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 2021! As Orang Utan Island is close to Taiping, Ipoh, and Penang. So it’s worth your while to visit it!

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!

One of the young orangutans at Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island
One of the young orangutans at Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island – photo belongs to the center

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.

Orangutans are free to roam at Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island
Orangutans are free to roam at Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island – photo belongs to the center

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

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

Education Zone 1 at Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island
Education Zone 1 at Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island – photo belongs to the center

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.

Welcome to Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island
Welcome to Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island – rehabilitation and research center for orangutans in Peninsula Malaysia – photo belongs to the center

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

Address:  A197, 34400 Simpang Empat Semanggol, Perak

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm

Contact: +605-890 8110

Regardless of your starting point, you will have to set your destination to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort first.

The boat that takes visitors between Bukit Merah Laketown resort and Orang Utan Island
The boat that takes visitors between Bukit Merah Laketown resort and Orang Utan Island – photo belongs to the center

As this is where you can take a boat to the island!

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
  • We can plan an itinerary for you (e.g. Cameron Highlands, Taiping or Ipoh)
  • 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 a ferry from Bukit Merah Laketown resort.

The ride itself is enjoyable too!

Visitors alighting from the ferry to Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island
Visitors alighting from the ferry to Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island – photo belongs to the center

Schedule: Boats arrive every 45 minutes from 9am usually (depending on the water level)

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 resort.

Buy tickets at the designated counter for Orang Utan Island upon arrival
Buy tickets at the designated counter for Orang Utan Island upon arrival – photo belongs to the center

Entrance Fee:

Malaysian: RM30 (Adult), RM18 (Child)

Non-Malaysian: RM40 (Adult), RM20 (Child)

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 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!

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!

Observation at a distance - safe for both humans and orangutans
Observation at a distance – safe for both humans and orangutans – photo belongs to the center

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.

But don’t worry:

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

Orangutan enjoying durian
Orangutan enjoying durian – photo belongs to the center

Tour Duration: 45 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!

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!

Vistors can view the orangutans from a steel cage walkway
Vistors can view the orangutans from a steel cage walkway – photo belongs to the center

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.
  • 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.

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.

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

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