One of the best places in Asia to spot orang-utans in the wild, Ketambe is in the heart of the Alas Valley, and is the main tourist centre of Gunung Leuser National Park. A handful of guesthouses are spread along the road through Ketambe, hemmed in between the river and the jungle. It’s one of the most chilled-out places in the north of Sumatra, and a few lazy days relaxing beside the river and partaking in some jungle hiking is likely to be a highlight of your Sumatran adventures.
Ketambe is one of the main access points to the park. Directly across the river is Ketambe Research Station, a world-renowned conservation research facility, which is off limits to tourists. Ketambe has a few basic shops and restaurants, but Kutacane, 43km away, is the closest town of any note and is the place to go for transport and ATMs.