How to travel to Ketambe and how to reach other interesting destinations from Ketambe?
How to travel from Medan
Medan, Berastagi
How to travel from Bukit Lawangn
Bukit Lawang
How to travel from Tangkahan
Tangkahan
How to travel from Lake Toba
Lake Toba
How to travel from Banda Aceh
Banda Aceh
How to travel from Medan
Pulau Banyak

Banyak still under development.

Map of Aceh and North Sumatra - Travel routes between important sights

Map of Aceh and North Sumatra

Travel routes through Aceh and North Sumatra with airports and main ferry routes

From Medan to Ketambe via Berastagi

To go from Medan to Ketambe by public transport you have to go in sections. It is possible to reach Ketambe within 8 to 10 hours, depending on connections and waiting time.
1. Medan Kuala Namu Airport to Medan City
Airport KNO Train Airport KNO Damri Bus Airport KNO Taxi
There are different transport options from/to Medan KNO Airport. The most convenient and fastest way is to use the train which connects the Airport with the Medan Main Train Station besides the Merdeka Square on Jl. Balai Kota. The ride takes between 30 and 40 minutes. There are 20 trains each direction every day. Please check the schedule at this webpage: Airport Train Schedule. The one way ticket fare for adults is 100,000 IDR.
The most common and busiest transport is by DAMRI bus. DAMRI has two bus shelters in Medan City, one at Jalan Gatot Subroto next to Carrefour and the other at Amplas bus terminal. Buses go more frequent than trains. The bus fare is 15,000 IDR to/from Amplas and 20,000 IDR to/from Jalan Gatot Subroto.
And of course there are taxis. For this 35 km ride taxis take some 60 to 90 minutes to reach Medan City, depending on traffic. The trip could be lengthened to some 120 minutes if there is traffic jam. The taxi fare should negociated and agreed before entering the taxi. Expect anything between 120,000 and 200,000 IDR depends on destination/start in Medan City and on your bargaining skill.
2. Medan City to Medan Padang Bulan (Start of minibusses and shared taxis to Kutacane)
Medan Local Transport Padang Bulan is the name of the area where transport to the west of Medan starts. From here buses go to Berastagi. Minibuses and shared taxis go to Kutacane.
Along the road Jalan Jamin Ginting there are many different transport hubs from different companies.
To reach Padang Bulan from the area of Grand Mosque (Masjid Raya) walk to a main road (Jln. Sisingamagaraja or Jln. IR Juanda) and take the local city minibus No. 41. It costs about 8,000 IDR. Ask the driver to drop you off at the minibus-stand at the companies BTN or Karsima, or at the taxi companies Adi Guna Travel or CK Travel Wisata (the ride takes about 30 min from Jln. IR Juanda).
Becak in Medan If you arrive from the airport by train or DAMRI bus its the best way to go by moto-rikshaw (becak) to Padang Bulan. Even if you stay in a hotel, taking a becak is a nice experience to travel in the busy traffic of Medan. Don't forget to negociate and agree about the price before start. A ride to Padang Bulan area should cost between 15,000 and 30,000 IDR, depending from the distance.
The most comfortable but most expensive option is to take a taxi, which will cost from 50,000 IDR. Please ask the price before you enter, because usually there is no any taxi meter available.
3. Medan Padang Bulan to Kutacane via Berastagi
Minibus BTN From Medan Padang Bulan you can go by minibus to Kutacane. If you arrive at Padang Bulan from Medan city you will first pass the minibus station of BTN on the left side, about 500 m further is the station of Karsima. Both have a small ticket counter and a waiting area. The service and the ticket price is equal at both companies. Its 70,000 IDR. In a minibus (see 2 pictures left side) there are 2 seats beside the driver and behind there are 3 rows with 3 seats each (together space for 11 passengers).Try to get a seat behind the driver for more leg space.
Minibus Karsima Women should ask for a front seat. Avoid the last row where you actually sit on the axis. Minibusses leave when full or about every hour until late afternoon. In the morning they go more frequent. There are few night busses which start about 9 PM. The ride to Kutacane takes 7 hours. You can catch this minibus in Berastagi, if not full. From here it takes 5 hours to Kutacane. For this you have to wait at the main road in Berastagi near the busstation/ market to flag down the minibus. If you ask the staff in your guesthouse usually they can help.
Tojota Kijang The companies Adi Guna Travel and CK Travel Wisata offer a more comfortable, aircon public shared taxi service with modern cars (Toyota Kijang, see picture left side) between Medan and Kutacane for 130,000 IDR. The car has leather seats, one beside the driver and 2 rows with 3 seats each behind. A maximum of 7 passengers can go, but sometimes they start even with less. This service is not as frequent as the minibus. It starts when full or usually about every 2 hours. Each company has one night taxi at least. They have limited space for luggage. The stations are also at Padang Bulan.
Citra Garden CK Travel is on the left side, opposite the "Citra Garden" (see picture left side). Adi Guna Travel is on the right side about 250 meters after "Citra Garden", just 50 m behind the Carrefour supermarket. The public shared taxis will stop for a meal at a restaurant near Berastagi. Normaly the final station is in Kutacane city. If you ask the driver, he can bring you all the way to Ketambe for an extra total of about 100,000 IDR for all passengers in the car. For the way back we can arrange a taxi pick you up in Ketambe. The driver will drop you off in Medan city at the place you wish. To continue to the airport let drop you off at the city train station (stasiun kereta api ke bandara kuala namu).
4. Kutacane to Ketambe
Labi Labi The distance from Kutacane city to Ketambe is about 30 km. There are frequent mobil or Labi Labi (local transport - see picture left), leaving from a small place near the old market. You can ask the minibus driver to drop you off at this place. Labi Labi start when full. The last transport will leave from Kutacane about 5:30 PM. Normal price is 15,000 IDR, but sometimes driver ask a little more from foreign tourists. The Labi Labi stops everywhere on the way to pick up or drop off passengers.

From Bukit Lawang to Ketambe

To go from Bukit Lawang to Ketambe by public transport you have to go via Medan. If you start early morning its possible to reach Ketambe in the evening.
1. Bukit Lawang to Medan Pinang Baris
Bukit Lawang - Bus Terminal
Transport to Medan departs from the main bus terminal (see left) in Bukit Lawang. There are big and minibuses leaving about every hour.

Big buses need about 4 hours to reach Medan city. They go to the bus terminal Pinang Baris (east of Medan). From here its 10 km to Padang Bulan (Jalan Jamin Ginting), where connecting public transport leaves to Kutacane.

Minibuses (L300) are faster and reach Medan after about 3 hours. They terminate at Kampung Lalang, north of Pinang Baris. Its about 13 km from there to Padang Bulan.

To safe time, you should take a moto-rikshaw (becak) to pass the traffic through Medan city and go to Padang Bulan, where the onward transport to Kutacane departs.
How to proceed from Medan Padang Bulan to Ketambe ist written above - please click this link:
Medan Padang Bulan to Ketambe

From Tangkahan to Ketambe

To go from Tangkahan to Ketambe by public transport you have to go via Medan. If you start early morning its possible to reach Ketambe in the evening.
1. Tangkahan to Medan Pinang Baris
Bukit Lawang - Bus Terminal
Transport to Medan departs from the dead end of the only road leading to Tangkahan. From the guesthouse area you need to cross the small river by a raft style ferry (see right side).

Big buses need about 4 hours and leave only at 5:30 AM, 7:30 AM and 2:30 PM. They go to the bus terminal Pinang Baris (east of Medan).

Minibuses only start from Sp. Robert, which is about 9 km far from Tangkahan. They leave every hour from 7:00 AM until 4:00 PM and take 3 hours to Medan. To reach Sp Robert you need to hire an ojek (motorbike with driver) for this 20 minutes ride.

From the place of arrival you should take a moto-rikshaw (becak) to pass the traffic through Medan city and go to Padang Bulan, where the onward transport to Kutacane departs.
How to proceed from Medan Padang Bulan to Ketambe is written above - please click this link:
Medan Padang Bulan to Ketambe

From Lake Toba to Ketambe

To go from Lake Toba's main tourist area Tuk Tuk to Ketambe there are 2 different routes by public transport with minibuses. One includes a trip with a passenger boat. If you start early morning its possible to reach Ketambe in the evening. If you stay in the north of Lake Toba in Tongging its a shorter way to Ketambe, but still includes several parts in minibuses.
1. Tuk Tuk via Parapat, Kabanjahe and Kutacane to Ketambe
Ferry Tuk Tuk - Parapat
This route starts with a 45 minutes ride with a small passenger boat (see left) from Tuk Tuk to the Tiga Raja harbour of Parapat. The boat collect passengers from the guesthouses first and departs from the Tuk Tuk jetty at 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM every hour.

Near the passenger harbour of Parapat frequent minibuses depart to Pemenang Siantar. This ride takes about 1 hour. You don't need to go until the terminal inside the city of P. Siantar. Please ask the driver to stop at the junction to Kabanjahe or Berastagi.

From this junction catch a big bus (3.5 hours) or a minibus (3 hours) to Kabanjahe or in the direction of Berastagi.
In Kabanjahe you need to change again and take another minibus to Kutacane (5 hours). The minibuses usually come from Medan and pass the main road of Kabanjahe near the bus terminal. To find the right minibus you should ask people at the bus terminal.

How to proceed from Kutacane to Ketambe is written above - please click: Kutacane to Ketambe
2. Tuk Tuk via Pangururan, Sidikalang and Kutacane to Ketambe
Local Transport on Samosir Island
This route goes overland in 4 stages with different minibuses on the west side of Lake Toba. It starts from the main road in Tuk Tuk with a one hour drive in a local passenger car (Labi Labi - see left) to Pangururan.

In Pangururan you need to change. Take a minibus to Sidikalang, which goes via Tele and takes about 2.5 hours.

At the bus terminal Sidikalang you need to find a minibus to Kutacane (5 to 6 hours). Usually there is one departure in the early afternoon.
If there are not enough passengers it could be happen, that no minibus departs. In this case you could try to go to Subulussalam and change over there.

How to proceed from Kutacane to Ketambe is written above - please click: Kutacane to Ketambe
3. Tongging via Merek, Kabanjahe and Kutacane to Ketambe
Kabanjahe - Main Road
Tongging is situated at the northern end of Lake Toba. Only 4 km away is the 100 meters high waterfall Sipisopiso. From Tongging take a Labi Labi to Merek (20 minutes).
Change into a minibus to Kabanjahe (or in the direction of Berastagi). Its arround 1 hour to reach Kabanjahe.

In Kabanjahe take another minibus to Kutacane (5 hours). Minibuses usually come from Medan and pass the main road of Kabanjahe (see left) near the bus terminal. To find the right minibus you should ask people at the bus terminal.

How to proceed from Kutacane to Ketambe is written above - please click: Kutacane to Ketambe

From Banda Aceh to Ketambe

To go from Banda Aceh to Ketambe by public transport you have few options: flight, combination of flight and minibus, direct minibus or 2 parts in different minibuses. Depending which option you chose it can take between few hours and 2 full days to reach Ketambe from Banda Aceh.
1. Direct flight from Banda Aceh to Kutacane and local transport to Ketambe
Banda Aceh - Airport
The flight service depends on anual contracts between air carriers and the airports. Usually the airline SusiAir has 3 flight per week between Banda Aceh and Kutacane. SusiAir is a reliable and safe airline. They use modern, but small aircrafts. Pilots are from western countries. For the route between Banda Aceh and Kutacane a Cessna C208b is used. Flight time is 90 minutes.
Our partner "Friendship Guesthouse" has up to date information on flight schedule and prices at their website, click here.
The airfield Kutacane, official name is "Alas Leuser Airport", is about 20 km outside the city of Kutacane. From the airfield to the main road (Simpang Semadam) its a 15 minutes ride by becak. If a plane arrives, there is also public transport (mobil) available. On the mainroad in the village of Semadam wait for a minibus to Kutacane city. Expect to pay about 25,000 IDR for becak and minibus. If you have direct connection in Semadam it takes about 45 minutes to reach the city of Kutacane. To reach Ketambe from Kutacane city take a mobil (Labi Labi).
If you like to have more comfort, we offer a shuttle service by car from the airfield Kutacane direct to Ketambe. The ride takes about 80 minutes. Please ask for availibility and price.
2. Flight to Medan and onward on the road to Ketambe
Boing 737 from Lion Air
If there is no direct flight to Kutacane you can go by air to Medan Kuala Namu Airport first. Currently there are 10 flight per day. Most flights are operated by Lion Air. Other airlines are Garuda Indonesia and Interlink Airlines.
The first flight departs at 6:00 AM, the last at 6:00 PM. The flight time to Medan is 1:15 hour.
From Medan Airport to Ketambe go by public transport as discribed above, click here.
3. Direct minibus from Banda Aceh on the east coast road via Medan and Kutacane
Minibus BTN
From the bus station in the city centre of Banda Aceh you can catch one of the few direct minibuses to Kutacane via Medan. This tiring journey will take between 20 and 22 hours. The minibus terminates in Kutacane city.
If you can not catch the direct minibus to Kutacane, it is also possible to go to Medan by big bus or minibus first. Until Medan it takes about 10 to 12 hours. Change over there and continue to Kutacane for another 8 to 9 hours..
From Kutacane city continue by Labi Labi for another 45 minutes to Ketambe, click here.
4. Minibuses on the inland road via Takengon and Belangkejeren to Ketambe
Takengon - Lake Tawar
The most adventurous way to come from Banda Aceh to Ketambe is to use the only inland road. Parts go through the national park. This road is only drivable with minibuses.
The first part goes to Takengon at the lake Tawar and takes about 8 to 10 hours. It is convenient to stay overnight in Takengon and continue the next morning.
The second part is from Takengon by minibus with destination Kutacane. You don't need to go to the final destination Kutacane, but you have to stop and go out 45 minutes before - in Ketambe. Please ask the driver. From Takengon to Ketambe it takes about 9 hours. Some days there is a night minibus available.