Banda Aceh is best known for the tragic 2004 tsunami that wreaked devastating havoc to the tip of Northwest Sumatra. The irony was that the natural disaster resulted in an unexpected resolution in peace talks between the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian government.
Many years later, the impact from the tsunami is still evident, but so is the progress. The locals have worked hard to rebuild their community and many NGOs are also involved in rebuilding homes and businesses. Visiting Banda Aceh is educational and a reminder of the fragility of humans in the face of Mother Nature. Many of the locals saved memories, from photos to landmarks, as a reminder of the event.
Photographs showing the aftermath of the tsunami reveal how many lives were lost and how much the terrain was altered in 2004. Don't let the fact that Banda Aceh was hit by a tsunami deter you from visiting. If anything, the quickly evolving terrain is fascinating to witness. Tourism helps the economy and, for divers, there is remarkable diving in nearby Pulau Weh.
Highlights from Banda Aceh
- Try the local Acehnese Black Coffee--strong and tasty--this is the preferred drink to liquor due to Shariah law
- Take the Tsunami Tour to visit various monuments dedicated to the 2004 tsunami
- You can juxtapose the modern Hermes Palace mall in the city centre with the local market vendors selling produce and meat.
- Nearby destinations to check out include the secluded beaches of Pulau Weh aka Sabang
Hints and Tips for Banda Aceh