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 tried to increase its influence in the region by building a hotel facility and making an official enter to the Gunung Leuser National Park. 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.
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 or alcohol in public.
- To/from the north: Take a small minivan taxi from Blankenjeren direction Kutancane, tell it to stop in Ketambe. It departs in the morning/early day. Buses to Blankenjeren leaves from Takengon or/and from Bireun/Banda Aceh. Minivans to Blankenjeren leaves from Kutancane in the morning and should pass Ketambe between 11:00-12:00 AM. Ask at your hotel. Buses to Blankenjeren takes about 3-4 hours and from there to Takengon it is another 4-5 hours.
- To/from the south: There is a regular minibus service going to/from Kutancane about twice an hour. It leaves from the small centre in Ketambe and from the market in Kutancane. The bus takes between 50 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes.
By foot: There is a possibility to make a trek from Bukit Lawang to Ketambe by crossing the national park. This would take over a week and cost a several hundred dollars. Speak to the rangers in 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 Rp 350,000 (in 2014) a day and onwards. They use the same price list as in Bukit Lawang.
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 devastated 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.
- Trekking: do a trek in the national park (see above).
- Relax: It is a quiet village where not much is happening. Sit on hotel veranda and relax. Maybe you can watch some soccer games together with the locals.
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.
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.
There are a range of hotels, most of them looks very empty only having one or two guests. 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. Prices of the guest houses are ranging from Rp 50,000 (in 2014) and onwards depending on room, location and standard.