Gunung Leuser National Park
Gunung Leuser is a statistician’s and naturalists dreamland. Spanning the borders of Aceh and North Sumatra, the park can boast one of the largest and richest rainforests in the world. It is 2.6 million hectares in area and is usually equated to the size of Belgium for comparison. It contains within its borders lowland forests, alpine meadows, freshwater swamps, spectacular rift valleys and several volcanoes.
There are at least 130 different types of mammal here, including the tiger, elephant, rhinocheros and Orangutan, none of which can be found living together in the same habitat anywhere else in the world. It is also home to the Banded Leaf monkey, Silvered Leaf Monkey, Long-Tailed Macaque, Malayan Sun Bear, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Temminck's Golden Cat, Swamp Crocodile and the Clouded Leopard to name just a few. If mammals and reptiles don’t stir your juices, you can try spotting any one of the 325 species of bird that live here or the 10,000 types of plants including the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world and Amorphophallus, the tallest flower in the world. Different species of moss, wild flowers like Gentians, Primula's, Strawberry and herbs and wild orchid are visible here.
The park was first protected back in 1934 and then later, in 1980 made into a national park. However illegal logging of this precious natural habitat has meant that many of the animals, birds, flora and fauna are now decidedly under threat. This is certainly a case of ‘last chance to see’ unless we can put a stop to this destructive greed.
Access to the rainforest is usually from Bukit Lawang
, where treks
, rafting and elephant trekking can be arranged.