Banda Aceh BTJ (Sultan Iskandarmuda)
Best fares, airport info, and general guidelines
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Banda Aceh airport info
Sultan Iskandarmuda Airport in Banda Aceh is named after the twelfth sultan of Aceh, Iskandar Muda. Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air airlines fly daily between Banda Aceh and either Medan (a one-hour trip) or Jakarta (a 2 hour 40 minute trip). Garuda has three daily flights from Jakarta and two daily flights from Medan. Lion Air has two daily flights from Jakarta and one from Medan. The Jakarta-Banda Aceh direct flight on Garuda takes 2 hrs 40 mins on a Boeing 737, although it is often changed to stopover at Medan without warning. AirAsia airlines provides daily flights from Kuala Lumpur.
Foreigners no longer require a travel permit to enter Aceh, but an Indonesian visa is required. It is possible to get a 30 day visa-on-arrival at Banda Aceh Airport, the embassy in KL can also process the visa in the same day if you complete all the paperwork before noon.
Departure tax at Banda Aceh airport
When flying within Indonesia, everyone must pay a departure tax that may vary from airport to airport. At Banda Aceh the departure tax for domestic flights is Rp. 25,000. Make sure you have this amount in Rupiahs as the departure tax must be paid at the airport before you proceed to the departures area.
Transport to and from the airport
Airport taxis charge a set rate of Rp 70,000 for the 16km ride into the town. A taxi from the airport to Uleh-leh port will cost Rp 100,000. Labi-labi are the main form of transport around town and cost Rp1500.
Airports near Banda Aceh
The following airports are very close to Banda Aceh. As prices can differ remarkably you may want to check flights to these airports. Then, in case of finding a good fare, catch a bus, boat or train to your destination city.
Airlines which serve Banda Aceh airport
|Lion air||Ambon, Jakarta, Ende, Yogyakarta, Medan, Makassar,|
Banda Aceh city info
Banda Aceh is the provincial capital and the largest city of Aceh province in the island of Sumatra, Indonesia with the approximate population of 260,000. Banda Aceh is located at the northwestern tip of Indonesia at the mouth of the River Krueng Aceh.
Kutaraja is the original name of the city, where Raja means "City of the King" - in reference to the founding of the Aceh Sultanate from Champa origins. Its name was changed to Banda Aceh - the "Banda" part comes from the Persian bandar, which means "port" or "haven". It is also proudly referred to as the "port to Mecca", as Islam first arrived in Aceh before spreading throughout Southeast Asia.
Banda Aceh suffered greatly from the earthquake of magnitude 9.3 on December 24, 2004, and then even more damages were done when a tsunami struck shortly afterwards. The earthquake and the tsunami claimed 167,000 lives and many more were injured, some parts of the city became permanently submerged. It's possible to go on a "Tsunami Tour", as there are many boats still inland and other monuments devoted to that devastating day in 2004.
Although Banda Aceh is nowadays safer than most European cities, it's best to not go out alone after 10pm. Because Sharia law is enforced, drinking alcohol and relationships between Muslim locals and foreigners are not permitted. Although both are possible, they may result in arrest by the Sharia police and physical punishment for the Muslim party involved.
The long conflict between the Acehnese independence movement (GAM) and the Indonesian army (TNI) has been solved for the time being by the peace agreement on 15 August 2005. The peace process has been quite smooth since.