Trekking in Gunung Leuser

Duration: 3 Days

The National Park of Gunung Leuser (Leuser Montain) covers some 700 000 ha. This area has been declared a World Heritage Site under UNESCO.

Gunung Leuser

It is one of the biggest remaining areas of unspoiled nature in the world.

Ketambe is a village located along the main road to Blangkejeren, about 20 km north of the town of Kutacane. Ketambe is just on the edge of the Eastern part of the Park, which makes for direct access, and has several guesthouses in various price classes. The trekking packages, of different duration, consist of walking into the forest of the National Park, under basic conditions with overnight stay in simple tents, and with meals cooked over the camp fire.

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The Area

The National Park of Gunung Leuser (Leuser Montain) covers some 700 000 ha. This area has been declared a World Heritage Site under UNESCO. In the south it borders on a Wildlife Reserve named Trumon-Singkil after the main villages there. In addition this complex is surrounded by a buffer zone, the Leuser Ekosystem Area, so that in all about 2 million ha is under one form of protection or another.

It is one of the biggest remaining areas of unspoiled nature in the world and unique in the sense that you find a range of biotopes (or habitats or “vegetation types”) as we start on the beach and in the mangrove, passing rear mangrove and into freshwater swamp, then into dryland rain forest, which itself changes character with increasing altitude, transitioning into montane forest, until we reach a landscape with few or no trees on the highest peaks. The highest mountain reaches 3374 m a.s.l.

Ketambe can be reached by car or bus from Medan, very close to Singapore. That will take about 8 hrs There are flights from Medan to Kutacane, usually twice per week. Another way of reaching Ketambe is by car from Banda Aceh. That takes two days or more, but offers plenty of sceneries along the way.

Tour Duration :

There are several choices. And here we are at present only proposing walks through the low-middle altitude rain forest, between 350 and 450 m a.s.l. You can chose  a one-day walk meaning you return to your overnight guesthouse the same evening. The trails lead through a well-preserved rain forest where there is a high probability that you will see orangutan. However, that depends on factors like the availability of fruits in the trees. The orangutan roams the forest all the time, looking for suitable food. The one-day walk leads to a camp site by a river where you can have lunch and take a rest before walking back to your guest house. A two-day trek will give you more time to search for orangutan. You will sleep in the camp in a simple tent by the Gurah river, and the next morning walk for about two hours to reach a place upstream with hot springs. There are natural basins in the river where the hot water mixes with the river water to a pleasant temperature. You can rest your body in the warm water and meditate at the sight of steam clouds drifting across the river and into the trees, before walking back to Ketambe. A three-day trek can of course be planned with your guide to cover a longer distance, depending on your interest – and your stamina! (There are possibilities to make longer walks also, for six or seven days towards special destinations like some of the lower mountain tops and vintage points. Those trips are more demanding, for you as well as for us, and needs to be planned carefully and with sufficient notice, preferably one month.)

Tour Info

Level of Fitness Requirement:
Even for the one-day walk you need to be prepared for climbing up some rather steep slopes that may be slippery (if it has been raining). But the conditions are not that demanding and the distances rather short.

Trip starts / ends: in Ketambe at your overnight place

Best time to go:
dry season, June – September

Participants : Min 2 , Max 15 . For the shorter treks we can be quite flexible. It is safer to make use of porters aside from the guide if the group is bigger than three persons, or depending on how much you are prepared to carry yourself.


  • Walk through the unspoiled tropical rain forest and see giant trees with a height of 35 m or more
  • If you are lucky you will see orangutan. You will definitely see their temporary nests – the orangutan keeps on roaming and seldom stays many nights in the same area.
  • There are thousands of things to watch inside the rain forest, due to its extraordinarily rich biodiversity. (In our blog we have little notices called The Rainforest School where you will learn some basic parts.)
  • If you are interested in birds you have a chance to go out early morning and listen and watch.
  • The rain forest is not rich in flowers at the ground level, but there are other aspects of botanical life you will discover.

Trekking Gunung Leuser – Gallery