I went to Bukit Lawang today which is only 86 kilometers from Medan but took over three hours, battling the Medan traffic and being cramped in the back of a mini-van that had seen better days. The road was full of pot holes and had been washed away in several places. I really didn’t do my homework on this excursion.
I read that feeding time was at 3pm and thought I had plenty of time, but we arrived past 3pm. I was then approached by a guide, who said he would take us to see orangutans on a jungle trek as the feeding time had finished. I had no idea about the place, so I had no choice. I also really didn’t come prepared for jungle treking, just wearing sandles. I thought I was going to some kind of center for oragutans in a building or something.
We took peanuts and bananas and set off into the jungle. It is rainy season now, so it was slippery and muddy. The guide kept making money noises and I was wondering where these monkies were going to jump out from. I heard they can be aggressive going for your bags, trying to get food.
We did come across a 300 year old tree was pretty amazing, but no orangutans. They have accommodation at Bukit Lawang and I would advise anyone going to stay at least one night. You just can’t do it in a day, unless you left early. As we made our way back to the bus station, it started to pour.
It was getting close to 5pm and even though, everyone had said the last bus was at 5, there weren’t any locals going to Medan at that time. I ended up sharing the cost of a minivan with a French guy who had just stayed in Bukit Lawang for the past 5 days. He had some great stories and he said Bukit Lawang is one of the best spots for seeing orangutans in the wild.
Unfortunately, I listened to a local who said it was an easy day trip. I should have either took my stuff to stay there or joined an organized tour.
I am off to Lake Toba tomorrow, a place which I have heard so many good things about.