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Banda Aceh

Banda Aceh is a relaxed and charming provincial capital that more than deserves a day or two en route to Pulau Weh.

Given that Banda Aceh bore the brunt of the 2004 tsunami, with 61,000 killed here, and that much of the city had to be rebuilt, it’s little wonder that it looks well maintained and affluent, with broad streets, pavements and parks. The magnificent central mosque – Indonesia's best – still stands as the city's crowning glory, along with the poignant Tsunami Museum.

Banda Aceh is still a fiercely religious city and its ornate mosques are at the centre of daily life. Respectfully dressed visitors (shoulders and knees covered) will find find the Acehnese to be friendly and extremely hospitable.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Banda Aceh.