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  • Ayu Ulya

5 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Updated: Jun 2

To travel is to invest in yourself. The more places you will go, the more that you will know. However, traveling outside of your country or city is not the only thing that helps you grow.

Having fun in the heat of Banda Aceh
Having fun in the heat of Banda Aceh

Welcoming and guiding travelers from around the world who come to visit your city or country will spark some joy of traveling too. At least, that's what I have experienced as a tour guide for several years.


Welcoming and accompanying new people who visit your place will make you realize how uncommon common things are in your daily life. The activities you are so sure are just routine, and perhaps seem boring to you, could turn out to be surprising for newcomers.


A traveler I guided around my city was impressed because he continuously received smiles from the surrounding community. They didn't even know each other. For him, it was a memorable moment. I'm so used to being around friendly and smiling people that I sometimes forget how precious a smile and greeting is.


I had so many surprising messages and questions during my job as a tour guide around Aceh. Especially Banda Aceh. Therefore, making sure you feel at home when coming to my city, here are 5 things you should know before visiting Banda Aceh.

1. Be Aware of Hot Weather

As one of the cities in Indonesia, Banda Aceh is a tropical region. Warm weather, summer breeze, and lush green trees can be good news for some travelers. However, my foreign friend who once visited confided that sometimes the weather of Banda Aceh “kills” them.


The weather is so hot. Sometimes it can reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, I suggest keeping yourself safe and hydrated. So, bring along sunglasses, tropical skincare, cotton clothes, and drinking water while visiting Banda Aceh.


2. Cash is A Must

Banda Aceh is one of the biggest cities in the Aceh Province. There are several malls and shopping centers located there. These modern markets allow you to transact using a debit card or credit card. But the uniqueness of Banda Aceh is best seen when you visit its traditional shopping center. It's a good idea to bring along some cash with you when traveling there.


This way, you don't lose momentum if you want to taste special foods or bring home unique souvenirs.

Cash is a must when shopping the local markets of Banda Aceh
Cash is a must when shopping the local markets of Banda Aceh

3. A Cultural Dress Code

Although most of the Banda Aceh people are Muslim, the city provides other houses of worship for various religions. From churches, temples, even monasteries, the freedom of worship for every religious community is guaranteed in Banda Aceh.


Nevertheless, let me tell you a little secret. If you are not a Muslim woman, you are not required to wear the hijab unless you want to visit the mosque. You just need to dress comfortably and politely. Wear clothes that are not tight and not see-through.


Showing off your chest, thighs, and calves are considered an inappropriate act. That applies to both men and women. Oh yeah, for swimwear in public spaces, you can choose a burkini. For private places, you can wear whatever you wish.

On duty as a tour guide in Banda Aceh
On duty as a tour guide in Banda Aceh

4. Halal Food and Drink

Besides being popular as the "Veranda of Mecca", Aceh is well known for its delicious and halal food. Halal means something allowed to be consumed. Halal also means the basic ingredients of the food/drink are good and the effect on the body is also good.


It is easy to find halal food and drink almost everywhere in Aceh. On the other hand, haram (forbidden) food and drink—such as beer, alcohol, pork—are rare in Aceh.


This also applies to food in Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province. However, trust me, halal food and drink in Banda Aceh won't bore you. In fact, the food could make you fall in love. So, be ready.

Seafood is a Halal staple of Banda Aceh
Seafood is a Halal staple of Banda Aceh

5. Riding Skills are a Plus

There are several kinds of transportation that can be used in Banda Aceh. From the public buses, labi-labi, becak, rental cars, and motorbikes. If you are a typical person who likes to explore small streets, alleys, and villages, then having the skills to ride a motorbike will be very helpful.


Public transportation and online rentals have limitations. There is cheap public transportation, but the bus stop’s location is still limited. There are rental transportations that are easy to access but will drain you financially.


So, if you have good skills to ride a motorbike, you can rent it for several days, even months. Therefore, you can enjoy Banda Aceh freely at an affordable price.

Motorbikes are a cheap and easy way to get around Banda Aceh
Motorbikes are a cheap and easy way to get around Banda Aceh

Hopefully, these tips will help with the preparation for your trip to Banda Aceh and will make your trip smoother and more memorable. I am looking forward to meeting you soon.

 

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