Baru is located on the fringes of Leuser National Park. Rawa Ulue
Bubu (The Ulue Bubu Swamp) has an interesting wildlife.
Orangutans, Tigers, Mouse deer, and birds like Hornbills and Shama.
To see the area go by local canoe through the swamps and then walk
in the forest. You need to use a local guide. The Singkil swamps can
be reached both from Kuala Baru and Singkil.
An unusual attraction is beach trekking between Kuala Baru
via the even more isolated village of Buluhseuma to Kedai Trumon in
the north. In the late 1990ies about 50 backpackers did this trek
over the years, but it stopped during the Aceh conflict. The walk is
beautiful between the ocean and the forest. It is an adventurous
walk and you should bring a guide. There are several rivers to
Approximately 35 kilometers north of Kuala Baru is
Buluhseumah; a very nice place to stop over for a couple of nights.
Contact the Village head (Kepala Desa). They will be over-delighted
to see you. The people here are truly isolated. Their main income is
from wild bee hobby collecting. For them it is important that the
big trees stand. More information about this trek will come. Read
the report below from Senne Vliegen who did the trek in July 2010.
Most of the men in Kuala Baru are fishermen. Around 05.00 in
the morning they get their boats and canoes ready in the river. They
all leave for the sea through the river mouth to the south of Kuala
Baru and return back in the afternoon with fresh fish. Purchasers
are waiting for them at the boat landings on the river side. The
wheeling and dealing goes on until sunset. Some fishermen also look
for Ikan Lele (k.o. cat fish) in the swamps. Tarik Pukat is another
and very interesting activity. A big community group pulls a huge
net towards the beach in order to catch fish. This is fun to sea and
take part in.
Kuala Baru is well-known for its handicraft. In almost every
home in Kuala Baru the women do embroidery. They have learnt it from
their mothers. The patterns are often inspired by fish, birds and
trees. Most of the production is sold in the region, but some of it
can be great and unique souvenirs.
Two home industries to mention are:
Uning Baya Souvenir Jl. Tanah Tinggi, Kuala Baru. 20
Adami Souvenir Jl. Tanah Tinggi, Kuala Baru. 12 employees.
Culture and traditions are strictly controlled by community
representatives. They control traditions and rules for the sea, the
river, the forest, and the fields. It is for example forbidden by
traditional law to fish with bombs and poison. The culture is
strongly influenced by the two major ethnic groups of Kuala Baru,
Acehnese and Pesisir (a coastal mix). This can easily be seen in
wedding decorations and the traditional dancing.
Senne Vliegen of Belgium made a beach trek from Kuala Baru to
Buluhseuma in July 2010. Here is his report (edited) and his photos
(See also his report from his visit to
Rantau Gadang from Singkil)
Baru - Buluhseuma and back (two-day trek):
I took a public robin from Singkil to Kuala Baru. I paid Rp. 20.000,
although locals told me afterwards the normal price would be only
Rp. 5.000 (without luggage). I met with my guide already arranged
from Singkil. (can also be arranged directly in Kuala Baru). We
started walking around 9.30 in the morning.
the walk we saw a lot of Monitor lizards (biawak in Indonesian) and
one big Orangutan. The walk is beautiful between the sea and the
swamp. Most parts of the walk is on the beach, some parts have to be
done in the forest next to the beach because large trunks of trees
are laying on the beach. The beach is also more narrow now after
Tsunami (and Nias Earthquake) because the land level has gone down
by about 1 meter. (The beach is wider in eastern monsoon season). It
is best to wear strong sandals, as light sandals are not suitable
for the forest and shoes become too wet and too heavy on the beach.
Sun lotion (and a hat) is also essential. We arrived in Buluhseuma
after 7-7,5 hours. I think it's around 28-30 km. We met a few
villagers on the way, but it's unlikely you see many people on the
I stayed at the Kepala Kampung's house in the first part of the
village (closest to Kuala Baru). Actually there are 2 or 3 parts
(small villages) in Buluhseuma. You can stay in every part. The
parts are connected by a small river (5 min). The total population
is a few hundred people. The population has decreased since 2000.
Apparently some inhabitants moved to Kuala Baru during the Aceh
I gave the Kepala kampung Rp. 100.000 for my stay. I got
dinner, breakfast and some additional snacks throughout the evening
and morning and coffee/tea several times. People are very friendly
in Buluhseuma. I was even invited at a religious party in a private
house in the village. I only stayed one night. If you have time it
is better to stay a few nights to get a better insight in the
It is possible to trek further from Buluhseuma to Kedai Trumon,
which is 30-35 km to the north (Trumon is on a main road). However I
decided to return to Kuala Baru the next day. We saw a lot less
animals (no large ones) than the day before, so you will probably
have to be a bit lucky to spot an orangutan. I think you need to
speak at least basic Indonesian to do this trek. A guide is a good
idea, not because the path is too difficult (you just follow the
beach), but because you have to pass a group of water buffalos on
the beach. I paid 100.000 per day for the guide.
>> SEE ALSO