So Sinead and I decided we needed to get out of the city and feel the love of nature. We flew to Medan and then travelled by car to Bukit Lawang, which is about a 4 hour drive in good weather. I was feeling pretty sick but perked up enough by the next day. We stayed at a wonderful place right on the river side organised by a homestay called ‘Green Hill Guest House’. It was lovely. Our room looked right over the river which made a tremendous sound. We were looking directly over the river to the jungle and I mean the jungle. We could hear the cicadas even from where we were. People said if you were lucky you might see orangutans, the wildlife Bukit Lawang is most famous for, from the river but we didn’t. We did see lots on our trip though which was so special.
This was the view of the river and jungle on the day we arrived. The sound of the river gushing was tremendous. People often travel down the river with inflatable hoops, they call it tubing and you could often hear the shrieks and laughter of groups doing exactly that.
How stunning is that? Simply serene. It was the most beautiful place to go to escape the bustle of city life. Having wandered round the local area, all located by the river I captured this scene … this is just by the side of the river, so luscious and green, so many beautiful plants. if this doesn’t want to make you go there, I don’t know what will, except the orangutans 😀
Obviously we went to see the orangutans so next on our itinerary was to head to the feeding station which … was a LONG trek up what seemed like a zillion steps … it was tough work but worth it … we had to get on this rickety boat first to get over the river …
It seemed a bit scary but it was quite fun. It works on a rig and pulley. And the man scoops out the water with a jug lol!. Still we got there and started the climb to the feeding station. I was a bit apprehensive about the feeding station but it was literally an area which they threw bananas onto a piece of wood. When I thought about it, the locals are doing a great service to nature. There is a great nature programme there and everybody who visits has to pay a nominal fee to help in this upkeep. If the orangutans didn’t go to the feeding station, they could be anywhere in the diminishing forest. The jungle here is protected but as we left Bukit Lawang, we saw miles and miles of Palm Oil plantations which were uncannily silent, devoid of any nature. At least in Bukit Lawang, they conserve the area, they observe and provide help to injured animals. They care. To be fair, as a westerner coming from a country which is relatively wealthy, I had to accept that in areas like this, locals must make the most of the resources they have and here it is tourism … who doesn’t want to see orangutans in the wild. I saw some in Taman Safari and it was sad. So after the long climb to the feeding station, we were lucky enough to see 3 orangutans including a mama and baby and a big male as well as many peter long tailed monkeys. We were so close it was unreal. Here are some shots of the big daddy orangutan and a mama and baby … I felt so lucky to be right there, right then.
The feeding station was amazing, I couldn’t believe how close I was to these ‘people of the forest’, seriously at times I could have stretched out my hand and touched the big male. Whenever he moved towards us, we all stumbled back though! These are powerful animals. Orangutan quite literally means ‘People of the forest’. ‘Orang’ in Indonesian means People and ‘Hutan’ means forest. After the feeding station, we started our trek which was, to say the least dangerous and tricky in parts. It was also blooming hard work. However, we had two great guides who kindly carried our bags and let us take our photos and the sounds and beauty of nature were simply breathtaking.
Now I’m going to post a few of the many simply gorgeous nature photographs I was lucky enough to take. it was amazing to be in the heart of such jungle and hear the loud sounds of the macaques, cicadas and everything else. I’ll remember this trip for a long time. I was lucky enough to have gone with Sinead, a great friend who appreciated it even more so than I did, if that’s possible. She is a true friend and a great companion. And she truly appreciates nature. I’m so glad she suggested this trip and I recommend it to anybody.
Look at these leaves….
I would add more photos but my internet is ludicrously slow and I cannot stand to watch the file uploader crash one more time whilst I add photos. So I will include the video I made on Imovie which includes photos of the earthy soil and the mossy trees. I think after this trip, those are my two favourite colours, mossy green and woody brown. In the jungle, these colours are simply breathtaking. I would go back just to see those colours. We continued to traverse the jungle for hours with the careful help of our guides seeing monkeys, cicadas, termites, enormous ants, trees, flowers and gorgeous leaves, lying trampled under our feet, ready to disintegrate and decompose back into the earth. The colours, the smells, the sounds.
The last night of our trip it poured, Hujan besar! Jungle rain. I guess that’s why they call it the RainForest. We sought shelter at the guesthouse and enjoyed banana/ pineapple fritters and pancakes which were deliciously naughty. We read books, we chatted to locals and visitors alike. We enjoyed each others company. We slept late the next day and sat on our balcony treasuring our last views of the jungle on our visit.
I would recommend this trip to anybody. Especially if you live in the hustle and bustle of the city where it is easy to forget just how quick you can be out of it and somewhere as beautiful as this. Thank you Sinead for organising it and asking me to come. It was a trip to remember for sure.