Banda Aceh in Sumatra: Getting there & Getting around

Everything you need to know about getting to Banda Aceh. Read everything on how to get around and rent a motorbike!

How to get to Banda Aceh?

First of all: Welcome to Banda Aceh! It’s an amazing place to explore. Let’s talk about the transportation details. Travelling to and from Banda Aceh is very convenient, there are several options either by bus or by plane. 

Travelling to Banda Aceh by Plane: The airport of Banda Aceh is an international airport and has daily flights to and from Kuala Lumpur as well as several national options all over Indonesia.

Domestic Flights

From Jakarta (CGK) direct flights to Banda Aceh (BTJ) by Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia. From Medan (KNO) direct flights to Banda Aceh (BTJ) by Lion Air and Garuda Indonesia.

International Flights to Banda Aceh from Malaysia

From Kuala Lumpur  (KUL) to Banda Aceh (BTJ) daily Air Asia direct flights. From Penang (PEN) to Banda Aceh (BTJ) direct flights with Firefly airlines.

International Flights to Banda Aceh from Singapore

There are no direct flights from Singapore to Banda Aceh. Fly to Medan, Kuala Lumpur or Penang and later to Banda Aceh.

Travelling to Banda Aceh by Bus

From Medan to Banda Aceh: There is a very good bus network from Medan to Banda Aceh. They busses run every hour, starting in the morning around 6 AM and the last bus leaves around 11 PM or 12 AM – depending on the operator. The journey is quite a trip – it lasts around 12-15 hours.  The prices vary and simply depend on the comfort you like and the operator you choose. Here an example of Bus Sempati Star.

Medan – Banda Aceh

  • Double Decker: Rp 250,000, First Class Rp 430,000 
  • Super VIP High Decker: Rp 230.000, 
  • Non Stop: Rp 250.000 (Mercedes Benz), Rp 270.000 (Scania) 
  • Super VIP: Rp 210.000 
  • Patas VIP: Rp 190.000, Rp 200.000 (Scania) 
  • Super Executive: Rp 180.000 
  • Patas Executive: Rp 170,000

A great website to book your ticket is Easybook or Traveloka. You can also just go to the bus terminal and get your ticket the old fashioned way.

How to get around in Banda Aceh?

Welcome to Banda Aceh: The main methods of getting around here in the area are becak (motorbike taxis) and labi-labi (public minibus).

Prices of transportation in Banda Aceh are quite high compared to the cost of living.

Example becak fares are:

Prices from the Banda Aceh airport to the ferry pier: 70.000 IDR

From Lhongka Beach to the ferry pier: 70.000 IDR

From Banda Aceh to Lhongka Beach: 100.000 IDR

A cheap and easy going alternative is the Grab App

Simply book your driver (car / motorbike) via your phone and get from A to B for the lowest fairs. Depending on the destination you might end up paying only 1/3 of the prices mentioned above. To use this service you need to have an Indonesian simcard and also a few words of Bahasa Indonesia won’t hurt since most of the locals don’t speak English (the ones not working in tourism!).

Renting a motorbike in Aceh

The city center of Banda Aceh is very busy. Therefore, we only recommend renting a motorbike when you are used to driving a scooter and when you are used to the crazy traffic in Indonesia. Renting a scooter costs 100.000 IDR per day. Simply ask at the reception of your hotel or the host of your guesthouse and they will be happy to assist you. Make sure to read the 101 driving rules in Indonesia before jumping on your motorbike!

What else do you need to know about the Aceh area?

More insights & tipps about Pulau Weh

Everything you need to know: MUST READ about before travelling to Pulau Weh in Sumatra

Transportation in Sumatra: How to get to Pulau Weh and how to get around?

What about an catching some waves? Explore the stunning beaches and waves of Lampuuk & Lhoknga Beach!

An island full of magic: Explore the best things to do on Pulau Weh! 

Magic under Water: Explore the underwater world of Pulau Weh and find the best Dive Sites! 

Other questions you might have when travelling to Aceh Region

In general speaking North Sumatra with it’s region Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh is very safe. Follow the dresscode and don’t stay out late. Normal awareness when travelling applies here in Banda Aceh and Sumatra. Locals are very friendly. When travelling to rural areas they might stare a bit at you, but that’s just because they are fascinated. Simply give them a smile!

Dress code: The region of Aceh, so also Pulau Weh, is under the Sharia Law. While in Banda Aceh this is more strict, on Pulau Weh it’s very easy going. At some public beaches you are not allowed to swim in your bikini but most of the accommodations have a private beach access where it’s absolutely fine to wear a bikini. On the streets it’s highly recommended to cover your shoulders, elbows and knees. Even though you might see some tourists wearing hot pants and shorts we advice you to not wear this.While being in Aceh, make sure to wear long sleeves and cover (at least) your elbows and knees. As a woman it’s highly recommended to wear a sarong. Respect the culture and simply dress accordingly. We are all tourists on this world and guests in their country. 

Learn everything about wifi, ATM’s, getting around and the dress code for Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh. MUST READS before travelling to Banda Aceh & Pulau Weh!

Pulau Weh: Pulau Weh, an island north of Sumatra with Kilometer 0 of Indonesia is a great getaway for snorkelling and diving lovers. Explore the stunning underwater world, white sand beaches, waterfalls. Explore the areas if Iboih, Sumur Tiga, Sabang, Sukarkarya, Gua Sarang and much more.

Iboih: Iboih is a little village right at the shore with most accommodation in the cliffs. Meet some people there, travel on a shoestring and get some world class diving and snorkelling for every budget.

Sumur Tiga: The area of Sumur Tiga has a beautiful white sand beach, nice coral for snorkelling and is only a stone throw away of Pulau Weh’s attraction Japanese Fortress. Close to the Balohan Harbour on Pulau Weh.

Sabang: Sabang is a city consisting of a main island and some islands off the northern tip of Sumatra. The islands form a city within Aceh Special Region, Indonesia.

Sukarkarya: Sukarkarya is the name of the North West region of Pulau Weh in Sumatra. This includes Iboih with it’s nice snorkelling and diving as well as Long Beach and Kilometer 0 – The north point of Indonesia.

Gua Sarang: Gua means cave. Gua Sarang is actually a sightseeing spot. The Sarang Cafe comes with a panoramic view of the blue sea, trekking activities, snorkeling, and cruising the cave into a bird’s nest. Magic on Pulau Weh in North Sumatra!

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You have any questions, ideas & tipps about Pulau Weh? Simply ask us in the comments!

2 comments

  1. Dave

    Hello. Is there a bus or coach or private car that can take us from Medan Airport to Banda Aceh in the same day? Our flight arrives in Medan at 0800. The easy book site you linked to suggests there are only evening services? The other link you provide on this page does not work? Thanks.

    1. Astrella Decembrica

      Hi Dave,
      When you arrive to Medan Airport, you can easily find a driver with private car that will take you to Banda Aceh. About the bus, so sorry about the link! We will update it. But don’t worry we have other alternative where you can book it online, try Traveloka: https://www.traveloka.com/en/tiket-bus-travel

      Let me know if you have further questions 🙂

      Regards,
      Homesweethome.travel Team

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