Ketambe can be found in the Gunung Leuser National Park. There used to be a rehabilitation center here for the Orangutans but that is a long time ago. All the Orangutans here are wild en not being fed, like they still do in Bukit Lawang even though the research center there is closed as well. Ketambe is a well known place amongst people who want to see the Orangutan in the wild, and even after Kedah, we still wanted to go here. We wanted to see more Orangutans and see if there is a difference between Ketambe and Kedah..


how did we get there

In Kedah we got picked up by the local bus. He even waited for us to finish our breakfast while Mr. Jalli was entertaining him with his stories. We had to pay 120.000 Rupiah en he took us all the way to the guesthouse in Ketambe which Mr. Jalli arranged for us: the Leuser Ketambe Guesthouse. We had some nice views during the way and it only took us 3 hours to get there.

where to eat

We don't think there is that much choice where to eat in Ketambe. There aren't any restaurants that we know of, that aren't part of a guesthouse. Because our guesthouse was outside of 'town', we only ate there.

where to sleep

As said, we staid at the Leuser Ketambe Guesthouse. Would we recommend it: no. The rooms were ok but really dark. We paid 150.000 per night and after some negotiating the breakfast was included. They don't have a menu so you don't know the prices of the food, if you don't ask. 


We heard really good stories about the Friendship Guesthouse. You only pay 50.000 Rupiah per night and you have a nice bungalow for that price.  Another good guesthouse is Wisma Cinta Alam next to Friendship. When we were there they had a baby monkey. His mother got killed by the electricity wires and they found the baby. They are now trying to let it become a healthy monkey before they release him back into the forest. 

what to do

The only thing to do in Ketambe is go into the forest and try to spot Orangutans, Hornbills and other animals. You can book a guide at probably every guesthouse and you can decided whether you want to go with a group or go on a private tour. We were the only two who booked the tour at Leuser Ketambe Guesthouse so we had a private tour. The price we paid was 300.000 Rupiah p.p. including lunch (fried rice with egg). 


Starting our trekking the first hour we walked almost next to the road, with some bush in between. Later on, our guides took us further into the jungle and we heard the Hornbill teasing us, but we didn't see him. We've been walking for 5 hours and unfortunately we didn't see any monkey at all. We know that this is part of the game when you want to spot animals in the wild, but we were a bit disappointed. We realize that we were so blessed with al the wild life we've seen in Kedah, that it would have been quite difficult to top that. 

kedah versus ketambe

We know that one of the things you should not do while traveling, is compare places. But because Kedah and Ketambe are close to each other, and you visit them for the same reason: spotting Orangutans, we make an exception. Our advice for visiting Sumatra to spot Orangutans: Don't even think about going to Bukit Lawang, forget about Ketambe and go to Kedah! The experience is much better.

In Ketambe we were walking on paths (we even saw some plasticized arrows guiding the way), the guides are quite young and therefore have less experience and we came across 2 other groups during our trekking. Comparing it to Kedah where there were no clear paths (they had to cut their way through the jungle), Mr. Jalli and Mr. Happy are older and have much more experience (they almost live in the jungle) and Mr. Jalli is the only tourguide in Kedah and has only 3 bungalows so you won't see any other groups in the jungle.


You can read (and see) all about our time in Kedah HERE.

don't miss a thing

Comments: 2
  • #2

    Michiel || Ourtraveldreams (Saturday, 09 April 2016 08:36)

    Dear Kumar,

    Ketambe is more easily accessible than Kedah. You can step of the road directly into the Forrest. Also the Forrest is less steep than Kedah, and there are more tracks . But in Kedah, staying at MR jali's lodges, you sleep in the middle of the jungle, which is of course a nicer way of staying, with the possibility of Monkeys in you own backyard.

  • #1

    Kumar (Thursday, 07 April 2016 22:47)


    I'm planning to visit Leuser National Park this year and I need some advice. Between Kedah and Ketambe, which place has better and more easily accessible primary forest? I would indeed love to see these primates. But seeing the most pristine forests is more important to me. And I like to see vast expanses of these forests. If I only have a few days, which would you recommend between Kedah and Ketambe?