Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Indonesia : Sumatra : Aceh : Ketambe
Ketambe is a village in Aceh.
Ketambe is a small, quiet and remote city in the most south of Aceh. In the 1970's the Indonesian government tried to increase its influence in the region by building a hotel facility and making it, besides Bukit Lawang, an official entrance to the Gunung Leuser National Park to see wild Orang Utans, black and white-handed Gibbons, Hornbills etc. Ketambe is besides this a small but charming village, worth a visit to both go trekking and to just relax for a day or two, since not many tourists take the long but beautiful way to Ketambe.
Notice that Ketambe is located in Aceh which is partly governed by muslim sharia laws. Show respect for that by for example not using drugs (acctually drugs are not prohibited in Holy Quran only alcohol is) or alcohol in public. No special dresscode for women (except not wearing very short shorts and tops out of respect) required, most local women do not wear a hijab during daily work neither.
By foot: There is a possibility to make a trek from Bukit Lawang to Ketambe (or the other way round) by crossing the national park. This would take over a week and cost a several hundred dollars. Speak to the rangers in Ketambe or Bukit Lawang if interested.
Due the size of the village there is no reason to use any vehicle, you can reach every corner of the village by walking.
Gunung Leuser National Park: Rangers all over the city arrange 1-3 days trekking, possibly longer, to the national park. It is fixed prices starting at 25 $ a day and onwards. In order to get the best experience with great Orang Utan sightings and to support local economy take a local guide and do not hire one in Medan. So go to Ketambe and you will for sure find a good guide there.
The old government hotel: Follow the main road 15-20 minutes north of the village center to the old government hotel. There are some old communist paintings and devestated houses. Interesting enough it seems like people are still working in the reception. However, the hotel does not seem livable at all. It looks like they stopped maintaining the place since 15-20 years ago.
There is only one small shop in the city centre, here you can buy basic indonesian goods. There are also some handcraft shops next to the main road with some interesting crafts.
Notice: There are no ATM in Ketambe. The nearest ATMs are in Kutacane and they only accept Mastercard.
All the hotels probably have a small restaurant where you can eat typical indonesian food (Nasi Goreng etc.), some of them also serve western food like pancakes.
As alcohol due sharia law is prohibited there are no bars or places to grab a beer. If you ask young people at hotels those might be able to illegaly get you some beer the next day. Make sure that you don't drink it in public. Sept 2015: Some restaurants do sell beer. Nonetheless the local "Jungle Juice" (palm wine) is easily available, also drunk by locals and very cheap.
There are a range of hotels, most of them looks very empty only having one or two guests, a little more in main season July/August. The hotel standard in Ketambe is very basic without a flushing system in toilets or proper showers. However, renting a small hut with a little veranda is as good as it gets. Listen to the wildlife in the completly dark is an experience in itself.