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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

R and R site rainforest: GUNUNG LEUSER NATIONAL PARK


Is your definition of rest and recreation is trekking out in the forest and see orangutans and other forms of flora and fauna? The GunungLeuser National Park is the last place in Sumatra where Orang-Utans, Tigers, Elephants, Rhinos and Leopards live together.

The park is just so breath-taking that you’ll see for yourself orangutans climb from tree to tree in the waterfalls, or perhaps Thomas leaf monkeys playing in the trees and hear the calls of gibbons and hornbills. With your stay here in this national park, you’ll surely say that there is still a paradise on Earth!

About Gunung Leuser National Park

The Leuser Eco System has a total area of more than 2.5 million hectares; within its boundaries are 950,000 hectares of designated national park. The park area lies at a height of 0 meters in Kluet and up to 3.404m to the peak of Gunung Leuser, to which the park is derived. It is bordered within the provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh. It untouched rainforests are home to an immense Biodiversity of more than 170 mammals, 320 birds and 190 reptiles and amphibians. It also has 7 major river systems with several volcanoes within Bukit Barisan Mountains.

There are several eco systems that are found within the park borders such as beach forest, swamp areas, low land rainforest, alpine areas and mountain forest.

Travel Guide

Getting There

If you’re not coming from within Indonesia, you may get to this paradise by an international plane and land at Medan which holds the nearest big airport in the region. However if you wish to hike the Gunung Leuser you may fly to Kutacane from Medan which will take you about 30 minutes travel or Banda Aceh which accepts flights on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Where to Stay

Ketambe is a village where most accommodations are found. The area is situated between the only paved road and the parallel flowing river to which the distance between the road and river is about 150 meters. There are 3 bungalows, each with one room, a double sized bed and a concrete and tiled bathroom. Fronting the bungalow is the terrace with table and chairs and possibility for setting a hammock. There’s also a restaurant within the accommodation to which you may order your foods.

The Trek

Before you proceed with your trek, you have to secure your permits at the PHPA office. The fee is about Rp 20,000 or approximately US$ 364.00 per person.

You may arrange your trekking activity with the accommodation you are in to like the Ketambe. They will provide you with guides and ports depending on the number of days you want to trek the jungle.

For a one day trek, one guide will go with you. The trek will usually take 6 – 8 hours. As you go along, the guide will show and explain you some special plants. The goal of your trekking for is to look for and spot orangutans, gibbons, monkeys and birds.

The two to four days of trekking is usually accompanied by a guide and a porter. The hike will go deep inside the Ketambe jungle. Still, your goal here is to see and spot orangutans, gibbons, monkeys, deers, wild pigs and birds such as hornbills. You will get to cross a river, sleep in the jungle where there is a camping ground beside a hotspring. Included as well in the trip is a visit to a waterfall. Just beware of the leeches that might come out after the rain. It’s advisable that you wear closed shoes and long trousers.

If adventure is something that’ll give you that inner rush and excitement, try the five to six – day tour. It is way harder than the previous treks because there are parts in your journey that can be quite steep with roads that are heading up and down. A guide and two porters will accompany you. There are three destinations you may choose from: The tour to Mount GunungKemiri would usually take 5 days. The peak is about 3,300 meters. Atop the mountain is the panoramic view of the national park. Another spot you may opt to trek is the tour to Lake TigaSagi which would also take you 5 days of trekking. It is best to visit this place during the dry season because during this time animals such as elephants, deer, pigs, and Sumatran tiger go to the lake to drink.
A trip to Bukit Lawang may be difficult to book. The trip usually takes 6 days where you will see many orangutans and gibbons as well as elephants. The hike is way harder and would let you cross rivers more than 20 times. You will have an experienced guide and 2 porters.

Mount Gunung Leuser, the highest mountain peak which is 3,381 meters will be reached for 6-7 days another 6 – 7 days going back, so it’ll probably take you around 14 days to trek it. An experienced guide who has gone through this place for many times as well as two porters are needed to proceed to this route.

Other Activities

For another extreme adventure, you may opt to do rafting. You may choose to do the Professional Rafting tour with a Rubber boat, you will be provided with all the necessary equipment for this adventure such as a life jacket, helmet and paddle. You will be accompanied by an experienced raft captain.Local Rafting tour with an Inner Tube Raft and Single Inner Tube River Riding are other options. 

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