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“Perfect location for trekking in Sumatra”

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Pondok Wisata Guesthouse
Reviewed November 27, 2013 via mobile

Of course we were there for a trek with Jhony but anyway our stay at Pondok Wisata were great. Widy and the staff were really nice and helpfull and the food was great! The atmosphere was really pleasant, calm and relaxing, and the jungle is right behind the guesthouse. Perfect to stay the nights before and after your trek in the jungle of ketambe. Authenticity is what comes to our mind when speaking about Ketambe and the guesthouse.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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Thank kickasss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 20, 2013

I prefered to go to Ketambe (near Kutacane), rather than going to the very touristic Bukit Lawang. Spotting orang utans in the wild is more impressive than seeing them on a feeding platform. Jhony Jungle had been recommended in several reports and I confirm : after 20 years of travelling, he is in my Top 3 of the best guides I ever had. 3 days jungle trekking were amazing : lots of animals, overwhelming nature, beautiful campsites, dinner w candlelight under thousands of stars. Jhony is very entertaining, good sense of humour and thanks to his solid knowledge of English you can discuss daily Indonesian life, nature, politics but jokes are never far away :-). You also can book rafting trips through him, which I didn't do.
You'll find more info via Jungletrekkingsumatra Ketambe. No internet/phone connection in the jungle & Ketambe, so sometimes you'll have to wait a few days for a reply.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Cataleya99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2013

I think everyone who goes to Pondok Wisata GH goes over there for one reason : finding a good guide to go in the jungle, and that is the right place to do it !
The GH is a very quite place, very close to the jungle. Many guides of "Jhonny's team" are standing over there, waiting for guests to go in the jungle. They are every one very nice, funny and are all very experimented to give you what you are looking for.
The rooms are quite comfortable, clean, with mosquitos nets, double beds and private bathroom (with cold water) and toilets. "Widy" is the cooker, he is a very good cooker, making a lot of different local meals with fresh fruits, meats or vegetables. Every guys we met in the GH were really nice with us, open minded, and we spent many times to talk with us and having fun !

But if you go there you probably want to know how are the jungle trek leaving from this GH, here is our experience :

Before leaving from France to Sumatra, we were looking for a guide to make a 4 days trek in Gunung Leuser National Park. We found differents guides by searching on differents forums and we decided to contact all of them. We finally decided to trust Jhonny from Pondok Wisata GH because the feeling we had with him was really good. Contrary to the others guides in Ketambe, Jhonny didn't make any "touristical flase promises" (like "with me I can garanty you will see at least 20 orang outangs, tigers, bears or anything else..."). He just told us "OK guys, I won't promise anything because in the nature there is no garanty, but if you come with me the only thing I can garanty is the fact you'll we live a real jungle experience and you will have fun !"... that speech sounded really good to us because he seems to be an authentical guide and someone we could trust.
Finally, he arranged a private transport from Medan airport to come to Pondok Wisata GH (about 7 hours in a very good and safe car).
After one night (and a good meal) at the GH, we leave for a 4 days trek in Gunung Leuser NP with Jhonny (our guide) and Redouan (who was carrying all the camping material and the food). Jhonny speaks a very good english (better than mine...sorry!), and he gave us many explanations about animals and plants of the jungle, but he shared too many informations about his feeling about wildlife protection...it was so intersting !
Finally (and even if he didn't promise anything...) we could see many animals : a lot of orang outangs (especially a big male we succeed in seeing very very close !), black gibbons, white handed gibbons, Thomas leaf monkeys, frogs, insects, leeches, elephants prints...and the sound of a sun bear in the middle of the night very close of our tent !
What we really appreciate in our 4 days trek is the fact we moved every day (we didn't stay 3 nights in the same place contrary to others guys we met over there...). We spent one night close to a river, then close to any hotsprings (a taste of paradise !) and the last night in the mountain. By this way we could really discover the jungle diversity.
Another thing we really appreciated (maybe because we are french...) is the food ! Redouan was cooking every days fresh vegetables, fruits or fishes wich were always delicious (you have to taste the fresh ginger tea with the banana's pancake on the early morning close the hotsprings...one of our greatest memory !).
The long discussions and all the fun we had with them every evening was someting we could never forget too ! That's why (contrary to what we planed at the beginnig) we decided to stay a few days more in Pondok Wisata Gh after our trek to keep having fun with Jhonny, Redouan and every guides who are based over there. Finally, Jhony organized a special day for us and we went in Redouan's plantation to make a tasty duck barbecue lost at the top of a mountain in patchouly plantation...another amazing memory, and still a lot of fun all day long !
Anyway we spent with these guys a very special and amazing experience, we were looking for an authentical experience in the jungle and a way to share any good moments with local people : that is what we had !
One other last thing : don't be "disappointed" if Jhonny can't go with you on trek, there is all a team of trustfull an experimented guides (like Mensah, Abu...) who could make you live the same experience !
If you need any other infomations and details, it would be a pleasure to help you ! (but Jhonny has his own website : http://www.jungletrekkingsumatra.org/

We hope you'll take as fun as us with them over there, good trek guys !

Cyp and Claire.

Room Tip: I think you have to go to Pondok Wisata more to find a good jungle guide than to find any good rooms...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank cypo93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2013

I contacted Jhony via E-Mail because he was the only of three Guides I found in the Internet for Ketambe. We allways awnsered my e-maisl quickly and gave me all the Information I requested and more. So I allready had a good feeling about this.
When I arrived in Medan, Jhony organized the transport from Medan to Ketambe (over Kutacane) for us.
When we arrived in Ketambe we stayed at the Pondok Wisata Guets House. It is simple but nice, good food and very nice staff with a beautiful garden.
On teh next day Jhony and two porters (we took an extra porter which also carried our private stuff ;-) ) went with me and my girlfriend for 5 days in the jungle. As the jungle was the main reason for us to go to Sumatra, we had high expectations.
Jhony and his two guys really even toped them. It is such a beazutiful jungle around Ketambe, and Jhony has a very good feeling about how to give you the right amount of adventure. He knew we would like adventure, but he also knew how far he could go. We felt very comfortable and save with him, while at the same time, we did some hardcore trekking.
From the first day on, we saw lots of Monkeys, Orang Utans. On the second day on, we herad a Bear close by, followed Elephant tracks and so on. On the last day we were swimming in a waterfall and took a bath in hot spings in the middel of the jungle.

He doesen't use "the standard routs", he eavluates the route dynamic, considering condition of his guest and tracks of animals. Every noon, they cook a good meal and at the end of every day the build the shelter and cook dinner, while you can swim in the river, or explore the surroundings of the camp.
We did a lot of trekking in Asia, but Jhony is really one of, or even the best guide we had so far.
With other guieds we sometimes had bad experience, such as, that they would only walk standard routs, allway walked ahead and dind't adjust thier speed to us, even on critical points.
Jhony alwas keept us save.
You can see my pics and video from the track on his Facebook page:

Even after the trekking, we stayed in contact with him, and he allways gave us advice or organized a ride for us.
He is a good guy, an excellent guide, knows his jungle, knows how to handle people and is very honest. Some one you can count on, even after the bill is paid.
So thanks a lot, these were some of teh best 5 days in my life so far ;-)

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank raffgier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2013

As I landed at Polonia Airport, Medan, it took me about 8 hrs drive to reach Ketambe, I spend a full week at Ketambe in Pondok Wisata ketambe Guest House last May at 2012
I have been trekking five days in the jungle and it was amazing! This is the first time I see real jungle and I loved it from the first minute,Jhony.M.Imam is great guide, he loves the jungle and he has lots of experience from guiding, he has show me the wildlife orang utans,monkeys,hornbill and explained everything about the jungle ,the hot spring are so nice-once you are “Mandi” in the hotspring you don’t want to leave! Jhony is always smiling and he will make sure you have a nice time in the lovely Jungle !!
my advice It will be easier for him to pick you up in Kotacane, which is an hour away from Ketambe and drive you with, himself to Ketambe. Transportation between Kotacane and Ketambe can often be difficult because other drivers might have a financial incentive to bring you to another guest house, therefore placing you will a different guide who might be younger and less experienced in the wild,
Thank you Jhonny hopefully I will be back here someday.
For more information , Here is his mobile phone number 0813-7635-0472 see http://www.jungletrekkingsumatra.org

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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Thank idajohanns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: March 2018
Thank Joel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
Google Translation

Stayed: March 2018, traveled solo
Thank Susanne-Arnhem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Pondok Wisata Guesthouse

Address: Km. 32 Jl. Blangkejeren | Villages of Balailutu, Ketambe, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Sumatra > Aceh > Ketambe
Free Parking Restaurant Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Ketambe
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
NEW OWNER!!! Pondok Wisata is the oldest guesthouse in Ketambe, already 24 years old. Since August 2017 Irwan and Dieuwertje are the new, young owners. The real jungle can be found in the backyard of this guesthouse. The guesthouse is surrounded by a garden with a lot of large trees, where monkeys and birds will watch you during your stay. The restaurant of the guesthouse will offer you different, delicious Aceh dishes. Because of the nice atmosphere, the guesthouse will directly feel like home! We can organize a jungle trekking for you and we will arrange everything what you need during your stay and trekking. Also rafting, tubing, visit the waterfall and a tour around the village is possible. Feel free to visit us, you will have a good stay for sure :) ... more   less 
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