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Last Update: 28.01.2014
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Ketambe - Information about the village and the people
   
 
 

Ketambe - palmtree and hut Palmtree and hut

Ketambe - View to the other side of the river Alas Rivers westside

Ketambe - Riverside Riverside view

Kutacane - Grand Mosque Kutacane mosque

Ketambe - People moving a small house Moving a house

Ketambe - Kids of a village Village kids

Ketambe - Alas river View Alas River

Ketambe - Entrance to the Research Station Research station

Pesta - Circumsision Pesta- circumcision

Ketambe - Riverside view Alas River View

Ketambe - Coconut palmtree Coconut palmtree

Ketambe - Kids swimming in the river Kids in the river

 
  Ketambe - Road

 

 

It seems that Ketambe - local name is Balai Lutu - is just a place like every village, situated on the only non-coast road, splitting Aceh into east and west.
The village Ketambe is about one kilometer long. Houses existing only left and right side near the main road. The river Alas flows from north to south about 100 meters parallel to the road. There are a mosque, a basic school, a simple shop and a ... car wash.
   
 

If you pass the village, you wouldn't realize that it is a very special place. Its position at the border to the Gunung Leuser Nationalpark makes it famous. Ketambe is a perfect starting point to go for trips into the jungle to see really wild living orangutans.
Sumatran tigers and rhinos were not seen since more than 10 years. But elefant footprints are spotted some times. A lot of other big and small apes are found and the birdlife is outstanding. If you lucky, you can see the very seldom found Rafflesia in bloom (the biggest flower in the world). For hikers are possibilities for short and longer treks into the hilly jungle. There are caves, hotsprings and waterfalls. In the river Alas its possible to go swim, do fishing, make a wave ride with an inner tube or do an organized rafting trip.

   
       
 
Climate
   
 
The climate is pleasant, the mean daily temperature under the forest cover in the lowlands rarely exceeds 26°C during the day, or drops below 22°C at night.
In general, the driest months are February and June/July. The wettest month are usually March/April and September/ October/November.
In wet season it rains mostly at night. Then will be a little bit foggy in the morning.
  Ketambe - Jungleview from Guesthouse    
 
Ketambe is a very quite place. Only few cars passing through. The only noise you will listen is the flowing river, singing birds and playing kids.
   
       
 
People
   
  Ketambe - Alas people  
Inhabitants of Ketambe are Alas people. There mother language is Alas but most people speak Indonesian. Only about 87,000 Alas people live along the river banks of Lawe Alas (Alas river).
In the south and west live the Gayo people (230,000) and Batak-Karo (800,000).
In the north the Acehnese living (3,600,000).
   
 
In general Alas people follow the Islam, but they still seek the assistance of a dukun (shaman/healer/occultist). They perform ceremonies so that their crops will prosper and be protected from plague. There is believe in "black" and "white" magic. If you want to know more about there live, tradition and believes click --> More information about the Alas people
   
       
 
Work and Income
   
 
Most people get there income from farming. They grow rice, corn, vegetable, durian, coconuts, cacao, betelnuts, langsat, rambutan and bananas.
Some people earn money from the little tourism. Young people leave for jobs to the big cities or working temporary for construction companies.
  Ketambe - Banana tree    
       
 
Facilities in Ketambe
   
  Ketambe - Minishop - Toko  
Ketambe has no real facilities for shopping. Since 2013 there is a local small supermarket. You can buy eggs, sugar or cookies at some wooden huts near to the road.
Food, full meals and drinks (some- times even beer) are available at the guesthouses. Local markets in villages arround Ketambe taking place once a week in the morning. Over there you will get fresh vegetable and stuff of daily needs.
   
 

Next possibility for proper shopping is the small city Kutacane, about 30 kilometers south the main road. If you want to make an international phone call, you have to go to one of the phone offices in Kutacane. At the post office you can send and receive money with Western Union. Internet connection is available at a computer shop opposite from BRI bank for 5000 IDR* per hour.

Mobile phone connection and internet 3G (local SIM-cards only) with slow GPRS is working most of the time in Ketambe !!

In Ketambe and Kutacane is no money changer. But its possible to get cash from an ATM at the Bank BRI in Kutacane. Use cards supporting Maestro or Cirrus. Accepted credit card is Mastercard only. The maximum amount is only 1,000,000 Rupiah (about 100 US$) for one transaction. But you can do several transactions sequentially. Each transaction costs extra fees depending from your bank. Its recommended to arrive with cash Indonesian Rupiah in Ketambe.

   
   
   
       
  Tourism    
       
 
There are five guesthouses in Ketambe. If you arrive from the south the first is "Pak Mus" (right). The next are "Pondok Wisata" (right) and "Wisma Sadar Wisata" (left).
   
 
About 150 m forward north on the riverside there is the FRIENDSHIP Guesthouse & Restaurant (see picture on the right).
Its the only guesthouse in Ketambe which has concrete bungalows with western style toilet and shower. There are also cheaper wooden bungalows with attached bathroom. Details see here.
  Ketambe Friendship Guesthouse    
 
Some meters further is the last guesthouse on the road through Ketambe "Cinta Alam". About 3 kilometers forward (Gurah area) is the former government owned "Gurah bungalows". There is electricity now. The best part, the Restaurant with the nice terrace overview the jungle and the river, burned down few years ago. At the moment it is run by a local from Ketambe. But the rooms are overprized and unclean (as some people reported). Note that Gurah area is not the same place as the village Ketambe. So ask the driver to drop you of in Ketambe (not Gurah).
   
 
Every guesthouse will offer you short trips or guided trekking tours into the nationalpark. It is a good idea to take a guide from this area, then the money is going to a local family. For more information about flora and fauna see the side about the Gunung Leuser Nationalpark.
   
 
   
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