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Jantho is the capital of Aceh Besar. The town mainly consists of regional government offices and residential areas. Jantho has no formal guest houses or hotels.
Although the town itself may be of little interest to tourists, the vicinity of Jantho offers great opportunities for hiking, mountaineering and mountain biking in the surrounding mountains. Day trips to the Jalin waterfall are regularly organized by Banda Aceh based tour operators in collaboration with selected local guides.
Camping trips to gunung Meucica, Meudon and gunung Bae will usually involve several days. Nearby gunung Seulawah Agam can be visited in a day trip, in case you leave early from Banda Aceh.
The most well-known sea food restaurant in Jantho is Rata Resto. Behind the restaurant, there is a nice swimming pool. Since its a public swimming pool, please dress modest, for example with T shirt and bermuda size pants.
Gunung Seulawah is a vulcanic mountain with two peaks: Seulawah Agam and Seulawah Inong. Seulawah Agam is the highest (1.806 m) and the most interesting. The mountain is covered with forest with plently of monkeys and birds. Elephants can also be found here at certain times of the year. To climb the mountain takes 6 hours and 3 hours to come back down. There is a path leading up to the summit. Behind the peak there is an area suitable for camping. This mountain is a very popular “adventure with nature” destination for the many so called “Mapala” student organisations.
To reach gunung Seulawah Agam, start walking from Saree village, next to the mosque. It’s not that difficult to find the way and can be done on your own if you are expererienced. Otherwise ask for directions or help by a local guide (pengantar) in Suka Makmur village, further on the mountain slopes. A friendly advice: In case you plan to stay overnight, it can be cold at the summit.
Saree is about one and a half hours by bus from Banda Aceh (70km) on the road to Sigli and onward to Medan. There is a quite a large fruit and vegetable market lining up on the main road. Nearby Saree, there is an elephant training center.
Appr. one hour drive from Banda Aceh on the way to Seulimum, there is a road sign that leads to a big artificial lake named Waduk Keliling. Across the lake you can see the mountains which include Gle Cupliek (2000 m). For hiking enthousiasts, starting from nearby Siron village, there is a one hour and a half jungle trail walk to the beautiful Seunerah waterfall. To reach the waterfall from waduk keliling, you first need to go through two rivers with a 4WD car, before entering the jungle. During the GAM rebellion, the waterfall area was once a training ground for the rebels. Since the peace agreement in 2005 between the Free Aceh Movement and the Indonesian goverment, the area now has become a haven for adventure with nature lovers.
From Kuta Malaka village, there is a 6 km inland dirt road to the Samahani waterfalls. The Samahani waterfalls consists of 52 waterfalls that go up the mountain 1000 meters high. On the way to the waterfalls you will see dragon fruit plantations. Once you have reached the restaurant up the hill, there is a forest path that will lead to the first waterfall in appr. 10 minutes on foot. Please bring enough water and food. Very good place for a natural swim. The water is very clean. You need a 4WD car to access the road or just come with a mountain bike. The area has plenty of deer and thomas leaf monkeys have been spottet. Students from Banda Aceh flock the area mostly on weekends. There are remnants of an old Dutch fortress about 1500 meters up the hill. there are several hiking treks as well as mountain bike trails in the Kuta Malaka/ Samahani area.
In case you plan to walk futher up alongside the waterfalls, a local guide is strongly recommended.
Lampu’uk village is located on the westcoast of Aceh, about 17 km. from Banda Aceh. It can be reached by public transportation or by private car in less appr. 15 minutes.
The long-streched white sand beach is startlingly beautiful. In the late afternoon you can enjoy breathtaking sunsets at the beach. The beach closes at 18:30.
Lampu’uk nowadays has several cozy sea food restaurants by the beach. The sea food is cheap in price but delicious. Western food is normally served at Joel’s bungalows restaurant at the end of the beach near the rock formation.
Lampu’uk nowadays has some formal accomodation at the end of the beach, near the rock formation. Joel’s bungalows is the most well-known place, especially for westerners & expats. Behind Joel’s bungalows there are two other nice bungalow type accomodations.
What to do
Lampu’uk offers great opportunities for surfing, snorkeling, hiking, caving & mountain biking. There is a 5 km. hiking & mountain bike trail from Lampu’uk to the village of Lambadeuk in the Ujung Pancu area, a few km. from Ulee Lheue harbor. There is also a hiking trail from Lampu’uk to Langeh beach, a secluded beach located appr. 3km. to the east from Joel’s bungalows. This beach has a former WWII Japanese bunker.
There is a bird nest cave, appr. 3 km. from Lampu’uk. There is a walking path through the forest and over a hill. Although it may be possible to go alone, it is recommendable to be accompanied by a local.
Lhoknga has for long been a popular weekend destination. The village center is small but has a pleasant atmosphere with a choice of restaurants and basic accomodations. Recently it has been discovered as a surfer’s paradise due to perfect surfing conditions. Close to the krueng raba river there is the harbor and fishmarket. From here the fishermen go out to the ocean every morning.
Lhoknga has several beaches to offer. South of the Lafarge cement factory, there is Pantai Ismet. This beach has several basic restaurants. Since its mostly rocky, there are only certain parts where you can swim.
Between the cement factory and the krueng rabah river, there is pantai cemara.
In front of the Sun Golf Club, there is Pantai Golf. Both pantai cemara and pantai golf are the best for surfers.
Cut Nyak Dhien Museum
Cut Nyak Dhien (the wife of Teuku Umar) was a famous female freedom fighter during the Dutch colonial presence in Aceh. Although her original house was burned down by the Dutch army, a replica house filled with artifacts and private possessions of Cut Nyak Dhien now stands in its original place in Lam Pisang village, 4 km west of Banda Aceh. The adddress is jalan Banda Aceh – Meulaboh Km. 12. You can take a labi-labi that goes to Lhoknga/ Lampu’uk village and it will stop in front of the museum upon request.
Beyond the Cut Nyak Dhien museum, there is the village of Lam Pisang. The village is very well-known for its cake home industry. Definitely worth a visit.
Pantai Ujong Batee
This wide dark sand beach on the Krueng Raya road is a good place for shell hunting and swimming. Pulau Weh is visible from the coast. This beach is always crowded on sundays or during the holidays. Pine trees line the coast, providing a great shady atmosphere, especially on a hot afternoon. Shelters, toilets and foodstalls are available. It is located 17 km. east of Banda Aceh. Just take the labi-labi from the labi-labi terminal in Banda Aceh towards Krueng Raya. Please inform the driver where you want to go.
Benteng Indra Patra
This fort was either built during the rule of Sultan Iskandar Muda or earlier – during the Indra Patra Hindu Kingdom in Aceh. There are straces of Hindu influences in the architecture, including several stupas. The fort was used as a defence against the Portugese navy. It is located appr. 20 km. to the east of Banda Aceh and can be reached by labi-labi towards Krueng Raya. A lively place on sundays.
There is a harbor called “Pelabuhan Malahayati” at Krueng Raya, appr. 35 km. from Banda Aceh which can be easily reached in 30 minutes. To go around in the vicinity, you can charter a motorbike or a labi labi car. To find a motorbike, inquire in any coffee shop in Krueng Raya. You can climb up to a hill towards the Inong Balee fortress to have a stunning view for photographs with the harbor in the background. The harbor is also a starting point for a number of mountain bike trails in the area. For example, from the harbor you can cycle all the way appr. 44 km. to Seulimum in Aceh Besar via Lamteuba village. You can also cycle to Blang Bintang, passing by the Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport on the way back to Banda Aceh through various villages.
Admiral Malahayati Monument & Grave
According to history, the female admiral Malahayati commanded the royal Acehnese navy and fought against the Portugese. She held the position of harbor administrator and other positions in the Aceh Sultanate. In the Malahayati harbor there are directions to the grave from the main road.
Benteng Inong Balee
A few kilometers beyond Krueng Raya’s Malahayati harbor, there are the ruins of Inong Balee fort, overlooking the ocean. This fort was built under the command by the female admiral Keumala Malahayati. She was a widow of an admiral and formed an army of widows to defend Aceh against Portugese navy attacks.
It is not too far to walk from the Malahayati harbor but a labi-labi can be chartered, if needed.
If you follow the path next to the fort you will end up at a small restaurant and a nice cozy beach.
Pantai Lhok Me
A few hundred meters along the road, the village Lhok Me has a beautiful long white sandy beach. Shelters, toilets and foodstalls are available. The locals are quite friendly and helpful. Very lively during the weekend and on holidays. No currents so safe for children to swim. Since its a public beach, local women swim fully clothed. If a non muslim wears T- shirt with bermuda paints, no problem. The sun can be very strong in the afternoon, so please bring your sun block.
Also a great place for fishing.
Before Lhok Mee village, there is a road inland going to Robin’s place. You just follow the road inland untill the beach. The house is being kept by a local named Robin and the beach in front is specifically for westerners. Western swimsuits are no problem there since the beach is far from Lhok Mee village. Food and drinks can be ordered.
Please note that there is no formal public transportation to Lhok Mee but you can charter a labi labi car from Banda Aceh.
Ie Seu-um hot springs
Before the entrance of the Malahayati harbor there is a asphalted road to the right that leads to the hot springs of Ie Seu-um village.
Going there will lead you to black pepper plantations. There are a number of swimming pools for both children and adults in the complex. The complex is a bit run-down.
People say the water from the spring can heal several kinds of skin deseases and increase strength.
Siem – silk weaving center
Located appr. 14 km behind the Syiah Kuala University complex in Darussalam, Siem village is well-known as a center of traditional silk weaving in Aceh. Visitors can study the whole process beginning from the silk worms untill it becomes an expensive fabric. To go there, please take the labi labi to Krueng Kali.