Sumatra, Indonesia Travel Notes
Favorite Food: Chicken Sate with peanut sauce; local pumpkin and vegetable curry; nasi goreng with fried egg on top (this was for breakfast and many times lunch and dinner); dried fish with peanuts in a spicy, brown sugar based curry sauce.
Currency: Indonesian Rupiahs (10,080 to $US1.00)
Cost of Goods and Services
3 hour local bus ride - $US.80
Nasi Goreng (fried rice) - $US.60
3 day trek with guide, camping equipment, cooks and shelter in Mt. Leuser National Park to see Orangutans - $US50.00 per person
Bintag Beer - $US1.40
Local Sumatran coffee with milk - $US.35
Tea - $US.10
Average daily hotel for family of four: $US6.00
Average daily food bill for family of four: $US14.00
30 day Visa: $USD25.00 per person
The traffic and smog of Medan and the uneasy feeling of the city; my distrust of tour and minivan operators increases; arriving in Bukit Lawang at 11pm and being greeted by numerous people willing to help us settle down; our trek into Mt. Leuser National Park for 3 days has been one of the main highlights of this entire trip; the beauty and sounds of the rainforest; seeing Peter and Paul¡¯s enthusiasm with nature; our confrontation with Nina the Orangutan; listening to all the personal stories about their love of Bukit Lawang and the tragedy of the Nov. 2003 flood on their village and lives; relaxing at the beautiful Lake Toba; our bike around the island; watching Peter and Therese plant rice in a small village, then seeing the tears of joy between Therese and another lady; seeing the economic desperation, lack of tourism and aftermath in Northern Sumatra from the tsunami and the village destroying flood of Bukit Lawang; being constantly asked to go places or do things and finally loosing my temper at a taxi driver who tried to charge 3x the amount.
Mostly what I can say about
We arrived in Bukit Lawang to do one thing: a multi-day trek to see wild orangutans. Bukit Lawang provides easy access into the vast
For us, we had the choice of 5 guesthouses and many top notch, English speaking experienced guides. Prior to our trek, we took a 1\2 hour walk out of town to visit a feeding platform just within the park boundaries. We were greeted with seeing 7 adult and 3 baby semi-wild orangutans. Even though these animals were not wild, seeing and witnessing their behavior up close was a thrill. For people not able to go on the trek, this side trip is a must.
We settled on a 3 day\2 night trek into the park and with an early start we began our trip into this highland rainforest jungle. The rainforest was drier then we have experienced in previous treks with more open ground cover, but a similar higher canopy cover. Our first day was a primate bonanza. We saw gibbons, semi and wild orangutans, and long and short tailed macaques, along with several species of hornbills. Our trek was a strenuous up and down affair, walking several kilos along a stream and a torrential downpour. A cooling waterfall was very welcomed after this difficult hike. Day 2 was more of the up\down affair. Day 3 was a very relaxing camp next to a large river. We were able to see numerous species of monkeys within the canopy and watch hornbills fly overhead. This was a highlight of our trip.
After grinding through