Sumatra is an island of extraordinary beauty. Jungle covered mountains, cascading rivers, white sandy beaches and sparkling crater lakes. Although the island is next to Java the majority of the island still remains undiscovered. One of the hidden gems is the little town of Batu Katak where Darwin and his community offer a unique stay.
Stunning Gunung Leuser National Park
One of the highlights of this island is the encounter with the wild orangutans in Gunung Leuser National Park. It is the only national park in the world that is home to the big four endangered species: Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers and rhinos. To visit the national park most travelers are going to the tourist village of Bukit Lawang, but if you are looking for a more unique, quiet hideaway then visit the little town of Batu Katak.
The little village of Batu Katak
Batu Katak is a charming little village with only 140 people where chickens are roaming freely around and children are playing. The crystal clear river is cascading its way through the jungle giving the local children a great opportunity for tubing. Most of the families are rubber or palm oil farmers. As the local community is threatened by illegal logging and mining, local farmer Darwin started with others an ecotourism initiative that creates extra income for the local people. Whilst providing an alternative livelihood it will empower them to continue to save this part of North Sumatra, giving them true custodian ownership and also protect the amazing wildlife and natural resources within the area.
Darwin said “It started because I wanted to do something for my community and the threatened environment. As Batu Katak has so much hidden beauty we got the idea to share this with the world and in this way create extra income for the village people. Near our village we have many special caves and animals that you can encounter like the orangutan, gibbons and the famous Rafflesia flower, the biggest flower in the world. One year ago we received our first visitors which was a big highlight. We now have received guests from Switzerland, Australia and Germany.”
You can do many activities in Batu Katak like floating down the clear river, go for a jungle trekking with the local guides, meet the orangutans, Siamang Gibbons, sun-bears and many other animals or help the villagers in their medicine garden and learn about the use of the plants and herbs for traditional medicines. The area is indeed beautiful with green jungle and its sounds everywhere. The families are unbelievably friendly and the food is to die for. It out-ranks Bukit Lawang for peace and gives you that peek into local life of the people.
Do you want to visit Darwin and the Batu Katak people? Have a look at their village experience offer.