Bukit Lawang, Indonesia – Jungle Trekking

In Bukit Lawang, Jen and I went on a 2-day jungle trek to look for orangutans and other wildlife.

Bukit Lawang - White-Handed GibbonThe first animal we spotted was the white-handed gibbon.

Bukit Lawang - AntsAnts!  There were so many colonies everywhere.  They
were so fascinating to watch, and they all traveled along
very specific paths, as if they were confined along a
miniature highway. 

After covering a good distance and working up a good sweat, we had yet to see any orangutans.  We had heard that some other groups had spotted some orangutans back where we had started our trek, but we had traveled so far by then that our guide had told us that it wasn’t worth it to return.  Finally though, while we were seated and on a break, one of our guides spotted an orangutan. 

Bukit Lawang - Orangutan 1Our first, and as it would turn out, only sighting of
an orangutan on the trek.

Bukit Lawang - Orangutan 2Our guides told us that this orangutan was a male and
he was likely only about 6 or 7 years old.

Bukit Lawang - Orangutan 3He had found a piece of fruit nearby and he seemed
content to just hang around and munch.

Bukit Lawang - Orangutan 4The orangutan actually stuck around for quite some time.
He also approached us and we could almost touch him.

We only saw one orangutan on our two-day trek.  Some other groups we had encountered told us that they had seen five or six.  But that’s the luck of the draw and I was happy to have seen any.  The trek itself was also a lot of fun.  It wasn’t extremely challenging, but I did enjoy the physical exertion of the climbing and there were some parts that involved a little more care as we moved through some steep inclines and declines.

Bukit Lawang - Jen at LunchWe stopped for lunch at a nice little spot where there was
a tiny waterfall and a little pond. 

Bukit Lawang - TurtleWe had some fried rice for lunch and our guides threw
our leftovers into the pond for the turtles.  The turtles
made a beeline for the rice and the larger turtle chased
the smaller one away, claiming all the spoils for him/herself.
 Who knew that turtles liked rice so much? 

Bukit Lawang - Climbing and TrekkingHere we are climbing down a steep slope.  It’s a good
thing that there were so many roots and vines around
to use as handholds. 

We had trekked for about six or seven hours on our first day, with plenty of breaks.  After our fist day, we stopped at one of several camp sites along the river.  Even though we were protected from the heat of the sun all day as we trekked through the jungle, the humidity made us dripping with sweat after the first 15 minutes of walking.  So it was nice to get into the river and cool down (not to mention wash away some of the grim and mud too).

Bukit Lawang - Long-Tailed Macaques 1At our campsite, we saw many long-tailed macaques. 

Bukit Lawang - Long-Tailed Macaques 2With regular visitors to the camp site, the macaques
knew that there would often be food for them to take. 

In November 2003, a massive flash flood tore through Bukit Lawang and killed 239 people.  It was a devastating tragedy that affected everyone in the small community.  They have since rebuilt and reopened many of the guesthouses and restaurants, but the night before we departed for our trek, the skies opened up and Jen had visions of another flood.  It poured all night.  Luckily, by the time morning came around and we started our trek, the rain had stopped, but it did make some of the paths quite slippery.

Later that day, after we had settle into our camp, it started to rain again, and it continued well into the night, so we spent our night sleeping in the jungle under heavy rainfall.  We stayed mostly dry though as the camp site had some tarps set up for us to sleep under.

Bukit Lawang - DinnerHere is our dinner.  I was pretty impressed with it,
considering we were in the middle of the jungle –
a vegetable curry, a tofu and tempe dish, a chicken dish,
and, of course, lots of rice!

Bukit Lawang - RaftHere was our transport back to the village.  Two days
trekking through the jungle and it took only about 20
minutes back downstream in our little raft.  Not exactly
the largest rapids around, but it was still pretty fun. 

The park has a rehabilitation centre for the orangutans.  There are some feeding times for the orangutans to help supplement their diets as they attempt to become self-sufficient.  There are no enclosures or anything that restricts the orangutans’ movement, so they are free to come and go as they please.  The orangutan we saw was semi-wild, and was accustomed to human contact, which is why it was so comfortable getting close to us.  To see the truly wild orangutans, we would have to go deeper into the jungle on a six- or seven-day trek.  But that adventure will have to wait for another day…

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~ by dawseng on July 11, 2009.

7 Responses to “Bukit Lawang, Indonesia – Jungle Trekking”

  1. Looks and sounds like you had a great experience!

  2. Awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow! This looks amazing! I can’t wait to hear more stories,and see lots of photos …

  4. Amazing! I know you will have taken some awesome pictures. The ones you’ve posted are wonderful! We can’t wait to hear more when you come home.

  5. Mr. Eng, your pictures make me glad I got rid of my camera. There’s no point in me having one if guys like you have them.

    And it’s too bad you don’t eat meat. I’ve always suspected orangutans would taste like oranges- now I’ll never know.

  6. Although we did enjoy Gili Air, Bukit Lawang was when we started to really enjoy our trip. I’m glad that you’re all enjoying the photos.

    And Pat, I can tell you that the orangutans at least didn’t smell like oranges. Does that help?

    -jeff

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