Sumatra Eco Tourism


Fly to Singkil from Medan and Banda Aceh...more details

Ferry from Singkil to Pulau Banyak and Simeulue. Now also Singkil – Nias. New schedule!

Get a FREE bulletin of Pulau Weh & Pulau Banyak

Get a FREE Bulletin of Pulau Weh.
Download PDF file here

Get a FREE Bulletin of Pulau Banyak
Download PDF file here

See articles from earlier edition

Watch Videos




Note: Many restaurants are marked with a black R and coffee shops with C in the maps. Those marked with a red R or C, are listed here as they have contributed to the Banda Aceh section of The list of contributors is still very short as we just started setting up the system.

Coffee Culture

Click to enlargeCoffee is the most important social drink in Aceh. Aceh has many nice kinds of coffee, such as Gayo from the central highlands and Ulee Kareung. You can find excellent coffee of both Robusta and Arabica coffee in the shops, but most coffee shops serve Ulee Kareung Robusta coffee as standard. The souvenir shops sell different kinds of coffee to bring home. Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee) is a Sumatran specialty. Jack Nicholson made it famous worldwide by drinking it several times in the movie "The Bucket List". Kopi Luwak is the far most exclusive and expensive coffee available. It is made of red coffee beans being swallowed by the Civet cat and fermented in its stomach, and later been collected by humans. It is available in a few places and can be bought in the souvenir shops.Click to enlarge

The Acehnese coffee culture is very visible. It is hard to find a corner without a traditional coffee shop where the coffee is filtered through a big textile sieve with big movements up and down. In the morning there are always plenty of traditional sweet cakes of all kinds. Many are difficult to resist! If you don’t like your coffee too sweet say "kurang gula" (less sugar) or Tanpa gula (without sugar). Best is maybe to say "No gula!"

The latest trend in Banda Aceh is new fancy huge coffee shops where all the young people hang out. They all have free Wi-Fi (Internet hotspot) and nice coffee. Some play loud music, some show European football on big screens, and some have nice food. Some are popular with elderly government people, some with hip youngsters, some with environmental activists, some with students and so forth. Many bring their laptops and spend long time on-line sipping coffee. The popularity of certain coffee shops change from month to month depending on the whims of the coffee drinkers. Most of them also have big outdoor sections.

Food Stands and Restaurants

There are several types of restaurants, all from “kaki lima”, portable food cart that suddenly appears in late afternoon, to “fancy” Western restaurants. With the arrival of foreign help workers after Tsunami came several Western restaurants. Since then most of the Westerners have moved out and the number of these kind of restaurants has decreased.

The kaki Lima food carts can offer very nice and spicy traditional food, which comes recommended. Many areas open up for these food carts in the evening. In Peunayong, in front of Hotel Medan is the famous Rex. It was once the place of the cinema Rex. After it burnt down people started to sell food and drinks in this place and the name Rex became a synonym in Aceh for an open air eating place with many food carts. The Original Rex was renovated a few years back and unfortunately it lost its original character. However it is still interesting enough for a newcomer in Banda Aceh. Along the nearby road Jl. A Yani is a long row of the food and juice vendors that rejected the renovated Rex. One can find some really nice food here in the evenings. There are plenty of areas with food carts and never far from your hotel.

Click to enlargeAcehnese Food:
The classic Mie Aceh (fried noodle Aceh style). It often comes with squid, crab, egg, or beef. Try out Ayam Tangkap, a spicy chicken fried with different kinds of herbs and leaves. Gule Pli' U is mixed vegetables such as Green Papaya, different kinds of leaves, and assorted vegetables cooked with fermented coconut. Sate Matang is the Acehnese version of sate. The Banda Aceh Tourism Office has published a very nice booklet called Culinary Guide in Banda Aceh. It contains recipes and information on food stuffs, but unfortunately only in Indonesian language. Due to its proximity to the ocean, fresh sea food such as Udang (shrimps), Ikan Bakar (BBQ Fish) or Cumi Cumi (Squid) is never far away either.

Other Sumatran Food:
The famous Minangkabau (or Padang) food from west Sumatra is of course also available in Banda Aceh.

Javanese Food:
Javanese food completes the food map of Banda Aceh. Try Wong Solo.

Chinese Food:
Banda Aceh has an old and well-established Chinese population. Most of them live in Peunayong, north and east of the river around Jl. T. Polem. Most Chinese restaurants can be found in Jl. Kartini, near the Rex.

Western Food:
Several American Fast-food chains have invaded Banda Aceh; KFC, A & W, and Pizza hut. There are however also restaurants for those of you that fancy something more European and not so fast, such as Cafe Bohnen, La Piaza and the Steak House.

Fresh Fruit Juices:
Nowhere in Indonesia is there such a big selection of fresh fruit juices. Try Terong Belanda (Tamarillo or Tree Tomato), Marquisa (Passion fruit, the yellow version), Sirsak (Soursop), Nangka (Jack-fruit), Jeruk Nipis (Lime), Nanas (Pineapple), Alpokat (Avocado, often with chocolate and condensed milk), Wortel (carrot) or a combination. Try for example “Martabe” a very popular mix of Tamarillo and Passion Fruit. If you don’t like it too sweet say “kurang gula” (less sugar) or Tanpa gula (without sugar).





Pulau Weh Pulo Aceh Banda Aceh Singkil Kuala Baru Tangkahan
Lhoknga & Lampuuk Bukit Lawang Tongging Simeulue Pulau Banyak
Facts About AcehClimate & WildlifeHistoryIslam In AcehLanguages & DictionaryFruits in Sumatra
PreparationsYour HealthIn the JungleIn the WaterImmigration & PoliceCommunication & MoneyEtiquette & Useful Tips
About This Web PortalContact UsUseful Links Bulletin & Article ArchiveVideo ClipsSite Map & UpdatesSumatra
Copyright © 2006-2017 All rights reserved.