Sumatra's northernmost province, Aceh is both a fiercely proud and prosperous region. It's blessed with rainforests that feature incredible biodiversity, as well as pristine islands popular with beachgoers, divers and surfers alike. However, over the years, this western tip of the Indonesian archipelago has grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons. Earthquakes, tsunamis, civil war and sharia law are the main associations people have with Sumatra’s northernmost state. With the reconstruction from the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami long completed, post-tsunami Aceh is slowly healing the social wounds incurred by the natural disaster and the previous civil war. Still, while the guns have been laid down and a degree of autonomy has been granted to the province, there are occasional blips on the road to peace, and a prevailing belief in the rest of Sumatra that the people of Aceh are keen to spread their conservative Islamic ways across the whole country.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Aceh.
Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Aceh.