Aek Nauli is a protected forest area and eco-tourism park located 10.5 km (6.5 mi) north of Parapat, Simalungun. It provides camping grounds as well as light to medium trekking paths across the jungle. Situated right across the Aek Nauli Foresty Research Center, the park covers a total area of 19 square kilometers (7.3 sq mi). To see it on the map, click here.
Aek Nauli offers a unique trekking experience. The trekkers will reach Lake Toba (east shore) after spending 1 hour of medium trekking (up to 2 hours on a lighter path) from the park gate. Its camping and outbound training areas are quiet except for the sound of waterfalls and singing birds. Further, there is a passing lane to see the birds, the honey bee cultivation, and the tapping of incense sap and pine resin. Visitors can practice tapping on some trees.
There is more. This area is home to the world’s largest and oldest pine trees (pine merkusii). Some of them have trunk diameters of 1.5 meters (5 ft) and ages of up to 200 years.
What to Enjoy
Here are some of the things you can enjoy at Aek Nauli:
- Trekking: Aek Nauli offers a variety of trekking trails for all levels of experience. You can trek to waterfalls, rivers, caves, and viewpoints.
- Elephant watching: Aek Nauli is home to a population of Sumatran elephants. You can see elephants in the wild on a guided trekking tour.
- Caving: Aek Nauli has a number of caves that you can explore. The caves are home to bats, spiders, and other cave-dwelling creatures.
- Swimming: You can swim in the waterfalls and rivers in Aek Nauli. The water is cool and refreshing.
- Camping: Aek Nauli has a number of campsites where you can stay overnight. Camping is a great way to experience the beauty and tranquility of the area.
What to Expect
Roads, trekking trails and camping grounds are wet and may not be comfortable when it rains. It can dry out and return to normal within two hours of rain.
Entrance fee is Rp 1,500 ($0.13) per person and Rp 150,000 ($13.00) per car.
Here are some specific tips for each activity you may want to enjoy at Aek Nauli:
- Start with a short hike to get a feel for the terrain and the level of difficulty.
- Wear sturdy shoes with good traction.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks.
- Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for wildlife.
- Go on a guided tour with a reputable company.
- Be patient and quiet. Elephants are wild animals and may not always be visible.
- Do not feed or disturb the elephants.
- Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.
- Bring a flashlight or headlamp.
- Be aware of the dangers of cave exploration, such as falling rocks and slippery surfaces.
- Be aware of the current and depth of the water.
- Do not swim alone.
- Be aware of the risks of swimming in natural bodies of water, such as parasites and bacteria.
- Bring a tent, sleeping bag, and other camping gear.
- Be aware of the weather forecast and pack accordingly.
- Leave no trace of your presence.
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