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Tapaktuan is a fairly remote and rugged town on the coast of southwest Aceh Province facing the Indian Ocean, affectionately dubbed by many foreign tourists as “the prettiest town in Sumatra.”
The coast of Tapaktuan is lined with large boulders and sees massive waves striking the shore. Aside from the beautiful waves, another main attraction is the large expanse of shimmering white sand along the beach. Beyond the beaches are a string of high mountains with excellent hiking and views. The sunsets here are particularly beautiful. The views from the surrounding hills are a breathtaking experience as well. The friendliness and hospitality of the local people is another aspect that will make your visit warm and enjoyable.
Tapaktuan is known as the Dragon City which comes from a legend of the Dragon Princess and Tuan Tapa, who, has become a regional icon passed down from generation to generation.
The Dragon legend tells of a pair of male and female dragons that are believed to inhabit the bay of Tapaktuan. Both were banished from the country for being unable to have offsprings. As chance would have it, one day the dragon pair happened upon a baby girl floating in the sea. They took her in and raised her as their own, with the child returning the affection and recognizing them as her parents.
One day, upon the arrival of a royal ship from Asralanoka, His Majesty the King,caught sight of the girl, whom he immediately recognized as his daughter that had been lost at sea 17 years ago. He approached the dragon pair and telling his story asked for the return of his daughter. However, the dragons rejected the request and a fight ensued, which led to disturbing a highly respected hermit residing in a nearby cave. This man was known asTuan Tapa.
Tuan Tapa was bothered by the commotion and immediately attempted to break up the fight between the dragons and the King of Asralanoka. He proceeded to ask the dragons to please return the girl to her rightful parents, which only further angered the dragons who then challenged Tuan Tapa to a fight. Eventually Tuan Tapa defeated the dragon pair and the girl was returned to her parents. She retained the nickname “Dragon Lady”, but the girl and her parents did not return to their homeland, and instead settled down in the coastal zone. Their presence is believed to be the forerunner of Tapaktuan.
You can find, scattered along the Tapaktuan beach, many black, heart-shaped rocks (known as Batu Itam), which are believed to be remnants of the dragons’ body, and red stones (Batu Merah) which are said to be the dragons blood. This is the legend of Tapaktuan, The Dragon City.
Tapaktuan airport is the main gateway to Tapaktuan other than driving along the trans-Sumatran highway. It receives somewhat limited flights from Medan (North Sumatra) and Banda Aceh, in the north of Aceh Province, with connecting flights from Jakarta. Minivans also run from Medan (4 hours) and Banda Aceh (6 hours).