Indonesia, Sumatra – To Orangutans Living in the Free
After several hours of trekking in the damp jungle, you will hear a rust, raise your head, and there is an orange furry creature swinging from the liana to the liana. The feeling of pure excitement when you see the orangutan in your natural environment. Orangutan? Yes, orangutan. You do not have to go to the zoo anymore, just connect your visit to the famous Bali with the little village of Ketambe in the middle of the dense forest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
The western island of Sumatra is known for two reasons, including palm plantations and orangutans. If your wish list is to see orangutans in the wild, Ketambe is the perfect destination for your next exotic trip. Ketambe is located in a river valley surrounded by the dense jungle of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gunung Leuser.
How likely is you to see some furry animal swinging in the crown of trees? The vast majority of guides claim that less than 90 percent of clients see at least one orangutan. But seeing the tiger is almost impossible here. Of course, the more time you spend in the jungle, the more likely it is to see some of these wild animals in their natural surroundings. From my own experience, I can say that during the three-day stay we were lucky to see the incredible eight orangutans, three kinds of monkeys, hornbills, and gibons. If you are lucky on your side, you can see the orangutan near the road just outside the village. In addition to them in the jungle you will find many other wildlife such as tigers, elephants, rhinoceros and monkeys. In the jungle grow some of the largest and wildest trees that you can only imagine. If you stand next to them, you will realize how small you are compared to them.
Be careful, walking through the rainforest has its hardship. The risk of visiting during the rainy season is a slippery and muddy forest full of leeches! Also prepare for high humidity, I recommend lightweight long-sleeved clothing. Whatever you decide for a one-day or multi-day trip through a dense forest, take as little as you can, making it easier for you to cross the river, hit a dense bush or take a quick orangutan action. In fact, you do not really need it, all the food and the "tent" will be worn by your guide all the time. In the case of multi-member groups, the carrier will go with you. The hostel also features a sleeping bag. During the trek, do not expect any luxury, sleeping on the floor, on the plastic, drinking water from the river. Each evening, pieces of wood are pushed into the ground, which is packed with a large plastic tarpaulin and a "tent" to be your home.
GPS: 3°45'25.7"N 97°10'26.6"E
Text and photos: Andrea Meluzínová
It is almost impossible to go to Indonesia and avoid the masses of tourists today. Most tourists end up on the islands of Bali or Gili, some of them continue to the island of Lombok, Java or Sumatra. Would you like to avoid these places? Are you looking for a bigger adventure? Then go even further and discover the natural beauty of Flores Island and its Komodo National Park.
This time we are heading to the Sumatran jungle. Along the way we stop for lunch, the food is great in Indonesia.
Today you will visit the town of Berastagi and climb the Sibayak volcano. Buses called Murni Expres leave from Medan.
We start our journey through western Malaysia a bit unusually, by going for three nights to the Indonesian city of Medan in North Sumatra. From the airport located in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur several times a day, the low-cost airline Air Asia flies, and in less than an hour you can reach Medan (specifically Kualanamu Airport). It is the largest Sumatran city, the fifth most populous city in Indonesia.
Nusa Penida is situated southeast from very famous Indonesian island of Bali. It features regular ferry lines. Tourist infrastructure there is quite underdeveloped yet it has been improving. Should you prefer less tourist crowded areas and you like amazing vistas and great beaches, I recommend you to spend there three days at least.
Goa Giri Putri cave temple sometimes go by the name of nearby village of Goa Karangsari. High limestone caves are situated on the east coast of Nusa Penida, half way between Sampalan and Suana. As this is a temple, you have to wear a sarog, a piece of cloth wrappend around your waist to cover your lower body. If you don't have one you may rent one for 5 000 IDR (about 10 CZK).
We start our month long trip across Indonesia in its capital city of Jakarta (Java island). We did our best to leave it as soon as possible. Our first stop was on Muria peninsula, central Java (it runs into the Java Sea in the north).
In our last article you learned more about Mt Muria, the holy mountain. We got there accidentally as we had different reasons why we traveled to Muria peninsula. There is a ferry on the northwestern coast (it departs from Jepara town) and it transports passengers to Karimunjawa National Park. We set aside two days because the ferry can cancel its trip due to huge waves. However, even two days extra were not enough.
Trip to Bromo volcano in Bromo Tengger Semer National Park is probable one of the best travel experiences in Indonesia. The trip is highly organized and most touristic. Despite it is very expensive you will long remember it as a wonderful experience.
We almost freezed on Penanjakan platform. We enjoyed the view over volcanic terrain and were on our way in jeep back to Tengger’s crater flat bedrock. Then we go afoot (under great volcanic conditions) to Bromo’s edge. The volcano is still active.
Rinjani volcano is the dominant sight on the Lombok peninsula. This second highest mountain in Indonesia is located at the altitude of 3726 meters. This one is a too much of temptation for any mountaineer.
We had seen many places on Java. Ijen volcano is, however, something entirely different. Sulfur miners work in harsh conditions here. Tourists pay entrance fee to see this unique thing. Blue flames, another symbol of the volcano, flicker behind the miners. This is the last spot on Java we saw before departing for Bali on the east.
It is night. We are on the edge of Ijen volcano which is famous for its blue flames. To see everything from up close we descended down the crater. Then we saw the first bearer. It was a slim man having a bamboo bar on his shoulder. On both ends there were two baskets filled up with sulfur rocks. We got out of his way. And he passed buy us. While we were descending, the smell of sulfur was increasing in its intensity.
We left Java for Bali. It is very different from other 17 thousand Indonesian islands. Many holidaymakers chose it as the place for vacation. Nature on the island is diverse and there are many contrasts. The atmosphere is wonderful and extraordinary. But to get such impressions we had to travel across the island first. We intended to travel through and through the central highlands. This would allow us to learn about the terrain and decide on which volcano to climb. Our route ran from the south to the north and back to the south in the tot al length of 200 kilometers (13 hours of ride on a scooter).
We are still on our day-long trip on Bali. We leave Singaraja town in the island’s north. Our next goal is the area surrounding Batur volcano.
The trip to Rinjani is already arranged for us. Next part of our Indonesian adventure can therefore being! There is one main route (if not the only one) for getting up and back down. This trail goes from Senar to Sembalun. The trip’s length could be either 2,3 or 4 days long.
Welcome back! We continue in our trip across Indonesia. Now we are below the summit of Rinjani (we are at about 2350 meters). Rinjani is Indonesia’s second highest mountain. The night is upon us as well as the very climb to the summit (3726 m).
Early climb up the summit is done, successfully. We are on our second day in Rinjani territory. Even though we were sick and tired of walking we had to leave Sembalun Crater Rim and continue further on. The night at Anak lake was upon us.
We stand on the edge of a caldera in Lombok’s north. We are in Crater Rim Senar camp. Ahead is a strenuous descend to Senaru village. It is not steep yet long (21 kilometers) and it goes through living breathing rain forest.
Indonesia has been very popular place for European tourists. The country includes over 17 000 isl...