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I've just returned from Bukit Lawang. I was one of fifteen volunteers from Jersey who went there to help build the new Health Clinic. It was very hard work but definitely worthwhile.

I had a fantastic time in Bukit Lawang and loved every minute of it. The people there are wonderful. I fell in love with the place and will miss it very much.

I hope to go back one day but who knows when that will be.

I've made up a few slideshows from the trip. They can be viewed at ..........

http://www.onetruemedia.com/ot(...)&utm_medium=text_url

Depending on your connection speed, the slideshows may pause periodically but should continue after a few seconds.

If anyone is thinking of visiting Bukit Lawang I can thoroughly recommend it. It really is a beautiful place.




Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

daft_punk
User
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Who is Who...? heheh just joking! Great picture

Greets Daan



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How silly of me to forget....I'm the blonde one!!



Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

pPamela
User
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Hi Sue,
Thanks so much for posting about Bukit Lawang- for me it is a very special place having visited for 19 days in Jan/Feb 2005 and last year from 21st September I spent 5 weeks there with a 5 day side trip to Tangkahan- another paradise.
Actually I had an email from Christa before all you left to go to Bukit Lawang asking me for some information and she is going to send me photos to put up on my little msn group website I have called groups.msn.com/BukitLawang/_whatsnew.msnw
Pamela from Sydney Australia



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Hi Pamela

Yes, I saw your email to Christa. It was actually me who sent Christa a link to this Forum a while back when we were searching for recent information on Bukit Lawang.

Our trip was very successful although working on a building site in that heat took a bit of getting used to. However, the clinic is well on the way to completion now. We also built a handrail for the very steep steps down from the bridge while we were there and completely replaced the old rickety bridge. Its three planks wide now and has a handrail so is much more stable than it used to be.

Like you, I absolutely fell in love with the place and hope to go back there one day.

Some of our group also went to Tangkahan while we were in Sumatra, including Christa.

I'm still in touch with a few friends I made while I was there.


Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

pPamela
User
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Hi Sue,
Great to hear from you. Thanks so much for sending the link to Christa. I am so happy you posted on this forum.
When you are talking about the bridge- do you mean the one you would have had to cross to get to Bukit Lawang Indah- you replaced the planks.
Do you know I was too scared to cross that in Jan/Feb 2005 and this last visit Smiley helped me get used to going across and eventually I was able to cross just walking not holding onto anything and that was big for me. I am so damn scared of things like that.

Did you go to Tangkahan? Where did you stay Bamboo River- Jane's property or Jungle Lodge- Sylvia and Alex's property.
It is truly an amazing place and I really loved it there.
I would love to be in contact with you. My email address is pamelajoyfugeRemoved to prevent your adress from being spammed. Click this to go to the user profile.hotmail.com
Pamela.



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Hi Pamela

Unfortunately, I didn't go to Tangkahan on this visit but some of our group did (I was slightly worried about the journey there on motorbike). Having seen the photographs, I wish I had gone now. I hope to manage to fit in a visit there next time as I'd love to see the elephants.

The main bridge, leading to Bukit Lawang Indah has very steep steps at the end. We couldn't do much about that bridge but we did build handrails as we felt it was very dangerous, especially for children and the elderly. Its much easier now with the handrails in place.



We also completely replaced the other, rickety bridge. You'll probably remember it looking something like this.



Most of the wood had rotted and it was very unstable in places.

With the help of the locals, we stripped it down...







and rebuilt it completely.....



This is me, trying out the finished product, complete with handrails.


Note to the site Administrator

I'm not sure whether you have posting restrictions on images. If these images are too large, please feel free to remove them. Sincere apologies if this is the case.


Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

pPamela
User
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Sue,
Thank you so much for these wonderful photos. Wow, you guys are so fantastic to do something so wonderful as repair that bridge- it was so needed.
Now I will be able to float across it in December.
That is right hoping to return for a about 10 days in December this year.
Can't wait to see all the changes, esp. the new medical centre.
Pamela.



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Pamela,

I think the new clinic is due to be opened officially some time in August so it should be fully operational by the time you get there in December.

When we left, construction was well under way. We were halfway through the second storey and the locals will carry on to completion. Its quite a large medical centre compared to the current temporary clinic. There are about eight or ten rooms on each level.

I wish I was going back in December but, unfortunately, I'll probably have to wait at least a year or possibly two. Its the other side of the world for us so not easy to get there.

These photographs will give you some idea of the dimensions of the clinic.












Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

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Channel Television is screening a documentary about our recent trip to Bukit Lawang on Monday night.

It will be available for viewing on the internet for a week or so afterwards. I'll post a link here for anyone who is interested although it might not run too well with a slow connection.


Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

bedoel
User
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Hi Sue, thanks so much for the posting and the pictures!! BL was the place I visited regularly (at least once a year) back from my high school time before the disaster.
Frankly I didn't know it's already re-developed, will visit it when I come back Emoticon: Very funny
Yes it's one of the nicest places in Indonesia, with nice people too Emoticon: Smile




pPamela
User
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Hi Bedoel,
Just love the photo. Thanks for sharing with us all.
Bukit Lawang has not been redeveloped, but people like Nora's mother built bungalows in Gotong Royong so travellers like myself could stay there.
Over the past two years I have written about my time there in Jan/Feb 2005 and put up 80 photos to show travellers they could still go and enjoy treks etc even tho' the flood had washed away the original village.
Many travellers armed with the knowledge they could visit have done so and tI think there is a lot more hope for the future.
Idul Fitri was extrememly busy last year and the locals said it was the busiest BL had ever been since the flood of Nov 2003.
There are still places like Jungle Inn and Garden Inn operating and along the walk up to Jungle Inn there are now lots of places opening up like Fido Dido, Canoopy and Nora's mother has juts bought land next to Canoopy to build a new homestay.
Across the river there are Bukit Lawang Cottages ( Echo Lodge), Sibayak, Yusman and Bukit Lawang Indah.
Rock Inn even has a lovely room tho only one with mandi and great views across the river.
Plus there are a few other places dotted here and there in the village.
Below photos from my first visit in Jan/Feb 2005 for 19 days.
travel.webshots.com/album/354912564dvtkJh
And photos from my second visit Sept/oct 2006 for 5 weeks.
www.webshots.com/user/ppamela2006
Pamela.



bedoel
User
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Hi Pamela, thanks for the info. I hope BL gets recovered soon
I've not been there for about 4 years now, so your pictures are very informative

Regards,
Bedoel



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Hi Bedoel,

Great photograph!

Yes, Bukit Lawang is one of the most beautiful places in the world as far as I'm concerned and the people are lovely too - that's what makes it such a special place.

Everyone we met was very friendly and I was very sad to leave.


Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

daniel81
User
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Hi,

I am going to Sumatra this summer. And i want to vist Bugit Lawang, Tangkahan and Ketembe, after that i want to go to Lake Toba. Can anybody tell me what's the best order i can visis the first tree places? First Bukit or Tangkahan

Regards,

Daniel





pPamela
User
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Daniel,
Last year in September I went by big bus ( 4 hrs) from PInang Baris bus station in Medan to Bukit Lawang.
Pinang Baris is a long way ( about 30 minute trip early am, maybe longer later in the day) from the main backpacker accomodation area around the big mosque.
Beaware you will have to wait for the bus to fill up before it leaves
Alternatively you can get a mini bus at an unmarked terminal about 1 km away from Pinang Baris and the guy who drives the green bus- see my photos ( leaves about 7am) can get you to Nora's in the village in 2.5 hrs.
( I found all about this after spending 5 weeks going back and forwards to Bukit Lawang from Medan).

Whilst in Bukit Lawang I arranged for an ojek (motor and rider) to take me the 2 hrs down to Tangkahan. Fantastic trip by motor bike over the roughest of roads, but what a hell of an adventure- I loved it.
I had the freedom to stop the bike and take photos along the way as well.
Make sure you get Nora's brother Kevin to organise the motor guy- he lives down the road from Nora's Homestay in the village of Gotong Royong 5 minutes from Bukit Lawang by becak.
It is definitely a trip where you need an experience bike rider to take you.
On returning to Bukit Lawang a guy named Darwis from Tangkahan took me back to B.L. and he was a safe careful rider as well.
Leave your big backpack in Bukit Lawang at one of the guest houses- I know for sure Nora's will hold it free of charge for you, probably other guest houses will also so.
In Tangakahan make sure you visit the elephants and get involved in giving them a scrub in the river- great experience.
There are I think now three places to stay in Tangakahan, namely Bamboo River, Jungle Lodge where I stayed and loved it- stayed in the small room on the edge of the river bank 20 metres up and Mega ( speaks very good English)one of the guides had built two small bungalows when I was there- so I guess they would be open by now.
My advice about length of stay is about 5 days- it is really worth it. Such a paradise in the jungle- you have to cross a low river by small boat so it is quite an adventure compared to most other places.
There are lots of things to do like doing an elephant trek through the jungle, tubing down the river which I did and you can also go trekking by foot in the jungle.
I even went to the local village with my guide Darwin and visited the local rubber market.
Sylvia the owner- not sure if they will still be there or in Germany took me river trekking and I did things like swim over small rapids, lay in the hot springs opposite Jungle Lodge and get massaged by a small waterfall around the corner. See my pictures.
Unfortunately I had to give the jungle trekking a miss because I fell down a small hole whilst photographing the beautiful bedroom at Jungle Inn in Bukit Lawang and really hurt my foot.
Here are some of my photographs of Tangakhan.
travel.webshots.com/album/558220008eKUdnh

Plus my photos of Bukit Lawang from my 2006 trip
travel.webshots.com/album/558520498gktPwo

For Ketembe you will need to return to Medan and get a bus from Padang Bulan- get a ankot- small city bus No. 41 ? in Jalan Juanda down to the bus station.
The trip to Ketembe takes you to Kutacane(7 hr bus trip) via the very cool area of Brestagi and from there you will need to get a local bus to Kutacane( 1 hr) before 5 pm.
If you tend to get bus sick,suggest you take some ginger tablets with you- the road is very winding on the way to Brestagi.
Ginger is wonderful and does not drug you out like the other motion sickness tablets.
Here are my photos of Ketembe
travel.webshots.com/album/558520690SuCcbY

If you get to Kutacane too late to get the bus to Ketembe don't worry because you can stay in Kutacane for the night.
I chose to stay the night so I could give travellers this information.
I stayed at the Maroon Hotel- not fantastic- but o.k. cost 60,000/night.
Another hotel RedApe used to suggest on Thorn tree is so expensive now- over 100,000 rupiah- too much for backpacker me.
The local bus goes along the street where all the accomodation is in Ketembe so you just tell the driver where you want to stop.
i.e Pak Mus Guest House, Sadar Wisata, Cinta Alam are some of the places. Pak Mus and Sadar being my first choices there.

And Daniel if you have the time, the bus trip up to Banda Aceh stopping in Takengon for a day or two at the Gayoland Hotel (50,000/night) and then going through to Banda Aceh is definitely worth doing.
Just make sure you either book a seat on the bus ( in Kutacane) to Takengon or be out the front of your accomodation in Ketembe really early like 7 am to get an unbooked seat.
If you have the money you can stay at the big hotel on Lake Tawar ,but it costs 250,000/ night as I found out.
But the staff were wonderful there, made a phone call and took me down to the Gayoland Hotel by motor bike about 3kms away.
Very safe there. As a lone female travelling by myself I even ate in the street at midnight in Takengon and felt completely safe surrounded by only Indonesian men who were very courteous.
And a young guy came along who could speak a little english so I engaged him as my guide the next day to walk around the lake.
He is usually found in one of the streets as a parking man.
If you take a copy of his photo with you from my photos you will be able to find him easily. Sorry I have forgotten his name.
No permits are needed for Aceh now and travelling through is easy and an absolute delight.
In Takengon, there is a place near the Gayoland Hotel where you can book your bus to Banda Aceh.
Take the 10 am bus as you will usually be able to book the seat you want. 9am bus is always fully booked.
In Banda Aceh great place to stay is Uncle's Homestay.
Check other posts in the Sumatra forum where I have posted a load of information in the past.
Pulau Weh is also a great place to visit as well.
Check out my photos of Takengon, Banda Aceh and Pulau Weh in my signature area.
Have an awesome time as I am sure you will. So wish I was heading back there again right now. Emoticon: Smile
Pamela.
P.S. You can get buses to Tangkahan from Medan, but the trip is a really long one over 5 hrs and on a road I am told that is worse than the Bukit Lawang road. Plus the last bus to Tangkahan from Medan leaves about 2pm.






daniel81
User
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Pamela,

Thank you for this great answer! It helps me a lot!

Just one question. We arrive at Medan airport at 08.00 o clock. If it is possible i want to go directly to Bukit Lawang. ( i hate big cities!). Is that possible? Or do i have to go to the bus Terminal in Medan (and how much time will that cost from the airport?) I hope you can answer this question.

Regards,

Daniel



pPamela
User
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Daniel,

Do you mean 8pm or 8am?
If you mean 8 pm then it is not possible to get a bus to Bukit Lawang at that time- too late.
Then you will need to stay in Medan for the night.
Taxi from the airport should take only about 15 minutes unless the traffic is bad.
Look Medan is not so bad- so many travellers complain about it, but it is o.k.
There are a few places near the big Mosque, Zackia's (never stayed there), Wisma Yuli have stayed there, but if you do try to get a room in the building you first walk into- I believe the rooms are a little better.
In the main street before you walk down the side street to Wisma Yulie's there is a Hotel that has been renovated but sorry cannot remember the name.
Rooms would be from 80,000+ there.
I stay at a very simple modest place called Spoutnik- very simple mattress on the floor -very clean- for 20,000 rupiah per night.
The bathroom ( mandi) is not so great, but I live with it.
Spoutnik is where a lot of travellers stay because it is cheap, friendly and the food is good.
There is a nice friendly welcoming atmosphere there.
If you stay there, say Hello to Ronna from me.
Mention you know me and she will look after you.
If you stay at Spoutnik, make sure you TELL RONNA you want to leave early-6 am the next morning so she will leave the front gate unlocked for you.
Usually she locks it every night for security.

Spoutnik is in Jalan Tengah no. 33, a small street that runs parallel with the huge main street in Medan near the big Mosque.
Tengah street intersects with Jalan Juanda where you would catch a local bus to get to Pinang Baris bus station ( 30 minute trip) and also Padang Bulan bus station to go to Kutacane/Ketembe.(15 minute trip.)

If I was you, I would print off the photo I have taken of the unmarked mini bus terminal and show it to the local city bus driver who will know where to drop you off there, the next morning to get a mini bus at 7am to B.L.
If you get the green mini bus you could be in Bukit Lawang in under 3 hrs.

If the time is 8am, then I guess you could get the taxi from the airport to drop you at Pinang Baris or the mini bus terminal.
Honestly have no idea how long timewise that would take and how much that would cost- maybe 60,000?
Then you may have to wait for 1-2 hrs for a bus to fill up to head to Bukit Lawang.
If you have to wait at Pinang Baris you will be met by many guides wanting to take you to Bukit Lawang.
Make sure you do what you want to do- do not be pushed into anything.
Any guides I recommend will have a photo taken from my website below in their travel folders.
Pamela.




bedoel
User
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great info Pamela!

my advice, instead of taking taxi from polonia, why not try becak mesin (motored trycyclies) anyway? it's cheaper, and maybe one of unique experiences in medan. I'm not sure from the airport to pinang baris, but 30,000 is the most I think. what do you think Pamela? to Mesjid Raya (the big mosque) just around 5,000 I guess. You just need to walk out of the airport area, there'll be a lot of them.

Sorry the price is not so sure, long time not using them



matthew
User
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On 23-05-2007 12:55 bedoel wrote:
great info Pamela!

my advice, instead of taking taxi from polonia, why not try becak mesin (motored trycyclies) anyway? its cheaper, and maybe one of unique experiences in medan. Im not sure from the airport to pinang baris, but 30,000 is the most I think. what do you think Pamela? to Mesjid Raya (the big mosque) just around 5,000 I guess. You just need to walk out of the airport area, therell be a lot of them.

Sorry the price is not so sure, long time not using them


the airport taxis are extremely expensive (by Indonesian standards) because of the stupid system they have of taxi drivers waiting around doing nothing for hours before getting a fare. The fare is fixed, and it is expensive.

I believe around 60,000rp to Pinang Baris.

If you wantto get a becak, you have just walk out of the airport and up the road and hail a becak or taxi for much less money. Pinang baris is too far for any kind of becak though. Perhaps 40,000 rp for a taxi from the main road to Pinang Baris (though it's much quicker to get the minibus instead although perhaps less local character than the big buses)



pPamela
User
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Matthew,
I was suggesting the mini bus more for the time factor. I do enjoy the big buses and went to BL last year in September by big bus from Pinang Baris. But most of my other trips back and forth to BL over a 5 week period were by mini bus for the time factor.
I love sitting beside the driver of the big buses, tapping away to the music- Heart was my favourite last year ( I play my tape every day here in Sydney) and having a wonderful view of everything that is happening on the road- definitely not for the faint hearted.
Pamela.



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I've been helping a friend in Bukit Lawang by sending a litte money occasionally. Up until now, I've used Western Union but it works out pretty expensive for me. I asked my friend to open a bank account so that I could transfer money directly to his account. He's sent me the information but I'm not sure if I have all the information I need.

I have the Rekening (which I assume is the account number) but I don't have a Sort Code. Do Indonesian banks have sort codes? The Bank is BANK BRI.

Thanks.


Sue Gillespie, Jersey, Channel Islands

pPamela
User
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Hi Sue,
Yes, Sue the Rekening is the account no. If I remember from years ago I think there was something like a Swift Code or something like that.
Hopefully someone else will come on and help.
Pamela.



mluckham
User
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My wife sent money to her family recently, from a bank here in Canada. The account number including the bank number was 10 digits long. There was an incorrect digit the first time, after about 4 days the bank here was informed and the money re-sent with the right digit.

She said the bank is not necessarily cheaper than Western Union.



mluckham
User
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Here is a website describing Western Union transfers to Bank BRI http://www.indonext.com/cgi-bin/comp.pl?ID=3522. But don't confuse the "10-digit" Western Union number with the account (rekening) number I mentioned earlier.

Great photos by the way ... you are fortunate to be able to stay and help out with the Clinic/etc, I'd love to do things like that. I've been in Medan numerous times, but only once had the time to venture out of the city (to Danau Toba) and it was really beautiful.




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