Blogs from Bukit Lawang, Sumatra, Indonesia, Asia


Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang August 5th 2018

Jim, the Habitat employee, helped us plan and execute the next two days of our honeymoon. His brother-in-law (Nia) is a driver in Medan and the driver’s cousin (Wanda) is a trekking guide. This was exactly the hook-up we needed to accomplish our planned activities. Sunday, we planned to hike into the jungle to see some wild and semi-wild orangutans. Guides are required by law to hike in this area. Nia picked us up at 7:00 to drive us out to Bukit Lawang (“Gateway to the Hills”). We rendezvoused with Wanda at his house and he followed us to the trailhead. Wanda had a good command of the English language and was impressively knowledgeable about apes and the jungle in general. We hit the trail with Wanda and his 17-year-old son Fabio. After 15 minutes on ... read more
Kristy and Brad Hiking Bukit Lawang
Orang and Baby 2
Orang Selfie 3

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang March 8th 2018

Major airport waiting areas, and we have seen a lot of those in the last two years, seem to exist in a parallel world of their own, divorced from whatever country they are nominally surrounded by. At a corporate level they often have variations on the same international chains - Ralph Lauren, Polo, Chanel, Starbucks - they all appear to have adopted the Ikea snakelike path through duty free, and they all have pricing that also bears no relationship to that outside this, supposedly, tax free bubble. We contemplated on this twice on our journey from Ho Chi Minh to Medan via a 2 hour transfer at Kuala Lumpur. At HCM two coffees and 2 pastries came to nearly $15 - around $5 in an upmarket French patisserie chain in the city. And in KL we ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang July 21st 2017

The highlight of Sumatra was, of course, the rain forest trek that lasted two days. It was an early morning and I woke up for one my hardest hikes in my childhood. My mum had told me we would see orangutans and I was dead excited. We met our guide Andu and we went out of the tourists resort and started climbing the first hill of our hike. We first saw the rubber tree plantation and apparently the rubber in the trees just comes out liquid. Then we continued and saw a gathering of people staring at a huge 90 kilo male orangutan. As he moved towards us people ran away and so did we. In all we saw eleven and including semi wild Mina and Jacky. Mina once bit Andu by sneaking behind him and ... read more
Water monitor
Diving in the rapids
Dinner in the camp

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang November 4th 2016

Riding the MRT in Singapore to the airport I had worries of getting into Indonesia due to no onward travel ticket. I did have my rigged “E-Ticket” prepared in case I was asked but the uneasy feeling persisted. Of course when I got to the airport the airline agent never even asked the dreaded question. After landing in Indonesia I secured a Visa on arrival at the airport for the fee of $25 USD and not even the Indonesian immigration official at the border asked me for an onward travel ticket. Nice. After all of the bureaucracy was sorted I was able to breathe and relax. I had arrived in Sumatra. Wild, untamed, and the great unknown lay in front of me. The infernal city of Medan where I landed is nothing short of a pit. ... read more
Bukit Lawang

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang August 5th 2016

Our first stop on the Indonesian island of Sumatra was Bukit Lawang, 90km northwest of Medan. This small village is set back from the Bahorok river and covered in the dense Sumatran jungle. Famous for it’s orangutan feeding platform; the small village has become a popular tourist attraction. Unfortunately, this comes with its downsides as the locals are very pushy to send tourists on expensive tours into the jungle and can often exploit the animals as a consequence. On a limited budget we resisted the strong sales tactics of the locals and opted to visit the feeding platform costing only a fraction of the price. On a daily basis the rangers visit the platform with rucksacks full of milk and bananas to feed the semi-wild orangutans, giving tourists a chance to see them too. Originally the ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang October 18th 2015

We arrived at the entrance to Bukit Lawang to a crowd of locals surrounding the car. The driver rolled down his window to a man who peered into the car and asked for 'Marcs Hunter?'. We were relieved that after the ordeal of the morning, something had gone right and the guy from our hostel was here to greet us. However we had to walk 15 minutes into pedestrianised (mopeds only) town that ran along the river. Bukit Lawang is a very simple and beautiful town situated on the edge of the jungle. We arrived at our hostel in a sweaty mess and grabbed a couple of well earned brews. The hostel was a lot busier than any we had stayed at before. The complex was a very quaint set of two story blocks with 4 ... read more
Feeding the funky monkey
Camera just loves him
Orangutan spotting!

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang March 8th 2015

So after only getting up once in the night for a wee and waking with what felt like someone shining a torch in my face ( it was the daylight!) I was relieved to know that I must have got some sleep during the night. Not feeling too keen on having an early dip in the river I settled with a roll of deodorant and some clean clothes. After being entertained by the large group of macaques diving and swimming for scraps of food - have never seen a monkey swim before! And watching the large resident lizard lazily making its way up the river we sat down and had breakfast ourselves. We all had a choice of tea or coffee, omelette or 3 layers of toast with cheese, tomato, onion and egg finished off with ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang March 6th 2015

Day 1 of a 2 day trek started on time - 9am, meeting the guide ( he is brother of the man that owns the guesthouse ) and the rest of the group - 3 people from Denmark, a couple and their son who is only 11, a man from the UK called bob, and a man from Luxembourg. So with most of us carrying a small rucksack - just with enough bits for the trek off we went towards the start of the jungle - only about 10 minutes away. It started steep but we made it to the top after about 20 minutes and soon after seeing our first orangutan playing in the trees - it was a 30 yr old female who was great fun, so we stayed to watch her for a ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang January 14th 2015

Geo: -7.83075, 112.697I arrived in Medan and got a local bus out to my hostel in town which took around one hour, I've stayed here before so I know the owners and some others that are around. I contacted my friend Elly who has been looking after my bike in her home in Bukit Lawang and I'm pleased that she will be down in Medan in the morning so I do the return trip with her back to the jungle.The journey takes around 5 hours so it's great having some company along the way, I explained to her my change of plans and that I'm going to take the bike back over to Thailand and meet back up with Drew and Malmuirie. We have a great catch up along the way and it is nice to ... read more
Haggis on the road...
Beautiful Temple
Bukit Lawang

Asia » Indonesia » Sumatra » Bukit Lawang September 28th 2014

I visited Sumatra a week ago, and it was amazing. I got plenty of opportunities to practice Bahasa Indonesia (the local language) with the people in Medan. Medan is a city with an international airport, and it's the biggest city outside Java in Indonesia. I arrived at 9am, in the city and proceeded to explore. I was disenchanted, mostly because I live in a city in Java, and wanted to see some greenery, rather than the grey buildings and smoke that epitomise an Indonesian city. I stayed a night in a 3* hotel (for about 3 pounds sterling, and I haggled a free breakfast in too!) and went on to Bukit Lawang the following morning. I got a bumpy 3 hour bus ride out of the way, and arrived in a village next to the jungle! ... read more

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