Bukit Lawang - Sumatra Travel

Bukit Lawang - Sumatra

Highlights - Gunung Leuser National Park, Orangutan, Bohorok River, bat caves

* Jungle Trekking * Accommodation * Car transfer to Bukit Lawang


Bukit Lawang Monkey
Bukit Lawang
Lake Toba
Lake Maninjau

Cities in Sumatra Indonesia


Bukit Lawang Travel Tours now available here!



Bukit Lawang, Sumatra - Indonesia

Bukit Lawang is one of the top destinations in Sumatra, Bukit Lawang is a small village on the edge of Gunung Leuser National Park located in North Sumatra. Bukit Lawang means Gateway to the Hills. Bukit Lawang is famous for the Bohorok Rehabilitation Centre now known as the Orangutan Centre.

Bukit Lawang Orangutan

The Gunung Leuser National Park is home to Orangutan, Thomas Leaf monkeys, Black Gibbons, White Handed Gibbons, the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran elephants, clouded leopards, marbled cat, crocodile, sun bear and the Sumatran Rhinoceros.

Bukit Lawang garden trail to the jungle

View of Bukit Lawang trail


Bukit Lawang is 68 km from Medan. A bus trip will take around 3 - 4 hours. The road from Binjai to Bukit Lawang is the worst it has been in 10 years. The good news is that in Dec 2008 they started extensive repairs to the road, resurfacing it in many places.

Bukit Lawang - White handed gibbon

White handed Gibbon

At the top of the village of Bukit Lawang is the Bohorok Rehabilitation Centre which has not operated since the flood. They still have a few orangutan in their care but no new animals are brought in for rehabilitation. There are 2 feeding sessions each day (8am and 3pm) open to the public where you have a good chance of the seeing some the orangutan that have been released to the wild. They often come back for an easy feed. You will need to get a permit to enter the National Park. Ask in your hotel as they can arrange the permit, you can arrange it yourself at the PHPA office at the beginning of Bukit Lawang or you can pay for your permit when you cross the river at the Orangutan Centre. Permit costs 20,000Rp plus you have to pay an extra 50,000Rp for a camera permit or 150,000Rp for a professional video camera.

See our video for getting to the Orangutan feeding platform



Bukit Lawang Jungle Trekking

 Sumatra Travel now have packaged tours to Bukit Lawang

The best way to experience the jungle is to go trekking. You can arrange 3 hours trekking, 6 hours or 1, 2, 3 days or more with the chance of spotting various wildlife as well as some beautiful spots like waterfalls and swimming holes.

Small waterfall in the jungle at Bukit Lawang

The guides in Bukit Lawang need to be certified with the local PHPA office and need to renew their license each year. The guides will generally find you as they are always hunting tourists. Many of the current trekking guides have come from other areas of Sumatra and learned to be guides.

Cost for trekking is 75 Euros per night per person. This includes your food and coming back via tubing down the river. You can arrange for a half day trek, up to 4 hours for 25 Euros per person or a 6 hour trek for 35 Euros per person.

We now have package tours available for trips to Bukit Lawang from Medan. For more details on the tours check out our Bukit Lawang Tours page.

Obiwan showing off his jungle skills in Bukit Lawang  


The guides have various campsites setup throughout the jungle, generally next to the river. Usually with small covered shelters which protect from rain during the night.

Jungle camp in Bukit Lawang

Relaxing by the Bohorok river Bukit Lawang

A short walk from Bukit Lawang is a bat cave. Cross the suspension bridge to Eco-Lodge Hotel and then turn left. Follow the trail for a pleasant 15 minute walk past corn fields and there is a small sign pointing you to the bat cave. Admission fee to enter the cave is 5000Rp.

Bukit Lawang Bat cave

Tubing can be easily arranged along the Bohorok river as many of the hotels hire out inflated truck inner tube tires. Be warned that many people have encountered problems. The river runs quite fast along the village and the river can rise very quickly when it has been raining.

Tubing down the Bohorok River at Bukit Lawang

Indonesian Cooking Classes

If you are interested in learning to cook some Indonesian dishes, Nora at Rainforest Guesthouses holds cooking classes for 100,000Rp. The classes will teach you how to prepare a 3 course meal, entry, main and desert. A selection of dishes are available for you to select.

Rafting trips from Bukit Lawang

White water rafting close to Bukit Lawang

Day trips can be arranged from Bukit Lawang to the Wampu River for a day of whitewater rafting. The Wampu River has grade 1 - 2 rapids so is perfect for beginners. You will need a minimum of 3 people to take on one of these trips though you may find other travelers in Bukit Lawang to join you. The day trips costs 880,000Rp (around US$78) per person and includes return transport to the Wampu River (around 2 hours there), raft, safety equipment, rafting guides and lunch. If you would like to pre-book one of these trips before you arrive please click here. contact us


 Bukit Lawang 2007

 Bukit Lawang September 2007

On Nov 2 2003, Bukit Lawang experienced a flash flood that destroyed most of the village and killed over 200 people.  The village along the river was hit by a 30 foot wall of water, mud and trees coming down from the jungle. Illegal logging has been rumored to be the cause of the flood although Indonesian Government officials deny this. Accommodation has been rebuilt now although there are probably half the hotels that there used to be.


View of Bukit Lawang

Bukit Lawang. September 2007

Internet, ATM and money exchange in Bukit Lawang

There is a small internet cafe in the village of Bukit Lawang.

There are no telephone offices like Wartel in Bukit Lawang. The closest of these services is in Bohorok, 10km away.  There are no ATMs, bank services or money transfer offices like Western Union. Again the closest of these are Bohorok 10km away or Binjai - over 2 hours by bus. Some money changers have started appearing again in Bukit Lawang although the exchange rate will be lower than you can get in the larger cities like Medan. Sam's Bungalows do money exchange.


How to get to Bukit Lawang

There are tourist buses leaving from most towns in North Sumatra to Bukit Lawang. In Medan you have the option of catching a local bus, very large, slow and crowded but very cheap, 10,000Rp. It will take 3.5 to 4 hours in the local bus as it also stops many times along the way to drop and pick up locals. You will need to get a becak or taxi to the bus depot in Medan - Pinang Baris. It will cost around 35,000Rp for a becak. A taxi will cost aroun 70,000 - 80,000Rp from the centre of Medan to get to Pinang Baris Bus Terminal.

You can also take a mini-bus from Pinang Baris for 12,000Rp. The mini-buses take around 3 hours to get to Bukit Lawang as they do not stop as many times along the way. The mini-buses do not leave from the main bus terminal. Travel down the road that runs past the bus terminal a few hundred meters and your will find the mini-buses outside the large pastry store (you can't miss it).

Private Transport from Medan to Bukit Lawang

If you would like a car to collect you from your hotel in Medan or from the airport and be taken to Bukit Lawang click here to contact us. Price is 650,000Rp from a Medan Hotel or 750,000Rp from Medan airport to Bukit Lawang for up to 4 people. This is a quicker, safer trip of under 3 hours from your hotel or the airport. The vehicle used is a new air-conditioned Toyota Innova.

Read the comments from people who have used this service

Contact us if you have a larger group and a price can be quoted for a larger vehicle.

Accommodation in Bukit Lawang



Accommodation is very easy to arrange when you arrive in Bukit Lawang except in the busy tourist season (June - August).

Local people from Medan flood into Bukit Lawang on weekends, starting Friday night so accommodation may be more difficult to find but generally there are still rooms available.

List of Hotels and guesthouses in Bukit Lawang

Following is a list of accommodation (hotels and guesthouses) in Bukit Lawang including room rates, contact details and hotel reviews from other travelers.

Sam's Bungalows (6 reviews) has 3 rooms. Located right at the top end of Bukit Lawang close to the Orangutan centre. Prices are 80,000Rp, 150,000Rp and 180,000Rp. For pictures and contact details click here.

Jungle Inn (7 reviews) has 9 rooms all with different jungle designs ranging from 250,000Rp - 500,000Rp per night. Prices may go up during the high season (June - August) For pictures and contact details click here.

Eco-Lodge (6 reviews) is one of the best places to stay in Bukit Lawang with 34 rooms with 5 different styles including their brand new Orangutan rooms. From 155,000Rp - 300,000Rp per night. For pictures and contact details click here.

Garden Inn and Restaurant (1 review) has 7 rooms and one house with rooms between 35,000Rp - 50,000Rp and the house for 200,000Rp per night. For pictures and contact details click here.


Rainforest Guesthouse, (5 reviews) run by the fabulous Nora Rainforest Guesthouse is located just next to the camping ground and opened in April 2008. Room prices from 40,000 For pictures, prices and contact details click here.

Rainforst Guesthouse Bukit Lawang

Nora's Homestay (1 review) also run by the fabulous Nora, is located off the main road running into Bukit Lawang. Prices start from 30,000Rp per night. For pictures and contact details click here.

Wisma Leuser Sibayak (1 review) prices starting from 35,000Rp. For pictures, prices and contact details click here.

Rindu Alam Hotel is located right at the bottom end of Bukit Lawang as you first enter the village. They have 40 standard rooms and 4 family rooms. Room prices start from 250,000Rp. For pictures, prices and contact details click here.

Yusman Guest House is located on the other side of the river via the large suspension bridge. Prices start from 25,000Rp. For pictures and prices click here.

Bukit Lawang Indah Hotel (4 reviews) is right next door to Yusman Guest House. Prices start from 30,000Rp. For pictures and prices click here.

Last updated 11th January 2013

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Bukit Lawang in 2002

Bukit Lawang 2002






Bukit Lawang Video Gallery


River Surfing Kid in Bukit Lawang


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