Bukit Lawang orangutan spotting
Last modified 5 October 2013
Number of Days:
11 August 2013 to 16 August 2013
Day 0 to Day 0
After arriving at Kuala Namu International Airport in Medan we first have to struggle through the chaotic road of Medan. Then the landscape gradually gets green. On our approach we can see from a distance the mountain ranges of Sumatra, and we suspect that it is the mountainous landscape that saves the rainforest there. The palm oil plantations border exactly on the first ridge and on the road becomes very bad. After 3.5 hours we reach the village of Bukit Lawang, located a few hundred meters inside a valley. After a 25 minutes’ walk, an extremely steep stairway up 150 meters altitude, we arrive at thel "On the Rocks" hotel. The few simple bungalows are made entirely of wood, which gives the interior a gritty scent. There is no air conditioning or television, which gives a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. From each bungalow you can look directly into the jungle, you can hear the insects chirping and the monkeys calling.
After breakfast we're leaving for our 2-day trek through the jungles of Sumatra. It shall be a unique experience of nature. My first impression: the nature of Sumatra is very noisy. In the jungle there is no rest. The vast quantities of insects produce an infernal noise. The plants of the rainforest offer an incredible diversity. You always see new leaves and new green color tones. Many bizarre root structure. And we pass these gigantic trees with huge trunks and crown that are considerably above everything else in the area. Everywhere hangs a braid of vines, which are sometimes finger thick, but sometimes also reach the size of a tree trunk. I’m somewhat surprised when we encountered our first orangutan. He's a bit further up in the trees, but is not on the run, comfortably fluctuates back and forth on his trunk above the forest path. Down at the bottom about 20 tourists try to get the best photo. This day we encounter orangutans for three times. In the afternoon we reach our camp at Bahorok River. The river cuts deep into a valley, with deep green rainforest on both sides. It offers beautiful jungle scenery, as we only have seen on TV so far. The water of the Bahorok River is crystal clear and about 28 C warm. After the strenuous tour we jump into the water, splashing all afternoon until dark.
After breakfast we walk upriver to a small tributary with a waterfall inviting us for visit. We splash in the shower under the waterfall and enjoy the natural pool beyond. On the way, we see some beautiful, colorful and giant butterflies. Shortly after that it goes down the river by tube rafting in large, inflated tires, back to Bukit Lawang. Sometimes we drive comfortably over the river. Then it's goes fast through the next rapid. The rafting trip is a lot of fun, so now this day is the best in my son's life. Today it is Indonesian National Day and in the town itself, the river is full of people who bathe and have fun in the water. We carefully maneuvered through the crowds until we arrive just below the stairs up to the "On the Rocks" hostel. See http://indonesia-traveler.com/E/Sumatra-Travel-Bukit.php for detailed travel information on Bukit Lawang.