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pPamela
User
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Hi,
I have cut and pasted this info' from Lonely Planet Thorn Tree. Most posts on Thorn Tree disappear after 6-8 weeks.
the_mapmaker
Posted: 05 May 2006
Visas for Aceh

Hello,

I've read (here mostly) that it's now possible to get into Aceh on a tourist visa, but also read on the US Dept of State site and the Indonesian embassy site that Aceh remains off limits for Americans.

What to believe? Are the sites out of date? If they are out of date, which of the long list of paperwork/letters/forms/etc. do I really need to get my visa on arrival?

I have plans to arrive in Aceh on Friday next week, so quick responses are appreciated!

Thanks!

RedApe
Posted: 06 May 20
1.

Well after the tsunami there was a Peace Accord signed between GAM and the Government and that agreement has held for over a year and a half now without a single incident. Since then the gov't has not required any special visas for tourists. It's certainly not "off limits" as I know of many Americans, including myself, who have travelled there without anything but my tourist visa.

The only issue may be if you are planning on doing some work there. That requires a work visa. This requirement was temporarily waived after the tsunami but now they require that the NGO formally do the requisite paperwork.

You should have no problem.


aceh_sum
Posted: 08 May 2006
2.

Dear mapmaker,

I am a Dutchman living in Aceh since one month before tsunami 2004 untill now and as redape pointed out already you can travel to Aceh on a tourist visa. In order to avoid hassle by the Indonesian embassy in yr country, just dont inform them that you wanna travel to Aceh. I can assure you that you will have no problem at all traveling to Aceh from North Sumatra as well as traveling within the province.

Best regards,

Aceh_sum

Juz
Posted: 08 May 2006
3.

I've just got back from a 3-week trip to Aceh: Ketambe, BAceh &Pulau Weh.
I had no problem travelling on a standard 30-day visa-on-arrival. I talked to some NGOs from BAceh (some of whom told me I shouldn't be there!) who had special endorsement on their visas to travel to Aceh, but there is an increasing number of tourists travelling to Ketambe & Weh and all of them are on normal tourist visas. BTW I had occasional conversations with police & military while in Aceh and never once was I asked for my passport nor asked why I was there.

RedApe
Posted: 09 May 2006
4.

Juz-

I find it interesting that some of the NGO's you met said you "shouldn't be there". Do you think that's because they feel tourism is "inappropriate" (i.e. that we are simply "lookyloos" and don't contribute to the relief), that they don't want individuals watchdogging their efforts (or lack of), that they simply don't understand that the peace treaty allows "freedom of travel" (including tourism) into the province, or that they confuse tourism visas with work visa regulations?

NGO's in Aceh DO require special endorsement simply because they are working there and don't have to deal with things like the fiskal and having to go back through Jakarta for in-and-outs. The "special endorsement" is actually an advantage for them over "normal" employment visas. But those things no longer apply for tourists. In fact the requirements that tourists had to get special endorsements to go to Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh ended in November 2004...even before the tsunami and peace treaty was signed. On could get permission at immigration in Medan, often at the airport. But all of that rigamarole was done away with when the peace treaty was signed. Any tourist can go to Aceh as long as they have a VOA or 60-day visa. You aren't supposed to work (Volunteer or otherwise).

I think the fact that the NGO's used to come in on tourist visas and now must register makes them think that they are going through more hassles than a tourist...but they don't realize that the work visa issue was actually much more rigid and it was waived for them entirely during the year after the tsunami.

Juz
Posted: 09 May 2006

5.

RedApe, the reason a few NGOs believed I shouldn't be in Aceh was that they were of the mistaken opinion that Aceh was still closed to foreigners except those helping with reconstruction efforts. I think this is based on them misreading the current situation and still thinking that you must fill out the "Blue Book" or similar. Also it doesn't help that foreign embassies' info on Aceh is clearly out of date, e.g. the Aussie embassy info doesn't look like it has been updated since a few months after the tsunami, and it doesn't accurately describe the current reality.

DerekinAsia
Posted: 09 May 2006
6.

There certainly is a hell of a lot of wrong information being given out by guesthouses etc in Thailand/Malaysia regarding the situation in Aceh. Even on arrival at Belawan, there are signs up saying that foreigners must apply for special permission if they want to go there.
Enjoy your visit OP. It's a fantastic area.






pPamela
User
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Hi,
Another couple of posts have been added to the previous post on accomodation in Banda Aceh.
Juz
Posted: 11 May 2006
2:20pm
9.

Uncle has set up a new homestay in Banda Aceh, located only 100m from his old place. It's a 5 minute becak ride north of the city centre... ask the driver to take you to "Jalan Syiah Suala, di simpang Lambaro Skep" (Syiah Kuala St, at the Lambaro Skep junction". When you get to the simpang (junction), you willl see a side road running off Jalan Syiah Kuala. This side road is Uncle's street... his house is the first one on the right... it is new with a blue roof. Just ask the locals for Uncle and they will point you to his house. Rooms at Uncle's are Rp70,000/with fan, Rp100,000/with AC, Rp200,000/large with AC. (NB: the poster of mine which Derek saw has an incorrect price of Rp60,000 for the fan room... but even at Rp70,000 it is still a very cheap room for Banda Aceh).

The full address is: Uncle's homestay, Jalan Mujahidin No. 2B, Lambaro Skep, Banda Aceh

If you are having trouble finding the place, call Uncle on: 0852 6028 4432 (mobile phone) or 0651-26219 (home phone). Both Uncle & his wife Yulia speak some English, and can offer advice on Banda Aceh & surrounds.

The fast ferries leave Ule Lhee (BAceh) for PWeh at 10am & 4pm daily. Returns from Weh to BA at 8.30am & 2.30pm daily. Downstairs class is Rp60,000/one way & upstairs class is Rp75,000/one way. Journey takes 1 hour. Also there is a once-daily slow ferry (2-3 hours) which costs Rp15,000/one way, but I don't know the schedule for that ferry.

BTW, I'm just back from 3 weeks in Aceh and am happy to answer questions. I'll be posting on the TT about Ketmabe, BAceh & Pulau Weh in the next few days.

-------------------------
Indonesian arts in Australia... seni-seni.blogspot.com

Juz
Posted: 11 May 2006
9:02pm
10.

Sorry, that instruction for the becak driver should have read:
"Jalan Syiah Kuala, di simpang Lambaro Skep"

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