Banda Aceh Travel Guide

Banda Aceh is the capital of Aceh Province, northern Sumatra, and one of the island’s main attractions. It sits right up on the tip of Aceh and is best visited by plane.

There are plenty of historical sights to see in Banda Aceh that still stand after the tsunami swept through in 2004. The main highlight is the dazzling Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman mosque. It features white walls and huge black domes and was rebuilt by the Dutch in 1879.

Tsunami monuments are all about Banda Aceh and so-called tsunami tours are popular. All sorts of boats and monuments dot the town and countryside, including the Fisherman’s Boat which was boarded by dozens as the waters swept in. The Tsunami Monument and Garden is situated by another ship that was dragged five kilometers inland.

There are plenty of markets and souvenir shops in town and along the coast are stunning beaches. Lhoknga Beach is 17kms away and is good for surfing, as is

Lampuuk Beach. Sabang Island is an hour from Banda Aceh by ferry and is a popular snorkeling spot.

Getting There & Away

Flights land at Banda Aceh Airport from Jakarta (2 hours, 40 minutes) as well as from Medan, North Sumatra, within the hour. Banda Aceh is about 12 hours by bus from Medan.

Things to Do

Banda Aceh Attractions

Mesjid Raya Baiturrahman

Banda aceh’s main mosque is the finest building in town.

Banda Aceh tsunami tours

Taking in the various icons and monuments attributed to the tsunami, these tours are popular with visitors.

Side trips from Banda Aceh

Sabang Island

Lying an hour or so by ferry off the coast, this island is a laid-back tourist destination with great beaches and snorkeling.