11 December 2011

Zero Orangutan [Bukit Lawang, Indonesia]

Bukit Lawang is famous for one thing - orangutan. It is a small town that is home to an orangutan rehabilitation center. Any sick animals are nursed back to health at the center, while displaced animals are released into the forest surrounding. Twice a day the rangers go into the forest and feed the semi-wild orangutan. As a tourist, you can go and watch the feeding, but there is no guarantee that the orangutan will show up. The rangers feed them a bland diet which encourages the animals to forage for themselves.

And it seems they were foraging pretty well. We went to watch two feedings, and both times no orangutans showed up. The only animals that came were a couple of cheeky monkeys. It was quite disappointing, even more so as they charge you once to get in, then again for your camera (and it is pretty expensive!). But we did experience one cool river crossing on this leaky boat.

The town itself is really nice. Set alongside a rocky river, with small bamboo huts and rickety bridges littering the banks. You can hire inner-tubes and float your way down stream, or just do as the locals do and jump from the rocks.

About the only other thing to do in Bukit Lawang is to go trekking. I hear it is pretty amazing, as there is a lot of wildlife in the area. A few guys I was talking to guaranteed we would see orangutan along with other monkeys and maybe even a tiger! But it was really expensive, too expensive for us...

We traveled both from Berastagi to Bukit Lawang, and from BL to Medan by public transport. It was really cheap, but very slow and sometimes frustrating (they seem to stop all the time and sit there for 30 minutes for no reason). From Medan we FLY to Jakarta. I know, flying AGAIN! But there wasn't a lot we wanted to see in the south of Sumatra, and busing would have literally taken days. With under two weeks left to make it to Bali for our flight to NZ, it really was the only option.

1 comment:

  1. I went in 2009 and I didn't have to pay! Either they ripped you off, or have started charging. Its a shame you didn't get to see any orangutans. I saw about 5, and there was a mother and a baby. The trip to Bukit Lawang is the highlight of all my travels. We also went went to the bat cave, and went tubing, afterwards the guys drove us back and we sat on top of the truck. Pretty damn awesome. I love Indonesia!


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