Christy and John's Travels travel blog

View from Balcony

River Crossing to Park

Hanging Out

Mother and Baby

Orangutan Playing

Christy in Hot Rainforest

John Trying to Stay Cool


For a quick overview of Indonesia by the BBC, click here

Flew from KL to Medan and were met at the airport by our guide. We'd originally booked a 3 night hike and camping trip into the Sumatran rainforest in Gunung Leuser National Park. However, after nearly sweating-to-death in Borneo, we'd scaled this back to a day hike and a few days visiting the Bohorok Orangutan Viewing Center from the relative comfort of a bungalow (basically a thatched hut, sans fan). While we like to think of ourselves as "tough", we melt in the heat and couldn't imagine anything more miserable.

While here, we visited the orangutan feeding platform 4 times and were thrilled to see an orangutan mother and baby on 3 visits, and a young male on another. What a different feel this place had compared to Sepilok. Our bungalow was a 3 hour drive and 30 minute walk up along the river from Medan. Much more remote and beautiful. Set along a fast-flowing, rocky river with mountains and waterfalls around. While plenty of palm plantations are here also, because of the hilly terrain, the park seems more remote and protected.

The feeding platform experience was very different. We had to cross the river by canoe, walk up a steep hill for 15 minutes and were pleased to see that usually fewer than a dozen people were present. The rehabilitation center was relocated to a more remote park and is not open to tourists. The orangutans that visit this platform are semi-wild, but still rely on occasional feedings to supplement their diet. Again, some argue that the platform is only for the tourists and is extending the orangutan's reliance on humans. Hard to argue with this, yet the fact that there were 5 orangutans with babies in the area is encouraging. And, over time, fewer and fewer orangutans (depending on availability of fruit) seem to be visiting the platform. It will almost certainly be closed in the coming years.

We also did a half day hike into the park. It was as hot as feared, but we did see a lot. Gibbons, the Thomas Leaf Monkey, a woodpecker, big monitor lizard, orangutan and leeches (it got John this time) were our reward. The orangutan decided it did not want us in the area and we had to quickly retreat down the hill when it decided to chase us off. Our visit to this park was amazing, but miserably hot - probably the hottest we have been. No fan meant we were constantly dripping with sweat, with no relief except for a few hour's respite in the early morning. We couldn't wait to get into the car for the airport - dreaming of A/C for our ride there.



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