Assalammualaikum! Welcome to Aceh!
Centuries ago Aceh was a prominent port of call for Chinese, Indian, European and Arab traders. In fact, its capital city, Banda Aceh, derives its name from the Persian word ‘Bandar' which means ‘port' or ‘haven'. This vibrant "Free Trade Zone of yore", is credited with ushering in and spreading Islam in South East Asia. It is therefore also called "The Port to Mecca".
Even today, despite diverse external influences, Aceh remains predominantly an Islamic nation.
Aceh (Ah - Chay), lies to the northern tip of Sumatra. Officially called Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), it is a special territory of Indonesia. Aceh is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Malacca Straits and the North Sumatra province. It has a rich and enduring legacy as the Gateway to South East Asia, and is known to be the first region of Indonesia to have come in contact with the outside world.
Aceh is rich in natural resources, with sizeable deposits of coal, oil and gas, which are responsible for generating a major portion of its national income. Exports of fisheries and, forestry and plantation products like wood, palm oil, rubber, coconut and coffee contribute another sizeable chunk to the national income.
Last but not least, Aceh also generates income from tourism. With beaches, lakes, plantations, forests and historical monuments, Aceh makes an interesting getaway with a long list of exciting things to see and do and tours to enjoy.
Aceh shot into prominence with the tsunami of December 2004, as it was closest to the epicentre of the quake in the Indian Ocean. Over 170,000 people were feared dead, almost 500,000 were rendered homeless and its capital Banda Aceh lay shattered and in ruins. Almost 2000 bridges collapsed. More than 1500km of roads were destroyed. Aceh was almost cut off from civilization, although fortunately not wiped off the face of the earth!
The people of Aceh are resilient. They are known to guard their independence fiercely, whether from the onslaught of the Dutch colonial powers of yesteryear, the Indonesian government, or even the tsunamis and earthquakes.
Fuelled by an old Acehnese saying that there is no rain that does not stop, no war that does not end and no wave that does not drift back into the sea, Aceh has risen again to put itself together and go on, with the accent clearly on rebuilding Aceh's tourism sector. Every tourist can therefore be considered an architect of Aceh's reconstruction.
Hermes Palace is the first international four star hotel in Banda Aceh. (more info) [more info]
A business hotel in the heart of Banda Aceh, catering mainly to business travellers. The hotel has undergone reconstruction work and most rooms are now ready to receive guests.
Among the list of guests who have visited the hotel is Bill Clinton, who came to Aceh to witness the devastation of the tsunami. His picture with the proud owner takes pride of place in the hotel's lobby. (more info)[more info]
Famous among expatriate tsunami reconstruction staff, the guesthouse offers modern, comfortable lodgings amidst quiet surroundings. Rooms are equipped with WiFi internet connection (at an extra charge), cable TV, fridge, dressing table and a writing desk.
Located in the corner of Banda Aceh (20 minutes drive to city centre, 15 minutes to airport), the guesthouse offers good value and service.(more info) [more info]
Situated on the shore, in the middle of lush greenery, Leguna offers a tranquil atmosphere overlooking Gapang beach. The wooden cottages on stilts provide simple accommodation with Indonesian-style bathroom and toilet facilities. The beachfront cottages are the favoured ones. (more info) [more info]
Assalammualaikum! Welcome to Aceh!
Meet Totok Julianto and the team at Banda Perdana Tour & Travel (BP Travel), your local connection in Aceh. We are proud to be the first independent traveller service in the region, and also to be a bridge between the West, and the local guesthouses and tour operators in Aceh. We have been heavily involved in trying to rebuild tourism in Aceh since the 2004 tsunami, and encourage anyone considering it to come visit us, in order to see the beauty of Aceh and the friendliness and powerful spirit of the Acehnese people.[more]