Tangkahan , jungle and elephant trekking .

elephanttrekkingLocated around 105km from Medan, takes 3-4 hours by bus. Tangkahan is a small village on the border of Gunung Leuser National Park located in North Sumatra. It is situated at the junction of 2 rivers, the Buluh River and the Batang River. Tangkahan specialises in eco-tourism activities like jungle trekking and Elephant trekking.

When you arrive at Tangkahan you need to pay Rp5000 at the Visitors Centre to go down to the river. Then to cross the river it is Rp10.000 per person for 3 days, you can cross as many times as you like.

How to get to Tangkahan?
Buses leave Tangkahan at 7.30am and 2.30pm to go back to Medan.
Do you want a private car ? I offer you private car per day wit AC, petrol and driver Rp 1000.000.

If you want public bus , you must go to Pinang Baris bus station to take bus route Pinang Baris-Simpang Robert from 8 AM,10.30 AM and 1 PM,  from Simpang Robert to Tangkahan around 7 km , you can have becak ( three wheels carriage ) or motor biker rental , price depend on bargaining, around Rp 30.000

Elephant camp at Tangkahan

The Elephant camp is a 15 - 20 minute walk up river from the visitors centre in Tangkahan. They bathe the elephants everyday at 9am and 4pm. You'll need to purchase a ticket at the visitors centre for Rp20,000 per person before you go to the elephant camp.

Elephant trekking

1 hour trek on the elephants is available and the cost is Rp750.000 per person.

For more information and prices for longer tracks contact the Elephant Jungle Patrol via their website www.elephantjunglepatrol.com. Trekking to Bukit Lawang is possible and will take 4 days.

For more information about how you can help save the Asian elephants check out the Elephant Family webpage. They are raising funds to help elephants all over Asia and Sumatra Indonesia. They currently have a veterinarian onsite in Medan, Sumatra who is helping to ensure the health of elephants all over Sumatra.

There is hotspring near the river and big waterfalls , you need a guide to explore this area about Rp 150.000/ day or less depends on nice bargaining.

Australia Zoo concerning about Tangkahan wild life.

In 2001, locals from Namo Sialang and Sei Serdang villages signed a historical Memorandum of Understanding that established the 1800-hectare Tangkahan Tourism Institute and prohibited illegal exploitation of the forest.

Seven elephants already in captivity were brought to the area and former illegal loggers – including some who had spent years in jail for their crime – were reformed to become mahouts, or elephant rangers.

The elephants are now used to patrol the forest for the few remaining illegal loggers and to support conservation of the habitat and wild elephant populations, as well as about 500 Sumatran tigers believed to roam the area.

Fauna and Flora International, which co-ordinates the running of the reserve, claims illegal logging has pretty much been eradicated.

The elephants' upkeep is funded through tourism and government and international grants.

Just metres from the large pen where the elephants are housed, tourists stay in basic huts, fitted out with only a queen-size bed draped with a mosquito net, and a table.

The rugged experience is complete with a trough of cold water and a bucket for showering and flushing the semi-Western toilet.

The food, however, is far from basic. Local ingredients are whipped up into sensational meals, served in an open-air dining room perched at the top of a cliff that drops to the same river where guests mingle with elephants.

Visitors can feed, clean and ride the elephants, and there is ample opportunity to interact with them, as well as their keepers.

Elephant treks can take half a day, a full day, or those with sturdy backsides can opt to join the rangers on their four-day patrol of the forest – a unique insight into the protection program.

The internationally acclaimed eco-tourism project, which receives funding from Melbourne Zoo, is also benefitting the local community, which is the only one in Indonesia with rights to manage 17,000 hectares of a national park.

They are now earning income from conservation and tourism projects, rather than the erosive oil-palm plantations and logging they once undertook.

However, a new threat is emerging on the back of Tangkahan's success.

Park managers are now turning their attention to the delicate issue of how to balance conservation with the growing number of tourists, who ultimately support the future of the project.

Foreign tourist numbers have grown ten-fold since 2005, up to 1000 visitors last year.

Park ranger, Pak Wahdi, says that figure is about the limit and the community is now looking to create a higher yield, with better facilities and a wider range of activities.

With two pregnant elephants in the camp, the rangers could soon be dealing with more than just escalating tourist numbers.

Courtney Trenwith travelled as a fellow with the Asia Pacific Journalism Centre.

There are two buses daily, departing from Pinang Baris Bus Terminal (about five hours), or you can hire a private taxi to make the trip quicker and more comfortable.

Lembaga Pariwisata Tangkahan (LPT )

Office : Komplek Menteng Indah Blok BI no.32 Medan Tembung 20228

Telp and fax : 061 ( 7864562)

email : lembagapariwisatatangkahan@gmail.com