Articles 29 Apr 2024

Tangkahan Ecotourism: Nature Tourism and Elephant Conservation Education

Tangkahan Ecotourism is a small section of the Gunung Leuser National Park (GLNP) in North Sumatra. Located in Namo Sialang Village, Batang Serangan Subdistrict, Langkat District, this nature tourism destination and Sumatran elephant conservation site is well-known among international tourists. Let’s explore more about this ecotourism destination!

Definition of ecotourism

According to LindungiHutan web page, ecotourism is a form of tourism where nature is the primary destination for recreation. However, ecotourism is not just about enjoying nature in untouched or pristine areas. It also involves supporting conservation efforts and improving the economic livelihoods of local communities.

Tangkahan Ecotourism

There is an interesting story behind the establishment of Tangkahan Ecotourism in the GLNP. According to the Kualanamu KPPBC TMP B (Customs and Excise Office) site, the local communities used to log in to the Tangkahan rainforest area illegally Although they could earn Rp3,000,000 a week from these activities, the local communities were still poor financially because they needed more financial management skills.

This situation changed when in 2004, the local government introduced four elephants from Aceh to Tangkahan to start an elephant conservation program as an ecotourism destination. Since then, the lives of the local communities have gradually improved economically.

Beni Sitepu, a Tangkahan Conservation Response Unit (CRU) officer, also shared that conservation and ecotourism in Tangkahan have led many local residents to receive better education, with some even studying abroad for university. This story shows that the economic livelihoods of the local communities have improved collectively, not just for one or two individuals. These economic benefits are brought in by the local and international tourists who visit the elephant conservation site in Tangkahan.

Activities in Tangkahan

Basically, Tangkahan offers three main activities that you can do with the conserved elephants. These activities include elephant riding, elephant bathing, and elephant grazing.

Elephant riding is only possible under the supervision of a mahout (elephant handler) and following specific requirements, while elephant bathing lasts for about 1 hour in Buluh River. Meanwhile, elephant grazing takes about 3 hours as you will walk with the elephant handler through trekking trails in the GLNP to feed the elephants.

Apart from that, you can also engage in other interesting activities such as jungle trekking, enjoying waterfall massage at Gelugur Waterfall, river tubing on Buluh River, visiting Kalong Cave, taking pictures on Tangkahan Suspension Bridge, and camping.

All those activities are available by joining tours from travel agencies in Tangkahan. Therefore, the cost of each activity depends on the agency offering tour packages.

How to get to Tangkahan

To reach the Tangkahan Ecotourism site, you can take two land route options. The first option is to take the Damri bus from Kualanamu Airport to Pinang Baris Terminal, then continue with Pembangunan Semesta bus from Pinang Baris Terminal to Tangkahan. According to Wego Travel Blog, the bus fare is Rp25,000. The second option is to rent a car at a daily rate. The rental cost depends on the travel agency or company providing daily car rental services.

Before getting a flight ticket to Kualanamu Airport and touring to Tangkahan, do not forget to purchase Travel Insurance from MSIG Indonesia. You can get comprehensive protection for your vacations, business trips, and family travels with affordable premium.

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