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Tangkahan elephant sanctuary in the heart of Mount Leuser national park takes travelers to experience jungle trekking, elephant bathing, and river tubing..

Gunung Leuser National Park boasts a hidden paradise in an area called Tangkahan. Around four hours of ride on bumpy roads from Medan City and through rubber plantations, Tangkahan elephant sanctuary boasts rich biodiversity, beautiful scenic views, and fresh air. From trekking to wildlife spotting and even river tubing, Tangkahan will get you closer to nature.

Tangkahan jungle adventures allow you to experience several highlights, such as:

Tangkahan Elephant Sanctuary

Elephants in Tangkahan are trained to stray the wild ones from nearby plantations and settlements. The mahouts also train the elephants for a “forest patrol”, which involves about seven elephants in one trip. Afterward, they will take the elephants to the river for some bath and water play.

tangkahan elephant sanctuary
join in bathing the elephants in the cooling river

During your trip at Tangkahan, you are invited to join the mahouts for forest patrol with these well-trained elephants. Afterward, join in bathing the elephants in the cooling river. Continue with river tubing down to the accommodation.

River Tubing

Tangkahan has two main rivers that run through dense rainforests : Buluh and Batang. During the dry season, they boast clear water and gentle rapid. You can see cottage and restaurant buildings near some parts of the rivers.

river tubing at Tangkahan

Tubing is a recommended activity in Tangkahan tour. You can sit on large floating tubes and enjoy the ambling trip on the current. The total duration for the tubing trip is between 30 and 60 minutes. River tubing is available all year round, unless a heavy rain happens and increases the water debit to the dangerous level.

Jungle Trekking

Tangkahan rainforest is dense and beautiful, with trekking paths that extend past various animal habitats. During the forest exploration, you can see animals such as gibbons, Thomas leaf monkeys, and argus birds. You will probably see snakes or lizards between the bushes and foliage.

Most orangutans in Tangkahan are wild, you can spot the glimpses of their shapes or faces between the trees.

You can experience more orangutan adventures by combining Tangkahan elephant sanctuary with a tour to Bahorok. This ecotourism area not only offers forest trekking and orangutan watching, but also cave exploration and rafting. Bahorok is just a two to three-hour drive from Tangkahan, using a 4×4 jeep.


Tangkahan offers many beautiful things to witness. You can stay in a local homestay or for a more upscale option, try Terrario Resort, which consists of three villa bedrooms with complete facilities. The minimum stay in this resort is two days, but you will experience the perfect blend of adventure and comfort.

The tour activities in Tangkahan, start with jungle trekking before heading to the elephant training center. After bathing the elephants in the river, you can continue the trip with river tubing. Fortunately, Adventure Indonesia provides the best services for organizing a Tangkahan tour. With the combination of wildlife, thrilling activities, and modern comfort, Tangkahan Elephant Sanctuary is truly a hidden gem in North Sumatra.

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