Tuesday, November 15, 2011


  • Banda Aceh- the provincial capital with a population now exceeding 200,000 inhabitants, divided into two main regions by the Sungai Krueng Aceh river. There really are tourist attractions and landmarks galore in Banda Aceh, such as the gleaming Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman (Baiturrahman Mosque), the remains of Gunongan, the Dutch cemetery of Kherkhof, the lively Pasar Aceh Central Market, various Tsunami landmarks, and the acclaimed Museum Negeri Banda Aceh. At night, the colourful Pasar Malam Rek food market is not to be missed and is based on the corner of the Jalan Khairil Anwar and the Jalan Ahman Yani. 
  • Banyak Islands - a group of around 100 mainly uninhabited islands, which sit roughly 30 km / 19 miles to the west of Singkil. Literally translated as the 'Many Islands', the Banyaks are around a four-hour boat trip from Singkil's port. Accommodation is available on just a few of the Banyak Islands, such as Balai, Palambak Kecil, Panjang, Rangit Besar and Ujung Batu.
  • Gayo Highlands - with stunning mountain panoramas and large areas of countryside and fields. The attractions within the Gayo Highlands all tend to be natural and include the Buffalo Caves (Loyang Koro) and the Simpang Balik hot spring, close to the town of Takengon. Blangkejeran is another notable town here and is well placed for guided tours of nearby local Sumatran villages. Gunung Leuser National Park - a diverse forest and world-famous national park. 
  • The Gunung Leuser National Park contains an immense array of Indonesian flora and fauna, including many endangered animals, such as elephants, orangutans, rhinos, tigers and more besides. Primates are more widespread in the park and it is quite likely that you will encounter the Thomas Leaf Monkey, which sports a crest and white front. The Alas Valley is where most tourists head, particularly to the village of Gurah, where outdoor attractions and countless different jungle trek packages are on offer.
  • Lampuuk / Lhok Nga - popular coastal destinations located on the westerly coast of Aceh, with glorious beaches and simple accommodation.
  • Pulau Simeulue - an isolated island lying approximately 150 km / 93 miles to the west of Tapaktuan, with dense rainforests and coconut plantations. The island of Pulau Simeulue is rarely frequented by tourists, although the surfing opportunities here are renowned, especially at the Baneng Beach Retreat.
  • Pulau Weh - an attractive island, with an interesting village and first-rate beaches, at Iboih and Gapang. Sabang is the main township of Pulau Weh and also serves as a port. Attractions around Sabang come in the form of the Pantai Kasih, the Pantai Paridiso and the Pantai Sumur Tiga beaches. 
  • Tapaktuan - a sleepy and relaxed seaside resort which is located around 200 km / 124 miles to the south of Meulaboh, where it is the principal town within South Aceh. The majority of sights to see in Tapaktuan reside along its coastal road of Jalan Merdeka. Outside of Tapaktuan, innumerable attractions offer themselves to tourists, such as the Kluet part of the Gunung Leuser National Park, the beaches of Pantai Air Dingin and Pantai Tui Lhok, the Dark Cave (Gua Kelam), and the port of Singkil, which is the departure point for the Banyak Islands and Pulau Simeulue.

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