Bukit Lawang, Medan Overview

Bukit Lawang is a village located about 90 kilometres Northwest of Medan at the capital city of North Sumatra, Indonesia. To be precise, the location of this village is at the entrance of the Gunung Leuser National Park. A gateway to the Sumatran Jungle, Bukit Lawang is famous for spotting semi-wild orangutans quite frequently. The rainforest around the village is known to be a vibrant and diverse tropical forest ecosystem which homes orangutans, leopards, baboons, macaque, and Thomas leaf monkeys.

The location of Bukit Lawang is best for travellers who want to immerse in the jungle's green wilderness. It is a little challenging to draw the line between the forest and the village as one can find monkeys running across house roofs and cicadas droning at night. It is the perfect destination for a peaceful and laid back vacation with some sunshine in the morning and heavy rains in the latter part of the day.

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Places to Visit in Bukit Lawang

A tiny village, Bukit Lawang does not provide a bucket list of must-visit strikes but rather known to offer a peaceful and quiet vacation experience. Nevertheless, here are a few visit-worthy in Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang Jungle
The Bukit Lawang Jungle is known to house tropical animals and plants. Not just Great apes Orangutans but also Monkeys, White and Black Gibbons, Birds, Reptiles, and Insects will be visible while you visit this jungle. You can also book your trekking session through several available tour agencies.

Bat Cave

Bukit Lawang Bat Cave
A visit to the Bat Cave is usually included in the jungle trek tour. A series of three caves, the Bat Cave is easy to access by walking through the forest and fields. Here, you will find insects like scorpions, spiders along with bats. The first two caves usually have a few openings, but the third one is pitch dark; hence, it is advisable to carry a headlamp or a flashlight.

Bukit Lawang Friday Market
Bukit Lawang Friday Market is one of the vibrant and exciting options to visit on your trip to Bukit Lawang. The market has a large spread of food, fruits, vegetables, spices, soy products, clothing, and utensils to explore. The visit is inevitably a highlight for tourists.

Things to Do

In contrast to fewer places to visit in Bukit Lawang, there are several activities available here. Various travel agencies provide activity packages for tourists, such as:

1. Jungle Trek

Bukit Lawang
Jungle trekking is probably the best way to explore Gunung Leuser National Park in Bukit Lawang. One can select the trek options according to the time they have. Those with limited time in hand can choose the three-hour walk in the jungle, and others can opt for one to five days of the jungle trek.
These treks can cost between IDR 35 to IDR 200

2. Sumatran Village Tour
An authentic Sumatran village tour is a great option to get in touch with the local people and also see them make local products. You will be taken to rubber and cocoa plantations and a few small factories. The tour will also include authentic Indonesian lunch and fresh young coconut juice.
The journey is usually five hours and can cost around IDR 30 per person

3. Tube Rafting
Know that Bukit Lawang is divided by the Bohorok River which straight through the village. The river is also a unique part of the town, which makes it even more special. You can tube raft on a rubber tube and float down the river, which would start in Bukit Lawang and end in the next village in Bohorok.
Cost - IDR 25 per person

4. Bike Adventure
If you are someone who likes to explore places on their own can rent a bike and go an adventure. You can contact any of the travel agencies to get a bike for yourself. Cost A tour of four hours, i.e. half a day can cost you IDR 60

Bukit Lawang Food

Similar to travelling and accommodation, food in Bukit Lawang is also quite reasonable along with high standards. The menu includes everything from authentic Indonesian dishes to desserts like pancakes, potato cakes. Some of the must-try dishes in Bukit Lawang are:

Food in Bukit Lawang
1. Putu Bambu
A traditional cake made of rice flour, palm sugar, and grated coconut, Putu Bambu is steamed in bamboo tubes.
IDR 5,000 to IDR 10,000

2. Mie Tiaw Goreng
It is flat noodles which are fried in spicy sambal.
Cost - IDR 10,000.

3. Tauco
Tauco means fermented yellow soybean used for cooking vegetables. It is generally served with rice and other vegetables.
Cost - IDR 10,000.

4. Rujak
Many fruits like pineapple, water apple, star fruit, and jicama are mixed with spicy peanut sauce.
Cost - IDR 5,000.

5. Sate
Grilled meat is served on sticks, usually chicken and sometimes beef.
Four sticks of Sate costs around IDR 10,000.

6. Nasi Goreng
Known as the national dish of Indonesia, Nasi Goreng is made of fried rice, chilli paste, and sweet soy sauce. 

Interesting Facts about Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang
  • In 1973, The Bukit Lawang Rehabilitation Centre was established by Regina Frey and Monica Boerner for the sole purpose of preserving the Orangutans.
  • Hunting, deforestation, and trading of orangutans had contributed to the number of decreasing Orangutans.
  • Besides this, it was in 2003 that a flash flood hit the village of Bukit Lawang which had caused havoc to the local tourist resorts, thereby affecting the tourism industry.
  • Illegal logging was the primary reason for this flood, as stated by local authorities and environmental NGOs. However, after several efforts, tourism regained its importance in 2004.

Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Bukit Lawang depends on the weather and the high and low seasons. Bukit Lawang is the busiest during the high season which is during July and August, Easter Holidays, Christmas and New Year. However, people prefer visiting Bukit Lawang in April, May, and June until September as it is the dry season with comparably less humidity.

Visiting Tips

  • Try not to visit Bukit Lawang in the rainy season as there is a massive downfall and you might get drenched within seconds.
  • You should count on electricity or wifi connection. There will be a couple of hours every day during your stay when you will face power cuts and unstable internet connection.
  • ATMs are almost 10 to 15 km away from the village hence come prepared with hard cash in hand.
  • Get your hiking shoes and flip flops to go on a successful trek without facing any problems.
  • Research well before you decide on your Orangutan trek through travel agencies.

How To Reach Bukit Lawang

The closest airport to Bukit Lawang is Medan Airport (KNO). From the airport, you can select any of the mentioned options:
Private Car
Private car services are available at Medan, which can accommodate four people and costs around IDR 600,000 

Bus and Private Car
You can take a bus from the airport to Binjai Bus Terminal, which will cost IDR 40,000. From Binjai hire a private car to Bukit Lawang, which will cost around IDR 400,000.

Follow the same route to reach Binjai Bus Terminal. From there, cross the road and wait in front of Binjai Super Mall. You can then get on the bus to Bukit Lawang, which will cost IDR 25,000.

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