BANDA ACEH SUMATRA INDONESIA
Banda Aceh (Aceh is pronounced Ah-chey) is the most Eastern and the most Northern city in Indonesia. Banda Aceh is located at the very top of the island of Sumatra. Aceh is a province of Sumatra and Banda Aceh is the capital city, with a population of around 230,000 people.
Aceh was a wealthy trading port from as early as 1585 when a trade agreement was signed by the Sultan of Aceh with Queen Elizabeth I. Aceh's main exports at this time were gold, ivory, tin, spices and sandalwood. Now one of the main exports is oil and gold.
There are plenty of tourist attractions around Banda Aceh including surfing, kite surfing along the coastline as well as scuba diving and snorkeling off the island of Pulah Weh, around 50 minutes by ferry from Banda Aceh.
There are some bautiful beaches not far from Banda Aceh. Lhoknga and Lampuuk beaches are 17km from Banda Aceh. Kuala Doh is 3 hours from Banda Aceh, 12km north of Calang is a 4km beach with great body surfing opportunities.
Tourist Hightlights of Banda Aceh
Baiturrahman Grand Mosque
Baiturrahman Grand Mosque in the centre of Banda Aceh is one of the most beautiful mosques in Indonesia. Built between 1879 and 1881 with the original design with a single dome.
When visiting the Grand Mosque you need to dress appropriately. You will need to wear long pants to cover your legs and a t-shirt or shirt to cover your shoulders, no singlets or tank tops. You need to remove your shoes or sandles before walking up the steps to the entrance of the mosque. Avoid visiting at lunch time on Friday which is the main prayer time that most people visit a mosque.
Aceh Tsunami Museum
The Aceh Tsunami Museum was built as a memorial to the Tsunami that hit Banda Aceh on 26th December 2004 killing more than 100,000 people, around 1/3 of the population.
Tues, Wed, Thurs, Sat and Sunday 9am - 12pm and 2pm - 4.30pm
Friday 9am - 11.30am and 2.30pm - 4.30pm
Aceh Monument Thanks To The World
Directly across the road from the Aceh Tsunami Museum is a large park (Blang Padang) which has been converted into a Monument To the World to thank all the countries for their generous contributions after the Tsunami in 2004.
There is a monument (pictured to the right) for the Tsunami, and then spaced around the outside of the park are 53 monuments to the countries which donated money for the rebuilding of Banda Aceh.
Kerkhoff Grave - Dutch Cemetery
Located behind the Aceh Tsunami Museum is the Kerkhoff Grave (Kuburan Kerkhoff) which is a Dutch military cemetery during the Aceh War between 1873 and 1914.
The entrance to the cemetery has all the names of the Dutch soldiers who were buried here, around 2000 people.
Ship PLTD Tsunami Memorial
During the 2004 Tsunami, the PLTD ship was carried inland and left on dry land when the tsunami waters receeded back into the ocean. The diesel ship is63 meters long and weighs 2600 tons came to rest 500 meters inland. The ship was later moved to its' current location and made into a memorial.
At the front entrance to the park where the PLTD sits is the below pictured monument with a clock marking the time and date to when the earthquake started with the Tsunami occuring shortly after.
The Aceh Museum is one of the oldest museums in Indonesian with relics and artifacts from the Acehenese Sultanate dating back when Aceh was one of the most powerful trading ports in the region.
On display at the Aceh Museum are a range of archaeological items from the history of Aceh including ceramics, coins, historical paintings a well as other items like minerals and rocks from the region and displays of animals from Aceh.
In the centre of the Aceh Museum grounds (pictured to the right) is a traditional Acehenese stilt house designed to keep the main part of the house off the ground with cooling air circulating below.
The museum has a basic website but only in Indonesian language Aceh Museum
Beaches Close to Aceh
There are a number of beautiful, white sandy beaches close to Banda Aceh.
Around 40 minutes drive from Banda Aceh you will find Lhoknga beach and Lampuuk beaches which are both excellent beaches for surfing as well as kite surfing.
The wind blows best from May - October which is the best time of the year to visit Aceh for kite surfing.
See more pics and video for the beaches close to Banda Aceh.
See more about Kite Surfing in Aceh
Shopping in Banda Aceh
One of the best places for shopping in Aceh is the Hermes Palace Shopping mall, just a few blocks from the Grand Mosque. The shopping mall has the large Matahari Department Store as well as lots of small speciality shops selling all sort of products including clothing, jewelry, cameras and camera accessories and electronic items.
How to get to Aceh Sumatra Indonesia
There are direct flights to Banda Aceh from Jakarta with Garuda or Lion Air, from Medan with Lion Air as well as from Kuala Lumpur with AirAsia and Penang with Firefly. Banda Aceh now has Visa on Arrival.
Bus from Medan to Banda Aceh
A bus trip from Medan to Aceh takes around 11 hours. Most buses travel overnight and cost 150,000Rp. Buses to Banda Aceh from Medan leave from the
Video of the highlights of Banda Aceh
Accommodation in Banda Aceh Sumatra