I have just spent eight days in Ketembe, staying with Pak Mus and family. Unfortunately all the flights from Medan to Kutacane and Kutacane to Banda Aceh have stopped.So travel is back to buses which are the small mini bus and very comfortable.
The 7 hr bus trip from Medan to Kutacane was a very comfortable one although the road is very windy- suggest if you get motion sick buy some Ginger tablets. Luckily I was o.k. but two indonesian women in front of me were sick but very discreetly so.
I stayed overnight at Maroon Hotel in Kutacane because I arrived at 7.00 pm with Pinem bus service. Room was 60,000/night- o.k. not wonderful.
Checked out Bru Dihe, but was quoted 100,000/night.
Got the local bus the next morning to Ketambe at 7.30 am and cost was 7,000. All accomodation is along Jalan Blangkejeren and very well sign posted.
Ate at Sadar Wisata- they are open again, as well as Pak Mus.
And the little guy up the hill has great barbequed fish straight from the river.
Went on a 2 day trek and saw only one orangutan, but my guide friend Faisal from Medan brought down travellers two days ago and they saw 4 orangutans on their way back on the second day. Some people are just so lucky.
Would recommend Ketambe to everyone such a lovely laid back place- great people- great atmosphere.
Got talking to one of the guides and next visit I am thinking about trekking from Ketambe to Tangkahan another fantastic place I visited for 5 days in late September ( got a an ojek from Bukit Lawang to Tangkahan- 2 hrs over rough road for 100,000).
Stayed at Jungle Lodge in Tangkahan owned y German woman Sylvia and her Indonesian husband Alex. Just the best people and I have an unreal time there. Small house with hammock high above river.
I am currently in Takengon, having arrived by bus from Blankejeren at 10.30 pm last night.
Went to Hotel Rengallie, only to find out all their rooms are 250,000/night -well the location by the Lake is breathe taking.
However the staff were wonderful and someone made a phone call and took me back down to the town on back of his motor bike where I got a room at Gayo Hotel for 50,000, very clean hotel, clean separate mandi ( best one upstairs)and you get provided with soap and a towel.
Address is Jalan Pasar Inpress III Takengon.
Whilst eating in warung at mid night ( Indonesia is so safe even for solo feamle traveller) I met a guy who could speak some English so we went up to see the Lake in a becak this morning from the Rengallie Hotel and then walked for a few kms and it is just so beautiful.
Found a warung that served great rujak and sat there eating and gazing out over the Lake.
Late this afternoon I asked around in my dreadful Indonesian and found an Internet cafe here in Takengon at the school SMK Negeri 1
Opens at 8.00 am and closes at midnight. Cost 5,000/hr.
It is the only Internet cafe I have come across since I arrived in Kutacane. Mobile phones work in Kutacane, and here in Takengon, but not in Ketembe or Blangkejeren.
Tomorrow morning at 10 am I will catch a bus from Takengon to Banda Aceh - cost 70,000 and it takes about 7-8 hrs.
Booked the ticket today at the CV Mandala Tour just on the corner near the Gayo Hotel.
Will be staying at Uncle's in Banda Aceh and then getting the ferry over to Pulau Weh the next morning.
Hope some of this information will of use to future travellers to Aceh.
This is my first time to Aceh and I am really enjoying the scenery, the friendliness of the people and although 'wet season' weather is great- just occaisonal showers or raining at night.