The feeding of orangutans in Bukit Lawang is a big attraction. The
orangutans are fed on a platform in the jungle. The number of them
depends on the availability of food in the jungle, but normally
there are 0-4 orangutans showing up. It is recommended to be there
early to see the apes arrive. To reach the feeding site on the other
side of the river walk past Jungle Inn and go with the canoe over
the river. The entrance fee is Rp. 20.000 per day and includes the
river crossing. The feeding times are 08.30-09.30 and 15.00-16.00.
Leave your accommodation in good time in order to have time for the
river crossing and the 1,5 km walk to the station and from there the
last 300m to feeding site with the park rangers.
It is strictly forbidden to touch and feed the animals. Keep your
distance. The Orangutans are not aggressive, but when angry they are
dangerous. Do not enter the quarantine area. You can spread
diseases. Read ORANGUTAN WATCHING under
PRACTICALITIES on the
home page. Get more information in the Visitor Center at the bus
station and read about orangutan and how confiscated orangutans are
rehabilitated. See ORANGUTAN under GENERAL INFO on the home page.
Lawang is very convenient for jungle trekking. There are many
alternative treks to do and there are plenty of English speaking
guides. There are one-day treks, several day treks, and treks
combined with fun rafting. This combined trek takes 1 day. The
return to Bukit Lawang is done drifting down the river through the
jungle on tubes. Price quotes can vary a lot. Bargain. A jungle trek
straight to Kutacane takes 5 days. A trek to Berastagi alos takes 5
days. The former 3 day trek has become a road. See also under
Tangkahan. Inquire about treks in your losmen or at a HPI Tourist
Information Center. Jungle trekking is nice and if you never have
done it; Bukit Lawang is a good place to do it for the first time.
See IN THE JUNGLE
under PRACTICALITIES and
LEUSER NATIONAL PARK under GENERAL INFO on the home page.
A trekking permit for the Leuser National Park is Rp. 6.000 per day.
Guides are approximately Rp. 150-300.000 and up per day and person,
normally including food, permits and camping gear. Trails can differ
from guide to guide. Chose your guide carefully. Small groups are
usually nicer than bigger ones. Registered guides have a legal
responsibility. If you have a guide who feeds orangutans, report it
to the National park office (PHPA). There are cases where feeding is
done with the purpose of making tourists happy, without any
consideration of the consequences for the animals. Don’t forget to
bring your trash back, even if others leave it behind.
Caves and Walks
There are several lime stone caves within walking distance from
Bukit Lawang. The so-called bat cave (see map) is 2 km south of
Ecolodge. It is a 30 min walk and a short climb up to the cave, it
is advisable to wear good shoes. There are bats and many small
animals to see in this 200m long cave. No permit is needed, as it is
outside the national park. Bring a flashlight. There are more bat
caves at Boat Rock 4 km further downstream, but it is recommended to
use a guide if you want to enter these caves. The walk to the
Panorama Outlook is nice. It starts north of Jungle Inn. It takes 20
minutes along a slippery and steep path through the rainforest to
reach the viewpoint. A 20 minutes further walk leads to the bat cave
fun activity is to float on a rubber tube (fun rafting) for 15 km
down the river Sungai Bohorok towards Bohorok. It takes app. 3 hrs.
After the float, take a bus back. Tubes can be rented in Bukit
Lawang for Rp. 10.000 per day. When tubing, follow the safety
recommendations of the American Canoe Association. You can read them
at Sumatra Savages. Be especially careful in the rainy season. There
have been a few fatal accidents in Sungai Bohorok. Never go tubing
alone. There are guides with swift water license if you prefer.
Don’t tube when the river is flooded. Look out for strainers in the
water, for example fallen trees, bridge pilings, etc. Avoid dams,
ledgers, etc. Don’t use drugs or alcohol before tubing. Consider
using a lifejacket and helmet.
The river Sungai Bohorok that flows through Bukit Lawang is not big
enough for rafting, however there are other more suitable rivers for
this. There are one or two organizers of rafting in Bukit Lawang.
Most rafting is done on Sungai Wampu. The lower part from Bukit
Lawang down to Bohorok (grade 2-3) is an easy rafting nice for
beginners. The first 30 minutes of the stretch has several easy
rapids, nice surroundings and also a hot spring. A normal price for
rafting on Sungai Wampu is € 40 per day. The upper part of Sungai
Wampu is in Karo land and there the river is called Lau Biang. The
river goes through a deep canyon leading to a big waterfall. The
river is called Lau Biang ("Dog River"), as only a dog can survive
it. This part of the river is not used for rafting though. Rafting
on Lau Biang can be done on a 3-day trip, of which 2 days are spent
on the river. The rafting starts in Bintang Meriah and ends in
Lemang, before the fall. Sumatra Savages charges € 130 for this
rafting adventure. Another river suitable for rafting is Sungai
Bingai, which has grade 4 at high water levels. The only operator
standing by with equipment in Bukit Lawang is Sumatra Savages. HPI
office also arranges rafting, but have no own equipment. A few
travel agencies in Medan also organize rafting, normally for groups,
for example Trijaya, Rafelino, and Elegant Tour & Travel.
Sumatra Savages, Tel: 0813 9766 8727 (Mr. Dedy), 0813 6207
5875 (Mr. Halim),
firstname.lastname@example.org Open: 08.00-17.00. Rafting on different
rivers including Asahan and Kayaking courses are also available.
The Bohorok river is not big enough for rafting, but good enough for
kayaking for beginners. Sumatra Savages arranges courses in kayaking
from € 15 per person and day in Bohorok River and € 40 in Wampu
River. Compared to prices in Europe and America it is very good
value. The teachers have been trained in Malaysia. Sumatra Savages
is a member of ACA (American Canoe Association). They promise that
you will learn to do an Eskimo roll. They also organize kayaking in
other more advanced rivers and also regular kayaking in
Tongging. See also
Pulau Banyak for sea kayaking.
Maryke is a village on Sungai Wampu south of Bohorok. It is often
used as a starting point for rafting, but there are also a few caves
and a waterfall in the vicinity. Most of the over 1.000 families
living in Maryke are Karonese and Protestants. If going between
Bukit Lawang and Maryke by motorbike, there is a nice shortcut (see
map). It leads over shaky suspension bridges and through several
Off road driving with jeep or Landover between Bukit Lawang and
Tangkahan through rural areas and traditional villages can be
organized. See under "Transportation". Enquire in your accommodation
or at the HPI Tourist Information Center. It can also be a good idea
to travel around on minor roads in the countryside. You can do it
either on your own on a rented motorbike, with a guide or someone
from your accommodation, or with a chartered RBT (motorcycle taxi).
Most accommodations or restaurants can arrange motorbike trips
through plantations and the countryside, including a few caves and a
waterfall in Maryke.
Visit the Eco-farm operated by PPLH Bohorok. See more under
>> SEE ALSO