Orangutan Trek General Info
This is a unique and unforgettable experience to see this critically endangered Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii) in the wild.
You will see orangutans in their natural habitat, feeding, making nests, playing with their young or traversing the tree tops.
This is an opportunity to learn more about the orangutan and understand why they are so close to extinction.You will also learn about the local fauna & flora including traditional medicines used by the Sumatran people from your experienced guide.
You will be trekking with just you and your guides, so you decide the pace and stop where you like. If you would like to join others trekking this is also possible – please advise
What you could expect to see on your Orangutan trek
- Ex-captive orangutans now living in the wild, making daily nests and feeding
- Wild Orangutans
- White handed Gibbons
- Long and short tailed Macaques
- Thomas leaf monkey
- Hornbills- Asian Pied, Rhinoceros Hornbill
- Monitor lizards, Flying Lizard
- Green tree frogs
- Signs of honey bears
- Leopard cat
- Amazing plant diversity
- plus many different tropical insects and birdlife
There are approximately 700 different species of animals (320 birds, 176 mammals and 194 reptiles and amphibians) that live in the newly classified World Heritage Gunung Leuser National Park
Treks are recommended for those that:
- have a medium to high degree of fitness
- are comfortable being in nature (including insects)
- are concerned about the plight of the Sumatran orangutan and elephants
- are culturally and environmentally aware
- like an adventure!
How this trek benefits Sumatran Orangutans, Elephants and the National Park
By taking this trek you are:
- Supporting local trekking guides, who also act as Government forest rangers, living on simple wages.
- You will come away knowing more about the plight of the orangutan – maybe you will be inspired to help,
or at least pass on your new knowledge to others.
- Supporting local businesses at Bukit Lawang and Tangkahan helps the local people to place value on their natural resources and which helps to safe guard the future of the orangutan.
How to get there
Arrange your own flights
From the Northern Hemisphere
If you are planning on flying to Bali after your trek you can reduce your flight costs by flying directly to Medan Sumatra and then down to Bali.
As Medan is at the top of Indonesia it is a natural first step for an Indonesian trip. Most international visitors arrive from either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For flights routed to Medan from Europe and the USA, either Singapore or Malaysia Airlines will provide tickets with a change in Singapore/Kuala Lumpur. (These are the closest airports to Medan).
lt is possible for you to organise your own flights from:
- Kuala Lumpur Malaysia – Medan Sumatra– Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia. 30 minute flight time
- Jakarta lndonesia – Medan Sumatra– Garuda, or Air Asia . 2 hour flight time
- Singapore – Medan Sumatra -Singapore Airlines/SilkAir. 1.20 minutes flight time
Note: You are advised to arrive in Medan by 2pm in order to arrive in Bukit Lawang before dark.
All treks are suitable for:
- 9 -16 year old children who are experienced walkers
- 17- 70 year old fit Adults
- A medium to high level of fitness is required
- Please be prepared for the days trekking approx 4 – 5 hrs per day of walking
- The pace can be determined by you – please talk with your guide leader
Terrain on the trail
- You will be walking over uneven terrain
- Walking upward and downward slopes that can be slippery and steep at times
- You will be crossing over streams on foot
- The path is unsealed and covered in leaf litter so is generally soft underfoot
- Some rock traversing alongside creeks
Be prepared for:
- Rain (this is a rainforest after all)
- A few mosquitoes in the day mainly- wearing sensible clothing will stop mosquito bites.
- Possible leeches after rain– (dry soap rubbed around your feet and ankles before you set off each day is a solution for leeches)
- Insects- There are amazing insects, be prepared for the smallest ants and the biggest also!
- Walking quietly will ensure a greater chance of hearing and seeing many animals
- Simple camping by the river ( if you have chosen the camping option)
- Please bring only what you think you will need (to keep the weight down in your pack)
- solar phone charger ( if possible)
Please advise your guide on arrival if you are a vegetarian, have a special diet or you have any medical conditions he should know about.
Clothing on the trek
- Shoes -You will be passing through mountain streams so footwear that can be easily removed or that can get wet is advisable.
- The trekking guides (and some previous guests) wore plastic or rubber shoes with a grip sole
- Light long sleeved shirts, tops and pants will prevent insect bites
- A warm light weight fleece for evenings
- Light Rain weather jacket
- The trek is mostly shaded by the tree canopy
- The temperatures range from 20C – 32C
- The rain forest can be humid
- Darma – Our tour leader is a National Park ranger and a local farmer, he has many years experience walking in the Leuser Rainforest.
- Our guides are registered National Park Guides
- Our guides can speak English (some more than others)
- If there have been big rains the river may be too dangerous to raft back – your guides will inform you- if this is the case, you will walk back to your bungalow.
- Your guides have the final say regarding safety issues, please follow their advise
Treks with Camping
We provide simple camping equipment. You will be sleeping by the river each night. Your guides will prepare your meals on an open fire and will set up your tent. Your 2 man tent has mosquito netting on the windows and door. You will sleep on a thin camping mat with a small pillow, as temperatures are warm – a light cover is only necessary. There are no toilet facilities so be prepared for using the “Bush Toilet”- toilet paper and spade provided. You can wash daily in the river (please bring natural soaps) Extra Guides will go ahead to the camp site and set up the tents
Over night camping: what to bring
For your own safety and comfort please bring:
- A personal First Aid kit
- A small torch
- Mosquito repellent ( natural if possible)
- Light long pants – to wear at dawn and dusk
- Light Rain weather jacket
- Natural soaps and shampoos, so you don’t pollute the river
Accommodation at Bukit Lawang and Tangkahan
The bungalows at Bukit Lawang and Tangkahan are simple and rustic, made from local timbers and bamboo. Most rooms have verandahs with stunning views across the river, to the tree clad Leuser National Park. If you are lucky, you can see orangutans from your balcony (Bukit Lawang only).
Cold water showering only, bed linen and towels are provided. There is often no electricity during the day in Bukit Lawang and Tangkahan, electricity is supplied by generators which start around 6pm (electricity does not run all through the night).
Restaurants at Bukit Lawang
Your bungalow will have its own simple restaurant to take your meals at, or you can wander down to the village where you will find Tony’s pizza, or other restaurants.The food in Sumatra is quite delicious with lots of mild curries served with rice.
When you arrive in Medan you will be met by our driver who will bring you to Bukit Lawang by private AC car. This is approximately a 3 hour drive.
Cultural sensitive clothing while traveling in Sumatra
As with most Asian countries it is appropriate for women particularly to cover their shoulders – T shirts and long shorts are fine. Swimming in a bikini is accepted at Bukit Lawang. At Tangkahan, women might want to wear a T shirt and shorts to avoid curious onlookers.
Private medical and travel insurance is advised – we do not carry medical or personal insurance
Once your trek has been confirmed by us the trek must be paid in full by bank transfer
Cancellation & Refund policy
Your orangutan trek fee is non refundable.
Sarinbuana Eco Lodge is not responsible for any costs incurred for: Delayed flights, lost baggage, accident or injury or extra accommodation
If there are long periods of heavy rain, the river may not be crossable to get to the National Park, your guide will arrange alternative activities for the day.