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. Click to enlargeTangkahan 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.
* Join the forest rangers on their elephants when they patrol the jungle!
* Float down the clear river!
* Go jungle trekking!
* Soak yourself in hot springs!
Click to enlargeLembaga 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. The idea was successful and illegal logging was effectively stopped in 2001. Indecon helped establish LPT and gave training in guiding, handicraft, etc.
Click to enlargeThe Community Response Unit (CRU) was formed by Fauna & Flora International and elephants were brought in to Tangkahan from Aceh. In some areas where humans and elephants often come in conflict over land use, elephants have been removed to a few “elephant schools”. One of these is in Saree, south of Banda Aceh. In Tangkahan the elephants were given a new dual function:
1. They directly help the rangers to patrol the forest of the national park against illegal logging.
2. As an eco-tourism attraction they improve the livelihood of the local communities and in this way indirectly prevent illegal logging.