Published: August 7th 2007July 16th 2007
We had spent our night in Georgetown, Malaysia just chillin out as we didnt want to go anywhere as we didnt really like it all that much when we were out in the early evening, plus very tired still from the train the night before as we only slept for few hours. The next morning, the 10th july we got car to ferry terminal, we waited for check in and once it opened the Malaysians who are known for jumping queue's and bumping whoever they need to to get them out of the way lived up to their reputation, me and Laura were almost thrown from the queue by them, luckily we are pretty big lasses so never even got moved a centimetre! We got checked in and boarded the ferry which was pretty big, we took 2 seats at the back at waited for us to depart. The ferry was busy, infact it was full and i think we were the only 2 foreigners. We were on the boat for about 5 and a half hours and we were absolutely frozen the whole time, the air-con was in turned up to the max! We were all frozen, even the
Malaysians so after many many complaints they eventually turned it down then up then down, they were little buggers lol! We also spend it listening to people being sick constantly, the boat was rocking and everyone inclufding myself at a point felt a little queezy, luckily however i did not see my breakfast from that morning lol! For the whole trip me and Laura had a pashmina's wrapped round us and were shivering, we couldnt even take our hands out from under them! Eventually we arrived at the dock, got off and into the warmth of the sun, went through immigration where my bag got searched because they thought my contact solution was drugs or something, oh dont you like when your knickers are shown to everyone! We then boarded a bus which would be a hour long and take us to Medan, the third largest city in Indonesia, we however wouldnt be staying there, we wanted to go to a place called Bukit Lawang which we had planned to get a local bus to. However, a young guy approached us on the bus saying he overheard us saying we wanted to go there and was actually going there himself
in a organised mini-bus and that there were seats free is we wanted to go with him so we said yeah why not. The mini-bus turned out to be a gorgoues toyota 4x4 which was loveky, leather seats, air-conned, the works! The guy was called Mundi and his mate who was driving was called Rahmed, 2 really nice guys who we had a laugh with the whole 3 hour way to Bukit Lawang.
Once we arrived at Bukit Lawang it was almost pitch black, they dont always have electricity, they used generators so we made our way over a ricketty old wooden bridge which we got caught on a few times as our bags didnt fit threw the wires on it, so funny! All the locals were saying hello to us and also 'Welcome to the Jungle' which we laughed at only to realise about 10 minutes later that we really were in the jungle!! We stopped to look at a Guesthouse here which actually was ran by Mundi's sister but it was manky so we went to another one which was just beside it. It was basic, had a double bed which had mossie nets above in it and
a fan and that was pretty much it! It had its own bathroom however which consisted of a squatting loo (oh my favourite kind), a shower (which basically forced out about 3 trickles of water if you were lucky) and a bucket with water in it (for flushing the squatting loo-you basically get a plastic cup which you fill from the bucket and pour down the loo to et rid of your tissue etc)! We checked in, and looked around not that we could see much, but what we did was a basically trees's, and forest, we could also hear the birds etc we were in the jungle alright!!! We were absolutely starving as had no food all day so we went to the guesthouse's restuaunt and ordered some fried rice and veggies. Mundi came over to see us so we sat speaking to him and then a few more people, They were all really nice and very friendly. They all asked if we wanted to join them down at the river but we were nackered so delined and headed off to bed. All the guys seemed so nice so hopefully we would get to speak to them 2moro.
next day we got up, had 'shower', i say shower but it took about half hour to wash shampoo out of hair as it really was 3 trickles that came out, but eventually we were ready and headed out. We got some breakfast at the Guesthouse then headed over to The Orang-utan centre for the 3 o clock feeding. We walked to the place, the route meant we walked past people's houses and along down beside the river, it was beautiful! The forest was so big and tree's so high. We passed many locals who all said hello, we also passed a few monkeys who got so close to us, it was so cool!We then came to the end of the river and had to get a wee boat over to the other side where the centre was. We arrives and it was amazing! We basically climbed up a big mountain to the feeding area. We met 2 orang-utans on the way, a mother and its baby, the baby was climbing on its mother and the mother took the hand of one of the guides, it was amazing!!! We then went to the feeding area, basically a bit plank of
wood in the middle of the tree's, the guides made a noise and another orang-utan came bounding throught the trees to get its food, we watched the 2 big orang-utans getting feb then the baby one, they were fed milk and banana's, it was amazing, we then watched the guides playing about with them pushing them etc, it was awesome and definately one of the best things we have seen so far. After about a hour we headed back down. Me and Laura then went to The Jungle Inn for a refreshing drink as now very warm and the hike had done us in lol! The people at the inn were super nice, we sat talking to them for a while. We then headed back to our guesthouse. Once back we sat out at seats watching the river and area around us, it was unreal, just so amazing. While we were there we got talking to a guy called Eddie, he was Indonesian but spoke with a English accent as lives in Bristol now, it was mad to hear! He was a nice guy and we had nice time talking to him, had good banter! Later on, we ordered some
dinner and whilst eating it Smiley, a guy we had met last night came in with some of his mates, they started playing a guitar and a bongo and singing, it was brilliant! Once we finished dinner they came over and asked us to join them so we ordered a beer each and took a seat with them. Oh what a laugh we had! There was Smiley, a Jamaican guy who played guitar but cant for the life of me remember his name, DiDi, and about 5 others who got introduced to us but we cant remembers names, they were all superb guys though! We sat singing Oasis, Bob Marley, Tracy Chapman and loads more songs, it was brillaint! We all moved down to beside the river as there was a baby staying close by where we were so we moved down and took some chairs, about 5 more guys joined us, all Indonesian and they all shared turns of playing the guitar and bongo which i had a go of but was awful so handed back quite quickly lol! Anyway it was a brillaint laugh, we all sat about drinking beers, singing, and talking away plus learning a little
bit of Indonesian. It was reaching near midnight so would be going in to Laura's birthday, i of course made everyone aware of this so when the clock struck 12 we all started singing Happy birthday to her, once finished in English they all sang it in Indonesian, it was amazing and definately a birthday she wopuld not forget! :)
It got to about 2am and we decided to head to bed so we all said goodnight and headed to rooms, we had great sleep and woke up the next day about 10ish. We were leaving, heading back to Medan to stay one night before heading back to Malaysia so we got stuff together, checked out and said bye to Smiley who was there and heading by mini-bus to Medan. The journey was like no other, totally crazy! When we first got on mini-bus it was just us, 12 seats all to ourselves we thought but oh no we were wrong. As we made our way through Bukit Lawang we stopped to pick up people, not just one or 2 but in the end we had 20 people in the 12 seater mini-bus! Illegal, oh i think so! The bus
was almost tipping to one side, which also caused us to get a flat tyre so we all bundled out so guy could fix it then bundles back in once fixed, the journey was cramped to say the least plus i had a lovely big pole sticking up my bum the whole way, luckily though my bum went numb after a hour so only felt the excruciating pain a little bit, once we arrived in Medan we got bus no 64 to area we wanted to stay in. The day did not get any better unfortunately as we had to undertake the biggest search ever for a room to stay in! Who knew Medan could be so busy! On the way we stopped to confirm our return ferry trip for next day but oh no, they dont run they ferry on a Friday, just our luck, it meant we would have to stay 2 nights here so we booked it for Saturday. We then went on to find a Guesthouse, after about what felt like and could possibly have been 2 hours of looking and getting precisely no where we eventually got one, hooray!!!! It was a air-conned room with
a double bed, quite spacious and had a bathroom with a shower and squatting loo! Unfortuantely though in Medan the electricity goes off every four hours for fours hours, it was a pain in the ass to say the least as meant during the night the air-con went off so we got to be Sweaty Bettys for four hours lol, it also meant we woke up as too hot to sleep :( When we checked in to Guesthouse i told 'Elvis', the guy who runs it, that it was Laura's bday and he gave her a chain and bracelet, oh so sweet! We spend the rest of our night and the following day here not doing a awful lot, we went wanders to the shopping mall beside us, went to internet cafe etc and chilled in room. There was a mosque beside us that was amazing, it was so beautifu, unfortunately we never got to visit it though. The first night there was still Laura's bday so we celebrated by going to the amazing bakery beside us which sold the most amazing cakes etc, i got Laura a donut and put some candles in it and sanh Happy Birthday again
to her, it was very funny-her donut looked amazing all lite up lol!! On the second night we spend the night extremely restless and not being able to sleep so decided to have a sing-along night listening to ipods and singing songs from the Sound of Music, it was so funny and passed the time lol especially as air con was off and we were super hot so def not able to sleep!!! Saturday finally came and we were so happy to be leaving the town of Medan, it was so dirty and very unlike Bukit Lawang and all the other places we had been, it was strange not to like a place as we have loved everywhere so far! But we got up on Saturday morning, got ready and headed to get bus to ferry terminal where we boarded the exact same boat as last time as got on our way. This trip however was even worse that last for me, although it wasnt as cold and not as many people threw up but i however was super nervous! The boat was majorly swaying from side to side, i really did think it was going to topple over this
time, the windows were covered in waves, at at one point in the middle of the sea we turned off the engines and i really thought that was it, we were having to get out and swim! Bless Laura, she was a jem the whole way and kept saying we were fine and reassuring me, it helped but i was just so nervous about the whole thing. I have never been so relieved to arrive somewhere in my life, i almost ran off board once we docked! We again went through immigration then walked about 10 mins to another dock where we got a 30minute ferry to Butterworth. We were back in Malaysia and happy although Bukit Lawang would be missed, Medan just wasnt the place for us!
There are more photos below