Banda Aceh is often overlooked by many travellers and of course this leaves it as a destination that is infrequently visited. Of course the 2004 Tsunami left a devastating impact on the town however rebuilding has been constant and the town is starting to come back to life.
There is so much beauty surrounding this area of Indonesia situated on the most northern tip of Sumatra. Many travellers head north from Medan and come to this region to experience the delights that the islands just off the coast have to offer. One of these islands in particular has been kept secret among travellers for quite some time.
Pulau Weh is a gem of an island and can be reached from Banda Aceh by fast boat usually in the mornings. Most people take the overnight bus from Medan then jump straight on the boat. There is even an airport here that serves most major destinations in Indonesia like Jakarta and Medan.
Pulau Weh is best known for it’s diving with pristine waters that are teeming with life. There are numerous dive operations here that will cater to your every need. One of them, lumbalumba.com. They are located on Gapang beach and can arrange transport from Banda Aceh. They offer very comfortable accommodation and all your diving needs.
If you find yourself on the mainland in Banda Aceh there are a few places of interest to the traveller. One of the more popular trips is to ride around the city on bicycle being shown the sights by a guide. You can find this trip at Jalan Al Huda Blok B, No 2. It is very close to the food court.
If you only have time to visit one island for the day then head to the uninhabited island of Pulau Kreusnik. This island has a wonderful white sand beach that will leave you feeling like a castaway. It takes around an hour to reach the island and a boat can be arranged at the main town.
One thing that does need to be mentioned about life in Banda Aceh is that you shouldn’t really walk around the town after 10 pm, especially lone female travellers. Sharia law is enforced here and the Sharia police will often patrol the town late at night enforcing the law. Alcohol is forbidden here however it can be found in some places. It is probably wise to refrain from drinking for the few days you are here. Female travellers should be aware that bikinis are probably not the best choice of swimwear as you may get some unusual stares from the locals. As in all places we visit as tourists, we must respect the local customs and practices.
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