Gayo Highlands Travel Guide

The Gayo Highlands region of Aceh Province in northern Sumatra is about as rural as you can get in Indonesia. It is a high plateau in the center of the province, and while beautiful, it is typified by hard traveling.

Takengon is the main town in the Gayo Highlands, around 250kms southeast of Banda Aceh by road. It features a 26km long mountain lake and many coffee and tobacco plantations. There’s not much to do in Takengon, bar chilling out in the relative luxury of a hotel and boating on the lake.

The journey south toward Blankejeran in the Gayo Highlands is even more bumpy and rural than that of the Banda Aceh to Takengon section. It takes in numerous Gayo villages and stunning landscapes but is tough going due to all the switchbacks, potholes, and slow-moving traffic.

From Blankejeran, visitors can trek to the beautiful Leuser National Park, a 10-day or more roundtrip.

Getting There & Away

The Gayo Highlands are only accessible by road and the main highway (trans-Sumatran highway) heads south from Banda Aceh. Minivans run directly to Takengon, which is the first stop. Journey time is around 8 hours. Banda Aceh is a 2 hour, 40 minute flight from Jakarta, the main international gateway to the country, and an hour’s flight from Medan. Minibuses from Medan take around 5 hours to reach Blankejeran.

Onward Travel

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