Pulau Orang Utan Bukit Merah [Closed]
April 12, 2013 Malaysia

discover perak

Last Thursday, I was honoured to join other media participants for an event known as Discover Perak 2013. You may notice the constant tagging of #discoverperak2013 and #gayatravel on my twitter account. The event started on Thursday and ended on Sunday night with an objective to bring the media and travel writers for a trip to discover Perak. For all I know, I learned a lot from this trip especially on places I have not set foot in Perak before. Even I get enchanted with the quaint city of Ipoh despite my regular visits to Ipoh. As I will share the experience on place-to-place basis, you will find my #discoverperak2013 series ranging from Pulau Orang Utan Bukit Merah Lake Town Resort to Fireflies Trip at Kampung Dew to Perak Man Archeological Site to old buildings of Ipoh.

As a matter of introduction, Perak is said to have gotten its name from the name of Bendahara Tun Perak of Melaka while some believe that it came from the “glimmer of fish in the water” that sparkled like silver (perak). History proves that Perak has been in existence since the prehistoric age.


Pulau Orang Utan or Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation is located within the eco-friendly getaway of Bukit Merah Laketown Resort, a 7,000 acre freshwater lakeside in Semanggol, Perak. Pulau Orang Utan was formerly known as Pulau Panjang, comprises a vast 35 acre area, 5 acre of which has been set aside as a research centre for these endangered species.

After listening to the briefing by the CEO of Bukit Merah Orang Utan Island Foundation, Dr. D Sabapathy, I gathered a lot of information about orang utans.  Here are some of the interesting facts of orang utan:-

  • There are two species of orang utans. a) Pongo pygmaeus b) Pongo abelii
  • Orang utans are only found in Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Orang utan produces 32 types of sound
  • Adult orang utan is 7 times stronger than adult human
  • Difficult to rehabilitate orang utan due to their intelligence
  • Life span in the wild : 35 to 40 years
  • DNA – 97% similar to human being. *bingo*

At present, there are 24 orang utans, of which 16 were born in the island and 1 was born at BJ island, another island near to Pulau Orang Utan. FYI, the earliest orang utans were brought in from Borneo, making Pulau Orang Utan the first ex-situ conservation in Malaysia. 

From the jetty at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort to Pulau Orang Utan, the boat ride takes 20 minutes through the beautiful landscape of the lake.

To Pulau Orang Utan

Bukit Merah Laketown Resort

When we arrived at Pulau Orang Utan, we were taken to the tunnel coverage to spot the orang utans.

Pulau Orang Utan

Pulau Orang Utan Bukit Merah

The first one we caught sight was Adam. The veterinary officer indicated that if you were to work with the orang utans, you can tell which is which. Thus, she could actually name the orang utans that we spotted that day. There were 3 exhibits (cages) altogether. If memory serves me well, I think I spotted at least 8 orang utans within the span of 30 minutes.

Pulau Orang Utan

Pulau Orang Utan

Pulau Orang Utan

As we walked through the tunnel coverage, I can’t help but notice the herbal garden that gated the exhibits.

Herbal Garden

Herbal Garden

Herbal Garden

If you are travelling to Malaysia and you are in the nick of time to go to Borneo, this is absolutely the place you must visit to get close to the orang utans.

"9" Comments
  1. Salam Farah,
    I’m a Perakian but I live in Penang. On my way back to my hometown I always stop by at Bukit Merah. I always take my kids and overseas students to this place and we enjoy witnessing the orangutans’ behaviors as they are akin to human being. We sometimes become envy as the orang utans are well taken care by the carers/babysitters such as they put on the diapers for the infants, let them sleep in the baby courts, feed them milk from the bottle, let them learn in the nursery school, etc. But their efforts should be appreciated in order to save these endangered species.

    • Kak Naramas,

      Hailed from Kulim, Bukit Merah used to be the easiest family outing for our family. But the theme park and the eco park were the only places we went. It was my first time going to Orang Utan Island. I was in deed fascinated with the efforts taken by Yayasan Orang Utan when I was there.

      However, I’ve read unfavorable news on OUI in the internet like the one highlighted below. I hope the issues will be resolved for the benefit of these endangered species.

  2. OUI is a scam. You cant be blamed to think they are genuinely helping orangutans if you dont know the fundamentals of orangutan conservation.

    Orangutans are there only for $$$ purposes. NOTHING OUI is doing is helping orangutans, in anyway, zero, nothing. Infact, they have made orangutans suffer.

  3. Dear Farah
    Thank you for sharing such an interesting information. I will be visiting these places with my family who are coming from India soon. Which place should we visit first? Ecopark, Orang utan island or waterpark?

    Keep up with the good job.
    Best Regards

    • I would suggest you go to Pulau Orang Utan first in the morning, then proceed to Ecopark from where you shall take the chair lift and then proceed to the waterpark. You can do it in any particular order.

  4. And ya… you are a good photographer. 🙂

  5. I have just arrived from a trip on the island. I respect all the efforts to save the orang utans from extinction, however I have concerns: 1. Though it looks, it is not a natural habitat for the animals. The are fed to coax them near to the tourists with food, so they live their lives idle. 2. They know taser, and it worries me. One of the guards touched his taser and the animals ran away. 3. The youngsters are kept as prisoners, in a very small place, without any stimulation (toys, company, family, etc.). They looked bored and depressed.

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