Sumatra Eco Tourism


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Tangkahan has a lot to offer. You can always get more information at the community owned visitor Centre, CTO. They work on behalf of the Park Authorities.


Click to enlargeAre any of your friends an elephant? If not, Tangkahan is the best place to get an elephant friend. Meet the seven (June 2008) Sumatran elephants staying in Tangkahan. The 35 years old Eva and her female friends Agustin, Ardana, Sari and Yuni. The only male is the still relatively young Teo. The last and smallest, but not the least, is the cute Olive, still too young to join the jungle patrols. Now there is also a new elephant baby. Two babies recently died to a elephant virus, very common amongst elephants.Click to enlarge

To join the jungle patrol, report to the CTO Visitor Centre and they will arrange everything, including the park permit (Rp. 20.000). You cannot go directly to the Elephant camp. A one hour ride in the jungle is Rp. 650.000 per person and hour. Only one and three hour rides are available. The price includes the park permit. The one hour ride basically follows the river. The three hour ride enters the jungle.

Rides combined with camping and tubing are also available. For example a one hour ride, elephant bathing, waterfall, tubing and lunch box. A two day one night trek with 3 hours elephant riding, tubing, camping and food is Rp. 6.300.000 for 2 persons.

Click to enlargeYou also get to see and to help the elephants getting bathed. Every morning at around 08.30 and afternoon at 15.30 they come down to the river for their bath. Every elephant has its "Mahout", or elephant trainer/driver. Respect the elephants and follow the instructions of the mahouts. Elephants are big and do have a mind of their own. All the elephants in Tangkahan were born in the wild. To take part in washing of the elephants and giving them elephant snacks is Rp. 100.000.

Why not try out a 3-day course in elephant handling at the CRU. It is only Rp. 4.500.000 You need a month to become a certified mahout, but with three days you can learn a lot and get a unique experience.

Note: Rides cannot be booked in advance. Rides are available on all days except Mondays, Thursdays and national holidays. The Elephant Jungle Patrol will unfortunately be closed down in the middle of the year (2012) and the few remaining treks are fully booked.

A ride is recommended for several reasons:

  1. The unique setting with one of the most impressive national parks just over the river.
  2. In Tangkahan you can ride through prime rain forest.
  3. The ride functions as a jungle patrol. You actively help prevent illegal logging.
  4. You actively support community based eco-tourism development.


Click to enlargeSungai Musam is perfect for bathing and playing around in the clear water. Or just walk up-river, exploring the sights and enjoying the stream. Just float back down! You can rent a tube for Rp. 10.000 per day. It is ideal for floating back down the river. Ask in your accommodation where the butterfly beach is.

Just opposite the accommodations in Sungai Musam is a narrow little cave. Inside is a nice hot spring; so perfect to sit alone contemplating or with a friend, talking about the beauty of life.

CTO also arranges tubing adventures that last for ½ hour, 3 hours, or 5 hours.


Click to enlargePark permit and guide are obligatory for trekking in the Leuser National Park. It is all available at the community owned CTO Visitor Centre. There are several treks and walks to choose from. Anything between so called family treks to advanced treks.

A few examples of treks available:

A 2,5 hour "Family Trek" is Rp. 360.000 for 2 persons.

A 3-3,5 hour "Youth Trek" is Rp. 600.000 for 3 persons.

A full day trek is Rp. 990.000 for 3 persons.

A full day combination of trekking, caving, and tubing back home is Rp. 1.260.000 for 3 persons.

CTO has several trekking packages to choose from, up to as many days you want. You can also trek to Bukit Lawang. There is a 10m high waterfall and a big cave a four to five-hour trek from Tangkahan. Going home can be done by tubing.

For more general information on jungle trekking, see under PRACTICALITIES, IN THE JUNGLE.


Click to enlargeTangkahan itself is just a few huts, but the two nearest villages, a few kilometers away, have app. 2.000 inhabitants together. The locals work mainly in the palm oil and rubber plantations/orchards. The 1st and 15th every month is the “rubber market” when the locals sell their raw rubber to the buyers that come and pick it up. It can be an interesting experience.


Click to enlargeCheck up the beautiful and price worthy necklaces made of colorful stones from the rivers.








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