There are 7 trained elephants at Tangkahan which are available for jungle trekking though their primary role is to patrol and protect the National Park from illegal activities like animal poaching and illegal logging. These elephants were original troublesome elephants that were involved in destroying fields and houses in surrounding villages. Now they serve to protect not only the villages but other elephants in the wild.
When you arrive at Tangkahan you need to pay 2000Rp at the Visitors Centre to go down to the river. Then to cross the river it is 10,000Rp per person for 3 days, you can cross as many times as you like.
Tangkahan River Crossing
Buluh River 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 20,000Rp per person before you go to the elephant camp.
Elephant Washing in Tangkahan
There are various options for experience trekking in the jungle on the back of an elephant. There is a minimum of a 1 hour trek up to a 4 day trek through the Gunung Leuser National Park to Bukit Lawang.
Trekking to Bukit Lawang is possible and will take 4 days.
Just across from the Jungle Lodge is a small cave with a hot spring pouring hot water into the river. There is a large log tied up at the river bank which allows you to lay back and enjoy the mixture of the hot spring waters and cold water flowing down the river.
Just before the Buluh River meets the Batang River there is a small waterfall. You have to walk up a small creek about 100 meters to reach the waterfall. Great for sitting under to get a jungle massage!
There is also another larger waterfall about an hours trek up the Buluh River. Most of the way you need to walk in the river as there are no jungle trails and some sections you need to swim up river