It's Orang-Utan Time in Bukit Lawang
Trip Start Jan 07, 2009
47Trip End Aug 04, 2009
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The bus ride from Lake Toba was a rough and sweaty one that started to make me understand why the Lonely Planet calls Sumatra a "rough ride". But I made it, and right away I liked it a lot. It really does feel like the jungle. I just realised that I have been staying in cities for a long time, and it is rather nice to sit in a hammock next to the river and sleep to jungle noises every night!!!
Other than that, most of the highlights centre around monkeys and apes...mostly the orang-utans. Bukit Lawang is at the entrance to the national park that has loads of these creatures. At the entrance there is also a project (sadly I never got all the details) that has released 16 orang-utans back into the wild, so they are now semi-dependant on this centre but live in the park. There are feedings twice a day that are open to the public. I went to one of them, but I wasn't very lucky: only one showed up. She was very cool though and smiled for the camera. :) I had never been so close to a semi-wild organ-utan before...wow, they are so amazing! I can't believe how much like humans they are. Their hands and feet are so much like ours...just longer. anyway, I was amazed.
After this I met a cool Kiwi guy and we went on our own "trek" through the paths outside the national park...there wasn't very far to go, but it was fun nonetheless, walking along the river most of the day and stopping to eat rice with our hands (which I am not really getting the hang of lol).
In the end I opted for a one-day trek in the national park only. I would have loved to have spent a whole week in the jungle, but alas I am almost out of time! In just 7 hours we saw tons though: gibbons, various monkeys, and of course many orang-utans...which came very very close....okay so maybe we broke the rules and sort of fed them, but what's the harm when they get fed at the feeding centre anyway, right? ummmm...that's what I will keep telling myself anyway. :) It was just amazing to spend so much time so close to them in the jungle though, they are truly amazing creatures!!! Other than that...I put my hand on a huge spiky caterpilar and had hundreds of tiny spikes in my hand....but it was more creepy than really painful. Strange jungle creatures!
Then it was time to say goodbye to the jungle and head to one last island before the end of this trip...but alas there isn't really any internet access here. I found a solution but I can't upload my orang-utan photos until I get to KL in a few days!