Aceh Province occupies the northwest tip of Sumatra in the extreme northwest of Indonesia. Many tourists skip over Aceh due to its remoteness and past troubles although there are many highlights.

Coastal Aceh bore the brunt of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which swept through towns and villages killing thousands. Things have recovered to an extent and the snorkeling and diving on the island of Sabang, off the northwest tip, is good. It’s an hour away from Banda Aceh by ferry.

Banda Aceh is the capital and main town of Aceh Province and sits right up on the tip of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island. Other popular Aceh towns include Lokhseumawe in the north, Meulaboh in the west, and Calang in the northwest. There are fine beaches all over Aceh, yet getting to them can be a problem.

Popular Aceh highlights include the Baiturrachman Great Mosque in Banda Aceh, Leuser National Park, home of the Sumatran tiger and rhinos, and the inspiring trekking, mountain biking and surfing opportunities.

The best time to visit the most westerly province in Indonesia is April through September in the dry season. Visitors should note that Aceh Province is governed by Sharia law, meaning moderate dress and behavior is a must.

Banda Aceh Airport is a 2 hour, 40 minute flight from Jakarta and also receives direct flights from Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. There are other airports in Aceh Province but flights are generally routed through Medan. Boat travel to Aceh Province from Malaysia goes via Medan’s port in North Sumatra and buses also come up from there, 100kms from the Aceh border.

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