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:
- Why You Should Visit
- Mission Of Orangutan Island Foundation
- Best Time To Visit
- How To Get To Orangutan Island
- Jetty To Orang Utan Island
- Orangutan Island Ticket
- How Long Should You Stay
- Orangutan Island Tour
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 4pm (Closed on Tuesday)
- Contact: +605-890 8110
- Social Media: Facebook
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!
Park at the same carpark as regular visitors just in front of the entrance to Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. There is no carpark fee.
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!
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!
Note: You are expected to don a life jacket during the boat ride. The boat ride is pretty smooth (and slow) throughout.
- 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.
Entrance Fee To Orang Utan Island:
Peak: School Holiday, Public Holiday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Non-Peak: Monday, Wednesday & Thursday
*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!
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!
Don’t be shy to ask the helpful staff about the character or background history of an individual orangutan.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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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