Orangutans, elephants, jungle trekking, and a volcanic lake…I’m not sure how to put into words how much fun we had, how friendly the people are, or how beautiful Sumatra is. Hopefully, these pictures will do our vacation a little justice…
We began our jungle trek at the orangutan feeding platform. They stare at you and study you, such intelligent creatures! They also communicate with hand signs. It’s amazing how much the orangutans really look like humans, which makes their name appropriate. Orang=people hutan=jungle. People of the jungle. :)
The quinine tree!
Look at how steep the ground is…it feels like clay and it’s so slippery. Dave thought that going downhill was more difficult than going up.
"Watch out for the termite nest."
We almost stepped on this little guy!
This little plant is so yummy. It’s sour, and they use it to flavor food. My favorite meal was the sweet and sour chicken, and I bet this was why!
This is a rubber tree. They slice the bark and the rubber drips down and they catch it in little bowls to sell. These aren’t native to the jungle there, they’re actually from Brazil. This was kind of sad…there are rubber tree plantations everywhere, you drive by them for miles and miles and there are big “Bridgestone” signs. All of that area used to be natural habitat, and it’s just been destroyed.
A 360 degree panorama shot on the bridge. This was at the end of the trek.
Tangkahan is an elephant preserve in Sumatra, it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Bukit Lawang and a rough drive at that…the majority of the roads there are unpaved huge rocks. But I promise, the trip is well worth it. Like the orangutans, the Sumatran Elephant is an endangered species due to the huge loss of their natural habitat. The workers at Tangkahan train the elephants and patrol the jungle with them. But a few times a week, tourists come and get to wash them, feed them and give them tons of attention, so I’m pretty sure that they are lovin’ life.
Hmmm I wonder what this little boy is going to do when he grows up? :) I have a good video of this showing how the boy is able to climb off of the elephant, I’ll upload it in another post.
The tour guide told us they nicknamed him “The Lucky Elephant” because he is the only male, and there are 7 females.
…and here is his son. So adorable.
There’s his mom!
"Massage me and feed me snacks." He really is a lucky elephant, isn’t he?
He was hungry.
I’m going to try to resist uploading hundreds of pictures of the baby elephant…I promise I’ll limit it to maybe 5…or 10.
Their trunks function as a nose, a hand, and a way of communicating.
Elephants are actually very hairy.
This is an adult female. Both African female and male elephants have tusks, but only the males of Sumatran elephants do. Sumatran elephants are also much smaller.
I’m glad we got a picture of this. Dave was telling her, “Sorry, it’s all gone!” The adults lift their trunks when they want more food, the baby just takes it from your hand, and sometimes straight out of your bag if you don’t watch him carefully! He’s a little naughty, just like a real little kid.
The tour guide apologized and said that the elephant on the left doesn’t see “yellow hair” very often, but I think she really just wanted Dave to feed her some more so she was sniffing around and trying to push me out of the way! :)
That’s what the guides call a “jungle shower.” Ha!
Keep goin’ little guy!
Dumbo was quite graceful. Me, not so much.
This is my favorite picture of the entire vacation.
They use these to get across the river. The currents are strong, so they built these rafts on a pulley system to get across.
We spotted another orangutan.
Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world. This is becoming a popular backpacker’s destination, as it’s fairly inexpensive and there is actually a lot to do.
We stayed at Tabo Cottages, which was recommended by our tour guide in Bukit Lawang. It took a six hour car ride to get there, but if I have learned anything from traveling here it’s that the most beautiful places are not easy to get to. We were able to negotiate the price of our room with the management, and the final cost was about 250,000 Rupiah/night ($25 USD).
You could literally step out into the water.
That’s it! I’ll have one more post with the videos we took as well. Thanks for reading!