From the northern tip of Sumatra, we headed back down to the village of Bukit Lawang, famous for its orangutans and jungle park. We needed to get back to Malaysia so we only stayed one day, but we were still able to see some orangutans. Bukit Lawang is on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park and has an orangutan rehabilitation center where you can watch them feed the primates up close.
Bukit Lawang is a nice little village on the edge of the jungle, and a river runs through the town. It was hot and humid with frequent thunderstorms, so the river was a nice place to cool down in the afternoon heat. We crossed the river by a little dugout canoe to get to the ranger station in order to watch the early morning feeding (when they are active and within viewing distance). The rangers weren’t real strict about how close we got, and things seem pretty lax in general. We watched the orangutans get fed and then headed back into town. In town, there are also Thomas Leaf monkeys roaming around. They have funky hair and are fun to watch. At the feeding, one was poking around and trying to get some bananas.
Early the next morning, we headed back to the huge, sprawling port of Medan, in order to catch our ferry back to Penang. Medan has about 2 million people, but you would hardly know it because there is no noticeable center you might expect such a large city to have. It is mostly just one huge and sprawling mass of congestion. Located on the edge of the Strait of Melaka, Medan has a large and busy port. The areas around the Strait of Melaka are truly at the crossroads of the Asian economy. Medan has a large Chinese-Indonesian population, and the whole peninsula of Malaysia (plus the island of Singapore) is a bustling mix of international culture and commerce. As our ferry crossed the Strait, we were rocked by large waves from a lumbering container ship.
Back in Penang, we enjoyed one more day of excellent Penang food. Now we are headed for the Cameron highlands.
****click to enlarge photos****