• Elephant in Tangkahan
  • Elephant while patrol in the rainforest
  • Taxi boat on the Bulu River in Tangkahan
  • Palmoil plantage in North Sumatra
  • Tangkahan Village
  • Buluh River in Tangkahan
  • Tourist while elephant washing

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, price CRU/LPT 2015 (1 Mio IDR, price CRU/LPT 2016!). Starting times for elephant rides are also subject to sudden changes! CRU/LPT Tangkahan are no tour operators but just an organization! 

Tangkahan Off Road Adventure (1-day tour):

This Sumatra EcoTravel tour starts at 09:00 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):     96 Euro (with 1 hour elephant riding & washing in the river, 2015)
126 Euro (with 1 hour elephant riding & washing in the river, 2016)

                                                  68 Euro (with washing the elephants in the river, 2015/2016)

Price includes: driver, petrol, local lunch incl softdrink, local guide (CRU/LPT), all permits for the national park, tickets for crossing the Buluh River 

EcoTravel's memorable Tangkahan Off Road Adventure can be enjoyed as part of our packages Orangutans & Elephants, Sumatra HighlightsJungle Meets Beach or Sumatra Holiday XL.