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delfster Banda Aceh - A travel report by Delfster
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Banda Aceh,  Indonesia - flag Indonesia -  Aceh
2914 readers

delfster's travel reports

the dusty window and the hope

  18 votes
There's an old saying in Aceh....
pat na ujeun nyang han pirang,
pat na prang nyang han reuda

**
which means...
there's no rain that doesn't stop,
there's no war that doesn't end

**
there's no wave that doesn't drift back to the sea



the mosque and its guards in arm.
the mosque and its guards in arm.
I always thought that Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport as the most beautiful airport in the world. Well... not sure why... especially with the one storey almost dingy concrete block and just the smallness of it... it's by no mean a fun airport with all the gadgets to keep you busy while waiting. Yet, the window, even when it's dusty... they'll keep you entertained for the most of time.

For some... not so long ago, being in Aceh meant you have the license to be dangerous and cool; to go with the expectation of fearful experiences. So, when you go home, you can tell stories about it; and feel powerful. Just because you've been in a place when bullets shouting is the music of the day.

Yet, there's nothing needed to brag about... It's just a place... with its people... and the history... and the life. But one thing you can be sure off, blue sky is mostly granted to you. So, enjoy and love it.


***
BANDA ACEH: Population: +/- 270.000 (was)

Then it changed. People from every surface of the earth landed here by the end of 2004. The cry for help reaches out... yet, no one really sure what to do.

The coffee stalls on the street near Baiturrahman mosque, the cool bookstores in Pasar Atjeh, and just the life of it... gone flat. Yet, who ever thought that merely a year later, even when things are still flat... a Caswell's tailored coffee shop erected to the once washed out Peunayong. This, off course to cater the coffee drinking habits for anything close to starbucks blend (or, maybe the people of Caswell's can claimed they had better coffee...).

Yet, Banda Aceh is almost the best place for Coffee in any place in the world... cheap-cheap! Just go and compare... a cup of latte with a cup of 'kopi saring' in ulee kareeng. So... welcome to the city with a history of blood and tears, and yet... hope off course.

Favourite spots:
from the top... green hills.
from the top... green hills.
- Sultan Iskandar Muda airport : seriously, just look outside the window and the sight of Seulawah mountains afar.

- The coffee time, just in any coffee shop.

- Baiturrahman mosque, and the view from the minaret.

- The beach. Even with the memory of the big waves, the beach and its sunset... it's worth living for.

- Pasar Atjeh, and the little shops selling books and souvenir

What's really great:
the wave and the flat land
the wave and the flat land
- no one knows what's waiting at the end of the road. the place used to bring that sense of feeling.

- any afternoon in the city... when things started to end, and the pace started to slow down. it's time for good coffee, tasty food, and nice breeze.

- despite the history of conflict... and now the big wave... I met some of the most beloved persons here in this city.

- sunset... sunset... and the blue sky.

Sights:
- the landscape of the city... just go to the top of Baiturrahman mosque tower. The Aceh river, the city, and the sea at the end of the horizon/

- Lhok Nga beach....

- The mountains from the airport.

Accommodations:
the sky, grey before dark.
the sky, grey before dark.
- Hotel Sultan:
Almost the only big hotel left yet, the rennovation took quite a better shape... not that it was luxurious in the first place though.

- Cakradonya Hotel:
Means the Bell Hotel. The room not so big, yet... I can sleep well.

- Kuala Tripa Hotel:
Well... it was the best hotel in town. Now... it is history. The first three levels of the hotel was torn down by the quake. Yet, seriously... this was the best hotel in town.

- Seulawah Hotel:
It's located near the Blang Padang field. Small hotel, not so many room, just adequate facilities, yet a nice feeling to be at and a clear sky if need a transmission signal.

Nightlife:
hhhhmmmmmmmmmmmhhhhh....

well, this place is stricly under Syariah, the ruling of Islamic rules applied... at least. So, there's none such obvious entertainment as 'club' perceived as necessary and decent.

Hangouts:
who needs clubs, when there's mosque :) a beutiful one...
who needs clubs, when there's mosque :) a beutiful one...
hhhhmmmmmmmhhhhh.....

Again... when Alcohol is forbidden. What else the need for a pub.
Yet, since there's so many people from all over the world coming for the reconstruction of Aceh... there are people even applying permit to sell wine to foreigners.
Well again... to cater the people that came and want to perpetuate their way of living... just about at any corner of the world... well, maybe mine also :)

But again, PUBS -- NONE!

Restaurants:
- Restaurants and coffee stall in Ulee Kareeng. They have one of the best coffee, great snacks, and tasty 'nasi lemak'.

- Mie Razali. Noodle stall with aceh spices... hmmmh.

- The food in Rek (well, at least that's how I remember the name)... it's the circle near Hotel Sultan. Open air, good food... it can even be great when you're really hungry.

Other recommendations:
what's left... and gone.
what's left... and gone.
... just remember... this is an account mixed between my memories of the city before the big wave... with a mixture of what i know still left. There are places lost, yet there are new corners built and to be found.

Published on Tuesday December 27th, 2005


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Sat, Jan 07 2006 - 11:18 AM rating by frenchfrog

Really good report, very informative. It nice to see that the town is recovering. Well done.

Tue, Jan 03 2006 - 03:04 PM rating by nedkelly

Awesome Report Delvi, I hope to visit when I make it down that way, I may just go to look out of the windows.... well.... and the beach of course.... and the coffee.......oh.. and the people.......with their smiles... Thanks Delvi GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR8 report!!! :))

Sun, Jan 01 2006 - 11:05 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Beautiful report and fantastic pictures!

Thu, Dec 29 2005 - 06:53 AM rating by marianne

This is a great report. A few years ago we were in Medan, but we advised againt going to Aceh as it was not considered safe. I just read that the rebels struck a deal and hopefully ithe province will be open to visitors.

Marianne

Wed, Dec 28 2005 - 03:45 PM rating by eirekay

Your photos complete the sense of hope amid desolation. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Eire

Wed, Dec 28 2005 - 07:40 AM rating by rangutan

- never heard about the place till now so a fresh new destination. I like the sayings above, so very true. Nicely and briefly written report in memory of the great tsunami 2004? Two pictures might need a referance or credit.

Wed, Dec 28 2005 - 07:26 AM rating by gloriajames

Hi Delvi
My sis recently was in Banda Aceh for relief works and after seeing the pics & video she took, its sad that more work is required before this town can become bustling again with life and activity. Nevertheless, a nice report.

Wed, Dec 28 2005 - 04:38 AM rating by mkrkiran

Excellent report

Wed, Dec 28 2005 - 01:55 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii delvi
i liked ur report
ravi

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