Bukit Lawang is a small town located about 90 km northwest of Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra regency. It’s situated on the south portion of Gunung Leuser National Park and is the best gateway to explore the rich jungle. There is an actually other way to get to the park, but Bukit Lawang is preferable as it has better tourist facilities.
It’s the red haired Sumatran Orangutan that becomes the main highlight here. Bukit Lawang itself is actually the biggest Orangutan Rehabilitation center on Sumatra operating since 1973. It serves as the shelter for young orphaned orangutans where they’ll be intensively trained to live in the wild before their release back to the natural habitat. Rangers will still be providing supplementary foods and regular check-ups once the orangutans get back to the wild.
More than 5000 orangutans live at this rehabilitation. They are seen everywhere – swaying through the forest canopy or relaxing on the tree branches. But in the morning and afternoon, many of them will surely gather at the feeding platforms for daily meal. It’s where you can interact with and get close view of the graceful creature as tourists have chance to join in the feeding session. The platform is set on the tree so you will need to climb on simple wooden stairs to get there.
Spotting orangutan is not the only activity you can enjoy at Bukit Lawang. People mostly come here to trek the lush jungle around the village which is part of the national park. You’ll walk through local palm oil plantation, huge rainforest trees and cross the many rivers and streams as you trek into the jungle. You’ll spot more primates and endanger mammals there including siamang, Sumatran tigers and elephants.
A whole lot more adventure is available at Bukit Lawang. You can splash in the river flowing just next to the village or go rafting there. The most exciting may be going on elephant riding around the jungle. Bukit Lawang is one of the most popular nature getaway destinations on Sumatra. Hence, it will be a bit touristy most of the time and becomes crowded during the domestic holiday. So make sure you come there during week day for a quieter atmosphere.