clearly.
Snorkelling while surrounded by so many fish is such a
fabulous feeling
Clown fish spotted while snorkelling at Rubiah


Sabang’s marine life is so abundant that new species were discovered here. If you’re seeking a more full on experience then you should try scuba diving. For those without prior experience, diving operators offer what’s called an introduction dive for about €40. Essentially it’s a half day activity consisting of practice dive followed by a real one, guided by a qualified instructor.

There are about 8 different diving sites around Iboih, and several more in Gapang and other areas. Depending on where you dive you may find eel, tuna, barracuda or reef shark.

These Iboih-based diving operators can tell you more about their diving sites, what you can expect to see, and pricing:

Diving practice in shallow water

Unused bicycle as artificial reef to help coral development

Diving certification

If you find scuba diving enjoyable, why not go all the way and get a PADI dive certification – it’s cheap in Sabang. For about €290 you’ll have everything necessary to complete the PADI Open Water Dive course including instructor fee and equipment use.

Again, you can find more details from diving operators’ websites.

Glass bottom boat tour

Take a tour around Rubiah Island on a traditional wooden boat with glass bottom if you want to see glimpses of its marine beauty without getting wet. The boat starts from Iboih Beach and goes around Rubiah Island, stopping along the way at a few notable spots to let you have a good look at coral reefs and various fish, before circling back to Iboih Beach.

The tour costs Rp 300,000 per boat regardless of passenger count.

  • To get more out of your boat trip, engage the boat operator with questions (if he speaks English)
  • If you’re going to swim or snorkel at Rubiah, you can take the glass bottom boat as a fancy transport alternative to the normal one

Glass bottom boat approaching Rubiah Island
Looking at karang batik through the glass bottom

Gapang Beach

Diving operators: