Bukit Lawang – A gem in North Sumatra 

Bukit Lawang – A gem in North Sumatra 

When you hear about backpacking around Indonesia, you usually hear stories of Bali and it’s crazy nightlife, the beauty of the Gilli Islands or the outstanding Borobudur temple complex, right? 

All of these sights are stunning, but you barely ever hear anything about Sumatra. It’s the biggest island in Indonesia, and like the rest of Indonesia it’s full of amazing things to see and do! However, that’s not the best part, it’s nowhere near as heavily travelled as most other parts of Indonesia either, so you can get a good feel of what Indonesia should be like without all the tourism! 


Ive recently moved on from a trip in Northern Sumatra, and during my trip I spent a few days in a place called Bukit Lawang. You’ve probably never heard of it before? I know I didn’t before doing some research. Anyway, this place turned out to be the coolest little retreat in Northern Sumatra, so I thought I’d share my experience of the place with you guys! 

Surrounded by the jungle, the little village has so much to offer, it’s extremely cheap to eat out and the accommodation had a real traditional Indonesian feel towards it, as you’re literally waking up in a small village surrounded by the jungle. 

Bukit Lawang is easily accessible from Medan (the usual place to begin a trip in North Sumatra) and should only cost you about 75,000 RP depending on whether you decide to choose local or tourist transport. 

Once you’re in Bukit Lawang, you’ve got to hire the inflatable rings and go tubing down the river that runs directly through the village. It’s an absolute must, and a ridiculously cheap thrill too, at only 10,000 RP to hire the rings. You’ll see all the locals with inflatable rings, or just chilling beside the river cooking, washing and getting along with their day to day lives. They’re some of the friendliest people I’ve met, and quickly allowed us to join in on their BBQ at the side of the river once they witnessed us tubing down the river. 

Bukit Lawang is renowned for being the perfect location to get up and close with Sumatran Orangutan’s, a once in a lifetime experience to see them in a natural habitat. Orangutans only originate from Sumatra and the Borneo area of Malaysia, so this is something you really don’t want to miss out on! 


The jungle experience cost around 1.7 million rupiah and includes accommodation in Bukit Lawang for a night, transport from Medan to Bukit Lawang (an easy four hour journey) and two nights spent in the jungle trekking, observing the wildlife and spending time with the local jungle dwelling guides!  

We got extremely close with the different types of monkeys in the jungle, and the guide knew straight when an Orangutan was aggressive or friendly. This allowed us to get extremely close to a friendly Orangutan, which allowed us to touch and feed her – an unforgettable experience! 

In my opinion, this is incredible for the money. All our meals were included and we had a constant supply of fruit during the trekking. The trekking itself was extremely difficult, although we saw other groups who didn’t seem to find it as difficult. I think this was down to the fact that our guide was a young and athletic Indonesian, and I think he enjoyed watching us work ourselves to the max! 

If you’re in the North Sumatra region then make sure you check out Bukit Lawang. You won’t regret it! 

Thanks for reading guys, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions feel free to contact me, and I look forward to sharing my next post with you! 

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