Travelling around Sumatra is sometimes difficult. The island is huge, the roads are bad and busy with lorries and motorbikes. Public transport is limited and an adventure in itself. Get prepared for endless hours in packed busses with drivers driving like crazy.
Flying is the most convenient way to get around Sumatra. All the major cities on Sumatra have international airports. Medan is the main hub for flights onto the island.
Local mini busses are the cheapest way to get around, but this is everyhing but a comfortable journey. The minibusses have no air condition and can get very cramped. You will be sitting very close to others. There is no real legroom. Many people don’t speak English, but are always friendly and maybe want to take a photo with you. The road is bumpy and the bus stops frequently to collect and drop off passengers along the way. The driver will mostly put your luggage on the roof, but if there is space you can also keep it with you.
The current Governor of North Sumatra comes from Bukit Lawang. One of his promises was to improve the road from Medan so it will be more enjoyable to get to Bukit Lawang. Work has already started and the road has improved a lot compared to previous years . However work is still in process. There are some remaining bumpy parts, but in general the road gets better.