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“Came for four, stayed 20 days!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Wisma Cinta Alam

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Wisma Cinta Alam
Ranked #41 of 439 Sumatra B&B and Inns
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Came for four, stayed 20 days!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2013

Day 1-Within about an hour of entering the jungle, we were watching a family of orang hutans, our guide Acak was quick to spot every bird, monkey, centipede, bear, snake, flower, mushroom, poisonous plant and any other curios alive inside the jungle…. understandably, because this is his stomping ground. Born and raised here in Ketambe, like the other guides at Wisma Cinta Alum, they are trained here and tread these tracks most days. Without a guide, I could have been convinced there were no animals, and been lost within 5 minutes. My friend and I enter the jungle and are awkwardly clodhopping through while Acak and Karim effortlessly walk the path, spotting animals, carrying everything and finding the way.
After watching the orangutans do what they do, we stop for an awesome lunch of fish, rice and vegetables cooked by Johan's wife.
Acak somehow managed to track a Siamang gibbon which was hanging out with about 10 orangutans, we followed him while Acak played the gibbon call from his mobile phone, so funny watching as the gibbon tried to figure out where his friends were.
Back to the campsite, which was already set up by Karim, my friend and I go swimming, sip coffee and chain smoke while Acak and Karim make fire, and cook lots of Indonesian food. After sunset we learned some Gayo dance which thankfully is done sitting down! You'll probably leave the jungle with sore cheeks from laughing, there is no shortage of jokes in this jungle.
I went trekking four times, once for 3 days, then for 2 days, then 4 days and 3 days again. Also did 3 night hikes, but I'm still not bored! If it weren't for my visa expiring, I would stay forever. `
Johan and his wife, as well as the rest of the extended family, are all good people, any guide or porter you could be sent with has been trained over many years by Johan, who learned from his father. If in doubt, ask tourists from another guest house if they saw any orang hutans today and you might find you picked the right guide! Wisma Cinta Alum means love nature, the owner Johan actively protects the wildlife at a grassroots level which is a good reason to back him, to help him get the resources to do more.
When I wasn't in the jungle, I learned some cooking from the ladies in the kitchen, went to the market, practised my Bahasa Indonesian, went swimming and tubing every day in the Alas River with the kids- which is in the backyard, by the way. The life here is simple, and the people are real, and this is what appealed to me most about Ketambe. You can escape the horrors of modern Asia and experience life in an unspoilt village. Don't expect 5 star hotels, but if you want to have an authentic experience, do visit Ketambe, and use wisma cinta alum.
There are not many tourists, but you can still access the internet if you want (if you have a telkomsel card).
I noticed a negative review and thought it was relevant to mention that Ketambe is quite a strict Muslim community, and tourists should act accordingly to avoid unwanted attention... ie wear long clothes and be modest.
Also the nearest decent sized town-Kotacane is about 45 minutes by labi labi, and here you will find (mastercard only) atms and no western food. Get used to eating rice and noodles!
Be specific when discussing with Johan what you want from your adventure, there are many options and almost anything is possible.
Sorry for raving, I guess this is a rave review.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Leeluu F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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40 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2013

The head guide and owner of the guest houses, Johan was an incredible host. Very helpful. The food was great as long as you understand you are really far away from everything and it takes time to get produce, ie: you have to wait for chicken or fish to be acquired before you can eat it. Bungalows although basic, were charming and really good value. Especially considering the setting. If you are looking for a jungle trek I couldn't recommend a better place. They are by far the most experiences guides for this area and have a variety of treks available for all levels.
I really cannot say enough things about ketambe, Wisma cinte Alam guest houses and Johan and his team. They all contributed to both amazingly relaxing and adrenaline filled moments that definitely make me want to return there.

Many thanks also to Udin our guide who did a great job in managing to how us every species he ha said we would see and more.

Thanks to Johan however for organizing the rooms and our trek. I truly hope to be back there soon for another trek and visit.

  • Stayed December 2012
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jonnyf89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Leuven, Belgium
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 November 2012

This was an amazing experience.Going to the jungle for a few days and see all the wild-life !
I must recommand the lodges at the Wisma Cinta Alam and also the food !
You can do a trekking for 1 to 7-days with an excellent team,cook,porters,and of course the
unforgettable guides who showes you the whole wildlife like oerang-oetangs,.Leaf-monkeys,makaaks,gibbons,hornbills also beautiful rivers,hot springs,waterfalls,etc..
The owner of the guesthouse (Johan) is so inspired and informated guide.
I was there begin october and i came back the end of the month,i did a trekking from Medan over Takengon,Bukkitingi,Padang and Siberut and this was the best thing i did..
Ooooh yes, I left a little piece of my heart there!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank dianeke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aussie in London
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 September 2012

We had been recommended Johan's guesthouse and trek by another traveller and this was possibly the best advice we were given for our Sumatra trip. His guesthouse is lovely - the food is fantastic(try the chicken satay) but the real draw of course is the trekking. This is real trekking with lots of wildlife - but you will need to look/trek hard to see it all - it is not quasi-tame like in other parts of Sumatra. Johan is an incredible man and guide. He knows so much about the jungle and its wildlife and tells amazing stories. He is fantastic at finding you lots of animals and will personalise your trek to focus on your wildlife interests and available time.Johan can offer you an amazing wealth of information about the history of the national park, local/international conservation efforts (and their successfulness or otherwise) aswell as fabulous tales of local folklore. He is an extremely inspirational man and a trek with him is an unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank skippyspots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 June 2012

When I arrived at Wisma Cinta Alam i was really pleased with the wood cabin style accommodation, it was very clean and homely and the surroundings were stunningly beautiful. The guesthouse seemed more of a family gathering place than a guesthouse. At times i felt like i was inconveniencing them asking for food/drinks as they were often pretty busy with their children. What i did eat there was really tasty. Johan is the central figure and when he isn't around it is difficult to get reliable information and assistance off anyone. I missed the shared taxi back to Medan because of this. It leaves at 9am and needs to be pre-booked. Instead i had to get a mobil into Kutacane - i wanted to avoid using the Mobil as on my way to Ketembe i found some of the transport operators/drivers to be quite rude & hostile maybe because i was a lone women in the Aceh region. Unfortunately,Johan was already booked to guide another group around the Gunung Leuser National Park. Johan was apologetic about not being able to take me, he seems to take his business very seriously.
Instead i was guided by Kamarudin (Udin). His English was weak but we got by and the first day was brilliant. We saw several Orangutan, Thomas Monkeys, Hornbill, Makak Monkeys. It was a real rush to search the forest and to come across these animals in their natural habitat.
After the first day I felt Udin had done a really good job as my guide. We camped alongside another couple and their guide and porter, To my surprise Udin and i were to share a tent, i had assumed this would not be the case.
When i went to bed Udin followed me straight away so i had no privacy whatsoever. He said that i should check my body for leeches, which, needless to say i didn't do with him sat there watching me. During the night Udin started touching my foot with his, i assumed this was accidental and ignored it. Whilst seeming to be asleep he then put his arm around me, which i pushed off straight away, This happened several times and in the end i had to quite forcibly shove him away from me. By this time my heart was racing and i was baking hot. I was wearing leggings and a shirt but felt i couldn't strip off as i didn't trust him. I couldn't sleep all night and i all i could think of was getting out of there. The next day i was exhausted. Trekking around the jungle after a heavy rain is not easy - the ground is slippy with steep inclines and leeches to watch out for. I kept slipping over and i felt like my heart wasn't in it. He kept asking me if i was okay, what i was going to tell Johan etc. He also then told me he had a baby daughter, he hadn't mentioned her before (in fact he told me he had a girlfriend from Holland). He was quite manipulative - in that he seemed to assume if he seemed sorry and pitiful i would keep quiet. I did consider just letting the whole jungle trek experience pass me buy but i paid 700,000rp for a trek with an predatory, opportunistic guy and he'd spoilt it. I want other lone females to take note of my experience, as an a Western woman sometimes you are considered to be fair game and Sumatra is a particularly difficult place to travel. You get a lot of hastle from the men and it is very corrupt. The other reviews didn't put accross this side at all, but you need to be prepared.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
7 Thank Jennifer E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
johan k, Owner at Wisma Cinta Alam, responded to this review, 11 August 2012
I am sorry to hear that you had bad experience.
It is not possible for me to take all the guest on trekking.
I have been concentrating on providing best guides, now I must choose guides carefully, so all my guests must feel safe.
It is important that where I can not guide you. You must let me know before or after the trek, so I can choose/keep guides, where guest have good experience and feel safe.
I can only say i am really sorry for your bad experience
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
34 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 January 2012

Like everyone before us we first checked out the friendship guesthouse but we found the bungalows to be very dark. So we looked at it's neighbour Wisma and the bungalows near the river are much brighter. Johan is the owner of the guesthouse and his wife does the cooking. He (of course) is also a guide and we took a jungle trekking with him which was fun. We saw a big male oerang-oetang in the wild and other wildlife. The food is also really good, try the BBQ chicken with peanut sauce!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Thaddeus73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2010

Due to the earlier arrangements we did not stay at Wisma (regrettably), but Johan showed us around and his bungalows are very new, clean and comfortable with hammocks to relax on the veranda.
We had a pleasure to go on the half day jungle trek with Johan- it was a real jungle trek- off the path, up and down the hills, stopping, listening and looking for the sounds and signs of the orangutans and then following these sounds. In the end of our trek we stood on the top of the hill and were admiring amazing views over the valley of the Alas river. The same night I went on the night trek with Johan, looking for the elusive civet cat. Instead, we saw 2 slow loris- Johan's favourite animals, very cute indeed. We ended our trek staring at sky full of stars at 1.30 am.
Ketambe is a magical place and Johan the most inspirational person I met on my journey to Indonesia. I would highly recommend staying at Johan's and going for a trek with him.

  • Stayed June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank lonka5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Wisma Cinta Alam

Property: Wisma Cinta Alam
Address: Jln. Blangkereren | Ketambe, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sumatra
Hotel Style:
Ranked #41 of 439 B&Bs / Inns in Sumatra
Number of rooms: 8

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