Massive, Green and Marvelous Rain Forest!!!
It has been a while from my first trip to see Orang Utan into the wild in Tanjung Puting National Park. Finally, I decide to see our close animal relatives in Bukit Lawang and camping at Gunung Leuser National Park in North Sumatra. Bukit Lawang is known as one of only few places as the habitat of Orang Utan. It is at the gate to the marvelous rain forest in Sumatra with its group of hills, famous as its name Bukit Barisan. As far as you see, only hills and forest is your view. Amazingly Green.
How to get to Bukit Lawang ?!?!
The easiest way to get to Bukit Lawang is from Medan. Medan is the 3rd biggest city in Indonesia with very frequent flight connection to Jakarta. Medan Airport is also connected to some other cities and countries nearby, such as Aceh, Bandung, Surabaya, Batam, Penang, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and also Singapore. From Medan to Bukit Lawang, you can take public/ tourist bus for very cheap deal, 3USD each, but takes between 3-5 hours or charter taxi/ car for you and your travel partners for around 30USD, and around 2-3 hours.
What to do in Bukit Lawang ?!?!
Seeing orang utan, getting up close and personal with them, jungle trekking, camping, getting to know the rain forest closer and tubing on white water are the main activities that you can do here. After driving for around 3 hours, passing sooo many palm oil plantation, which makes me sad and keep thinking about the deforestation and destruction that human being have done to the animal, you will be arriving in a little village, Bukit Lawang. All its people and some tourist hotels are situated next to the river. Accommodation is plenty, from very very cheap and some comfortable ones. You can have a look around and choose what suits you the best. I was staying at On the Rock bungalows, cost 20USD a nite. It is nice accommodation, with only 4 bungalows, right on the hills, the closest to the nature, but if you are not keen on climbing up and down the hill all the time, then this is absolutely not for you. Every time I wanna meet people, visiting village and want to see something, I have to climb up and down the hill.
Well, well, 2 days 2 nights is the minimum stay for visiting Bukit Lawang. If you have only weekend, you can do it like what I describe here. Friday evening arriving in Medan, then you can drive all the way to the area. Enjoy the quiet evening. Start your next day, at around 9am, for your 2 days 1 night trekking and camping around the National Park. Choose your guide carefully and if possible arrange before your arrival to avoid big headache of choosing the wrong one or so. Thomas was my guide when I was doing the trekking there. He is very informative about the flora and cool with orang utan. He is also very helpful to us. All guides charge the same price 60 Euro for 2 days 1 nite jungle trekking and back tubing through the Bohorok river. The jungle trekking was really nice. Up and down the hills, part of Bukit Barisan actually in Gunung Leuser National Park. We saw 9 orang utans during our trekking. We also saw Thomas leaves monkeys, Macaque monkeys, Gibbons, hornbill bird and some other animals like fresh water turtles at one of the stream. Very natural and the jungle is massive. I was lucky, the weather was amazing, and was full moon as well. So the sky is very clear and the camping becomes very memorable. The next day we went to waterfall near our camping place, very clear and chill water. After lunch time we went down to the village through the river with our tubings. It was great fun.
If you only have 2 days time then you can head straight to the airport and catch flight. I had a day longer. After relaxing, the next day, I decided to visit the bat cave and seeing the village. On Sunday and public holiday, the rivers in Bukit Lawang village, is turning to the water park. Full of Indonesians, the locals and tourist from Medan and nearby having the great time of their life (q:lonely planet Indonesia) playing in the water on their tubing. Driving back to Medan around 2pm, giving me the possibility to check Medan a bit and get the impression how is the city looks like. Hehehe, it has lots of car, scooter, malls, it is crowded, no wonder it is the 3rd biggest city in Indonesia.