Established in 1943, Banda Aceh International Airport (also known as Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport, after the twelfth sultan of Aceh province) serves the city of Banda Aceh, capital and largest city of the Indonesian province of Aceh on Sumatra island. The airport is located less than 15 kilometres from the city and offers flights to Indonesian cities like Jakarta and Medan, as well as nearby international destinations such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Jeddah during the Hajj pilgrimage period.
Banda Aceh International is served by domestic air carriers like Lion Air, Garuda Indonesia and Susi Air, along with regional airlines AirAsia and Firefly. The airport handles about 1 million passengers yearly.
To get from Banda Aceh Airport to the city, one can grab a cab direct from outside the terminal to their destination within Banda Aceh. The distance between airport and city isn’t unduly far, and taxi fares are relatively inexpensive. Otherwise, a bus is also available to help travelers make that commute to the Banda Aceh City Centre.
If you’re in Banda Aceh, you can’t miss a visit to the Masjid Raya Baiturrahman, a magnificent display of architectural brilliance. Consisting of a black-domed mosque adorned with pure white walls, the Masjid Raya Baiturrahman was built in 1879 as a replacement by the then-Dutch colonial powers for another mosque that had burned down during their attack on the city. Subsequently, multiple new domes were added over years of renovations. Featuring ornamental pillars, graceful arches and a sparkling reflective pool, the Masjid Raya Baiturrahman is an icon of Banda Aceh that represents the religion and culture of the Acehnese people. The pride of the city, the mosque is a truly spectacular sight to behold at any time of day. Do note that female tourists wanting to enter the mosque should cover their heads with a scarf.
Next must-see in Banda Aceh is the city’s renowned Aceh Tsunami Museum, built to commemorate the victims and events of the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and earthquake that had destroyed much of the city, along with neighboring countries like Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, and Somalia. Though it’s a sobering experience, the tsunami represented an essential part of the city’s history and is woven into the tapestry of its past. Witness the devastating effects of nature up close and personal, with authentic images and videos in the museum of the massive walls of water that pummeled the city and left hundreds of thousands of people dead, injured or homeless. At the same time, marvel at the city’s resilience and its ability to bounce back after the tragedy, becoming stronger in the process and learning from their past mistakes.
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