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“Best Retreat and Jungle Trek in Bukit Lawang”

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Thomas' Retreat Bukit Lawang
Ranked #2 of 20 Bukit Lawang B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level 4 Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Best Retreat and Jungle Trek in Bukit Lawang”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

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 jungleman_thomas@yahoo.com. I also found this video on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt3TlerRFn4
You will love Thomas and Bukit Lawang! Great time, wonderful memories!

Room Tip: I stayed in Room C--very comfortable bed.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank pgreen85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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166 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (24)
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 13, 2013

Highly recommend Thomas' tour through the jungle! Thomas is an excellent Guide with incredible knowledge of his surroundings. Our 24 hours with Thomas will always be one of our favourite memories of all time.
Very much considering visiting again!

  • Stayed April 2012
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Anjiipanjii
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 10, 2013

Since staying with Thomas my boyfriend and I have stayed in many other hostels and it's only since doing so that we've realized what amazing value it was! The standard of the room compared to for the same value else where is superb. We were already pleased with it when we arrived but now we know we were very very lucky to find it. The location by the river means lovely views and a very chilled out atmosphere. However the only down side to this is that the water in the sink comes from the river so does contain a little sediment but as you can't drink tap water anyway this didn't really mater. Thomas is very helpful and accommodating and the other staff are very friendly too although they don't all have great English. The food and cleanliness is also of a great standard. If you're visiting Indonesia definitely do a jungle trek, it's an amazing experience, and definitely stay at Thomas' retreat!

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank 123432
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
england
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed February 1, 2013

Just left Thomas's retreat, my only regret is that I didn't stay longer, the rooms are very clean, the staff are very friendly and helpfull, Thomas is a great guy who helped us to sort out the transport back to Medan, the jungle trek was amazing, we were lucky enough to see several orangutangs and a few types of monkey, we only did the one day trek and one night in the jungle. I would recommend his hotel to anyone

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank ratmandan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 29, 2013 via mobile

We stumbled upon Thomas' Retreat by fortune and good fortune it was. The guest house and ajoining restaurant is only a year old and it shows. Everything is still in mint condition and kept very tidy. Me, my brother and his wife spend 3 days with Thomas and his friendly staff and were almost sad to leave. We also did a 1 day trek into the jungle with Thomas. All the praise Thomas got from previous trekkers is true. He is smart, funny, sharp and an excellent guide. We were lucky to see several kinds of monkeys and also a couple of orang utans. To us it was also nice to see Thomas treat the park and its animals with respect. He didn't harrass the apes and picked up litter when he saw it. The little extra money to raft back after the trek was also well spent. I would definately recommend Thomas to everybody.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sjoerdamsterdam23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 27, 2013

I first met Thomas 4 years ago when I went to Bukit Wang to go trekking. He was an excellent guide and I had an amazing experience. A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend told me she wanted to do the same thing. When I looked on trip advisor I saw this place and guessed it was run by my former guide.

My guess was correct. Thomas' Retreat must be one of the newest places to stay in Bukit Wang and has everything you need from a place on the edge of the jungle.

I only have one negative thing to say, I wanted to trek with Thomas again but was lied to by another guide. In the end I went trekking with someone else and he was nowhere near as experienced or as knowledgeable as Thomas. So be wary of dodgy guides but stay and trek with Thomas.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank andrewsgplain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Skamby
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2013

Go there, stay there and eat there. You'll not get disappointed. ú
The owner, Thomas, speaks english quite good and his staff is authentic and they really do their best to make you satisfied. All rooms have great river - view, are nice and clean. I can highly recommend this place and I can highly recommend Thomas as your jungleguide since he know the jungle very well,

Jane, Denmark

Stayed January 2013, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank Ulrik J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thomas' Retreat Bukit Lawang

Property: Thomas' Retreat Bukit Lawang
Address: Jl. Orang Utan, Bukit Lawang 65111, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Sumatra > North Sumatra > Bukit Lawang
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 20 B&Bs / Inns in Bukit Lawang
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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Thomas' Retreat Bukit Lawang Sumatra

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