Banda Aceh is the capital city of Aceh Province, the top west province in Indonesia. Aceh is famous for having a modest cultural lifestyle and amazing history. A flight to Banda Aceh from Medan is only 45 minutes long. From Jakarta, it is two and a half hours. International flights are also available from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Banda Aceh has many tourism objects that are nice to visit, such as:

1. Krueng Aceh Tourism Park

Aceh has a beautiful river named Krueng. The river is 145 kilometers long. It divided the whole Aceh Province into two area; north and south. Kreung River has a calm and refreshing view. Aceh people love to sit beside it at the late afternoon just to enjoy the panorama and the wind.

To take advantage over this, the government has built a park using the concept of Waterfront City. The park stands all the way on the side of the river. Inside the park, there is a culinary center. Aceh culinary is famous as they are rich in herbs and spices. Some recommended menus are aceh noodle, canai bread, and Aceh tea. If you come to Aceh during Ramadhan, the choice of culinary will be more plenty than usual.

Jogging Track at the Side the River at Kreung Aceh (Source: Flickr. Credit: Syahrul Anwar)
Jogging Track at the Side the River at Kreung Aceh
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Syahrul Anwar)

Water transportations such as boats and small ships are also available to allow the guest to explore the river even more. If you like sport, there is a jogging track right beside the river. At night, the park feels livelier with the lights throughout the park.

Taman Wisata Krueng Aceh (Krueng Aceh Tourism Park) is very vast. It takes three regions; Gampong Keudah, Gampong Lamgugob and Gampong Kuta Alam. To visit it, you can take a public transportation to either Gampong Kuta Alam or Gampong Keudah.


2. Gunongan

If India has Taj Mahal, then Banda Aceh has Gunongan Park. This park is built by Sultan Iskandar Muda as a symbol of his eternal love towards Princess Putro Phang. The Princess was from Pahang Kingdom, Malaysia. After married to Sultan Iskandar Muda, the princess lived in Aceh with his husband. In Aceh, Princess Putro Phang sometimes missed her hometown, especially when Sultan is out of town.

To solve this problem, Sultan Iskandar Muda built a vast park. The park has hill-like contour so it has the similar atmosphere to Princess Putro Phang’s hometown in Pahang. In the middle of the park, there is a white building unique Malayan architecture.

Gunongan (Source: Flickr. Credit: Syahrul Anwar)
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Syahrul Anwar)

Gunongan is located on Jalan Teuku Umar. There are some public transportation passes by this road so it is not gonna be difficult to access the location.


3. Taman Putro Phang

Still on the same area of Gunongan, there is a Pintu Putro Phang, a connecting gate between the palace and the Taman Putro Phang. Pintu Putro Phang has similar architectural style with Gunongan. With the shape of a dome, this gate is decorated with ornaments carved on its wall.

Taman Putro Phang itself is a location where the princess rest after swimming or flower bath at Gunongan. Both Sultan Iskandar Muda and Princess Putro Phang really loved to read. Therefore, the Sultan also built a library on this park so they could read together to kill time.

Taman Putro Phang (Source: Flickr. Credit: Aceh Box)
Taman Putro Phang
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Aceh Box)

Based on the Aceh ancient literature, the park used to be way more beautiful than this. There were miniatures of river, waterfalls, beach, cliff, and laguna. But most of those were destroyed during the war with Dutch colonialism.


4. Coffe Shops

Aceh is one of the biggest producers of coffee in the world, especially Arabica Coffee and Luwak Coffee. They produce about 40% of total coffee commodity in Indonesia with premium quality. The coffee is very well-sold in international market. So if you pay a visit to Banda Aceh, it is a must to taste this premium-quality coffee on its original hometown.

There are several popular coffee shops in Banda Aceh. If you are looking for the originality, then Rumoh Aceh is your destination. Located in Jalan Rawa Sakti, Rumoh Aceh is a pioneer for coffee business development in Aceh. The shop opens on 09.000 to 20.00 every day. Manner is something they uphold here. Guests are not allowed putting up their feet on the chair, laughing too loud, fighting, or speaking bad words. Although the coffee has international premium quality standard, the price is still very cheap on this coffee shop. A shot of single Arabica espresso is only $0.75.

How They Serve Aceh Coffee (Source: Flickr. Credit: Miss Li)
How They Serve Aceh Coffee
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Miss Li)

As time goes by, modern variants of coffees are developed to provide new sensations for coffee drinkers. These modern variants of Aceh Coffee are popular from several coffee shops such as La Regno on Jalan Prada Utama, Hip Coffee on Jalan Panglima Nyak Makam, Zam-Zam Coffee on Jalan Dr. Moh. Hasan, and Harvies Coffee Shop on several hotels in Banda Aceh.


5. Tsunami Museum of Aceh

In 2004, there was a big earthquake and tsunami stroke on Indian Ocean, causing chaos and death in many countries around it such as Indonesia, Madagascar, India, Singapore, and Malaysia. The most victims are from Aceh. The disaster was terrifying and traumatic.

About two years after that, the government of Indonesia established a museum as a memoriam. The museum also works as a disaster educational center and an emergency shelter. They hope the museum can help the people to relieve their trauma, get more prepared and informed about disaster, and if the tsunami or any other disaster strikes again, they will be having a place to shelter.

The Façade of the Museum (Source: Flickr. Credit: Az Ipank)
The Façade of the Museum
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Az Ipank)

The museum is located on Jalan Iskandar Muda. At the gate, there is a statue of people doing the Saman dance. Saman is a traditional dance from Aceh symbolizing strength, discipline, and faith to Allah. The building has a roof with the shape similar to tsunami wave. To help with the trauma healing process, the museum has a series of facilities. First is “Space of Fear” or “Tsunami Tunnel”, a tsunami simulation in a dark tunnel so the guest understand how fearful it was when the disaster stroke. At the end of the series, there is a room for calming down named “Space of Hope”. The room has architecturally designed to make people realize that no matter how depressing life could be, hope will always be there, and everything is going to be okay.


6. Masjid Raya Baiturrahman

Masjid Raya Baiturrahman (The Great Mosque of Baiturrahman) has an important role in Aceh history. The mosque was built under the reign of Sultan Iskandar Muda around 1630. The mosque was a vital educational center for students from Indonesia, Arab, Turkey, India, and Persia. The building was also used as a fort when Aceh people had a war with Dutch colonialism in 1873. The Dutch army burnt the building down on that war. But then they rebuilt it again in 1879 to avoid another war with Aceh.

This beautiful mosque has seven domes, one main tower, and four extra towers. The interior floor is finished with luxury Italian marmer. In front of the mosque, there is a piazza with a pool, grass, and trees to cool the weather down.

Night View of the Mosque (Source: Flickr. Credit: Hot Agam)
Night View of the Mosque
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Hot Agam)


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