(Part 2): Banda Aceh and Sabang: A Treasure in the Westernmost Part of Indonesia

Dearest readers, happy new year 2015. I do wish this year brings you all joy and sophisticated adventure. As i promised last year *sigh*, i will continue my writing about my trip to Banda Aceh and Sabang. In this part, i will mostly elaborate about my favorite part, the beaches! Do enjoy!

If you notice that we have not mentioned the beaches yet, you got it right, because we want to save the best for last. When we arrived in Sumur Tiga Beach in Sabang, we were totally stunned. We saw a postcard-view quality. White sand beach with very few visitor (less than 10, we believe), not to forget the relaxing coconut trees completed with hammocks to enjoy the view. 10351228_741593719228938_8525495700549757728_n 10325556_741594049228905_7129410859247883115_nIf you want to go to Sumur Tiga Beach, you can rent a minivan from the Balohan Port for IDR50,000. Luckily the cottage we stayed-in had shuttle service and only only 10 meters by the Sumur Tiga beachside.

You know what, i do wish i’d get the chance to spend more time in Sumur Tiga, not just one night like what i did. The beach is glorious and spoiled me intensively with the view. I wish i could just escape there, feeling the sands in my feet and filling my lungs with the fresh air. The cottage itself also should be reviewed. I stayed in Freddies Santai Sumur Tiga. It was perfect from the beginning. Freddie and the staffs made me feel welcome. What i love the most was the breakfast, it was delicious and made by Freddie himself. From the moment i made the reservation until i leave the cottage, i keep telling myself that i will be back, whether with my family or with my love one. The beach, the cottage along with the soothing waves had impressed me deeply.terrace brekkie cottage lobby sunrise 2

Strolling away in Sabang was fun. There are lot of beaches which way less crowded than Bali. We managed to visit Gapang and Iboih Beach. These two beaches are about 45 minutes away from Sumur Tiga Beach. Iboih is well-known for their diverse underwater ecosystem which makes it perfect for diving and snorkeling along with it calm waves. 150722_741602429228067_6710479834413827107_n 1888547_741595922562051_8007415544485389334_n 10801608_741593565895620_3271203258216477303_n 10849979_741597502561893_7843335471803872804_n 10850229_741598225895154_1052627294471963677_n 10850297_741595725895404_980211876910583250_nYou can also find some cottages near the beaches. Make sure you spare your time to enjoy the sunrise/set here.

Since we only have limited time in Banda Aceh and Sabang, we have not explored to the max. But seeing the glimpse of paradise we have experience for 4 days, we would surely return to explore more.

Travel Tips:

  1. If you plan to go to Banda Aceh in November-December, please do make hotel reservation immediately due to room availability.
  2. Please dress properly and for women please get your scarf ready to cover your hair.
  3. Since nature is unpredictable, always check the ferry schedule and the weather, you do not want to miss the ferry, or worst, your flight.

(Part 1): Banda Aceh and Sabang: A Treasure in the Westernmost Part of Indonesia

Saint Augustine once said “the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”, and as a person who religiously followed that statement, I could not say no when there was an offer to explore Banda Aceh.

Banda Aceh is the capital and the largest city of Aceh. It is located in the Sumatera Island, or about 1800 kilometers from Jakarta. Fortunately there are several direct flight to Banda Aceh for 2:45 hours. To maximize the fun, me and my travel buddy, Cerya, decided to take the afternoon flight to Banda Aceh. Sultan Iskandar Muda is a small yet clean airport in Banda Aceh. The only way to go the downtown is by taxi or renting a car. No worries, the taxi tariff is already settled, the one way trip to the downtown will cost you maximum IDR100,000. Luckily, there was airport shuttle facility from our hotel so once we arrived in the airport, we were happily greeted by the hotel driver that we already order.hotel pade

We stayed in The Pade Hotel for 3 nights. Our first impression in the hotel was full of Mediterranean ambiance, especially the building. In Banda Aceh, there are only one four-stars hotel and some three-stars hotels, including The Pade Hotel. Pade itself means paddy in local language, and it is no surprise that in almost public room in the hotel you can find a pot filled with paddy and as an ultimate treat, you can find splendid paddy field view from your balcony.

Both Banda Aceh and Sabang are well-known for its famous landmark. Once we arrived there, we decided to go to PLTD Apung Monument. Located in Punge Village, PLTD Apung once was a ship that serves as a power plant for Banda Aceh people. In late 2004, when the tsunami hit Banda Aceh, the ship was washed from Ulee Lheue Port to the Punge Village (which about 5 kilometers away). Imagining 2600 tonnes weighed ship could easily moved by tsunami wave give us unexplainable chill. Near the ship you can also find the monument and photo gallery as a silent proof when the tsunami came.  In the evening, our driver took us to Baiturrahman Mosque, 10 minutes away from the PLTD Apung. The huge white mosque was built in 1292 and become the symbol of nationalism, struggle, and religious for Acehnese people. Baiturrahman is considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. And when we stepped in into the mosque, we were easily convinced. The architectural detail in the wall and in the ceiling is breathtaking. Every surface is carved with precision, such an masterpiece.inside Baiturahman

When we were in Sabang , we managed to visit Monument 0 Kilometer of Indonesia. Yes, it is a spot to signify the beginning of Indonesia. For quite long time, we had been strive to see how the edge of Indonesia looks like. In front of the monument there are some locals selling souvenirs and traditional food. The view near the monument is spledid, you can see huge cliff where  you can see clear horizon, such a prefect place to enjoy the sunset. What i really like the most from this place is you can also get sertificate as a solid proof that you have been visiting the westernmost part of Indonesia. You can get the certificate for IDR. 30,000 with your name written on it. Uber cool !sertifikat o kilometer

Banda Aceh is extremely rich of their cuisine. For you who fancy culinary will be indulged by the spice explosion all over your taste buds. If you are a noodles lover, of course you should start by the legendary “Mie Aceh”. You can find Mie Aceh almost in every food stall. But I was told to try Mie Aceh Razali, the most well-known Mie Aceh in the city. Since it has several branches, we decided to try the one in the downtown in Panglima Polem street. Well, the place was pretty swarming when we arrived. I ordered Mie Aceh with crab, which seemed to be what they were famous for, and it did met my expectations. The one whole crab was covered with the noodles, showered with tasty broth, completed the enormous portion I had that night. mi kepitingFeeling hungry yet? We also tried “Ayam Tangkap”, another signature dishes from Banda Aceh. Ayam Tangkap is slices of crispy chicken covered by fried leaves such as pandan and turmeric leaves. Overall the combination of those leaves making the Ayam Tangkap have an unique taste and fragrant.

Moving to Sabang, you have to try the octopus satay at least once.  As an island surrounded by the sea, Sabang has privileged to access the seafood. We found the octopus satay in the Taman Wisata Kuliner in Sabang’s downtown. This place is open from 5pm to almost midnight. The satay was cheap yet delicious. We even asked for second round.sate gurita taman wisata kuliner

Visiting Banda Aceh and Sabang will not be legit if you have not tried to sip the glorious Gayo Coffee in the coffee stall all over Banda Aceh. Our driver told me that the rendezvous trend in the coffee stall started in around 2007. The coffee stall is the place where the local people and the tourist blend together enjoying coffee. If you are a coffee intolerant like me, no worries, they also serve teh tarik, a mix of tea and milk which make you crave for more.

Well readers, i hope you are doing well, sorry for the late update, the second part of the story is coming soon. Happy weekend *smooches*