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World Heritage Site

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Tropical Rainforest Sumatra

Tropical Rainforest Sumatra

The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra is a mountainous landscape of exceptional beauty, which forests hold many endangered species including the endemic Sumatran orang-utan.

The site comprises three Indonesian national parks on the island of Sumatra. They are:

- Gunung Leuser National Park

- Kerinci Seblat National Park

- Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park

Map of Tropical Rainforest Sumatra


  • Natural

Community Reviews

Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang Indonesia 24-Oct-17

Tropical Rainforest Sumatra by Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang

I went to Mt. Kerinci as part of Kerinci Seblat National Park, as part of the series of rainforest and mountain range in Sumatra Island in Indonesia.

The location is quite far from the closest airport. It is 7-8 hrs drive from Minangkabau International Airport in Padang, West Sumatra.

If you are a hiker/mountaineer, it is definitely worth a visit (and hike).

Wojciech Fedoruk Poland 17-Oct-17

Tropical Rainforest Sumatra by Wojciech Fedoruk

Out of all three national parks composing this WHS, perhaps the easiest one to visit is Gunung Leuser on the border of Aceh and North Sumatra Province. Visitors center is in Bohorok, which is located around 3.5 hours by car from Medan airport (from the city of Medan it should take around 3 hours). There are no rental cars available in Medan airport so you either get a taxi or go to the city of Medan and rent a car there. I took a taxi and for a whole day I paid 1.2m INR (around 65-70 EUR). The road is very bad and leads through very populated areas, so drivers must be very careful.

I had only 4 hours to stay in Bohorok, so I had to arrange my visit quickly. It is not a problem at all as foreign visitors (quite many for this part of Indonesia) are immediately surrounded by guides. I was offered with 3-hour trekking which costs 35 EUR per person, 3 people minimum. We agreed for 50 EUR for just me, park fee included.

Of course I desired to see the main attraction of Gunung Leuser – Sumatran orangutans, but the guide realistically told me that the chances to see them during 3-hour trekking are not higher than 30%. Usually people stay there at least overnight or for a couple of days to maximize the chance to see these apes. The park offers long trekkings with a few nights in the jungle, so the participants may see not only orangutans, but also elephants or even Sumatran rhinoceros.

We went for a quite demanding trekking, with lots of climbs and slippery descends. After around 2 hours we saw no apes, all remaining groups passed by were unlucky as well. We were about to go back when my guide saw something brown on the top of distant tree. He started imitating orangutan sounds and crackling a pack of nuts, which he prepared before as a hook. After a while one big female orangutan came to us, followed by her about 2-year-old baby. Although they are undisputedly wild animals, they are quite familiar with tourists, so feeding them was not a problem. There is a rule that you cannot feed the baby if his mother is not eating – it ended with severe beating of the baby and taking away nuts by the mom.

We spent with orangutans about 30 minutes in total privacy, so the experience was unforgettable. Based on what I was told by other tourists, it cannot be compared with observing orangutans in Malaysian Borneo, where there are many tourists and few orangutans.

It should be noted that previously it was possible to see the orangutans in Bohorok Rehabilitation Center, without going to the jungle, but now the place is closed.

John booth New Zealand 29-Jun-13

Tropical Rainforest Sumatra by John Booth

Despite external forces of corruption there are still people in Sumatra that are dedicated to halting further encroachment by farmers, loggers and poachers on the remaining areas of tropical rainforest.

I met rangers in the Gunung Leuser National Park who care for the burgeoning number of orang-utans in their care. This notwithstanding that the forest can no longer sustain the numbers now there, requiring the rangers to supplement their food supply.

In the Kerinci Seblat National Park there are similar individuals trying to protect the remaining wildlife and flora, all the time having the forest encroached on by farmers, hunters and loggers.

I visited these two National Parks as part of a tour of Sumatra that also took in visits to Berestagi, Lake Toba, Bukittinggi and Padang.

Anthony Sun, USA 17-Dec-08

This WHS is spread out all over Sumatra. All jungle national parks look the same to me and so to find a reason to check this WHS off your list is to get to Medan in North Sumatra and visit the Bohorok Orangutan rehabilitation center, a two hour drive from Medan. Orangutan babies are collected illegally by killing their mothers. They are then sold as pets. The problem is that when the Orangutans grow up and become unmanageable, they are abandoned. The rehab center is to save these animals and train them to survive in the wild with some supplemental milk and food. Orangutan rehab centers exist also in Borneo but this site is more primitive and so much more natural then others I have visited. I visited this site in August 1994 and also nearby Lake Toba and the native villages around the lake.

Bohorok is part of Gunung Leuser National Park.

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Community Rating

Community Rating 4.50. Based on 1 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra

Unesco ID: 1167

Inscribed: 2004 In Danger

Type: Natural

Criteria: 7   9   10  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2011 - In Danger four proposed roads, ongoing encroachment, poaching and illegal logging
  • 2004 - Inscribed 


The site has 3 locations.

  • Tropical Rainforest Sumatra: Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park
  • Tropical Rainforest Sumatra: Gunung Leuser National Park
  • Tropical Rainforest Sumatra: Kerinci Seblat National Park


The site has 26 connections.



  • Tiger habitat
  • Rainforests
  • Critically endangered fauna species: Sumatran orangutan - "A survey in 2004 estimated that around 7,300 Sumatran orangutans still live in the wild" (wiki), "There are believed to be around 6,600 individuals surviving in just ten fragmented habitat units." (see link) Link
  • Elephants: Asian Elephant (Sumatran elephant)
  • Rhino habitat: Sumatran rhinoceros at GNLP (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Peat: "the site contains significant and important natural habitats, ranging from coastal, lowland, hill, sub-montane, peat swamp, ......." (Nom File)
  • Otters: smooth-coated otter (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Turtles and tortoises: leatherback turtle, green turtle, spiny terrapin, Malayan giant turtle and Malayan flatshelled turtle
  • Strepsirrhini: slow loris
  • Tapirs: Malayan tapir



  • Palaeolithic and Mesolithic: Tiangko Panjang Cave - Records of life have been discovered in Tiangko Panjang cave within KSNP area., dating up to 10,000 years ago (AB ev)

Human Activity

  • Coffee: Bukit Barisan Selatan NP. "The park has recently lost 20% of its forests to illegal agriculture .... WWF found that more than 450 km? of park land is being used for growing coffee, and the organisation is now working with multinational coffee companies (including Nestle) to help them avoid buying illegally grown coffee.

Individual People

  • Sir Stamford Raffles: The Rafflesia Arnoldii produces the largest individual flower on Earth. Its range is limited to the rain forests of Sumatra and Borneo. Wiki states it to be "rare and fairly hard to locate" and "how many of these plants still survive is unknown" The species was "discovered" in 1818 by a botanical expedition in West Sumatra (not within the inscribed area) led by a Thomas Arnold who was lead botanist for the East India company - Raffles was present on the expedition in his then role of Governor-General of Bencoolen on Sumatra. The name given honoured both the finder and his patron. Its presence within the nominated parks is highlighted in the justification under Criteria x.  Link


  • Cryptozoology: Orang Pendek (sightings in Kerinci Seblat National Park). "Consensus among witnesses is that the animal is a ground-dwelling, bipedal primate that is covered in short fur and stands between 80 centimetres (31 in) and 150 centimetres (59 in) tall." (Wiki)
  • Total Solar Eclipse since Inscription: 8/9 March, 2016

World Heritage Process