Seven Day Trek to Kutacane

Highlights

  • Conquer (half!) a mountain range, you will start at the bottom of the range at Bukit Lawang, and go across the mountains to the valley in the middle
  • Experience diverse habitats, ranging from lowland rainforest to moss forests at higher altitudes
  • Encounter wild animals such as orangutans, monkeys, birds, and other mammal species, including possibly wild elephants
  • Get away from civilization for a week - between Bukit Lawang and Kutacane there are no roads, no houses, no civilization - just the mighty jungle

The seven-day trek goes from Bukit Lawang to Kutacane, following the course of the Bohorok river, passing through lowland forest orangutan/wild elephant territory, and then moss forest, on the way to Kutacane.

The trek can be completed in six days, however, we allow for seven to allow for unfavourable weather. Depending on this, and your fitness, we may have time at the start of the trek to look for orangutans near Bukit Lawang, or to do a night trek so see animals such as otters, porcupines, wild pigs and snakes.

You may see the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia, pitcher plants, and the mossy jungle at the top of Perkison Mountain. We also should see orchid species, orangutans, monkeys, possibly wild elephants and other mammals.

This trek is for those who want to get away from civilization - Bukit Lawang sits on the eastern edge of the Bukit Barisan mountain range, and Kutacane is in the middle. There are no roads, no motorbikes, no houses. The route is used only occasionally, by smugglers bringing marijuana from Aceh. Although you will generally follow the course of the river, it's not always easy going, which is why your porters carry machetes to cut a path, where necessary.
(Note sample itinerary, based on GPS trace of a past guest. Your trek will vary according to weather and other factors)

Day 1 9am:
After breakfast, go to the jungle through rubber and cocoa plantation for half an hour, and go directly in the orangutan territory, to see orangutans, and observe their character and behavior, such as searching for the fruit and building nests. During the trip you will see some monkeys and other apes such as siamang ( black gibbon) or white-handed gibbon ( wau- wau) and possibly some of the giant birds such as hornbills, and reptiles such as monitor lizards and snakes.

Camp below Mount Uning, on the Landak river, at altitude 310m.

Distance: 13km.
Altitude gained: 250m.
Altitude lost: 50m
Time spent walking: 6 hours

Day 2:
After breakfast the trip will follow the river ridge
The day ends when we meet the Bohorok river, at its confluence with the Kuala Buluh. Wild elephant territory. Camp at 470m.

Distance: 10km
Altitude gained: 550m
Altitude lost: 400m
Time spent walking: 5.5 hours

Day 3:
Continue up the Bohorok river. Camp at 615m.

Distance: 7km
Altitude gained: 250m
Altitude lost: 50m
Time spent walking: 4.5 hours

Day 4: We follow one of the tributaries of the Bohorok river. Camp at 1150m.

Distance: 12km
Altitude gained: 550m
Altitude lost: 30m
Time spent walking: 7 hours

Day 5 we sleep at Lau Terkicong (Terkicong lake), as we prepare for our push into Aceh. Camp altitude: 1550m

Distance: 6km
Altitude gained: 380m
Time spent walking: 4.5 hours

Day 6:
We reach our peak of 2100m near the border between North Sumatra and Aceh, and then begin our descent towards Kutacane.
Distance: 7km
Altitude gained: 620m
Altitude lost: 230m
Time spent walking: 4 hours

Day 7:
We continue towards Kutacane We will be met by our car on the road.
Distance: 9km
Altitude lost: 1700m
Time spent walking: 5 hours

What to bring

This is a longer trek, lasting seven days. You do not need to bring all your entire wardrobe on the trip, and we will arrange for excess baggage to be sent on to Kutacane by road.

The important things are: clothes/personal items, camera, mosquito repellent, sun block, etc. Quick drying clothes (polyester, not cotton) are a good idea, because you will not want to carry a week's worth of clothing with you, but rather should plan to wear the same items several times, and let them dry out.

You also need to bring at least one large (1.5l) bottle of water, for each person, this you can buy locally for around $0.50.

Jungle clothing choices are flexible. You can wear either long or short clothing, longer clothing will keep the sun and mosquitoes away, but it needs to be lightweight as the weather is hot (around 30C) and humidity is near 100%. At night the temperatures will go down to around 22C, so it's neither hot nor cold for sleeping.

Footwear is quite important - never wear new shoes on a trip, please 'break them in', by wearing them first for a week or two, so that they don't cause blisters. You can be sure that your shoes will get wet in the jungle. For this reason avoid 'Gore-Tex' waterproof shoes, as these are designed to keep water out, which means that once they get wet (which they will), they will never dry get dry. Lightweight walking shoes or walking sandals (not flip-flops) are a good choice. Boots might be too hot for our conditions. If you are wearing sandals, please ensure that they are not slippery between your feet and the shoe when wet, as you can expect to walk through streams, etc., in them and they will get wet, and if they are slippery it makes it impossible to walk up any hill. You can buy special river shoes, such as some Teva varieties, designed for walking in rivers, which may make your journey easier.

Please do not 'overpack', your backpack should be kept as light as possible - do not attempt to carry 20kg on your trek!

Orangutans and other wildlife are susceptible to human illnesses. Please do not feed them, or touch them.

Restrictions

This trip is a challenging trek, not so much technically, but in being seven days in the jungle without rest, walking every day. It is not suitable for children, unless they are older and used to long walks. We would note that experience walkers can find conditions in the Indonesian jungle to be much more challenging than they are used to, because the heat and humidity are high, so please do not bring too much baggage. (Transport of your extra luggage by road is included in the price)

Extras

Optional onward transfer to Ketambe, Berastagi, Medan or Lake Toba.

Included

Day 1: Lunch, dinner, camping equipment

Day 2-6: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, camping equipment

Day 7: Breakfast, lunch

Throughout: Expert guide and assistants

Transport (by road) of your excess baggage to Kutacane

Excluded

National Park entrance fee (150,000 IDR/person for non-Indonesians only).

Day 1: Breakfast

Day 7: Dinner

Hotels, optional onward travel to Berastagi, Ketambe or Medan (transport is chargeable if required)
Cost: £325.00
Duration: Seven days (six nights)
Suitable for children: Yes
Suitable with mobility issues: No