Orang Utan Island Bukit Merah
We’ve been living in Penang for over a year and we don’t do as many of the touristy things that everyone seems to do. So over the holidays, we had some friends come and stay with us for a week and that inspired us to go and do some touristy things. They happened to be here on my middle daughter’s birthday and she was given the opportunity to choose our day’s activity. She chose to all go to Orang Utan Island in Bukit Merah. So we packed up the two families into our Avanza and headed off on our adventure.
The idea of this trip was from several of our new friends while we’ve been living in Penang like Pearce on Earth, 5 around the world and Bohemian Travelers. Their reviews of Orang Utan Island can be found at those links.
The road trip to Orang Utan Island
We were told by Nick at 5 around the world that the trip was around one hour by car from Batu Ferringhi. I did it in 1:15, so perhaps I’m a little more skittish on the road. Our friends live in Indonesia and they were much impressed with the highway system in Malaysia. They were amazed that we were able to cover the 90-something km in that little time. In Bali, that would have taken us a minimum of 3 hours.
The place is right off the highway and the signs are clear to get there. It’s part of a center called Laketown Resort. There are other attractions there, but we were told that Orang Utan Island was the best and we were not disappointed.
Oran Utan Island is at Laketown Resort
To get to the island you need to get on a ferry that leaves every 45 minutes. That gave us time to use the restrooms after our car trip, reload on bottle water, and snap a few pictures with the picturesque lake in the background. Besides the restrooms and the snack stations, there is also an arcade near the ticket booth. The kids enjoyed some of the riding attractions before it was time to go. We were at the dock with our wristband tickets on with time to spare before the next boat.
The trip across is only 10 minutes and very comfortable. Soon we were pulling up to the actual Orang Utan Island.
People in the cage, orangutans outside
The really neat thing about the island is that the orangutans live free on the island. Visitors are restricted to a caged in walkway that goes into the jungle. They take preservation of the orangutan very seriously.
The public relations ambassador met us at the boat landing and gave us a quick intro to the island before taking us on our tour. As we walked along, she told us the names of the orangutans we saw and other statistics, like when they were born, how strong they are.
The orang utan got up close and personal as well. One of the tour group got spit upon.
I can’t tell you how long the tour lasted because time seemed to stand still. It was over very quickly and then we were back out of the caged in area.
There is a short video presentation at the end of the tour to give more information about the island and its mission. To be honest, we were glad to be in air conditioning. After the video was over, we were ready to catch the next boat off the island.
A whole lot of fun was had at Orang Utan Island. It won’t be the last time we go there.
Share your experiences in the comments below.