The first stop on our trip to Sumatra was Bukit Lawang to find orangutans.
Bukit Lawang is a small turistic town in the jungle of Sumatra about 100 km from Medan. The town is famous because in the jungle you can see the orangutans in freedom.
Sumatra, like much of Indonesia, is undergoing an important deforestation: every day part of the jungle, their habitat, is destroyed by the multinationals to make room for new oil palm plantations and the orangutans have no place to live.
We had already seen the orangutans during our vacation in Malaysia but, unfortunately, only at Sepilok, a center for the recovery of wild animals. During the trip on the river to see them in their natural habitat we were not lucky, this year we decided to try again in Indonesia.
As we don’t like organized trips and touristic resorts but we prefer to get in toch with local people, we’ve tried to find a different way to explore the jungle, we’ve chose “Back to Nature“.
It is avery pretty lodge that is located in the jungle, about 40 minutes jungle walk from Bukit Lawang. Don’t worry about your luggage ………. they will come and they’ll help you with the luggage.
It is a wooden structure completely inside the jungle, near the river. The rooms are built in wood with an “open” bathroom. Electricity is only available in the evening when the generator is turned on.
The owner has been trying for years to stop the deforestation despite threat and retaliation, every year he use part of his gain to buy jungle.
There is a restaurant, you can eat here with the manager, he’ll help you for the excursion.
We’ve reached the lodge from Medan. Our trip was organized by the lodge. Although the kilometers are few, the trip takes many hours, because the traffic of Medan is intense. After seeing the traffic of Medan, the one in your cities won’t seem like traffic anymore.
To see the orangutans you can take part in a jungle excursion of one dau or more days. We take part to a one-day excursion organized directoly from the lodge. The guide was very expert and attentive.
Initially we wanted to do the two-day excursion sleeping in the jungle but then we’ve changed our mind because staying in the lodge is the same to stay inside the jungel but with less humidity and more comfortable beds,
The morning after our arrival we left early in the direction of Bukit Lawang with a very good guide and a boy who helped him.
If you have never been in the jungle know that it is not a simple walk but the emotions that it will offer you will repay you for everything. The humidity is very high, there are continuous climbs and descents, in some places it is necessary to climb, there are leeches, ….
I advise you to use “jungle” clothing: long trousers, long-sleeved shirt, boots with socks in which to put on trousers and lots of mosquito repellent.
During our excursion we saw many orangutans, some quieter and others a little too agitated. We have even been chased by a large orangutan who did not like our attention.
During the excursion the guide will give you a snack of tropical fruit and a delicious meal and, of course, water.
The next day, to return to the village, we did “rafting” on the river. This is not rafting as we understand it, they tie up air chambers of trucks between them, and on these the people are loaded and also the luggage, after having inserted them in waterproof bags.
The river, apart few rapides, is fairly calm.
Arriving near the town it is possible to see how the river occupies an important place in the life of the inhabitants: children playing in the water, women washing clothes, people wash themselves, …….
From here we started towards Tanghanikan for a new adventure