Bukit Lawang Indonesia – Your Quick Travel Guide

Bukit Lawang Indonesia – Your Quick Travel Guide

Bukit Lawang is a tiny village that is the gateway to the wonderful Gunung Leuser National Park. The village is the epitome of serenity and simplicity – a place where life is lived and enjoyed, uncomplicated by the politics of the western world.

Why go to Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang River

The trekking is undoubtedly the primary reason to hastily pack your bags and venture forth to this tropical rainforest. Bukit Lawang is the gateway to Gunung Leuser National Park which is the home to a host of wild and moderately frightening animals, the most famous of these being the Orang-utans. Other animals include leopards, baboons and macaques.

Many people hire a guide for their treks and if you decide to do so too, it’s advisable to be clear about exactly what you are getting before you part ways with your money. Tour guides have been known to have groups join up at some point and somewhat ruin the small and private tour that you were getting. It is important that when you go on these hikes and spot some sort of wildlife that you are respectful and that you keep your distance.

Other great activities include exploration of the bat cave, the stunning rice fields and the rubber plantations. These tours are brilliant, beautiful and unforgettable and cost as little as IDR 5,000.

For birders or travellers that have fascination with feathery creatures, you’ll most probably already know that there are ample opportunities to spot some colourful and pretty rare species in these parts. There is a bird tour that you can go on that is well worth it for those who long to spot exotic birds. The tour goes on for about nine hours and will set you back around IDR 300,000. This is a great opportunity for bird photographers and for those craving information, you’ll be delighted to know that each sighting is complemented by interesting facts about the specific species of bird by the very informative guides.

For those interested in sustainable living, there is also an excellent EcoFarm tour you can do where you will learn about how about they grow their organic fruits and vegetables.
A popular pastime of travellers in Bukit Lawang is floating lazily down the river and through the village on a tube – sometimes even with a drink in hand! This is a great way to cool off from the heat of the jungle and revel in some child-like fun. Tubes can be hired from pretty much anywhere in the village for around IDR 10,000.

When to go to Bukit Lawang

As with most parts of Indonesia, the weather doesn’t vary too much from the standard norm of very hot and very humid. In a world full of increasing uncertainty and robots who can speak their own language, this is comforting. However, there is some variation in the levels of precipitation with the driest months stretch from the beginning of March through to the end of May. These are also the hottest possible months with temperatures hovering at points over 30 degrees Celsius.

Where to stay in Bukit Lawang

Backpackers with the need to witness large, orange primates swinging from the trees above them should not be denied such a pleasure on the basis of their bank accounts. In fact, the budget rooms are so cheap here that there is no market for hostels. Enjoy the privacy of your own room for as little as IDR 40,000 and save your precious pennies for the jungle tours. Of course, for this price, don’t expect any bells or whistles.

For around IDR 65,000 you’ll have a room with a balcony and a superb view of the bubbling river and the surrounding mountains. Overall, the places are cheap and the views are amazing.

Being the isolated and rural area that Bukit Lawang is, availability of high-end accommodation is low. However, that being said, there are a couple of fantastic mid-range options that out-perform many high-end establishments from other areas.

A clear stand-out option is Hotel Orangutan. The hotel is decorated flawlessly with a great combination of very earthy tones and accents with flashes of bright orange. The rooms are spacious and have light streaming into its many windows. Easily the best part of the hotel are the bathrooms. They have within them a huge rock wall that corners off the room and makes one feel as if they are living inside a cave. Rooms here are very sought out amongst tourists and should be booked in advance. Prices begin at IDR 550,000 and head steadily north of there. For those with generous budgets, they also offer superbly luxurious family rooms that run for around IDR 2,500,000 for the night.

A strong mid-range competitor that offers really great rustic rooms at very fair prices is the On The Rocks Bungalow and Restaurant. The rooms are basic but are very comfortable with mosquito nets, wooden accents, thatch roofing, and en suite bathrooms with stone and marble being the top features. On the Rocks has a wonderful restaurant on site, too which is ideal after working up an appetite on one of the strenuous treks. Rooms go for around IDR 250,000.

Where and what to eat in Bukit Lawang

Speaking of food, Ecolodge is a great spot for a hearty lunch if you are prepared to pay the higher prices than the local warungs and guesthouse restaurants. The dishes are more inventive and can provide a reprieve from the monotony of Nasi Goreng.

Sam’s Bungalows was another winner with the restaurant boasting a very peaceful atmosphere, excellent service and truly scrumptious meals. Our favourite dish here was the Gado Gado, which is a traditional Indonesian salad of boiled eggs, steamed veggies, tempeh (fried tofu) and peanut dressing.

In need of a strong cup of coffee? Yusri Café, situated just opposite the national park ticketing office is a great place to have one. The café has a very calm feel to it and the owners are no doubt going to have you feeling like a child again with their doting parental tendencies. Cups of coffee are cheap and should be paired with a delicious banana pancake or banana toast. Per person, you’ll struggle to spend more than IDR 12,000.

‘Western food’ is sometimes the desperate reply you get as it is uttered from your tired friend in response to, ‘What should we have for dinner?’ Sometimes we all crave a little bit of home after a sweaty day spent conquering the muddy depths of an Indonesian jungle. In such an instance, you should take them to Tony’s Restaurant for a bit of pizza or pasta. Tony does well to represent Italians the world over and the food is of a top-notch quality.

Vegetarians can get their fill of nutritious, veggie meals at Indra Valley Inn and Resto. The view at this spot is breathtaking too.

How to get around Bukit Lawang

Getting around Bukit Lawang requires that you have two feet and are able to use them. Also, a good pair of shoes – that’s important too. The town is tiny and can be traversed in under 30 minutes. When walking at night time, it’s best that you take a torch with you and you’ll also want to pack some mosquito repellent for your time here.

How to get to and from Bukit Lawang

The most convenient way to get to Bukit Lawang is with a taxi from Medan. Even with the comfort of spacious leather seats and air-conditioning, the trip can be a long one. It takes about three hours and the road is bumpy and winding. Making the trip in this fashion will set you back around IDR 250,000.

If you’re keen on saving a good chunk of change and are up for a bit of adventure, then read the following instructions carefully. From Medan you need to take a taxi to Pinang Baris. If you are coming from the airport, you should head to the same place. Rather than getting off at the terminal, you should ask your driver to drop you off at a bakery just past it as you will evade the touts vying for business. From here you need to hop on a public coach or private minibus to Gotong Royong. This trip shouldn’t set you back any more than IDR 15,000. When you get to Gotong Royong, you need to hop on a Becak (a tricycle) and sit tight until you arrive at the national park entrance in Bukit Lawang. From here, it will be a short walk to your guesthouse.

Is Bukit Lawang a safe place to visit?

Worrying about safety in Bukit Lawang is like worrying that your child is having fun at their birthday party – understandable, but unnecessary. Your greatest threat is falling victim to an inflated price for taxi or minibus ride to Gotong Royong and insofar as you are firm and ask around before saying yes to the first offer, you should be just fine.

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