Bukit Lawang is located in the north of Sumatra, about 90 km from Medan.
Bukit Lawang is an amazing destination for an adventurous trekking through the beautiful tropical rainforest of Gunung Leuser National Park. With almost the certainty of spotting one of the most intriguing and endangered jungle inhabitants, the orangutan, Bukit Lawang is an experience to remember!
HOW DO I GET THERE?
Bukit Lawang is best reached from Medan, here is also the largest airport on the island. From Medan there are several options, for example you can take the ALS bus on the AirPort towards Binjai. This bus is comfortable, has air conditioning and even WiFi, this will cost you 45,000IDR (3 euros). In Binjai you have to transfer to a minibus to Bukit Lawang.
Make sure you know where the minibuses leave and what the price is. In any case, arrange this well, this went wrong with us. We were forced in an annoying way to pay 20 euros to someone from the transport company (we thought) and then again to the driver. And this while this shouldn’t cost more than 3 euros. The entire ride took about 5 hours due to the heavy traffic in Medan. We were picked up by our accommodation at the station of Bukit Lawang.
PAY ATTENTION! Pay ONLY to the driver of the minivan at the end of the ride, to no one else.
You can also choose a taxi to/from Bukit Lawang, this will cost about 50 euros and will take about 4 hours. Another option is by train and bus.
PAY ATTENTION! The last buses return from Bukit Lawang to Medan at around 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM. If you have an early flight, a taxi will be your only option. Of course you can also book an overnight stay in Medan the day before departure.
OVERNIGHT IN BUKIT LAWANG
When you look at websites like AirBnB and Booking.com, there are countless options available to stay overnight. We didn’t visit the bustling and somewhat touristy village, because our accommodation was hidden between all the greenery on the Bohorok river. With a little research in advance you can spend the night in the most special accommodations.
Usually you sleep here one night before and one night after the jungle trek. For example, we slept for about 12 euros in a bungalow called Tranquil, in the middle of the rainforest on the river, including a nice breakfast. This is a lovely place to relax and take a dip now and then, while being surrounded by the impressive flora and fauna. Highly recommended if you ask me!
THE JUNGLE TREK
We have booked the trekking together with our accommodation from Tranquil. Otherwise Eco Travel Sumatra is a good party to go with. Our guides Irwan and Salamat did everything to make us happy there and they did well. We jumped on the back of the motorbike to our bungalow and they slept outside in a hammock at night to make us feel safe. The next morning after breakfast we set out for our day and night in the jungle. During the jungle trip you can leave large luggage in the accommodation and best thing is to bring only a small backpack with what you need.
After a few hours in the jungle, the little monkeys are no longer special enough, since you only come for one thing. And then the moment is there. The moment you suddenly come face to face with an orangutan is magical. But like always, you want more! After the extensive lunch prepared by your guides, you will sweat a nice route to the campsite.
If you’re lucky there are some orangutans and large iguanas waiting for you and you can take a refreshing dip in the river. You’ll sleep in a tent with (luckily) a mosquito net, a delicious dinner is provided and if you have nice guides, the cardtricks are also brought out. Breakfast is also all arranged for you and despite the bed you spend the night on, it is wonderful to wake up in the middle of the jungle. Be careful that your banana pancake is not hijacked by mother orangutan!
ON A RAFT BACK TO THE VILLAGE
After you have finished your breakfast and packed your stuff, you can choose to raft back to the village for around 3 euros extra in a number of rubber tires made together. This was great fun and sounded a lot more pleasant to us than walking back. Of course you also have that choice.
It’s advisable to stay a night in Bukit Lawang the evening after the jungle trek, so you can take it easy for a sec. In addition, the last buses already go between 3 pm and 4 pm. The most logical thing to do is to travel to Lake Toba after Bukit Lawang or back to the AirPort in Medan.