Wednesday 21 Mar
Bukit Lawang, Indonesia
Indonesia (bar Bali) is off the main backpacker route which gives it the feeling of being an undiscovered gem. It is home to the 4th biggest population in the world (225.3 million) and its 17,508 islands make up the world's largest archipelago. It is also home to the world's biggest flowers, longest insect, biggest lizard and loudest bang (when 'bad boy' of the volcano world, Krakatua blew itself to smithereens in 1883, it was heard in Perth!)
Not surprisingly it is an incredible place to visit, the people welcome you with open arms and the diversity that Indonesia has to offer will blow your mind.
First up we travelled to Bukit Lawang which is one of the last 2 places on earth where you can find orang utans in the wild. BL is on the island of Sumatra, the world's 6th largest island and one that holds the dubious honour of having the most natural disasters in modern memory. BL itself is where 3 1/2 years ago a natural damn burst above the village killing almost 300 people (10% of the population). As you can imagine the devastation was immense and they still don't have phone lines or electricity! It felt good to visit an area which is so desperate for our support.
And 'good' doesn't come close to the feeling of being with the orang utans in the wild. Wow, it was exceptional and so very special. 'Orang' means people and 'utan' means jungle and the locals were not far out when describing these gentle creatures as 'jungle people'. They are so very human and beautiful. There are only about 7500 left in this area so the rehabilitation centre which reintroduces them into the wild from capitivity is doing important work as well as educating locals on preservation of the environment and the protection of wildlife.
After a long day's trekking through incredible jungle I was treated to a massage by Bibi a rather eccentric local who I want to believe did not get any jollys out of massaging my boobs!
We stayed in the superior quarters of an eco friendly lodge which had an organic farm and open-roofed jungle bathrooms. Did I mention that Indonesia also has the advantage of being extremely cheap? Our wonderful suite was only 8 quid!
On our last night we catnapped Kitty to protect our bugalow from the nightly invasion of Ratty who had, through much dedication, managed to consume all our snacks. Ratty decided that our final two snack bars were simply not worth his precious life. RESULT!
Check out our Orang Utan and other Bukit Lawang pics here.