Charming Banda Aceh : The Spiritual Destination City

Its auspicious position on the tip of the westernmost point of the Indonesian archipelago has made the town of Banda Aceh a recognized transit point as well as a hub for education, commerce, and government. The Aceh Darussalam Kingdom was established by Sultan Johan Syah in 1250AD following the disintegration of old Hindu-Buddha kingdoms like Indra Purba, Indra Purwa, Indra Patra, and Indra Pura.

The capital city of the Aceh Darussalam Kingdom was Banda Aceh Darussalam. Following 70 years of battles with the Sultan the Dutch changed the name into Kutaraja. The town was eventually declared Banda Aceh in 1962. As one of the oldest cities that embraces Islam, daily life in Banda Aceh today is still enormously influenced by Islamic lifestyles.

Banda Aceh is the capital of the Aceh province in Indonesia.
Banda Aceh is the capital of the Aceh province in Indonesia (Source :

As a tourism gateway in the westernmost entrance to Indonesia, you are invited to learn the remaining magnificence of old Aceh Darussalam golden era as they are spiritually valuable to the nation. While some of the heritage buildings were swept away after the devastating tsunami in 2004, some others remain. The tourist information center in Banda Aceh has carefully identified the enduring remains and they demonstrate how this magnificent land has been spiritually resilient.

Although around sixty percent of the towns infrastructure was destroyed and some parts of the city remain permanently submerged, the city is now looking new as considerable developments took place right after the disaster. Infrastructures and activities have resumed as usual, and tourism is becoming increasingly popular as peculiarly fresh attractions spring up to the surface. Ulee Lheue is a shoreline facing Malacca Strait and the Pacific Ocean on the west, and it offers the best sunset views in the country.

Banda Aceh, inside the city
Banda Aceh, inside the city (Source :

Visit an inhabited house with a deserted fishing boat right upon its roof. No one would want to relocate the vessel as it has its own dramatic story. The story has it that 59 people were saved by the boat during the tsunami. Do not miss the marvelous and well documented Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman that stood still and saved hundreds of people despite its aged structures. There are hundreds of amazing stories to uncover as you cycle around the city that was recently dubbed as one of the cleanest cities in the country.


Nasi Gurih is a must when you stay overnight in Banda Aceh. It is rice steamed in coconut milk. It has exotic flavor and sold in many coffee shops. Try to sample Mie Aceh (special noodle from Aceh) and it is best served and sold in : Mie Razali Jl T Panglima Polem, Peunayong, Banda Aceh. Mie LalaJl. Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh. Malay food can be found in Canai Mamak KL Restaurant on Jalan Teuku Umar no. 51, Seutui. Also visit a naturalist café in SHIDQI Café on Jalan Malikul Shaleh, Lamlagang, on the left side of the Red Crescent Hospital.

Shopping in Aceh is as ordinary as you can expect. Products sold revolve around daily fare and agricultural commodities. However, souvenirs can be found in several places.

1. Pusaka Souvenir is on Jalan Sri Ratu Safiatuddin no. 78, Peunayong, Banda Aceh.

2. Pasar Aceh is right at the back of the Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman. Meet the locals selling and buying in the market.

3. Rencong Aceh is on Jalan Mohd. Jam, no. 1-E Banda Aceh.

4. Nyak Ni Usaha Souvenir is on Jalan Singgah Mata 10 Blower, Banda Aceh.

5. Lhoong Raya Souvenir is on Jalan Malikul Shaleh no. 56 Neusu.

When you are in Banda Aceh, it is best to see and learn the city and its legends and stories by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or rented car. Visit:

1. Museum Tsunami Aceh

2. Grand Mosque of Baiturrahman

3. The mausoleum of Sultan Iskandar Muda

4. Krueng City Park

5. Kerkhoff Dutch Cemetery, which is the largest Dutch Soldier Cemetery after the one in its mother country, Holand. It is where the Dutch soldiers were buried after Aceh War in 1873-1902.

6. Aceh House

7. Syiah Kuala Cemetery

8. Baiturrahim Mosque at Ulee Lheue

Visiting the central market of Banda Aceh is a feast for your eyes, especially when you are into photography. Buy several dishes, fruits, and local vegetables for your supply. Souvenirs can be found among those selling local items.


Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport (BTJ) is the major airport in Banda Aceh. The airport serves several airlines, such as:

1. Garuda Indonesia
a. Jakarta (CGK) – Medan (MES) – Banda Aceh (BTJ)
b. Jakarta (CGK) – Medan (MES)
c. Medan (MES) – Banda Aceh (BTJ)

2. Lion Air
a. Jakarta (CGK) – Banda Aceh (BTJ)
b. Jakarta (CGK) – Medan (MES) – Banda Aceh (BTJ)
c. Jakarta (CGK) – Medan (MES)

3. Sriwijaya Air
Jakarta (CGK) – Medan (MES)

4. Air Asia
Jakarta (CGK) – Medan (MES)

5. Firefly
George Town (PEN) – Banda Aceh (BTJ)

6. Malaysia Airlines
George Town (PEN) – Banda Aceh (BTJ)

As you arrive in Banda Aceh, walk out the airport and you will find choices of transportation. Taxis are available and have different providers, like :
1. PT Asa Taxi
2. Cempala Taxi
3. Mulya Taxi
4. Pidi Taxi

Labi-labi is a local name for public minibus or ‘angkot’ in other parts of the country. This is the most economical means of transportation available to the public and travelers.

The most convenient way to travel within the city as you plan to visit various places of interests in Banda Aceh post tsunami is by mountain biking. A tour operator renting selections of bicycle can be found in Aceh Adventure.

Facebook Comments

"Photos are copyrighted by their owners."

error: Do Not Copy