Tangkahan Travel Guide – Tangkahan is combinations of vegetation and topography makes it a marvelous tourist spot rarely found elsewhere. The Batang Serangan and Buluh rivers, converging exactly in this zone, are typical of rainforest streams, with diverse varieties of vegetation and colorful rocks and Sumatra Elephants on their banks. The clear, bluish green river water againts the panoramic view creates a mystical atmosphere.
Tangkahan is sometimes mentioned as the HIDDEN PARADISE IN SUMATRA. It is definitely hidden and for many a paradise. It is the perfect place to get off the beaten track, but still have access to nice food and comfortable bungalows. Tangkahan is an interesting place in many ways. Interesting for what it has to offer and an interesting background. The elephants, the jungle, and the clean rivers are obvious attractions.
What makes Tangkahan different is that it is a good example on how community based eco-tourism can stop illegal logging, improve livelihood, and develop a sense of pride amongst the locals. This development on the border of Leuser National Park where the bigger river Batang Serangan meets the smaller river Sungai Musam is the hidden paradise of Tangkahan.
Tangkahan Travel Guide – How To Get To Tangkahan
Buses heading to Tangkahan depart from the Pinang Baris bus station. Unfortunately, many tourists experience problems with this station. There are “guides” there that will give incorrect information and overcharge. Forewarned is forearmed! Look for the bus that clearly says Tangkahan on the front. There have been occasions where tourists have been sent to Bukit Lawang instead! Don’t pay to anyone except the driver, and only pay once you’re on the way or you arrive in Tangkahan. There will be people trying to tell you that you can’t get on the bus until you pay them – this is incorrect. It should cost around 50,000 per person (including your luggage).
To get to Tangkahan from the city of Medan, you can take a bus from the Pinang Baris bus station. There are two buses scheduled a day, one leaving at 10 am and the other at 1 pm. Don’t expect any luxury during this bus trip and simply try to enjoy the adventure. In the bus, you will be packed in between the local villagers, school kids, bags of rice and even chickens. The bus ride takes around 5 hours but not to worry, the bus does get emptier on the way and in the meantime, you can enjoy the surroundings. Arriving at this little peaceful village in the middle of the jungle is truly rewarding and worth the effort. Welcome to Tangkahan! (source : www.discoveryourindonesia.com)
Perched on the edge of the Gunung Leuser National Park, Tangkahan is a reasonably short drive from Medan. Unless you get stuck in traffic, it should take you three to four hours.
Three quarters of the trip follows good roads. But for the last stretch, you’ll be crawling along bumpy dirt roads that cut through palm oil plantations. If there has been a lot of rain, the last leg of your journey will be a tad slow.
From Medan To Tangkahan
There are no fancy tourist buses heading this way. Don’t expect air conditioning and bear in mind that smoking is allowed inside the bus. The journey may be slow with lots of stops and can be rather noisy and bumpy.
The bus ride should cost Rp. 25.000, but to get this price you have to be alert. Don’t let yourself get tricked into buying a ticket from some random person approaching you at the bus station. You can just pay for your ticket in the bus, directly to the bus driver. For those who are not on a tight backpackers budget, you can also opt to rent a private car and driver with air-conditioning.
If you are heading to Tangkahan by bus from the airport, you’ll need to first jump on a bus to the Pinang Baris bus station in Medan city. It’s about a one hour trip, depending on traffic. At around 40,000 IDR per person, these buses are fancy, with air conditioning and sometimes even wifi!
From Bukit Lawang To Tangkahan
after breakfast, traverse bumpy roads to reach the small jungle community of tangkahan. you will be fetched by a local jeep for your off road trip to tangkahan (approximately 2h to 2 hours 30 minutes) passing through rubber plantations and with beautiful jungle and mountain landscapes at the horizon. arriving in tangkahan, you will cross over the batang river by local raft to the lodge inn.
Tangkahan Travel Guide – Where To Stay
Accommodation in Tangkahan is affordable and there’s plenty of it. All the guesthouses and lodges you’ll find here are great, with super-friendly staff and guides to make you feel right at home
However, bear in mind that you are in the jungle! There is no hot water (not that you’ll need it in the tropical heat!) and no air conditioning in any rooms. Most come with fans, which you’ll find are enough to keep you cool at night.
All rooms should have mosquito nets and western toilets, and the vast majority of guesthouses have their own restaurants.
Most of places to stay are across the bridge in the central village area. If you stop at the Visitor’s Centre and head down the path to the left, you’ll come to the bridge. There’s a small fee to cross.
Here, you can choose from several different accommodations. Some have rooms and restaurants with gorgeous river and jungle views. Prices generally range from 100,000-300,000IDR per night.
If you continue down the road past the central visitor’s centre area for a few minutes (towards the elephant CRU) you’ll come to a handful of other accommodations perched on the side of the river overlooking the jungle. You’re pretty spoiled for choice in Tangkahan, so take your pick!
Tangkahan Travel Guide – What To Eat
Don’t expect any fancy restaurants in the village of Tangkahan. The guesthouses serve simple food like a good local nasi goreng and fresh juices. Perfectly fine to keep your belly happy during your stay. Breakfast is usually included with your stay
Tangkahan Travel Guide – Things To Do
Though the village of Tangkahan is very small, there are lots of things to do. At the same time, it is an amazing place to relax, find peace of mind and connect with nature. The unspoiled rainforest that surrounds you, the sounds of nature and the beautiful river rushing through creates the most idyllic setting. Yet the tourism highlight ofTangkahan has become a popular tourist destination to see, wash and ride elephants. Most tourists come for a day-trip from Bukit Lawang. (source : www.discoveryourindonesia.com)
Visit the Elephant Camp
The elephant sanctuary in Tangkahan is the perfect place for eco-tourism. For me, just seeing the elephant up close was already an unforgettable experience. That was enough for me, but you can also wash them, feed them and go on an elephant jungle trek. Elephant jungle treks range from a short one-hour ride (Rp. 650.000) to a 4-day adventure (the longer ride takes you towards the village of Bukit Lawang).
On a trek the elephant caretakers will teach you everything there is to know about elephants. You will even learn to ride the elephant all by yourself. In addition to the trekking you can also wash the elephants. The elephant bathing sessions are held two times a day (from 8.30 am to 9.30 am and 3.30 pm to 4.30 pm). The price should be Rp. 100.000.
Though the chances of seeing orangutans in Tangkahan are much smaller than in Bukit Lawang, jungle trekking in this part of Gunung Leuser National Park is really nice! The rainforest is different here and you will see less tourists during your jungle trip.
River Tubing is also great fun! The river will lead you down to a waterfall where you can swim in the crystal clear, refreshing water. On the way you can admire the rainforest, the surroundings and the monkeys sitting high up on the tree tops. After my river adventure we walked back through the traditional village where I got to see a glimpse of local life. My guide climbed into a tree to get me a fresh young coconut and it was delicious!
Caving and Hot Springs in Tangkahan
The other two main activities to do around Tangkahan are caving (an adventurous 3-hour trekking through the jungle will lead you to the Kalong Cave, home to lots of fruit bats. It’s a fun trip, though it helps if you like bats) and a visit to the hot springs. The springs are by the river.The local guide will be happy to get you there. It is quite a unique experience to sit in hot water by the riverside in the jungle!
Tangkahan Travel Guide – Explore Rivers, Waterfalls and Hotsprings
Tangkahan village sits alongside two stunning rivers (sungai): Sungai Buluh and Sungai Batang. As such, there are numerous waterfalls to check out.
Unlike many busy tourist destinations in Indonesia, you will often have the waterfall to yourself, depending on the time of year and where you go.
Buluh is my top pick to explore and the best spot for swimming. Even in rainy season, it usually stays clear, whereas the Batang river can rise and become brown pretty quickly with a bit of rain.
As you head upstream in Sungai Buluh, the river becomes narrower and starts to run through gorgeous canyons. Although you can explore a little by yourself, I’d recommend asking one of the local guides to take you if you want to adventure any further.
The guides can show you Memory Waterfall and help you navigate upriver to a great spot for swimming, including a pretty lofty jumping spot up the canyon if you’re brave enough. This spot is total eye candy, with the emerald green river framed by pristine jungle.
If you’re not a strong swimmer, jump on board a ‘bun,’ or inflated tyre – your guide will swim you up river and you can tube back.
Within easy rich of accommodations and the visitors centre is the small waterfall – Air Terjun Garut – a great spot to take some shampoo and have the best shower of your life.
Further afield are Gelugur waterfall (unfortunately this had an epic land slide and isn’t good for swimming nowadays, but still worth checking out), and the smaller waterfall, Lau Buluh Kitik, with a fantastic swimming hole underneath – you’ll need guides to reach these.
Need a good soak after all that trekking? There are two natural hot springs in Tangkahan. One is right on the edge of the Buluh River, near most of the accommodations, the second can be reached via a 30-45-minute walk through some community land to the Batang River.
You can visit the smaller one without a guide but may need to ask for help locating it; it’s just a small, cave-like crevice across the river, you can squeeze yourself into the crack for a hot soak or sit just outside the opening for a more tepid mix. (source : www.wearesumatra.com)
Tangkahan Bat Cave
A few hours through the jungle will bring you to the bat cave. This is a labyrinthine cavern full of twist, turns, crevices and deep dark holes – but your guide could walk it in their sleep. They know the best way to lead you safely through.
You’ll see hundreds of tiny bats in their home environment, and if you’re lucky the odd frog and snake. Take the short way through at about 15 minutes if you’re nervous, or go a bit deeper for about a 30-40-minute trip.
Goat Cave – Gua Kambing
Unlike the bat cave, the goat cave isn’t a place for exploring. It is, however, an awesome place to spend the night. Trek for half a day to reach this stunning, shallow cave that lies behind a small waterfall, perfect for showering under.
It’s all set up for a bit of camping – the guides will prepare air beds complete with mini tents and cook you an amazing jungle dinner/breakfast.
Tangkahan Travel Guide – The Reliable Travel Agency
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Tangkahan Travel Guide
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