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Eight other men and women were publicly caned on the same day after being found guilty of breaking syariah laws.Gay sex is not illegal elsewhere in Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population.
The punishment, condemned by rights groups, marked the first application of anti-homosexuality laws introduced in the province in 2014.
Banda Aceh resident Ibrahim Muhayat said far more people attended the publicly meted-out punishment than usual because like him, many wanted to witness Indonesia's first-ever caning of gay men.
The Islamic Defenders Front, a hard-line group known for acts of vigilante violence throughout Indonesia, erected a banner at the mosque that declared the group was ready to defend Shariah law whatever the cost.
Public caning has long been common for offences such as gambling and drinking in Aceh, but Wednesday’s verdict was the first time the punishment has been handed down for gay sex since a Syariah regulation came into force in 2015 banning the practice.
”This is barbaric -- this is another low point for Aceh, and also for Indonesia,” said Andreas Harsono, Indonesia researcher for Human Rights Watch.
Aceh has long had a reputation as Indonesia's most conservative region.
It is the only province that criminalises same-sex relations and that uses Islamic law as its legal code in addition to the national criminal code.
While rights groups have repeatedly expressed alarm over the strengthening of syariah law in Aceh, many of those living in the staunchly Islamic province support the rules.
Zubaidah, a 20-year-old female college student who watched the couple being punished, said it was the first time she had witnessed a caning.
Handing down the verdict at the Banda Aceh court, presiding judge Khairil Jamal said that the men had been “proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing gay sex, the defendants are sentenced to 85 strokes of the cane in public”.
The sentence was higher than the recommendation by prosecutors of 80 strokes of the cane.
They were caught together in bed in March by vigilantes who burst into the boarding house where they were staying in provincial capital Banda Aceh.