Tangkahan and Elephant Wash

Tiny, remote Tangkahan has developed a reputation as a place for elephant interaction, with some 10 elephants kept as part of a post-logging conservation program. It’s a long way to go to wash an elephant but fortunately there’s also jungle-trekking and river-tubing to tempt travelers wanting to escape the Bukit Lawang scene.


bukit lawang forest

Bukit Lawang


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.


Lembaga Pariwisata Tangkahan (LPT) is a local organization formed with the purpose to develop eco-tourism as a new form of lively hood and in this way prevent illegal logging.

All visitors to Tangkahan end up in the Visitor Center managed by CTO. They also control the eco-tourism, promote, receive bookings, coordinates, and arranges the elephant washing.

We do not recommend Elephant Riding activities.


tangkahan and elephant wash

Elephant wash in Tangkahan


In Tangkahan the elephants were given a new dual function: They directly help the rangers to patrol the forest of the national park against illegal logging. As an eco-tourism attraction they improve the livelihood of the local communities and in this way indirectly prevent illegal logging.

Here is what you can do in Tengkahan Village :

Wash the Sumatran elephants in the jungle!

Float down the clear river!

Go jungle trekking!

Soak yourself in hot springs

Or take a course in how to handle and care for elephants!


More details on our package here.

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