1. Go for a walk
Bukit Lawang is just wonderfully located on the Bahorok River. Take a walk on the north side of the river past the last guest house Jungle Inn and keep going until the Back to Nature Resort. The path always leads along the river. There are some nice swimming spots, where you can cool down.
Watch the trekkers on their jungle raft back to Bukit Lawang and wave at them. And if you’re lucky, you may spot orangutans on the other side of the river. On arrival have a cool drink and enjoy the jungle views.
2. Mandi Sungai or go for a swim
In the afternoon the local kids go for a swim in the water. Go join them. Bikinis are not welcome here. Simply bath with a T-Shirt and loose trousers. But beware: the currents can be quite strong. Good spots for swimming are near the camping ground past rainforest guesthouse or at Rindu Alam Hotel.
Other than that you can also venture out for a walk to Landak River. Start from the village of Bukit Lawang. On the other side of the big metall bridge is Bukit Lawang Indah guesthouse. Take the path up next to it and follow the signs to the bat cave. You will pass the beautifull Eco Lodge and walk through fields and plantations. When you are in a palm oil plantions don’t follow the sign to the bat cave here, just keep on walking straight until you see a concrete path to the right. There are also signs for Campground or Landak River. Follow these and you will end up in paradise. The currenty are not strong here and it has a truely feeling of being in the jungle. The walk takes about 45 minutes.
3. Shop at the local market
Every Friday there is a local market in the nearby village of Gotong Royong. Fresh fruit, cloths or toys can be bought here. High chance you are the only tourist here. You can take a becak there for 10,000 – 20,000 IDR depending on your bargaining skills. We recommend walking there. Turn right at the becak station, turn left before the bridge and walk along the right side of the little stream. When the path ends, change to the other side of the stream and follow the way, walk over a big meadow and you are at the end of the market place.
4. Eat your way through town
Bukit Lawang offers a nice range of restaurants and warungs. Try some of the local dishes like Rendang, Soto or Gulai. Personal tips: Mie goreng at Ida Guesthouse, Egg Rendang at rainforest, Semur at Indah Guesthouse or gado-gado at Sam’s Bungalow.
5. Meet elephants
An offroad 2 hour drive from Bukit Lawang brings you to Tankahan. You can stop several times on the way for taking pictures or just enjoy the view. In Tankahan you can come close to the beautiful animals and wash them. We don’t recommend riding them though. More info about Tankahan
6. Sing along or dance the night away
In the evenings there are always guys sitting together with a guitar singing Indonesian or international smash hits. Join them, have a beer and sing along. Singing skills are not necessary 🙂 Popular places are Ricky’s Bar, Indah guesthouse, Raggae Bar, Hotel Orangutan or Indra Valley. On Saturdays there is the local famous Live Music at Thomas Retreat. Go there and dance with locals and tourists a like.
7. Village Tour
We can take you on a motorbike or becak to the local villages around Bukit Lawang. Get to know how the local people live and work, ride along rice fields and rubber plantations, see how brown sugar or tofu is made and visit local schools and markets. Just contact us.
8. Get some exercise
Get sweaty (if the heat is not enough for you) and play some badminton. Ricky’s Bar and Rainforest Guesthouse have Badminton fields. Just ask the staff for rackets. Or join the local guys for a round of takraw, played with a rattan ball only allowing players to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball.
9. Do good
In the village of Gotong Royong there is the charity school Bukit Lawang Trust Education Centre, teaching English for the kids of the surrounding villages for free. They are alway in need for basic school supplies. If you can find some space in your suitcase, it would be great if you could bring some of the supplies with you. Many of the supplies can be purchased locally, e.g. in Medan. We can then arrange a visit to the Bukit Lawang Trust Education Centre, where you can handover the supplies yourself. Contact and Wish List
A list with activities in Bukit Lawang would not be complete without a trekking tour in the jungles or Gunung Leuser National Park. On the 3 hour to 3 day treks you get the chance to see orangutans and other animals in the wild. On the popular 2 or 3 day treks you also sleep in the jungle which is undoubtly a once in a lifetime experience. Contact us
Read also: Things to do in Berastagi