Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Banda Aceh Travel Guide

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Around 150,000 people were killed in Banda Aceh in the Tsunami of 26 December 2004. Some parts of the city became permanently submerged. Many aid agencies have been present since then to help rebuild.

The long conflict between the Acehnese independence movement (GAM) and the Indonesian army (TNI) has been solved for the time being by the peace agreement on 15 August 2005. The peace process has been quite smooth since. On 11 December 2006 the province held its first direct and democratic local elections. On 8 February 2007 the first democratically elected Governor, Irwandi Yusuf, was inaugurated.

Get in

Aceh airport (Blang Bintang)

Foreigners no longer require a travel permit (surat jalan) to enter Aceh, but an Indonesian visa is required. Since 6 June 2010, it is possible to get a 30 day Visa-on-Arrival at Banda Aceh Airport. The Embassy in KL can also process the visa in the same day if you complete all the paperwork before noon.

By bus

There are non-stop night buses, with travel times ranging from 9 to 13 hours - from Medan to Banda Aceh. Major bus companies such as PMTOH, Pelangi, Kurnia and Pusaka have offices on Jl. Gajah Mada, Medan. Price ranges from 110,000 in a regular-sized-seat bus to 200,000 in a wide-seat bus.


Mini-buses can also take you to Banda Aceh from the Medan area, but journeys are generally longer. Prices are a bit cheaper than the coaches. It is also possible to travel over from Medan to Banda Aceh via Kutacane and Takengon. This will be 20 hours in total.

By plane

Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport, (IATA: BTJ, ICAO: WITT) is named after the twelfth sultan of Aceh, Iskandar Muda.

Two airlines fly daily between Banda Aceh and either Medan, a 1 hr trip, or Jakarta, a 2 hr 40 minute trip.

  • Firefly, Penang. , Malaysia's community airline now flies from Penang to Banda Aceh every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
  • Garuda Indonesia, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, [[Medan. 3 daily flights from Jakarta and two daily flights from Medan. The Jakarta-Banda Aceh direct flight on Garuda takes 2 hrs 40 mins on a Boeing 737, although it is often changed to stopover at Medan without warning. Seasonal to Jeddah. Saudi Arabia in Hajj season
  • Lion Air, Jakarta-Soekarno-Hatta, Medan. They have two daily flights from Jakarta and one from Medan.


Visa formalities at this airport ae the same as those of other Indonesian immigration gateways.

  • Visa On Arrival (VOA) service is available at Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport.

Airport bus

A bus provides a service from Banda Aсeh to the airport, and from the airport to Banda Aceh. Operating hours are 10/11AM-2:30PM, price to the city is Rp 10,000/person.

The bus departing from the airPort to Banda Aсeh leaves few minutes after airplane lands. So departure time depends on landing time, more or less. thus, its advised to hurry to catch the bus. It is on your left when you leave airport bulding.

By boat

The closest big (international) ferry terminal is Belawan Port, close to Medan. It receives vessels originating from Batam, Indonesia (a common route when coming from Singapore), Penang, Malaysia (Langkawi Ferry ). From Ulhee-lhee, the port of Banda Aceh you can go to Pulau Weh and to Pulau Aceh.

Get around

The main methods of getting around are becak (motorbike taxis) and labi-labi (public minibus). Due to the sudden influx of money post-tsunami, locals have gotten used to overcharging, but now stabilization has returned. Example becak fares are: Airport - Grand Mosque: 40,000; Bus Terminal - Grand Mosque: 8,000; Grand Mosque - Penayong: 5,000. Inside the city, generally 10,000 should do it.


Masjid Raya Baiturrahman

Cut Nya Dien House

  • Masjid Raya Baiturrahman/Grand Mosque. Baiturrahman is a great mosque located at the heart of Banda Aceh, The mosque with a very fascinating architecture “ five dome in black color and four minarets in white color ‘ now standing on a green landscape elegantly as a landmark of the Province. Sitting in a vast expanse of green fields, the white washed walls and minerals, and charcoal blacks domes of the Grand Mosque are the most famous landmark in Aceh. The Great of Baiturrahman Mosque is the main feature of Banda Aceh today. Lying at the heart of the city completed with excellent architectural style, this mosque is really one of Indonesia prime tourism sides. The Mosque was built in 12 Century and had caught fire several time include when the Dutch attacked Kutaraja (Banda Aceh) in 1873. Another mosque to replace the former one was later built by Dutch Military Government that was completed in 1883. The Mosque is extra ordinary in architecture and ornamentation. It has five onion shaped domes, two tall mine rates, wide white walls, and around is pillars various kinds of beautiful ornament. Muslim dresscode. Masjid Raya Baiturrahman
  • Cut Nya Dien House. Cut Nya Dien is an Indonesian's woman revolutionist from Aceh - The house is a replica of the heroine Cut Nyak Dhien House, from the Aceh War. The colonial forces burned down the house but a replica was built later. This house in Lam Pisang, about 6 kilometers from Banda Aceh, now is a museum. The house is located in Lampisang Village, Lhok Nga subdistrict, Greater Aceh district. Although Lhok Nga was the area worst hit by tsunami, the Tjut Nyak Dhien House survived. The daughter of a chieftain, Tjut Nyak Dhien joined the fight against the Dutch invaders in 1875. Her first husband fell in battle, and she remarried. When her second husband also died fighting, she continued the struggle with her children. After six years in the jungle, she was captured by the Dutch and exiled to West Java where she passed away in 1906. Tjut Nyak Dhien is recognized as one of the National Warriors of Indonesia.
  • Cut Nya Dien House"Cakra Donya" Bell
  • Gunongan and Taman Putroe Phang. Gunongan had erected by Sultan Iskandar Muda (1607 - 1636) as a private playground and bathing place for this wife Putro Phang (From Malaysia). This whimsical architectural fantasy had access to the sultan's palace through the traditional 'Pintu Aceh', used by royalty only. This building likely functioned as an important recreational peace located in the Taman Sari Park for the Queen and other royal family members to climb. It is quite enjoyable to visit this place during the late afternoon or sunset.

  • Graveyard in Bitay Village. In Bitay the grave of a saint, Teungku di Bitay, may still be seen - The tomb of Tuan di Bitay, who taught the Achehnese among other things the art of casting cannon, and the mosque which stands beside the grave are revered as sacred up to the present day. * At the time of Aceh and Turkey has a close relationship, so many experts and weapons from the Turkish fleet came and settled in Aceh. Historical evidence remaining is a mosque, monument and headstone Turkish people in the village Bitai (~ 3 km from Banda Aceh)

Bitay Graveyard

  • The Museum Aceh. Aceh Museum is situated in Sultan Alaidin Mahmud Syah street, it is a best place to knows much about Aceh cultural history. Inside the museum exhibits antique things as ceramics, weapons, and many cultural equipment like custom clothes, jewelry, khaligraphy (Islamic ornament), kitchen equips, etc. The most interesting collection is a big bell called “Lonceng Cakra Donya”, a gift from China Grand-Duke (Ming Emperor, in the 15th century) for Sultan Aceh that was delivered by a Chinese Moslem, Admiral Cheng Ho in 1414, we could read an inscription on the bell : “Sing Fang Niat Toeng Juut Kat”. In this complex there is also ‘Rumoh Aceh’ House that was built by Dutch Governor Van Swart in 1941 in a typical aceh’s house architecture. In the western of Museum or northern of Aceh House of Custom there is grave yard complex of Aceh Sultans.

  • Indonesian Airline Monument. Seulawah - Indonesian First Airplane - The Monument was erected to commemorate the heroic donation of the Acehnese to the central Government of the Republic of Indonesia. When Indonesia became independent in 1945, the Dutch intended to reoccupy the country. In the ensuing struggle in 1949, the Republic of Indonesia was badly in need of an airplane to avoid the blockade of the enemy as much area had already fallen to the Dutch. Soekarno, Indonesian president at that time, urgently asked the Acehnese to donate money for an airplane. A Douglas DC-3 was bought shortly afterwards, and paid for with the donation. This very early plane was the precursor of Garuda Indonesia fleet, which nowadays is the biggest airline in Indonesia.

  • Kerkhof. Dutch soldiers graveyards Banda Aceh - Kerkhoff or War Memorial Cmetary or known by local peoples as Peucut Kerkhoff, a place where more than 2,000 Dutch soldiers who died in an Aceh War were been buried in this graveyards, located just at a reverse side of Gunongan in Teuku Umar Street but the entrance gate was in front of south eastern corner of Blang Padang. At the walls of the Kerkhoff entrance gate you could see the names list of the persons whose been buried which also written where and when they died.

  • Ulee Lheue-Banda Aceh. Tsunami Ground Zero - Ulee Lheue is a shore line facing the Malacca straits; when the tsunami hit Banda Aceh on December 26, 2004, the beach line and the village nearby were severely damaged and submerged by a 10 meter high tidal wave. Now the local government has built a new seaport at Ulee Lheue, and if you have plans to visit Sabang and Weh island, you can take a Ro-Ro Ferry or speed boat from Ulee Lheue. Ulee Lheue beach has still kept its enchanting beauty, and almost every day people come to this place to enjoy the blue horizon of sky and sea, to see a beautiful sunset in the evening, or to enjoy the beach at night on the weekend
Source : http://wikitravel.org


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