Situated on the edge of the 9,000 square km of Gunung Leuser National Park, the magnificent rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem harbour some of the most endangered and rare species of plant and animal life on Earth.
The Sumatra Tiger and Rhinoceros, the Orangutan, and the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, and the tallest flower in the world, the appropriately named Amorphophallus. It is also inhabited by other creatures like the Great Argus Pheasant, Asian elephant, Clouded leopard and as many as seven species of primates.
The Leuser Ecosystem lists over 382 species of birds, 105 species of mammals, 103 species of reptiles and 35 species of amphibians. The flora contains some 3,500 plant species, and in one hectare you can find 130 different tree species. (Compare this to Britain, with about 50 native trees for the entire country).
The area is largely limestone so there are some beautiful caves, one of which is 2 km, or 25 minutes walk south from the Bus Terminal, and which is the home of thousands of bats. Take a torch or flashlight with you.
Orangutans feeding time at the Orang-utan Sanctuary is at 8 am and 3.00 pm daily, but get there earlier. It is a 2 km, very pleasant walk up the river from Bukit Lawang to the Orang-utan Station and then a short climb to the feeding site. Get your permit from the PHPA office and bring your passport. Permits are valid for one day (2 visits). The Tourist Information Service, Visitor's Centre, and Permit Offlice (PHPA) are all close to the bus terminal.
Tubing on the river is great fun, you float from Bukit Lawang to Bahorok, about 12 kilometres away, in an inflated tube which you can rent cheaply from many places. Stop at the bridge and re turn to Bukit Lawang by public
bus (Rp 500). Check the river conditions before setting off, and ask the guides if you are unsure. White water rafting can also be arranged down the Bohorok.
Bohorok or Wampu rivers, and of course, Bukit Lawang is a natural centre for jungle trekking, whether it is just for one night or for a week or more. To get to Bukit Lawang from Medan you can go by Tourist Bus, which will pick you up at your hotel, by Public bus which leaves Pinang Baris Bus Station every two hours, or you can take a shared Taxi.