Aceh is one of the places in Indonesia that I really wanted to go since I was in high school. Aceh is the most impacted location in the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake which struck Aceh on 26th December 2004 at 9.1 Mw that caused
The province of Aceh is located in the Northwest of Sumatra Island and the capital is Banda Aceh. Aceh has a long struggle to gain political independence from Indonesia. However, the Tsunami 2004 had changed the Aceh Government to be more open to the amicable solution. The long fight ended with the Helsinki Peace Agreement which was signed on 15 August 2005as they agreed to remain as a province in Indonesia.
9.1 Mw EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI 2004
This catastrophe occurred when I was in high school and at that time, everyone was suddenly knew this big word TSUNAMI. Malaysia is also affected by this as there were quite a number of fatalities at the northern part of Peninsular of Malaysia.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS
The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Aceh take abot 1 hour and 30 minutes. Hence, I got ample time to enjoy Nasi Lemak Pak Nasser in AirAsia flight. Haha..
The flight landed at Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport that is located around 17km from Banda Aceh. Usually, I will straightly go to Roti O outlet once touched down but somehow I just go to one of the restaurants at the airport which is Serambi Airport. The toast and Cappucino were good and since they played Ed Sheeran in the long list, I stayed at the restaurant for quite some time. Hahaha.
From airport, you can take taxi, angkut and you can use Gojek Apps. Since I prefer more on e-hailing service, I take Go-jek to go to Banda Aceh and the fare is IDR 50,000 which is about RM14.
MASJID RAYA BAITURRAHMAN
Masjid Raya Baiturrahman is a focal point of Banda Aceh and it is very obvious once you arrived at the airport. Everyone will ask you whether you want to go to Masjid Raya Baiturrahman. Once, I reached the masjid, I realized that the masjid was full of activities even it was not at prayer time.
Masjid Raya Baiturrahman caught the limelight after the devastating Tsunami as the structure of the masjid was still intact while the vicinity structure perished entirely.
Masjid Raya Baiturrahman was built by Sultan Iskandar Muda Mahkota Alam pada at 1612M. This masjid was under fire in 1873M during the big fight between The Dutch and the Acehnese. It had caused more tension and big war ensued. 4 years later, The Dutch rebuilt the masjid as a measure to reach an amicable solution. From that time, the masjid underwent a series of expansion until what you can see today.
Gunongan was built during Sultan Iskandar Muda period in 16th centries, as a gift to Queen Putri Kamaliah known as Putroe Phang, the Queen from Pahang-Johor Malaysia.
After Aceh won the battle against Pahang, Sultan Iskandar Muda took the Pahang Princess and married her. One day, The Queen missed her
It consists of multiple series of blinding white peaks with narrow stairways and a walkway leading to ridges, which represent the hills of the princess’ native land.
Ulee Lheue is a coastal port town of Banda Aceh that located at Meuraksa Sub-District. The word Ulèë means “head” and Lheuë means” little peninsula”. The area is located approximately 6km from Banda Aceh and you may take any mode of transportation to Ulee Lheue.
The 9.1 Mw earthquake and tsunami in 2004 had wiped out completely the Ulee Lheue. The tsunami destroyed all of the vicinity buildings except for the completely changed the features of surrounding area.
The sea water is blue and clear and the area is the best spot to enjoy the sunset. You must come early in the afternoon to get the best spot for the sunset. Apart from that, many people would enjoy some fun activities like a family vacation, picnic, sightseeing, strolling, BBQ, and many interesting activities.
Masjid Baiturrahim is a mosque that is located at the junction of Jalan Banda Aceh and Jalan Pelabuhan Lama Ulee Lheue. This mosque had been featured in many articles and posting after the 2004 earthquake and tsunami disaster as it is the only structure that remains intact at Ulee Lhueu while the structure in the vicinity totally vanished. During the catastrophe, there were only 9 people safe at the mosque as they climbed until the roof of the mosque. The mosque was only damaged by about 20%.
After almost 15 years, the mosque has been refurbished and had become the focal points of people around Ulee Lheue and become a tourist spot due to its history,
PLTD APUNG 1
PLTD Apung 1 is an electric generator ship owned by Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN). PLTD means Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Diesel and it was deployed to Aceh as a back up during the conflict between Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) and Indonesian Armed Force. During the conflict, the team from PLN was having difficulty to enter Aceh for technical assistant and this had caused disruption of electric supply for
During the catastrophe, the enormous Tsunami had caused the ship drifted 5 km to the land and had
The ship had been modified in order to suit its new purpose as a museum and there
KUBURAN MASSAL TSUNAMI ULEE LHEUE
This is actually a mass grave where approximately 14000 bodies were buried after the deadly 2004 Earthquake and Tsunami tragedy. This is the second largest mass grave after Siron Mass Grave where 40000 bodies were buried there.
There is no marker for the grave. The area is divided into two areas which are grave for adult and children. It is quite a mixed feeling when visiting the grave as it is difficult to imagine that the area is a place where thousands of bodies were buried together without proper preparation as the death toll was large.
There are several other mass graves in Aceh and if you have ample time, you may visit the mass graves as each location have a different story.
MUSEUM TSUNAMI ACEH
Museum Tsunami Aceh is located at Jalan Sultan Iskandar Muda and it was built to commemorate the 2004 Tsunami Tragedy.
Once you enter the museum, you will go through a sombre, dark, cold and narrow corridor with the splash of water and various sounds that give you a feeling about the imminent tsunami. Please walk through it alone, you will get goose bumps. The tunnel named Space of Fear. While walking along the tunnel, I could imagine people frantically run for their life while the big wave hit the land and all the people, animal and building perished. It is advised to wear hat as you might get splash a little bit with the water or just enjoy the splash as you will feel the sombre mood of the tsunami tragedy.
After the tunnel, you will reach a room named Space of Memory that features
Then, you will reach the prominent part of the museum which is the Chamber of Blessing that will take you to another level of
This is a chimney-like room which almost 2000 names of the victim inscribed at the wall and at the top of the chimney, there is calligraphy of Allah. The feeling while staying at the space is indescribable. It is a mixed feeling. I did not spend much time there as the mood is very overwhelmed.
Then, you will reach the open space that brings you to the next floor which is Jembatan Harapan. At the roof at the Jembatan Harapan, there is flag from 54 countries that had offered help after the incident with the words ‘Damai’ or Peace in multiple languages. The roof reflects the Tsunami incident as well.
At the second floor,
It is actually a dome of Masjid Jamek at Lamteungoh village and after the tragedy, it is known as Al-Tsunami Mosque.
This museum was designed as an evacuation
There is a damaged helicopter and truck at the outside of the museum that showed how enormous the wave was as it had caused such damage.
The entrance fee for children and student is IDR 2000, for
UPSIDE DOWN COFFEE
I went to a cool cafe at Banda Aceh where they serve coffee upside down. The cafe is called Kuphi Khop. How to drink? Haha.. There is a method.
WARM AND FRIENDLY
People of Aceh are very friendly and they always offer help whenever I need. They are strong people that rose from the deadly earthquake and tsunami. For every conversation with the local, each of them has lost their family members but somehow they managed to build up and continue with their life. Amazing.
This outing taught me about perseverance, steadfast and tenacity. Never give up on your life. You must be stronger from what you are suffering. This lesson is so priceless.