Getting from Danau Takengon to Banda Aceh

View from Puncak Gunung Geurute

Lake Takengon is pretty much in between Lintas Timor and Lintas Barat, so if you want to continue your road trip to Banda Aceh, you have 2 options.

Option 1: Head from Takengon to Bireuen and then follow the Lintas Timor until its end

We did not choose this option but were told that the road connecting Takengon to Lintas Timor is in great condition. I don’t have any information about the condition of the road once you reach Lintas Timor. However, from my experience on other parts of this road, I am pretty sure it’s super busy and full of trucks and busses who seem to race each other. This route is the shorter option but if you have enough time and enjoy driving thrilling mountain roads, I recommend taking option 2.

Option 2: Head from Takengon to Meulaboh and follow the Lintas Barat to its end

Check out the route on Google Maps

 Lake Takengon to Meulaboh

The road from Lake Takengon to Meulaboh was one of the most memorable, exciting, and challenging roads we have been on during our road trip around Sumatra. Make sure that your breaks are in great condition and fill up on gas before attempting to take this route. It passes through some remote areas and has several very long and steep inclines.  

Soon after leaving Takengon the paved road turned into an extremely bumpy dirt road with huge potholes. It was discouraging as we still had a long way to go and we were wondering if we might have taken a wrong turn somewhere, as we’ve been told by locals that this route is in good condition. When we finally passed someone to ask for directions, he confirmed that we were on the correct route and told us to just hang in there a little bit longer as it will get much better soon. Thankfully he was right! This bumpy stretch was probably around 12km long but judging by the many busy roadworkers we passed in this part of Aceh it will be taken care of soon.  

Once we were on the paved road again it continued climbing higher and higher up into the mountains until it reached the top. From there it felt like a rollercoaster ride. The road runs along the top of the mountain range with steep inclines and turns connecting its many hills. We were repeatedly driving downhill for 20 seconds to then, right away, drive uphill for another 20 seconds. As you can probably imagine, driving along the mountain range gave us spectacular views over the surrounding mountains and rainforest. I still regret that we did not stop to take more pictures.

From there the road continues to cross over several mountains. This stretch of the road is quite dangerous as there are very long and steep inclines. You’ll drive straight uphill for 10 minutes to then drive straight downhill on the other side of the mountain for another 10 minutes. Make sure to put your car in low gear and stop to let your breaks cool down if necessary. There is no phone signal on some parts of this route so it’s helpful to have an offline map available. You won’t get lost without it as there are no other roads but it’s always good to know where you are and how much longer it will take you to get to your next destination.

I found this road amazing. Yes, it’s challenging and nerve wrecking, but it also has spectacular views and gave me a deep appreciation of the hard work it takes to build and maintain a road like this in such a remote area. If you love mountain roads, this is definitely the perfect route for you.

On the way to Meulaboh 


Meulaboh is a small city and good spot to spend the night. It has several hotels in different prices ranges and some beaches just outside the city center where you might be able to camp. Meulaboh has many shops in case you need to stock up on supplies. We also found an express laundry which was able to have our embarrassingly smelly clothes clean again and ready for pick up the next morning. It’s called VIP Laundry Gampa and if you arrive late like us, just ask them to wash and dry without ironing so it’ll be ready the next morning. It might sound wired but Danu and I were super excited about finding this laundry. Freshly washed clothes feel like such a luxury when you’re on a road trip.  

When in the city, make sure to have a coffee and snack with the locals at Warkop Mae. It’s fascinating to watch them brew their coffee the traditional way. They pour it several times through a large sieve filled with coffee powder using special hand movements. Given the continuous stream of customers it must be one of the best coffee places in town. You can also check it out here in our video.


Meulaboh to Banda Aceh

Lintas Barat

Lintas Barat connects Meulaboh to Banda Aceh. It’s an easy and beautiful dive along the coast. The road is in fantastic condition with little traffic and almost no trucks. You just got to be mindful of the many cows who like cross this road in a very chilled way. There are several great spots to stop along the road if you feel like taking a rest or need some food. Here are a few of them:

Kuala Merisi Beach is a long sandy beach with many small simple restaurants just a few hundred meter off the Lintas.

A few stretches of the Lintas pass over some hills. One of those places is Puncak Gunung Geurute where the locals have built several warungs on the edge of the cliff. They all have amazing views over the bay and surrounding hills. It’s the perfect spot to relax with a fresh coconut.

Pantai Lhoknga is a beach just about half an hour from Banda Aceh. There are a lot of restaurants selling delicious grilled fish. It’s a great spot to eat and refresh before heading into the city or to the harbour on your way to Pulau Weh.


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