How to get there :
Via Medan :Buses leave from 'Kampung Lalang' , a kampoong on the
outside of Medan, about 8km from the centre. They are supposed to leave from
Pinang Baris, the bus station close by, and transportation drivers may try to
take you there , but anyone in the area should be able to direct you to the
right place to catch a bus, which is directly outside the 'Toko Roti Mawar'
( Mawar Bakery ).
Mitsubishi L300 ( read as el-tiga ratus) minibuses are faster, slightly more expensive, but cramped. Standard buses, known as PS (pronounced Pay-Es), because the operator is Pembangunan Semesta (government) are a few thousand rupiah cheaper and slower. The cost is around Rp20.000 (almost US$2). On the minibus the expected occupancy is four in each row, to avod this you can pay extra for more space .
Smoking, with the windows closed, is common on the minibuses, some Indonesians don't like the wind! The minibus engine is mounted under the front seat, so it can be quite hot here (but also anywhere else in the bus). The buses break down quite often , and if this happens you will be expected to pay the cost of your journey to where the bus has broken down, from where you just have to wait for the next bus to go by.
Last bus is around 5:30pm,it takes 3 or 3,5 hours to get there .
Binjai, the city 12km from Medan on the road to Bukit Lawang, has buses to Bukit Lawang a bit later than from Medan. If you are running a little late, you can head to Binjai (taxi or yellow bus) and pick up a bus from there ( again, the buses do not go from the official bus station, but a spot on the side of the road). The cost is not cheaper, certainly counting the cost of a taxi to Binjai, but buses run till around 6:30pm here, so it buys you another half an hour.A train service runs about every 2 hours from Medan to Binjai, but it's less practical than the bus, although if you are near the train station at the time it's leaving , you could try it.
The Bukit Lawang bus station and weekly market (Fridays) is located in the village of Gotong Royong, about 2km from Bukit Lawang itself. Although private cars (including the air con tourist buses) and motorbikes can enter Bukit Lawang (although cars cannot get past the entrance area), public buses run only as far as the bus station.
To get from the bus station to Bukit Lawang itself you can
walk (but it's long and hot), or just go in a becak like everyone else. This
has a price of 5,000rp per person (max two people) you don't need to negotiate
with them as you would in Medan, just get in the becak and go. It's not
uncommon for them to try and charge a little more to tourists, but it's nothing
to worry about.... Everyone is going the same place, except visitors to Rindu
Alam, Batu Mandi and Bukit Lawang Cottages/Ecolodge (normally known as
'Cottage'), who can be dropped off a little closer to their hotel if they tell
the becak driver where they are going.
When the becak drops you off in Bukit Lawang itself you will have a walk of 2 to 30 minutes to reach your guesthouse, depending on where you are staying .
There are 2 ways to get to Tangkahan : the shorter but more broken road , or the longer, but still poorly surfaced road .
Take the shorter route need a strong off-road vehicle, or a motorbike from Bukit Lawang or Tangkahan , takes around 2.5 - 3 hours.
The longer route is via Binjai , and you can do this journey by any private motor car ( low vehicles NOT recommended, a typical Indonesia MPV with reasonable ground clearance is ok though ), or by bus from Bukit Lawang to Binjai ( 70km/2hours ), travelling from there by bus to Stabat, Batang Serangan and finally Simpang Robert on the way to Tangkahan . P.S. ( large, slow ) Buses bound for Tangkahan go several times daily from Medan, via these places , you can pick one up that's passing , or just make your way from point to point on your way to Tangkahan .
Many nice guest house here like Ecolodge , Jungle Inn , etc .