We took a flight from Jakarta to Medan (2hrs) on Lion air and then drove to Bukit Lawang which took another 2 hrs. Our flight departed late but the driver patiently waited at Medan airport. The drive from Medan airport to Bukit Lawang was traffic free (unlike Jakarta) and very pleasant. We stopped on the way to enjoy some Padan food in a local restaurant.
We were keen to see the Sumatran orang-utans in the wild so decided to go on a trek into the depths of Gunung Leuser National Park. Last year two of us visited Kutai National Park in East Kalimantan to see the Bornean orang-utans. The Sumatran orang-utans compared to the Bornean species are thinner and have longer faces; their hair is longer with a paler red color. We were informed that only 7,000 Sumatran orang-utans still live in the wild. A larger number of them are being protected in five areas in Gunung Leuser National Park. Others live in unprotected areas northwest and northeast Aceh block, West Batang Toru river, East Sarulla and Sidiangkat.
Bukit Lawang is a small village situated 90 kilometers northwest of Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra, Indonesia. Bukit Lawang is situated at the eastern side of Gunung Leuser National Park.
In Bukit Lawang, we stayed at “ON THE ROCKS” which is located on the eastern bank of the Bukit Lawang’s Bohorok river, a ten minutes trek up the side of the jungle. A trek that was well worth the effort as our reward being a cold beer / fresh juice when we reached the top! “On the rocks” has only 5 huts and a small Restaurant with spectacular panoramic views of the jungle, and Bukit Lawang, including the river. The huts are basic with bathrooms with shower and a small balcony with a hammock!
We took a two-day, on-night Trek in Gunung Lesuer National Park, for 60 Euros each. This included all meals, water, and snacks. In the evening we stayed in a campsite near rivers in the national park. We woke up early in the morning and trekked along the river (difficult but well worth it!) to a small but beautiful waterfall where we were able to swim. In all the trek was physically demanding, so we all needed to be reasonably fit and healthy!
Finally we took the easy way down by white water rafting in tied up rubber tyres. It was one of most tiring but adventurous treks that we have ever done. Most of us (not all) would love to go back and do it again!