Thank you Noka
Yeah, I actually wanted to know more about Bukit. Would anyone be able to comment on how much travel time is needed from Bali?
I really do not think it is worth all the effort to spend such a short time in Bukit Lawang. Best to stay in Bali.
You must remember Indonesia is a third world country this is a fact not a criticism) and travelling is NOT like in western countries.
To get to Bukit Lawang you will need to fly from Bali to Jakarta and then get a separate flight from Jakarta to Medan ( AirAsia-good prices). you probably arrive in Medan quite late in the day.
Once in Medan you will need to stay the night- suggestion Blue Angel on the main draghttp://www.sumatra-indonesia.com/blueangel.htm
Next morning either get a bus or car and driver for the 3-4 hr trip to Bukit Lawang, if they are no break downs or accidents.
Too late to really go trekking that day so you would need to trek the next day (So that is basically 2 days gone) and leave the fourth morning to head back to Medan, probably stay the night a lot better than having to stay in Jakarta overnight to get back to Bali.
Traffic jams in Jakarta are terrible and can cause one to miss plaanes as the airport is at least 1.5 hrs from the city near Gambir station.
You would really only have time to do a day trek and you will have to return to Bali using the next days to get back.
I have also been to Indonesia numerous times (7 or 8). I found the people to be friendly, although I wouldn't trust them as much as the Thai or Vietnamese cultures (no offence).
Indonesia is relatively safe, however most people travel to Bali. Some areas of Indon may not be so safe. There is a strong religious (mainly muslim) population and there have been several terrorist attacks there.
I think that it is safe to travel there, however you should read travel advisories from the US state department. Unfortunately, American citizens are not as welcome in some parts. Also view the Australians website which I believe is very informative (being so close with the Indonesians). www.smarttraveller.gov.au (I think??)
There is a current travel advisory stating that "All non essential travel should be postponed...due to HIGH level of terrorist attacks particularly on western interests..."
To put all of this into perspective...the Indonesian people are friendly and, generally, you are safe. However, you can't look past the advisories of government....I am sure that the families of the (some 200) people already killed in such attacks wouldn't feel so safe there anymore???
Just do your research. Lonley planet is ok.....but you can't beat the contemporaneous information put out there by governments.
Best of luck