I posted already two threads which were really helpful for me - now I am hoping for you again.
I will go with my girl-friend to Bukit Lawang, sumatra end of March/beginning of April and we are intending to do at least a bit of hiking.
Now I found about three viable options:
1) Around Bukit Lawang with rafting in the end
2) Along the Landak river (opposite direction from other BL trails)
3) In the proximity of Bukit Kenkur
as prices and information varies a lot - I would like to ask for your guidance.
ad 1) appears to be most crowed, animals used to humans and a bit polluted (toilet paper and stuff?!) - but what does that mean? I mean is it REALLY dirty?
ad 2) seems to be cheaper than other treks, but why? Is it less nice, less probable to see Orang Utans?
ad 3) Further away, with motorbike ride, significantly more expensive - how it that, animals to see, less crowed?
by screening via LP and web, I found loads of offers - varying from 25 USD to 50 USD, is the 25 USD range fair and realistic or do I need to expect many hidden "surchases" from your experience?
any comment would be useful,
We did a fab day trek in Gunung Leuser NP from Bukit Lawang which was arranged through our hostel when we turned up (there will be plenty of people offering treks when you arrive) Im sorry i cant remember the price but there was a set price for treks set by the park, so they all quote the same. There were lots of treks including the option to stay overnight or to come back by tube on the river.
The area we trekked in seemed fairly well looked after (no rubbish or anything around) and we saw orangutans, gibbons, macaques and lots of birds and creepies all in a relatively short walk. We didnt go to watch the orangutans at the feeding station because we saw them 'wild' in the park.
One thing to note is that the guides dont always follow the rules when it comes to feeding and calling to the animals.
I dont have experience of the other places you mentioned but the surrounding area was beautiful and if you have the time to explore more go for it. Bukit lawang was fairly pleasant and managed to maintain a small village feel even though they do get a lot of visitors. (although we didnt see many other humans on the trek)
If you are travelling from Medan get a minivan, they take longer but they are cheaper and you get to experince travelling with friendly locals.
I think you will find that most of the guides in Bukit Lawang will do the basic trek overnight with rafting the next day.
Whereas there are a few guides that do the Landak River and one of them is a very genuine guide called Sabar who does NOT go hunting tourists in Medan etc like a lot of the others do.
Here is some info and photos I have collated of Sabar.
Sabar Recommended Guide in BL
Bukit Kencur is trekked by the enthusiasts like Andrea Molyneaux owner of Green Hill who is an ex British Govt scientist with a Doctrate in Primates and Conservation and she is the one who wrote about how to respect Orangutans in LP Indonesia 2010 Edition.
Here is her Face Book page on Green Hill and Trekking Bukit Kencur