Tangkahan – The Hidden Elephant Paradise
Tangkahan well-known as the hidden paradise of Gunung Leuser National Park, is an Eco Tourism area in the Langkat district of North Sumatra. The peaceful jungle retreat is located along the Kualsa Buluh River next to the dense rainforest, just 2.5 hours far from Bukit Lawang driving on a bumpy road through palm oil plantations and rural villages.
It is the perfect place to lay back from strong traveling and spend a memorable time with seven rehabilitated adult Sumatran elephants and a few small calves who work together with the rangers to patrol the rainforest.
This tiny, remote village was practically built on the logging trade in the 1980s and 1990s, because the people became aware of the damages by such activity. They collectively decided to stop illegal logging and transform the area into an functional, self-sustained ecotourism destination. So in April 2001 the community banded together to form the Tangkahan Tourist Institute (Lembaga Pariwisata Tangkahan - LPT) and fixed regulations prohibiting the exploitation of the surrounding rainforest. So the Conservation Response Unit (CRU) was born - a team of Sumatran elephants and their mahouts that helps safeguard the national park to protect it from encroachment. When its bath time at the elephant camp on the outskirt of Gunung Leuser National Park tourists are allowed to help. By joining the elephants by their afternoon bathing or taking a 1 hour trek on an elephant you will support this local initiative.
Note: Even you have booked a 1-hour elephant ride in advance it may be cancelled at short notice when the elephants are needed for control duties. In this case our EcoTravel team will return 650.000 IDR per person. Starting times for elephant rides are also subject to sudden changes! CRU/LPT Tangkahan are no tour operators but just an organization!
1. Tangkahan Off Road Adventure (1-day tour):
This Sumatra EcoTravel tour starts at 08.30 am with a pick up by private car and off road transfer on a "rustic" Indonesian 4-wheel drive to Tangkahan (no air-con!). On the way you pass villages and plantations and stop at several places for panoramic views. After a 2.5-hour ride on a bumpy road you will arrive in the jungle village Tangkahan. There you will have lunch in Mega Inn restaurant. Then get to decide individually how you would like to spend your time in this hidden paradise: Wash the elephants in the river and do a 1-hour elephant trek operated by our partner CRU/LPT Tangkahan to experience the jungle from a different perspective, just wash the elephants, relax or swim in the jungle river or walk around the village. The journey back to Bukit Lawang starts in Tangkahan in the afternoon at around 4:30 pm.
Price per person (min 2 pax): 80 Euro (with 1 hour elephant riding & washing in the river)
40 Euro (with washing the elephants in the river)
Price includes: driver, petrol, local lunch incl softdrink, local guide (CRU/LPT), permit for the national park, tickets for crossing the Buluh River
2. Tangkahan by motorcycle (2-day tour):
It’s a 2.5-hour ride by motorcycle on a bumpy road to Tangkahan. The landscape becomes more open, along the way you will stop with your guide at palm oil plantations and rural villages. Arriving in the afternoon at Tangkahan, a peaceful village located between river and rainforest. Now you decide individually how you would like to spend your time there. Your journey back to Bukit Lawang will start the next day at 14:00 pm.
Price per person: 119 Euro
Price includes: experienced guide service, motorbike, petrol, 1 night accommodation in Mega Inn Guesthouse.
Optional: 1 hour elephant riding operated from our partner CRU/LTU Tangkahan and to pay after your arrival in Tangkahan. Price per person: 650.000 IDR
3. Relax in Tangkahan (3-day tour):
This Sumatra EcoTravel tour starts with a 2.5 hour overland ride by an air-con car from Bukit Lawang to Tangkahan. After checking into your room you have the option to take a 1-hour elephant trek from Buluh River to the CRU elephant camp to help out with the elephant washing. On return there is the exciting option of riding river tubes back on the Buluh River. As well as the elephant riding other activities can be arranged in Tangkahan, such as trekking, caving and river-tubing. The second day you just relax and swim in the jungle river or watch the elephants washing in the river. The third day you go back by private taxi to Medan. More nights or rooms in Tangkahan are possible, just ask!
Price per person (min 2 pax): 159 Euro
Price includes: private car, driver, 2 nights in a basic standard accommodation in Tangkahan (Mega Inn), 1 hour elephant riding & washing in the river, local guide (CRU/LPT), permit for the national park, camera tax
Price excludes: lunch, dinner and drinks, river-tubing and other activities in Tangkahan