Indonesia Ecotourism 2# : Tangkahan | b l o g o d r i l

14 April 2009

Indonesia Ecotourism 2# : Tangkahan

Source: Sumatera Eco Tourism
A natural small area features with tropical rain forest, rivers, elephants and flower garden in the mountain are the unexpected facts in Tangkahan. The ancient rainforest of North Sumatera in the mount Leuser where visitors will discover [1]

It was located in Langkat District, just three hours from Medan the capital of North Sumatera Province. To reach Tangkahan on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park , we would go through Bukit Lawang, but the road to here is still quite poor. Altough, there are busses or motorbikes would be driving through.


Tangkahan plays an important role in Indonesia and World Conservation efforts. Historically, in the end of 19's era, Tanah Karo peoples migrated to Langkat for new life resources. They have been dispersed in some villages such as Pamah Semelir, Sapo Padang and Sampe Raya. The groups who is the remnants of Tanah Karo peoples were known as Karo Jahe or Karo Gugung tribe. They have been lived and cultivated crops in the old villages since the first migration [2].

Later, the Tangkahan known as ecotourism new destinations in addition to the Bukit Lawang, which is located in the mountainous area around the Gunung Leuser Nasional Park. There are the elephants, originally, they were in danger of being enemies by villager because of destroying the crops. However, the park authorities are relocating and “putting them to work” now for preventing the forest, helping patrol for illegal logging and assisting in environment service projects. Tourism is also one of the best ways to both support local communities and defeat against illegal logging in the surrounding of Leuser National Park, including in the Tangkahan forest.

The district government collaborating with the local communities have been managed the environment service in there since 2002. By doing this, the government have empowered the local communities to fight against illegal logging. In fact, more than a hundred of illegal loggers have rehabilitated who now make their revenues through sustainable and responsible ecotourism instead.

Tourism to Tangkahan

The majority visitors drive to Batang Serangan with oil palm landscape of the plain area. From here, visitors had to cross the river by means of a ferry to Tangkahan. On the other side of the river visitors would either have to wade through a small stretch of water or get aboard a canoe . Then, check in one of the Lodges managed by the Tangkahan ecotourism community. The high quality of eco-experiences are relax and unwind in the clear water river of Tangkahan.

There is a kind of adventure trek and visitors must be fit and healthy enough to walk through the ancient rain forest and crossing a lot of rivers, streams and hilly areas. Visitors can start trekking through the lush rain forest in the morning with one of the villages trained as trekking guides.

1. Forest Trekking

There are 3 types of trek available depending on their physical strength [3]:
  • The first, a 2.2 km nature interpretation trail (2.5 hours): Seeing the incredible tropical plants, including medicinal plants along the trek. Spotting species of the local wildlife: orangutan, leaf monkeys, long tailed macaques and great argus.

  • The second, a challenging 2.6 km trek (2.5 hours), with steeper slopes and giant trees, with a stop at Lubuk Larangan where you can swim in the river.

  • The third, a more demanding adventurous 6.8 km trek (6 hours). Crossing some hills and steep slopes and enjoying the rainforest and find the opportunity to explore caves with thousands of bats. The journey will be concluded by rafting on a rubber tube down the rapid current of Batang Serangan River. Overnight at ecolodge.
Rates for the treks could be check it in April 2009.

There are also some exciting packages:

2. River Cruising

Tubing along the Batang Serangan River while taking pleasure in watching around, see the long tailed monkeys, wonderful rainforest vegetation, various birds, and if lucky you will meet Kedih (Presbytis thomasi) an endemic primate in Gunung Leuser National Park. Visitors could swim in the clear blue water and then drift yourself away back to Tangkahan shore.

3. Camping

There also available a camping ground area between the jungle and the river, sufficient for 30 tents. Feel the rare occasion living in harmony with nature.

Visitors need 3 hours to reach the Bat Cave. A skillful guide will accompany them. To return back. They have a choice of tubing down the fast flowing river, or walking through the fruit trees in the Orange and Durian groves.

5. Elephant Trekking

The sensation of riding over an elephant's back for an exploration by using the Conservation Response Unit's patrol elephants. These elephants help to monitor the forest from illegal logging and any crimes and at the same time could accompany visitors to explore the forest.

Tourism facilities

Lodging are pleasant place where visitor could stay directly or near the ecotourism destination of Tangkahan in Gunung Leuser National Park [4]:

1. Jungle Inn, directly opposite the orangutan sanctuary. Offers reasonably priced rooms, but slightly inflated prices for food by Sumatran standards.

2. Nora's Homestay, approximately two kilometers by road from the river. A great kampung-style experience, including self-contained shower and toilet. Nora's family have built new accommodation of 5 rooms and restaurant along the path to Jungle Inn next door to Canopy Restaurant and called it Rain Forest.

3. Rain Forest is a great place to stay, lots of fun entertainment with many of the guides playing guitar and singing in the evenings, great food and as always Nora herself provides great company.

4. Garden Inn not far from Jungle Inn is another pleasant place to stay in Bukit Lawang.

5. Bukit Lawang Cottages also known as 'Eco Lodge' (just across the river from main village at the base of the hill and where the walking tracks start) is a good option.

6. Wisma Bukit Lawang Indah is across the river next door to Yusman which is next door to Wisma Sibayak. Cheap rooms with a double and single bed .These three are all budget places and pleasant enough to stay in. Bukit Lawang Indah has excellent cheap food.

7. Sam's, next door to Jungle Inn and nearby Jungle Tribe currently 'a bar and restaurant', but with 3 rooms planned for the future.

8. Hostel Indra Inn, directly at the river at your left hand side when you walk to the orangutan centre. Authentic rooms and 3 new rooms that were completed on the end of March 2007. Good healthy food for reasonable prices.

Sources :
[1] and [3] Yasir Amri, Tangkahan, The Hidden Paradise
[2] Ecotourism History of Tangkahan (Sejarah Kawasan Ekowisata Tangkahan), Gunung Leuser National Park-World Heritage Site
[4] Gunung Leuser National Park , Wiki Travel, download: 13 April 2009
[5] Gunung Leuser national Park, World Wildlife Adventure, download: 13 April 2009
[6] Ronna Saab, Berwisata Sambil Melestarikan Leuser, Sabhawana

Related posts:
1. 7 Facts of Global Ecotourism Could Boost Indonesia Ecotourism
2. Indonesia Ecotourism 1# : Bromo-Tengger-Semeru

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