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.
The Elephant Conservation Center in the Aek Nauli Special Purpose Forest Area, Simalungun Regency, is now an alternative destination for tourists who want to go to the Lake Toba area. The elephant conservation center itself promotes educational tours, where each visitor will be informed about various information about elephant conservation. In addition, at this location visitors can see and interact directly with elephants accompanied by mahouts or elephant handlers.
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
There are many locations to enjoy at the park, but try not to miss the trekking. Four climbs are quite sharp, but the rest should be easy. Even if it rains, the terrain is not quickly muddy.
Once you have reached the shore, there are two ways to go back. First, you may go down from the same road. Second, take a detour, but your exit won’t be from the forest gate.
Also, enjoy the waterfall. Not far from the waterfall you will find rivers that look reddish as the water is rusty yet not smelly. The water color is red because its pH level is quite high. Uniquely enough, it does not taste sour.
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.
What Visitors Say
“It’s great to see the beauty of nature.” Simson Swelian (Source)
“There is no elephant riding for visitors, only the mahout (handler) may ride on the elephant to guide the elephants. I also noticed that the mahout rides on the “neck” of the elephant, more towards the head than the elephant ride which usually rides on the elephant’s back. Mahout also gave directions to the elephant with a voice, as if whispering the elephant in his ear.” marischkaprudence (Source)
“Although Aek Nauli is a forest with a special purpose, visitors don’t have to worry about starvation. There is a simple food stall near the entrance.” avonturperjalanan (Source)
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