Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

I never thought I would get to go to the jungle in Sumatra. I have been to Bali, Indonesia several times, but this time we wanted to explore more of this beautiful country. So we decided to head to Sumatra for two weeks. One of the bucket list experiences here was the jungle trekking in Bukit Lawang.

From Lake Toba to Bukit Lawang

From Samosir Island it’s quite easy to get to Bukit Lawang. You can ask at the accomodation how to book the tourist bus or go to the office in the center of Samosir, right at Coffee 2 Go. The people there are really friendly, and they even provided us two maps and explained how to get around. The tourist bus leaves at 8.00 AM and it costs 200.000 IDR/person. It takes about 9 hours to get to Bukit Lawang.

Tickets office Lake Toba to Bukit Lawang: Coffee 2 Go, Samosir

AddressJl. Lkr. Tuktuk, Tuktuk Siadong, Simanindo, Kabupaten Samosir, Sumatera Utara 22395, Indonesia

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Arriving in Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang is part of the Gunung Leuser National Park. A center of rehabilitation for orangutans was founded here by a Swiss company. After quarantine, the orangutans were released into the wild and reintegrated in the semi-wild population. Bukit Lawang is best experienced on a two day or even 3 to 6 day jungle trek. Once we got off the bus (in our case, a private car as the bus was actually a 7 seat car), we made our way to our guesthouse, along the river. We crossed a wooden bridge (and it was really shaky!) and arrived to Thomas’ Retreat Bukit Lawang. I was really excited to stay right in the jungle and was counting down the hours till the next day when we were about to start our trek.

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Drone capture by Jordan Simons

Where to Stay in Bukit Lawang

Looking online, the options didn’t look great. But there are actually so many nice guesthouses to stay at, with breakfast included for as cheap as 5 or 10 $/night.

Thomas’ Retreat Bukit Lawang

Price: 5/10$ a night

It was really clean, good breakfast, great wifi and a view to the river.

You can find it here.

Sumatra Eco Travel Cottages

Price: 32 eur/night

This accomodation was more luxury cottage style, really recommend it

Our Stay at Sumatra Eco Travel Cottages

Sumatra Eco Travel Cottages invited us to stay with them for three days and do a two day jungle trek. Their packages are suitable for any type of traveller, whether you’re a youngster, a senior or traveling with your family. They pay so much attention to details and the guides, the staff there go out of their way to make you happy. What I love about this stay and about our two day jungle tour is that they really care about the environment and the way they conduct their tours. They pick up the trash when they go into the jungle, they never feed the orangutans, they clear waste and plastic, plant trees and work together with the families in the village.

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Photo by Jordan Simons

They don’t have a restaurant at the cottages, but on the day of the trek, you can choose an amazing breakfast before starting out! It was honestly one of the best tour experiences I’ve ever had, especially since they are really committed to keeping the environment clean and putting in all the efforts. Also, the jungle view room was a stunner!

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Our Two Day Jungle Trek Bukit Lawang

The Gunung Leuser National Park is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is host to the famous Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). More and more tourists are coming to Bukit Lawang and go on one of the jungle trekking tours because they want to see orangutans in the wil, as well as other birds and animals, such as the Thomas Leaf monkey. You can opt for a two day jungle trek, camping one night in the jungle or one of the more extensive tours, of up to 6 days. The hiking was pretty intense in the first day on the last part on the way to our camp, as it had been raining and it was slippery, but it can be done by anyone of any age.

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra


Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Camping and Trekking

Camping wasn’t too rough, there were groups who only had a mattress and slept inside some open shacks. Our company provided tents, inside the open shacks so as to be protected from the heavy rains. During our first day we saw so many orangutans and monkeys, types of ants and insects, and monitor lizards. It was a truly unique experience being close to the orangutans, listening to our guides’ stories, who knew them all by name, and enjoying the company of great people in such a peaceful place.

The first day was pretty full, and we had delicious breaks in nature during our hike, where we tried local fruits, ramboutan, mangosteen, passion fruit, dragon fruit. And we even had our bananas stolen by a cheeky monkey! In the last part of the day, our legs a bit tired after the hike, we chilled by the river and sunbathed, and then had a feast with a spread of several different local dishes.

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Breakfast before starting the trek

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Snack break

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra


The next day we woke up to an amazing breakfast nicely decorated by the guides with flowers, crossed the river to a waterfall, took snaps in the freezing water, and then headed back down by tube rafting directly to our accomodation! The tube rafting was definitely fun and would do it again in a heartbeat! And as to the jungle, yes, I highly recommend it if you’re in Indonsia to come here and spend at least two days.


Seeing Orangutans in the Wild

We were lucky enough to see plenty of orangutans during our trek. We say baby orangutans, the mother, who was carefully supervising the baby, and lazy ones just chilling on the branches.

Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra


Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra


Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Monkeys in Bukit Lawang

We saw sooooo many monkeys in Bukit Lawang, they were everywhere! Of course, they took the chance and stole some of our watermelon and bananas during our snack break! There are several types of monkeys in Bukit Lawang, gibbons, the long tail Macaque, and the rather rare Thomas Leaf Monkey.


Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra


Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra


Jungle Trekking Experience in Bukit Lawang Sumatra

Impressions of the Two Day Jungle Trek in Bukit Lawang

All in all, this was definitely a bucketlist experience. It was the first time I did jungle trekking but it was absolutely amazing, I loved every second of it and Bukit Lawang was a great place to start! Indonesia is full of wonders and this was unexpected, honestly, it was worth it the long hours spent in the buses. I think this place will gain more and more exposure and it will become one of the must see places for orangutans and jungle trekking.

Make sure to follow my next posts in my Travel section about what to take with you on the trek and other travel tips. 

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