Welcome to Bukit Lawang Ecotourism

Conservation-Based Ecotourism to Explore the Biodiversity of Gunung Leuser National Park in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra


Bukit Lawang

North Sumatra, Indonesia

Reg No: AHU-0008001.AH.01.04.Tahun 2019, Phone Number +6282166316641

Operated by SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject)

Pongo abelii

Sumatran Orangutan

Catopuma temminckii

Asian Golden Cat

Rhyticeros undulatus

Wreathed Hornbill

Manis javanica

Sunda Pangolin

The activities inside Gunung Leuser National Park through Bukit Lawang, will cover the exploration of biodiversity, especially the endemic species. During the activities, you will be assisted by an expert on local wildlife for species identification. The price includes food, tent, guide, documentation during the expedition, and expertise on local wildlife (zoologist). A nocturnal hike is included in all packages, and the search for nocturnal species inside Gunung Leuser National Park is our priority.


SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject) and Bukit Lawang Ecotourism

The word ecotourism is often used by many parties, but when we look at its definition, we have to be honest and say that it’s not something in common or easy to realize. We are here still trying; at least hundreds of animals have been rescued through our company profits by our wildlife conservation mission in SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject), following huge demands for what is supposed to be done according to ecotourism itself.


Since 2014, we spent our time getting to know more and more about how ecotourism could be implemented in Bukit Lawang, which finally led us to establish our conservation-based ecotourism through SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject). SUMECO through its ecotourism business established in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Indonesia, has been trying its best to save wildlife around Gunung Leuser National Park.


Large sums of company profits have been distributed to fund SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject) wildlife conservation mission (animal rescue). That’s the reason why Bukit Lawang Ecotourism, as the main funder of SUMECO through its own media in promoting tourism, has been respectfully placed in SUMECO domain. This all-encompassing concept was born in 2009; Bukit Lawang Ecotourism was founded in 2012; and SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject) was founded in 2014, both by Bobi Handoko. It takes more than 10 years for me to create a strong concept between conservation and ecotourism in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

How Does Bukit Lawang Ecotourism Spend Its Profits?

Since its establishment in 2014, Bukit Lawang Ecotourism has contributed financially to SUMECO's conservation efforts

Involvement in Protection for Gunung Leuser National Park

SUMECO establishment in Bukit Lawang is involved in any protection efforts for Gunung Leuser National Park. Bukit Lawang Ecotourism is the only business entity to support SUMECO in running its mission under the authority of Gunung Leuser National Park. SUMECO is remaining a non-profit organization and requiring financial support in protecting Gunung Leuser National Park in Bukit Lawang, that’s one of the few reasons why the sustainability and existence of Bukit Lawang Ecotourism are considered to be urgent.


In terms of the ecotourism sector in Bukit Lawang, the protection and preservation of Gunung Leuser National Park are critical; this is something that must be done rather than simply writing the term “ecotourism” on for the sake of profit.

Ecotourism, Climate Change, and Economic Development

Ecotourism: Community and Natural Resource-Based Climate Change Mitigation Alternatives.


Talking and debating about climate change will never end if there is no solution. Solutions emerged from the start of a forest moratorium in early 2011, including planting 1 billion trees in various areas of deforested land. This has been one of the good efforts of the Indonesian government. However, once again, we have to try to see it from a different perspective: can the various current government programs to reduce carbon emissions by 26% in 2020 and 41% with the “business as usual” system be achieved?


Doesn’t this action require support from various parties, not only from government institutions but also from the community, which is also the biggest contributor to the success of various government programs? Indeed, wildlife and forest conservation have become the real effort in preserving the environment, but what about the current needs of the community, can this environment preservation guarantee the needs of the community in a balanced and responsible manner?


Ecotourism Development in Forest Areas.


Indonesia has a very promising potential for special interest activities in ecotourism in a very large number of forest areas, both large and small islands have very high biodiversity. Ecotourism can be used as an effort or form of tourism activity that is based on an environment that is ecologically, socially, and economically useful for local communities as well as for the preservation of natural resources and sustainable use. The five most important factors for the growth of ecotourism are: (1) the authenticity of the natural and cultural environment; (2) the existence and support of the community; (3) education and experience. (4) sustainability, and (5) management capabilities in managing ecotourism.

Ecotourism and Conservation

Ecotourism is a type of tourism activity focused on conservation. Through conservation efforts which are also expected to be able to work to protect the continuity of the use of natural resources for the present and the future, ecotourism is expected as well to manage to ensure natural resource management.


Ecotourism, according to the IUCN, is defined as “environmentally responsible visiting of relatively pristine natural areas, for enjoyment and appreciation of nature (and any accompanying cultural features – past, present, and future) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact and offers for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local populations.” IUCN, 1996; Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, Tourism, Ecotourism, and Protected Areas.


Principles of Conservation-Based Ecotourism in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, and Gunung Leuser National Park.


The negative impact of tourism activities on natural forests can be mitigated by engaging local communities in conservation-based ecotourism activities to protect natural resources in the Bukit Lawang area, particularly Gunung Leuser National Park. In this circumstance, the authority is expected to build and carry out a community through socialization about the development of conservation-based ecotourism aimed at increasing public understanding and awareness of the importance of preserving Leuser biodiversity and the natural resource wealth in the protected area.


It is anticipated that the application of conservation-based ecotourism development principles and concepts will directly contribute to raising environmental awareness on a global scale by preserving ecosystem functions, natural tourist attractions, socio-cultural sustainability, satisfaction, safety, and visitor comfort.

Ecotourism and Science

Scientific ecotourism is an innovative sector of tourism expected to provide a direct contribution to the development of studies and scientific research in natural areas. SUMECO and Bukit Lawang Ecotourism have carried out several studies relating to herpetology and ornithology. Studying while traveling has been considered to have a strong potential to provide a direct contribution to scientific development and the rapid spread of scientific-based information.


Journal of Report in SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject) Development Through Its Conservation Based BLE (Bukit Lawang Ecotourism)

(1) SUMECO-BLE 2014 Reports: The Establishment of SUMECO in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra.


Two years after the establishment of Bukit Lawang Ecotourism (2012) in Bukit Lawang, Bohorok, Langkat Regency, North Sumatra, the founder of the company started to think about expanding the business by collaborating with a local conservation organization. The available idea at that time was to establish a private conservation organization that would generate money from company profits. The present expectation was to follow all client’s demands after frequently spotting wildlife in illegal captivities during the tours.

(2) SUMECO-BLE 2015 Reports: Settlement with Bukit Lawang Hill Resort.


BLE (Bukit Lawang Ecotourism) was considered to be able to generate income sustainably. Company profits needed to be allocated to SUMECO as the construction of Bukit Lawang Hill Resort has started. All funds were officially reported through the finstat forum under SUMECO’s official registered domain. Profits gained by Bukit Lawang Hill Resort were also shared with SUMECO to extend and support its grassroots work in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

(3) SUMECO-BLE 2016 Reports: Prioritizing Conservation Action in Working Area of Bukit Lawang Ecotourism.


Numerous private funders have approved of and oversaw the prioritization of conservation action throughout all Bukit Lawang Ecotourism initiatives. It was crucial to involve scholars with scientific backgrounds in the endeavor. The key principles that serve as the starting cornerstone for the implementation of SUMECO operations have undergone extensive internal scrutiny. It was expected to validate all conservation-related activities conducted by SUMECO must be following an academic scientific base and available regulations led by The Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

(4) SUMECO-BLE 2017 Reports: Strategic Development in the Implementation of the Ecotourism Concept in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Through the Herpetology Sector.


The outcomes of several discussions paved the way for those who want to conduct research, engage in snake-handling experiences, and other herpetology-related activities outside of the Gunung Leuser National Park in-situ conservation area. Bukit Lawang Ecotourism has invited several herpetologists from around the world to come over and oversee herpetology experiences in Bukit Lawang Ecotourism’s working area via its (previous) domain, bukitlawang[dot]asia. Snake rescue and herping have become featured activities in introducing SUMECO among local communities and foreign tourists. Along with this strategy, prioritization of gaining more views and information on the illegally captured protected species in the Bukit Lawang Ecotourism working area also needed to be conducted.

[1] https://mwilsonherps.com/asia-the-middle-east/sumatra-indonesia/

[2] https://www.herpsafari.nl/trip-reports-outside-eu/asia/2018-8-indonesia-sumatra-komodo-np/

(5) SUMECO-BLE 2018 Reports: Relationship Establishment with Related Party in Gunung Leuser National Park.


BLE (Bukit Lawang Ecotourism) can be offered as an alternative tourist destination for domestic and foreign tourists who seek natural attractions. Besides, it can be used as a location for scholars and academicians living in Medan City who need to carry out activities in the open air, or it can be employed as a research location for animal and plant studies. The government can also organize cross-country competitions to attract the enthusiasm of the community and promote environmental care programs. However, relating to SUMECO’s main objectives in strengthening the relationship and connection to the related party such as Gunung Leuser National Park is mandatory. Any circumstances referring to the conservation efforts that SUMECO wanted to achieve, were highly dependent on its gained-funding budgets and SUMECO incomes through its business entity in Bukit Lawang.

(6) SUMECO-BLE 2019 Reports: Relationship Establishment with Related Parties in Wildlife Authorities.


SUMECO is recognized as a conservation organization focused on wildlife (animal rescue) in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra. The wildlife authority, BBKSDASU, which stands for Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Sumatera Utara (Nature Conservation Agency of North Sumatra), has demanded SUMECO submit annual reports and files officially. It was also prioritized to establish SUMECO’s special tasks in combating wildlife trafficking. Bukit Lawang Ecotourism and two other private funders have become key players in implementing SUMECO special tasks to combat wildlife trafficking in North Sumatra and Aceh. Gunung Leuser National Park Agency has helped SUMECO become its primary partner in all conservation-related activities both within and outside the Bukit Lawang Ecotourism working area.

(7) SUMECO-BLE 2020-2022 Reports: Facing COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Bukit Lawang Ecotourism Conservation Efforts in Gunung Leuser National Park.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a painful impact on the tourism sector. The tourism sector in Langkat Regency has been shut down due to the temporary closure during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, it is worth it to be considered a calm phase for the environment and its wildlife. The fact that the tourism industry keeps sending visitors into Gunung Leuser National Park should be taken as a concrete lesson for the preservation-oriented community. The decline in visitors has occurred due to a slowdown in foreign and domestic travel. It is most likely because the international community is so worried about the COVID-19 infection that they are reluctant to travel. However, this decline has seriously impacted micro, small, and medium enterprises. SUMECO has been seriously impacted as well during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it loses its income from its business entity functioned to fund its conservation work in BLE (Bukit Lawang Ecotourism).

(8) SUMECO-BLE 2022 Reports: The Establishment of Bukit Lawang Ecotourism’s New Website, and Capacity Improvement in Its Introduction.


The COVID-19 pandemic seems to be softened, and ecotourism activities of Bukit Lawang Ecotourism are expected to start and back on track to gain trust to continue its function in supporting SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject) conservation efforts in Bukit Lawang for the preservation of the biodiversity of Gunung Leuser National Park, in North Sumatra and Aceh, Indonesia.

[1] https://www.bukitlawangecotourism.com

(9) SUMECO-BLE 2023 Reports: The Development of Conservation-Based Ecotourism (Tenggulun Ecotourism) With Supporting Local Communities to Fight Against Corporate Deforestation and Palm Oil Plantation Expansion in Tenggulun’s Gunung Leuser National Park, Aceh, and North Sumatra.


Tenggulun is a village located at the edge of a degraded area of Gunung Leuser National Park at the border of Aceh and North Sumatra, Sumatra, Indonesia. It’s essential to learn more about this village as the expansion of palm oil plantations and deforestation seem to be the main issues in this village, while this village has also been marked as a conflicted area between the authority of Gunung Leuser National Park and local corporations that cause deforestation and palm oil plantation expansion.

[1] https://www.sumeco.id/tenggulunecotourism/

(10) SUMECO-BLE 2024 Reports: Sustainable Development of Halaban Ecotourism Through Wild Sumatran Elephants.


Halaban’s sustainable ecotourism development method in the initial stages, in 2023, still relies on ecotourism activities to see wild elephants that have fixed movement areas. As it’s known, this implementation was initialized in Tenggulun, Aceh Tamiang, in March 2023, when, during the process of tourism development, we accidentally discovered many illegal logging activities carried out by local communities that had become our future challenge to its development.


Our continuous efforts for sustainable development of Halaban ecotourism have never shifted away from ecotourism elements based on conservation and empowerment of local communities, which in the future are expected to be able to increase the protection capacity of Gunung Leuser National Park, carried out by authorities together with the surrounding community.


The application of economic value through conservation-based ecotourism activities in Halaban is expected to have positive impacts on public awareness of environmental sustainability in the surrounding areas, especially for the biodiversity of Gunung Leuser National Park. Ecotourism in Halaban has a significant part in ‘creating economic benefits’ since it creates jobs in remote places that have not been touched by the government.

[1] https://www.sumeco.id/halabanecotourism/

How to Get to Bukit Lawang Ecotourism

To get to Bukit Lawang Ecotourism, you must get to Kualanamu International Airport first as the way to get into North Sumatra, one of the ten provinces situated on Sumatra Island. Bukit Lawang Ecotourism is located about 3 hours from Medan and 4 hours from Kualanamu International Airport (KNO). Traffic will be the main issue here, but mostly it’s normal as long as there are no accidents or landslides. According to Google, the distance to Bukit Lawang Lawang Ecotourism from Kualanamu International Airport is 2 hours, 59 minutes (130.4 kilometers), but we must be honest, the road condition is not like you expected.

How to Get to Kualanamu International Airport (KNO), North Sumatra, Indonesia.


There are many airports (Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia, Jakarta – Indonesia, Changi – Singapore, Bangkok / Krung Thep Maha Nakhon – Thailand, etc) with direct flights to Kualanamu International Airport, which is located in Medan – Deli Serdang, North Sumatra, Indonesia.


Sumatra – North Sumatra – Kualanamu International Airport (KNO) – Bukit Lawang Ecotourism.


Almost every major Indonesian city (big cities) has direct flights to Kualanamu International Airport. Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia. All cities in Sumatra, Java, Bali, and Kalimantan (Borneo) have direct flights to Kualanamu International Airport. Without or without our company, feel free to contact us for more information through WhatsApp.

Tips on How to Get to Bukit Lawang Ecotourism or SUMECO by “Bukit Lawang – Kualanamu” Bus.


It’s new and just established in 2023, it’s now from Kualanamu International Airport to Bukit Lawang or from Bukit Lawang to Kualanamu International Airport will be just using the one-way bus. Getting to Bukit Lawang for your budget holiday is getting easier now. It costs 80,000 IDR per trip from Kualanamu International Airport to Bukit Lawang and Bukit Lawang to Kualanamu International Airport. The bus is available every hour at the Kualanamu International Airport and Bukit Lawang.

Warning: Overcharging tourists for the public bus price in Binjai or at Pinang Baris at Medan bus station is common. Street thugs will push you onto the buses and demand money. At Pinang Baris (unsafe), it has been known that tourists have been charged up to IDR 300,000 per person. This is why you are suggested to take the public bus named P.S (Pembangunan Semesta) to get to Bukit Lawang from Binjai after the airport shuttle bus named A.L.S (Antar Lintas Sumatera) drops you off in Binjai. In Binjai, generally, they will ask for IDR 50,000. The fact is, you only pay the driver at the end of the journey. Just stand your ground and be careful, or you can call the police at this number +62617869000 or me at +6282166316641. When traveling by bus in Indonesia, please refrain from flaunting expensive items and keep track of all your belongings, including any luggage and bags.

Tips on How to Get to Bukit Lawang Ecotourism or SUMECO by Public Bus.


  1. If you are in KNO – Kualanamu Internation Airport, make sure you have min 100,000 IDR in your pocket. Prepare a bottle of water, then get to the information center in KNO – Kualanamu Internation Airport, and ask the officers to show you which bus to get you to Binjai city which is located 60 km from Bukit Lawang Ecotourism.
  2. The bus company that is operating trips between Kualanamu International Airport and Binjai is named A.L.S (Antar Lintas Sumatera). There has to be a sign reading “Binjai” on the front of the bus, and the bus driver must declare his direction from the beginning. Please be aware, there will be always people who stress you to use their private taxis, you can ignore them by saying, “maaf tidak, terima kasih”; sorry no, thanks.
  3. If you got the bus, sit and relax, ignore all the unnecessary things, and focus on the jungle and the wildlife you dream to see.
  4. Make sure you have 50,000 IDR in your pocket, the trip from KNO – Kualanamu International Airport costs 40,000 IDR.
  5. After you arrive in Binjai city, you will be dropped off in front of Binjai Super Mall. It’s the last stop of that airport shuttle bus.
  6. Cross the street and make sure you are standing up exactly in front of Binjai Super Mall. The smaller public bus name P.S (Pembangunan Semesta) with round trips from Medan to Bukit Lawang and Bukit Lawang to Medan, will be exactly passing in front of you. Click the Google map link, I suggest you are standing at this point to wait for the bus. [Google Map Link]
  7. After you got the bus named P.S (Pembangunan Semesta) with orange color, make sure again you have 40,000 IDR in your pocket, this is why preparing the Indonesian Rupiah is important since the beginning. Once again the driver must declare from the beginning that they’re heading to Bukit Lawang.
  8. Sit and relax on the bus, wearing a mask is better, and please be aware, there will be always irresponsible people at Bukit Lawang bus station that will force you to sign up the trekking with them. You must contact us before arriving in Bukit Lawang (if you stay with us), or you must contact the staff of your hotel or tour company to wait for you before you arrive at Bukit Lawang bus station which is located at the traditional market in Bukit Lawang.


Tips on How to Get to Bukit Lawang Lawang Ecotourism by Private Car.


  1. Just text us on WhatsApp, email via the contact form, or easily use our online chat at the lower right corner of this website, to inform us of your flight information before your departure, and our comfort car and driver will be waiting for you 30 mins before your arrival time.
  2. You can stop thousand times by telling our driver if you need to stop at ATMs, toilets, shops, restaurants, etc.


Trips All Over Sumatra.


We also provide private cars for trips throughout Sumatra, including Toba Lake, Karo Land, Berastagi, Aceh, West Sumatra, and all Sumatra national parks. We can discuss this by WhatsApp or email. Using our company’s service is the same as making a donation to SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject).

Nycticebus hilleri

Sumatran Slow Loris

Symphalangus syndactylus


Rhyticeros undulatus

Wreathed Hornbill

Pongo abelii

Sumatran Orangutan

Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra

What is Bukit Lawang?


Bukit Lawang is a small tourism village bordering Gunung Leuser National Park. It’s a place that is visited by tourists from all over the world who want to see the Sumatran orangutan. Most of the tourists who came here didn’t realize very well that Bukit Lawang is a gate to the massive number of species found in Gunung Leuser National Park.


Where is Bukit Lawang?


Bukit Lawang is located in the Province of North Sumatra, 90 kilometers from Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra. The airport to get to Bukit Lawang is Kualanamu International Airport, located 130 kilometers from Bukit Lawang, and 50 kilometers from Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra.


Bukit Lawang is also known to be one of several villages that have been directly impacted by the biodiversity of Gunung Leuser National Park and share a huge number of species. Most of the tourists who come to Bukit Lawang would like to experience a jungle trek inside Gunung Leuser National Park, expecting to see Sumatran orangutans and other animals.


What You Can Do in Bukit Lawang?


There are many activities you can do in Bukit Lawang such as jungle trekking inside Gunung Leuser National Park, herping, birding, rafting, tubing, caving in bat cave, visiting Landak river, and also Batu Katak ecotourism village that is located 30mins by motorbike or car. If you are visiting Bukit Lawang, you must expect a jungle experience to spot animals and support the conservation mission that has become the fundamental mission of SUMECO (Sumatra Ecoproject). You can help us rescue the animals by making a simple observation, like patrolling around the village with the expectation of finding protected species in illegal captivity.


We love tourism, but we wanted it to be highly responsible tourism that could have a direct impact on the preservation of our biodiversity. There have been many experiences related to the irresponsible acts of tourism in Bukit Lawang, but now we must change and improve it to be better.

Gunung Leuser National Park

What is Gunung Leuser National Park?


Gunung Leuser National Park is well-known to be a region with the highest concentration of Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii). The Leuser ecosystem is one of 12 national parks in Sumatra. Covering more than 2.6 million hectares, the area is one of the richest expanses of tropical rainforest in Southeast Asia. It is the last place on earth where Sumatran elephants (Elephas maximus sumatrensis), Sumatran rhinoceroses (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sumatrae), and Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) are found within one area. As of 2003, the Gunung Leuser National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The Leuser Ecosystem Area, which consists of the Gunung Leuser National Park, protected forests, and community forests, is marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gunung Leuser National Park was established based on the Decree of the Minister of Agriculture No. 811/Kpts/UM/1980 with an area of 792,675 ha. Based on the Decree of the Minister of Forestry No. 276/Kpts-VI/1997 dated May 23, 1997 concerning the Designation of Gunung Leuser National Park, the area of GLNP increased to 1,094,692 ha. GLNP gets the highest score for the contribution of conservation to conservation areas throughout the Indo-Malay region.


What You Can Do in Gunung Leuser National Park?


Jungle trekking, hiking, herping, birding, photographing, rafting, camping, and wildlife study are the activities you can do in Gunung Leuser National Park through Bukit Lawang, and they have been commonly known for decades to do such activities. All the hikers will expect to see orangutans and other animals. Orangutan, siamang, great argus, Thomas langur, long-tailed and pig-tailed macaques, siamang, white-handed gibbons, monitor lizards, and hornbills are the most expected to be found during the trek.


SUMECO also offers jungle treks in Bukit Lawang and Gunung Leuser National Parks. Our packages are focused on education about conservation and Sumatra’s biodiversity through responsible exploration. We are trying our best to make jungle trekking a way to feel grateful for our biodiversity, especially in Sumatra. According to the Mongabay publication related to the most biodiverse countries in the world, Indonesia is positioned number second after Brazil to host the most biodiversity on earth.

Visit Bukit Lawang

Visiting Bukit Lawang through responsible tourism is a must, and avoiding getting too close to the animals will be one good example. During dealing with the animals, SUMECO will always be following safety procedures and proper tourism ethics inside and outside Gunung Leuser National Park. The pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has been classified as a zoonotic disease. No one can stop the next pandemic, but at least we know how to behave when we are engaged in wildlife sightseeing tours, a serious responsibility has been mandatory.

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