On the way back to Vietnam from Nepal, my brother Tyler and I decided to make a short stop in Sumatra and trek into the jungle of Gunung Leuser National Park. We had originally planned to spend 5 days in the jungle, but after a long day of banking trouble (lesson learned, never rely 100% on withdrawing money with your debit card) we decided on just spending 3 days trekking through the jungle searching for wildlife. We were a bit concerned we wouldn’t see all the wildlife we had hoped for, but we would soon find that luck was on our side.
Within the first 30 minutes of heading into the jungle, we had already encountered orangutans, thomas leaf monkeys, and macaques. The orangutans we would encounter on this trip were mainly semi-wild. They had been rescued from the wildlife trade and released back into the wild.
I was super excited to have seen the thomas leaf monkeys. They were just some cool looking primates with a unique look.
Our luck continued in which we watched an incredible/hilarious scene unfold in front of our eyes. In this section of the park, the park rangers put out a bit of food for the orangutans to supplement their diet since they are used to being fed by humans from when they were held in captivity. When we first arrived, there was a mother and child orangutan there eating a bunch of bananas. Then a macaque came and tried taking the bananas from the orangutans. Macaques can be dangerous to young orangutans and even adult orangutans if there are lots of macaques ganging up on one orangutan. This situation was quite tame though, the mother barely even acknowledged the macaque and the child was playing with/trying to get the macaque to leave.
The morning of the second day we could hear the calls of a group of white handed gibbons. We decided that we would head of and try and find them. Once again, our luck prevailed and caught a glimpse of a gibbon. It was well worth it.
On the last morning, we wake to a commotion in camp. It turns out that an orangutan has come to our camp in search of food. Everyone tries their hardest to stop it from eating our food as it is bad for them but considering that they are believed to be 7 times stronger than humans, you don’t really want to get into a human vs orangutan fight.
We head back to the nearest town/village, Bukit Lawang, by floating down a raging river in tractor tubes that were tied together. It was exciting to say the least. Both Tyler and our cook fell off the tubes into the river but luckily managed to get quickly back into the tubes. We finally make it back to the village, take a much needed shower, eat a good meal, and head to bed for a good night’s rest.