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The trip from Takengon to Ketambe takes between 8 and 9 hours. The mini-buses are generally crowded and stops are few. But the views as you travel through the mountains are spectacular. It is a long slow climb leaving Takengon, and then many ups and downs along mountain ridges, yet although I was squashed in the front seat - there was four across - and could barely move a muscle, the time seemed to pass quickly as we moved through some of the most scenic countryside.
The lunch stop was at a small village - terrific coffee and plenty of fruit for sale. A goat decided it wanted to share my peanuts with me.
Although it was basically a full day travel on a crowded bus, I really quite enjoyed it. The bus goes through to Kutacane so you need to tell the driver where you are intending to stay in Ketambe and they'll drop you at the front door.
Price ranges from 80,000 to 120,000 rupiah - depends on whether you go directly to the bus station in Takengon or arrange the ticket through an intermediary/hotel.
Written Feb 28, 2012
There are a couple of small shops in Ketambe selling foodstuff such as biscuits and other snack items, along with laundry powder and toiletries, but overall stocks are limited. It is best to ensure you have adequate batteries and personal items such as sunscreen before arriving.
If you want fresh fruit, you should listen out for the travelling salesmen - the fruit shop comes to you on the back of a motorbike.
If you have a motorbike yourself and need petrol, you will find several stands on the side of the street selling litre or two litre quantities of petrol from plastic bottles.
Written Apr 4, 2012