Bukit Merah Orangutan Island Malaysia

Somewhere in Perak is Bukit Merah Orangutan Island Malaysia. This is a rehabilitation center of 35 acres just for orangutans!

Which means you don’t have to go all the way to Borneo (East Malaysia) to see orangutans in 2022! As Orang Utan Island is close to Taiping, Ipoh, and Penang. So it’s worth your while to visit it!

What is it like? And how do you get there? Find out in this post!

Table of contents:

Need more reasons to go?

Why You Should Visit Orangutan Island

Besides what we already mentioned:

  • It is an educational outing that’s family-friendly
  • Opportunity to see many orangutans up close!
  • Support their cause. The proceeds go to looking after the resident orangutans and to maintaining the center
  • Cool concept – people will pass through a caged tunnel to see the orangutans that are roaming outside
  • They have around 20 orangutans here, of different life stages

If you want to help them further, bring cash for donations!

Adult Resident Orangutan At Orangutan Island
Adult Resident Orangutan At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

You might be wondering:

Mission of Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation

What’s the purpose of the foundation running the center?

Their programme works hard to get their orangutans back into the wild in Borneo.

And in the meantime:

The orangutans in the center get to live in natural surroundings instead of cages. And with dedicated staff to look after them.

Orangutan In The Trees Watching Visitors At Orangutan Island
Orangutan In The Trees Watching Visitors At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island runs a nursery and research center for orangutans. Besides the rehabilitation facility.

Orangutan Island Visitor And Rehabilitation Center From Another Perspective
Orangutan Island Visitor And Rehabilitation Center From Another Perspective – Photo by Travelswithsun

Another important motive for them is to bring awareness to locals and tourists on the need for conservation of this endangered species.

Information Boards At The Orangutan Island Visitor And Rehabilitation Center Run By Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation
Information Boards At The Orangutan Island Visitor And Rehabilitation Center Run By Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation – Photo by Travelswithsun

Before you consider going, read this:

Best Time To Visit

Check the weather forecast before you go.

The center has a knack for closing during rainy days or even if it looks like it’s going to rain.

Note: If the lake is dry, the place may be temporarily closed too. Always call their office +605-890 8110 (from 9am-4pm) for the status and boat schedule before making a trip to Bukit Merah.

Entrance To Orangutan Island
Entrance To Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Anyways, the orangutans will be hiding when it’s raining too!

And if you want to avoid the worst of the heat (or the crowds):

Then, go in the morning!

Read more: Kuala Sepetang – A quaint fishing village close to Taiping

Now, you’re ready to start planning how to get there!

How To Get To Orangutan Island

If you happen to be in Penang and want to head south to Ipoh or Kuala Lumpur (or vice versa), then it’s convenient to include this location into your travel plans!

Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation

Regardless of your starting point, you will have to set your destination to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort first as this is where you can take a boat to the island!

Bukit Merah Laketown Resort Viewed From The Boat Enroute To Orangutan Island
Bukit Merah Laketown Resort Viewed From The Boat Enroute To Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Park at the same carpark as regular visitors just in front of the entrance to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. There is no carpark fee.

The Boat Ride To Orangutan Island From Bukit Merah Laketown Resort Takes Less Than 15 Minutes
The Boat Ride To Orangutan Island From Bukit Merah Laketown Resort Takes Less Than 15 Minutes – Photo by Travelswithsun

Driving distances from different cities/ towns:

  • From Kuala Lumpur: 3-4 hours’ drive (depending on traffic)
  • From Penang: 1 hour drive via the North-South highway (i.e. Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan)
  • From Ipoh: ~1 hour drive via the North-South highway
  • From Taiping: 30-40 minutes’ drive

Don’t fancy driving?

If you are starting your journey from Ipoh to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, you can book a private tour service (RayTheTour):

  • Comfortable transport for your whole group
  • Flexible and customizable itinerary (they can cover Cameron Highlands, Taiping and Ipoh too)
  • Rates include transport (i.e. car, fuel, toll fees) and an Ipoh-born tour guide to escort you and show you the local sights!

Book by sending us a message on Facebook or WhatsApp!

On to the next part of the journey:

Jetty To Orang Utan Island

Orang Utan Island can only be reached by hopping on a ferry from Bukit Merah Laketown resort.

The ride itself is enjoyable too and takes less than 15 minutes!

Departure Point And Ticket Counter - Jetty To Orangutan Island From Laketown Resort In Bukit Merah
Departure Point And Ticket Counter – Jetty To Orangutan Island From Laketown Resort In Bukit Merah – Photo by Travelswithsun

Note: You are expected to don a life jacket during the boat ride. The boat ride is pretty smooth (and slow) throughout.

Notice For The Boat Timing To Orangutan Island
Notice For The Boat Timing To Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun
  • Schedule: As of August 2022, the ferry schedule is 9:45am, 11:15am, 12:45pm, 2:15pm, 3:30pm (minimum 4pax)
  • Note: Call them for the latest boat schedule (it does depend on the water level and number of expected visitors) and when the next available boat is (sometimes there are big tour groups that will fill up the boats fast.
  • Duration: about 15 minutes
  • Address: Jalan Bukit Merah, 34400 Simpang Empat Semanggol, Negeri Perak
  • Contact: +605-890 8110
  • Price: Included with the entrance fee

Read more: Taiping Lake Gardens – pride of Taiping

How much does it cost to visit and where can you get tickets?

Orang Utan Island Ticket

Buy your tickets at the end of the ferry dock at the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. If you happen to miss the boat, you can wait at the benches at the ferry dock or wander around Bukit Merah Laketown Resort.

Ticket Prices Are Displayed Above The Counter At The Jetty To Orangutan Island In Laketown Resort
Ticket Prices Are Displayed Above The Counter At The Jetty To Orangutan Island In Laketown Resort – Photo by Travelswithsun

Entrance Fee To Orang Utan Island:

For Malaysian:

MalaysianPeakNon-Peak
Adult*RM28RM25
Child**RM18RM15
Senior Citizen***RM23RM20
DisabledRM18RM15

Peak: School Holiday, Public Holiday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday

Non-Peak: Monday, Wednesday & Thursday

For Non-Malaysian:

Non-MalaysianPrice
Adult*RM40
Child**RM22

*above 12 years old

**4 to 12 years old

***55 years old and above

Tickets include a guided tour by a staff member once you get to the center.

Tip: Beware of buying tickets from other websites claiming to have the lowest prices.

How Long Should You Stay

Each tour session usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes before the next group arrives.

So, if you want to hang around the center longer, you can! (e.g. 90 minutes instead of 45minutes). Just take a later ferry back instead!

Statue Of An Orangutan Midway Through The Walkway At Orangutan Island
Statue Of An Orangutan Midway Through The Walkway At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun
Two Youngsters In The Middle Of Play At Orangutan Island
Two Youngsters In The Middle Of Play At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Read more: Bukit Merah Laketown Resort – Affordable Family Fun Theme Park

More details on the tours:

Orang Utan Island Tour

Tours are usually conducted by a knowledgeable staff member (in English too) that will elaborate more on the center’s conservation efforts as well as their resident orangutans!

Orangutan Enjoying Sweet Potato At Orangutan Island
Orangutan Enjoying Sweet Potato At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Don’t be shy to ask the helpful staff about the character or background history of an individual orangutan.

Caretaker Giving Water To An Orangutan At Orangutan Island
Caretaker Giving Water To An Orangutan At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

And since the caged walkway through the enclosure is 100-200m:

Tours generally run for the time it takes to cross to the other side. There is some plant cover over the walkway but there’s no roof over the walkway so you will be exposed to the elements on a sunny day.

Mature Male Orangutan Resting While Watching Visitors At Orangutan Island
Mature Male Orangutan Resting While Watching Visitors At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

But don’t worry:

You’ll get ample time to interact with and observe the orangutans!

Note: The inner fences are electric with no signage so be sure not to touch them and keep an eye out on kids who might want to get closer to the orangutans.

Electric Inner Fences At Orangutan Island
Electric Inner Fences At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Tour Duration: 30 minutes and up to 1.5 hours to complete the tour.

You might even get a chance to meet the medical team that care for the orangutans! The resident vet is an expert in orangutan diseases!

Vistors Can View The Orangutans From Inside A Steel Cage Walkway
Vistors Can View The Orangutans From Inside A Steel Cage Walkway – Photo by Travelswithsun

They do have an orangutan infant care unit so depending on your luck, you might be able to see a baby orangutan on the day that you go!

Infant Care Facilities On Orangutan Island
Infant Care Facilities On Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Read more: 5 Theme Parks To Check Out In Ipoh & Perak

Accept the irony that the facilities here are more for the orangutans than for the visitors!

However, you’ll find the following facilities (Besides the orangutan center) on the island:

  • Ample and free parking at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort
  • As part of the Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, there is a water park.
  • There is a small gift shop – profits go to the cost of caring for the orang utans.
  • Toilets at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort and also somewhere along the walkway on Orangutan Island
Small Shop At Orangutan Island
Small Shop At Orangutan Island – Photo by Travelswithsun

Conclusion

Some people may find it disheartening to see the orangutans in captivity. Even if they are kept in a free-range area like the Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island and well cared for.

But on the other hand, this is how the public can learn more about orangutans and be exposed to the plight they face.

In saying that, do not miss the opportunity to visit the sanctuary if you’re in Peninsula Malaysia (West Malaysia).

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