ACEH Tourism – Aceh is a special territory of Indonesia, this position is the same as Jakarta and Yogyakarta. Aceh was located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Aceh’s full name is Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam.
Banda Aceh is the provincial capital and largest city of Aceh. Banda Aceh is a city which was established on April 22, 1205 by Sultan Alaidin Johansyah, is one of the oldest Islamic city in the South-East of Asia. The population was approximately around 500,000 peoples in 2007.
The prior city name was Kutaraja, determined as the provincial capital in 1956. Later its name was changed into Banda Aceh, where the first part of its name comes from the Persian Bandar and means “port” or “haven”. It is also proudly referred to as the “port to Meccah”, as Islam first arrived in Aceh and spread throughout Southeast Asia.
In the early seventeenth century the Sultanate of Aceh was the most wealthy, powerful and cultivated state in the Malacca Straits region. Aceh has a history of political independence and fierce resistance to control by outsiders, including the former Dutch colonists and the Indonesian government.
Aceh has substantial natural resources, including oil and gas – some estimates put Aceh gas reserves as being the largest in the world. Relative to most of Indonesia, it is a religiously conservative area.
Until December 26, 2004, Banda Aceh was a relatively a little known town. On that day the Indian Ocean earthquake struck off the western coast of Sumatra.
Banda Aceh was the closest major city to the earthquake’s epicenter, and suffered further damage when a tsunami struck shortly afterwards. It was the worst hit area out of all the locations hit. 130,000 people died and many more were injured. 3 and a half Years after tsunami , a small number of people are still living in barrack-style temporary living centers (TLC) or tents. Reconstruction is visible everywhere, that a great thing for aceh people.
Still a little people knows that Aceh is rich of events, attraction and unique cultures that it can be fascinate anyone. Aceh is also rich in natural beauty, waves and sea garden which is suitable for diving. Some of most beautiful Aceh tourism and historical sites and beaches have been damaged by the massive earthquake and Dec ‘04 Tsunami but peoples there take care of their beautiful places.
This province which is also known as “Porch of Mecca” (Serambi Mekkah) has various coastal attractions, handicrafts and various coastal attractions, handicrafts and nature tourism. Besides that, You can also enjoy spiritual tourism and family tourism. The Government of Aceh wants to change the image that the tour is interesting not only on the beach or other beauty nature places but also spiritual sites and family attractions that can provide insight and spiritual values.
Some of nature interesting place are Lhok Nga beach, Ujung Bhate beach, Rencong handicrafts, hot spring water, etc. Spiritual and family tourism such as Indragiri Citadel Mosque (one of the oldest mosque in Aceh), tomb of Admiral Malahayati, Teuku Cik Ditiro tombs, etc.
Below is the list of interesting places in Aceh
1. Museum Negeri. The museum is filled with antiques. Among the exhibits is a big clock, a gift from the Emperor of China and brought to Aceh by the famed Admiral Cheng Ho in 1414. Museum Aceh There is a museum in Banda Aceh located near the Governor’s residence. The main building of the Museum is a house built in a traditional style by the Dutch Governor Van Swart in 1914. The museum is filled with antiques, and among the exhibits a big bell Cakra Donya a gift from the Emperor of China conveyed by Admiral Cheng Ho in 1414. On the bell can be found a Chinese script, Sing Fang Niat Toeng Juut Kat, no one knows what it really means.
2. Gunongan, Gunong means mountain in Acehnese, is a man made miniature mountain built by Sultan Iskandar Muda. This was a gift of Sultan Iskandar Muda to his wife, Putro Phang who came from Malaysia. This building likely functioned as an important recreational peace for the Queen and other royal family members to climb. Gunongan is one of the most historical building in Aceh. Situated in Teuku Umar street, located in the Taman Sari Park ,opposite of the Dutch graveyard, Gunongan survived earthquake and tsunami. On the plague planted in front of the building, it said that the year of the construction was 1607.
You are allowed to climb, but you need to contact the guard, to open the door The view from the top is nice. It is nice to walk around the building, get higher and higher. It is quite enjoyable to visit this place during the late afternoon or sunset. I couldn’t help myself to try to figure out how was the view of Banda Aceh in 1607. And how was the queen manage to climb the miniature of the mountain. It was an exciting thought.
3. Pinto Khop which are located at a few steps from the Pendopo are also charms of the city. Gunongan was erected around the 16th century during the reign of Sultan Iskandar Muda.
4. The Great of Baiturrahman Mosque is the main feature of Banda Aceh today. Lying at the heart of the city completed with excellent architectural style, this mosque is really one of Indonesia prime tourism sides. The Mosque was built during the REIGNs of Sultan Iskandar Muda (1607-1636) and had caught fire several time including when the Dutch attacked Kutaraja (Banda Aceh) in 1873. Another mosque to replace the former one was later built by Dutch Military Government that was completed in 1883. The Mosque is extra ordinary in architecture and ornamentation. It has five onion shaped domes, two tall minerattes, wide white walls, and around is pillars various kinds of beautiful ornament.
5. Kerkhof or Churchyard is a much visited site especially by Dutch visitors. War Memorial of Kerkoff Peucut Kerkoff is the burial place of the soldiers who died in the Acehnese War. About 2,200 soldiers were buried in this graveyard including the General Kohler. Their names, where and when they died can seen at the gateway to the Kerkoff.
Aceh Besar / Jantho
1. Cut Nyak Dhien House. The house is a replica of the heroine Cut Nyak Dhien House, from the Aceh War. The house was burnt down by the colonial forces but a replica was built later. This house in Lam Pisang, about 6 kilometers from Banda Aceh, is now a museum.
2. Lhoknga Beach, White sandy beaches and charming and beautiful view, especially for enjoying the sunset. Lhok Nga is used to be frequented by many surfers from arround the world during the winter months. It’s a long white sand beaches, and still famous place to be visited even after Tsunami. Lhoknga beach can be reached by bus, mini buses or taxis, about 17 km from Banda Aceh to Meulaboh directions. It takes around 20 minutes from the city. You’ll find rice field on the way to Lhok Nga…. the new chapter of Aceh has been start, the new beginning of beauty and new life in Aceh after the tsunami.
3. Lumpuuk Beach, Lumpuuk beach used to be a popular beach. Calm water and overlook the nearby cliff island, it’s just beautiful. There is also cave hidden on the hill rock.
Although the situation is much different now, but still, it’s still interesting place to see. Lumpuuk is situated near Lhonga beach.
4. Ujung Batee Beach, Ujung Bate is a black sand beach nice for walking and collecting seashells. The beach is decorated with pine trees. It is nice to go picnic, enjoy the shade under pine trees overlooking the beach and swayed by the waves.
Sabang (Pulau Weh), Sabang island has gorgeous beaches and spot for diving. Virging Iboih forrest with beautiful waterfalls and Keuneukai hotspring. This beautiful island on the most western tip, is where the measurement of geographical of Indonesia starts. The zero kilometer sign is situated in the island. Sabang is also a famous place for weekenders from Banda Aceh. The island is a gorgeous spot for snorkelling and diving. It has beautiful beaches with beautiful coral reefs. I hope I am not too boasting by saying Sabang is heaven for the divers. There are diving operators in Sabang.
A famous spot for diving is Iboih, Rubiah island and Gapang. The facilities in Sabang are simple and modest. Moderate class is found in Gapang. There are cottages with AC and attached bathroom. Cottages in Iboih are much simpler. Bring your own sleeping bag If you don’t dare to lay down in the thin mattress. The price is considerably cheap. Breakfast is rarely included. From Banda Aceh, it is recommended to take speedboat from Ulee Lheu. It only takes 45 minute with cost of Rp 60,000. If you are heading to Gapang or Iboih, you can take public transportation ( L-300 minibus stuffed with passangers). The cost is around 40,000 to 50,000 with travelling hours around 1 hour.
Aceh Utara / Lhokseumawe
Lhokseumawe is a town located 274 km from Banda Aceh which is now being developed as an industrial zone. Many gigantic plants are constructed following the discovery of huge LNG resources in the area. Touristic features of the town is a.o. Samudera Pasai. It was the first great Islamic kingdom of Indonesia. All that remains of it, however, is a graveyard 18 km east of the town. One of the graves belongs to Malikussaleh, as Samudera Pasai’s first king. Other objects for visitors at Lhoksuawe city are Blang Kolam Falls and Ujung Blang beach
Aceh Tengah / Takengon
1. Takengon, Takengon is a town located in the central area of Aceh. It is being promoted as a tourist resort since its temperature is about 2O degree C (68F), cool enough for a holiday resort. The main feature of the town is Lake Laut Tawar. It is a pleasantly cool holiday resort, at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. Central Aceh is one of Sumatra’s foremost producers of high-quality coffee. A warm water pool at Simpang Balik, Loyang Koro and Loyang Pukes caves by the side of Laut Tawar are also interesting objects.
2. Lake Laut Tawar, Located near Takengon, in the highlands of Cental Aceh, is very scenic. It has soaring cliffs around the shore which are ideal for rock climbing. The lake is also stocked with trout. There are warm water pools at Simpang Balik. Many caves dot the lake’s surroundings, Loyang Koro and Loyang Pukes caves by the side of Lake Laut Tawar are interesting to explore. Motorboats can be hired for fishing and sightseeing.
Aceh Tenggara / Kutacane
1.The Leuser National Park of Gunung Leuser is probably the wildest in Indonesia, located in Southeast Aceh, can be reached from either Kutacane, or Takengon. This magnificent national park has a wealth of flora and fauna. The park also has research facilities for the study of primates, birds, insects, and other animals. Basic accommodation facilities are available at Ketambe. The rapids-infested Krueng Alas river inside the park is popular with rafters.
2. Alas River, The Alas River, 165 km southeast from Takengon, cuts through the Gunung Leuser National Park. This area is especially popular among the young and adventurous. The sharp bends and many rapids are challenging to white-water rafters.
Simeulue is beautiful. although many places are not enjoyable for swimming because of its reefs. Most of beautiful beaches are found in Salang and Alafan sub-district. Simeulue is surrounded by small islands. There are surprisingly people living in some of those islands. As Simeulue has reefs around the island, this is a perfect place for lobster, shrimp and crabs. When you visit Simelue, your visit is not completed without having a plate of lobster.
Sambai village (Teluk Dalam sub-district) is recommended favorite palce to get fresh lobster. Although you can’t expect lobster to be cooked, you can buy lobster as much as you like, then take it to near small restaurant stalls and have them cooked for you. Although the wave is not as dramatic as in Nias island, not too bad areas for surfing. In Teupah Barat and Teupah Selatan, there are places nice for surfing. There is also one well-known resort name Willy’s Resort (in Busung village) which is known among the surfers.
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