Sumatran Orangutans – Bukit Lawang Jungle trek

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

To be able to see wild Sumatran Orangutans you need to visit Gunung Leuser National Park in Bukit Lawang in North Sumatra. As this tropical rainforest in Bukit Lawang is a Sumatran National Park you need to have a guide for entering and pay an entrance fee.

Where to see wild Orangutans and wild Tigers in Sumatra?

There are only two places in the world where you can see wild orangutans. Here in Sumatran Rainforest and in Borneo.

Gunung Leuser NP is a tropical rainforest in the North Sumatra, Indonesia. The little village where you start your trek from is called Bukit Lawang.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

Do I need a guide for Sumatra Jungle trek?

Yes, you need a guide.

First, it would be really dangerous to go in alone and you would miss out on all the information and knowledge these guides have and will share them with you.
Secondly, by hiring a guide and paying National Park entrance fees, you are supporting more than one local family as well as the Indonesian government. And by supporting the Indonesian government you are helping to make sure nobody will destroy Bukit Lawang rainforest and the home of Sumatran Orangutans in order to grow Palm tree plantations for palm oil.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

How to get to Bukit Lawang?

Bukit Lawang is a small village with a river running through the middle dividing it in half. From the airport in Medan it takes around 3 hours by car, depending on the traffic. It’s not even that far away from Medan (90 km) but the roads are really bad and full of holes.

how to get to bukit lawang

About the Sumatran rainforest Gunung Leuser National Park

There are only two places in the world where you can see wild orangutans. Here in Sumatran Rainforest and in Borneo.

Gunung Leuser NP is a Tropical rainforest in the North Sumatra. As one of the richest rainforests in South East Asia, it’s been put on the UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as on the list of World Heritage Sites in danger.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

With over 1 000 000 ha Sumatrans rain forest is being home to many endangered animals like the Sumatran Tiger, Rhinoceros, Elephant, and Sumatran Orangutans.

When to go and see wild Orangutans?

We went at the end of February and the weather was alright!:) Usually it rained only in the night and it wasn´t too hot to hike all day long. But mainly it was off the main season, so we rarely saw other people trekking and it made our experience even more connected with nature.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

Anyway, the main season for jungle trekking to avoid the rainy season is from April to October.

How much does the Jungle trekking cost?

There are plenty of companies and private local guides to go with and everybody’s price will vary a little bit.

As well the price depends on how long trek you are planning.

You can do from a 1-day trek to a week or even longer in the jungle!

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

Price of the Sumatra Jungle trek

Price on average per person:

1 day 800 000 IDR (80 AUD)
2 days 1300 000 IDR (130 AUD)
3 days 1 700 000 IDR (170 AUD)
5 days 3 200 000 IDR (320 AUD)

What company should I choose?

We really recommend you to choose the company you will trek with wisely. Spend maybe a little more extra money to make sure your experience will be safe as you are in a jungle with wild dangerous animals and no phone reception!
But as well you should have knowledgeable guides for you, professional yet friendly and entertaining!:)

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

We did 3 days and 2 nights with Sumatra Orangutan Explore and it was just perfect!
We didn’t even dream to be taken care of that well. We experienced the deep jungle, we saw many wild animals, every day we saw at least one Orangutan and we learned so much about fauna and flora. We were being offered more food than we could possibly eat:D And every evening we and our guides would play games, chat or sing.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

How long does the jungle trek for?

That totally depends on you! You can do as short as a few hours or you can spend more than one week in the jungle!:)
Usually, people do 1 or 2 nights (2 -3 days) to be able to get a little deeper to the rainforest and see more of the wildlife.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

 To be able to see wild Orangutans, it’s recommended you spend at least one night in the jungle. Even tho we saw wild orangutan after 30 minutes long walk on the first day, very lucky!
To have the chance to see the Wild Sumatran Tiger or Elephant you need to spend at least 5 nights in the jungle.

What do I need for the jungle trekking?

You will need comfortable shoes, long pants and high socks, raincoat, mosquito repellent and a bottle of water. If you are staying overnight in the jungle, then you will need a backpack with another change of clothes, swimsuit, towel and toilet paper. Other useful things are power bank if you need to charge your phone, spare batteries for your camera and if you have a waterproof bag it will come handy too.

Sumatran Jungle trek

Keep in your mind that everything you will bring with you, you will carry all day every day of the trek.
Some painkillers and anti-diarrhea pills will be good to have with you just in case as well.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

What to expect from Sumatra jungle trekking

Our guide picked us up at our accommodation in Bukit Lawang around 8 – 9 am. And we started our hike from there. First, we went through a rubber tree plantation. The sap from these trees is used as rubber for making shoes, bowls, etc. Each local farmer collects around 40-50 kg of rubber/sap per week and then sell 1 kg for 5k IDR (0,5 AUD). They need to cut each tree very carefully to get the rubber without killing the tree!

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

From there we continued our trek through the jungle for around 2 hours until we arrived at the border of Gunung Leuser National Park.

How does Sumatra jungle trek look like?

During the walk, our guide was filling us with all sorts of information! About Sumatra, about flowers and bush tucker and what you can use them for and what you can treat with them! It’s something we really loved, to learn so much new stuff, to feel the connection with nature and to see our guide truly loves and cares about the Sumatran rainforest and animals in it.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

The speed of walk is up to you, they keep making resting stops and using them for teaching you something more:)

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

What do you eat on Orangutan jungle trek

We had a fruit snack around 11 am and then lunch around 1 pm. Another fruit snack around 3 pm and to the camp we would arrive around 4 – 5 pm. Immediately they would make us hot tea, give us some biscuits and we had time to have a swim in the river and just chill.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

 Refiling our water bottles was managed as well. Our cook would boil water from the river and make drinking water for us which we would refill our bottles with for the next day of our trek.

Around 7 pm we would receive the best dinner and eat it all together like a family. After dinner, our guides would entertain us with some games or singing or just talking about anything.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

Each morning we would brush our teeth in the river, have breakfast and start our walk again around 9 am.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

Sumatra Jungle River Tubing

On the very last day of our trek, we chose to go back to our accommodation by river-tubing. The other option is to walk back. But river tubing sounded like so much fun and we have got enough walking already anyway:D

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

And it was the best decision we have made!
In the morning we went to see the nearby waterfall. Just us, our guide and wild jungle around us with crystal clear waterfall in the middle.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

When we got back we got a chance to see a huge Moneta lizard and more monkeys.

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans

Meanwhile, our guides prepared everything for river-tubing. We were laughing the whole way back to our accommodation! On tide up tubes you are running through the fast river, bumping to the rocks and enjoying these last moments in the jungle, seeing our last Orangutans in distance.

Sumatran Jungle trek

We were so stoked about how this trip is ended! These 3 days and 2 nights were probably the strongest experiences for us so far.

Where to stay in Bukit Lawang?

Click here to check the current prices  in Bukit Lawang in North Sumatra

Hope this article will make planning your Sumatra travels easier and inspired you to put this Indonesian Islands on your bucket list if you haven’t already!:)

Get 76 AUD off of your first booking on Airbnb! book here

See more from our Jungle trek here

Maky & Matt

Sumatra Jungle track orangutans Sumatra Jungle track orangutansSumatra Jungle track orangutansSumatra Jungle track orangutansSumatra Jungle track orangutans

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