Bukit Lawang is a magical place and Thomas is a wonderful guide. Thomas’ Retreat sits right on the river and is just a five-minute walk from the small town. His hotel is clean and comfortable. The restaurant offers really tasty food and cheap Bintang.
Thomas, Rain, and Lilek are all experienced, knowledgeable, responsible guides. We stopped frequently during the trek so they could educate us on all things jungle: stinky rubber trees, termites, scary spiders, money trees, lizards, gekkos, etc. Thomas sent spotters ahead of us to find the orangutans so we were lucky enough to see three different orangutan families and many gibbon monkeys. We also saw big monitor lizards several times.
Thomas provides more than enough food during the trek. We ate fried rice and fresh fruit for lunch and the cooks set out a huge meal once we reached our campsite: curries, potato cakes, rice, noodles, chicken.
The second day is just as fun. Trekking for a few hours, lunch, and then rafting down the river to Thomas’ Retreat. The rafting was an absolute blast. Definitely plan to relax in the afternoon (or go into town or to the bat caves) and then stay one more night. Lilek will pull his guitar out for you and sing Old Eagles tunes or the newest from Adele. It turned into a drunken sing-a-long and was quite hilarious. The Bukit Lawang Jungle Trek song is forever going through my head….I wish I had recorded Lilek singing it.
I really appreciated the obvious respect that Thomas’ team has for the jungle. For example, I saw one of the cooks smoke a cigarette and then put the cigarette butte in his backpack instead of just throwing it in the jungle. They did not leave any garbage in the jungle except the fruit rinds/pits which is compost anyways. As a global traveller, I could not have asked for more respectful or responsible guides. They also speak great English.
I definitely recommend wearing good trek shoes and long pants. Bring a long shirt or light cover because it can cool down at night. You only need one bottle of water because the cooks will boil river water for you to drink at the campsite.
Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. I also found this video on YouTube:
You will love Thomas and Bukit Lawang! Great time, wonderful memories!
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- Also Known As:
- Thomas' Retreat Bukit Lawang Sumatra