Information on Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan, Sumatra


Im looking for information on how to visit Taman Nasional Bukit Barisan Selatan in Sumatra. Seems its not opened up to mammal watching yet. Any information would be great.




  • Antee

    I was offered tours in this park. It should be possible to do mammalwatching here.

    This was the contact I used:

  • Shaun Edmond

    Can’t comment on how accurate Lonely Planet is, but there seem to be a couple of useful tidbits of info on here. As for Sumatra itself, be aware that it’s not like much of SE Asia, you’ll either spend pennies for rustic standards or splurge and get western comforts, there doesn’t seem to be much of an in-between outside the cities.

    • JamieElusiveimages

      Hi Shaun. Yes I am finding that out. Especially seems the case for Way Kambas. Often with excursions in these type of places if you take the cheap option, they will tell you things like they see tigers all the time, take a short walk with a bunch of noisy tourists who aren’t really into it, then wonder why you never saw anything. So sometimes its best to splurge on privacy and knowledgable guides (although I don’t need a fancy place to stay afterwards). I can’t really find either for Bukit Barisan Selatan. Iv read there are good areas for potential sightings of Marbled Cat, Clouded Leopard and even Tiger, but local knowledge would obviously be vital if I was to find any of those.


      • Antee

        Hari, my excellent guide in Way Kambas had some fabulous photos of Clouded Leopard from Way Kambas taken on a birding trip.

        However, Marbled cat are more common here.

        I didn´t see either of them 🙂

        Way Kambas is good in the way that they have an Excellent guide who know this park like his pocket.

  • william boehm

    i would also agree with way kambas being an excellent choice. i have wanted to see the sumatran rhino breeding compound but understand its very difficult to get in. i am a retired wildlife biologist and researcher, but having visited the sad situation in Gunung leuser NP to the north several times, still wanted to visit the south. let me know if and when you go as i would like to join someone in a trip there. bill

  • David Bishop

    Jamie, as is the case with so many of Indonesia’s potential wonderful parks and reserves there is really very little detailed information about Sumatra Barisan Selatan NP. In recent times the re-discovery of the Sumatran Ground-Cuckoo has led to exploration of some rugged and very pristine forest under the guidance of some superb local guides. You can find their contact details and much more on Nick Brickles birding in Indonesia site. Similarly check out some of the bird trip reports such as by Birdquest which includes detail of what they see on what is a rugged camping trip. Undoubtedly Way Kambas is fabulous in no small measure thanks to Hari and a handful of other very dedicated rangers and the like. However, SBS NP would likely repay spotlihting along the two roads that bisetc the park, ranging from foothill to mid-altitude forest. As for going deeper into the forest then try and hook up with the guides who take the birders in. Also my good friend and colleague Pak Poli is a superb organiser and would be sure to be able to help you. If you can afford him he would be the ideal person to work through as he can arrange all the necessary permits etc.

  • tomeslice

    Nick Brickle would definitely be a good place to start.

    I also got in contact with WCS when I tried to find my way to Way Canguk, but didn’t pursue it much further because it seemed that they weren’t going to let me get permission to go there unless I was performing research. You can try to email Firdaus Affandi at
    It seems that may be on ground would be easier to arrange permits, but I wasn’t willing to take that risk for the lack of time.

    I think that the place where they rediscovered ground cuckoo is nice, but not as good as way canguk for mammals.
    Way Canguk, on the other hand, sounded like (from several people I corresponded with) it was an amazing place for all mammals. Well, rhino is questionable in the entire BBS ecosystem, but other than that – tigers are on the rise, tapirs are thriving there, my acquaintance has seen golden cat there before, as well as many other species including dhole, weasels, linsangs, and a pangolin. I would be delighted to hear what you find out.
    Also the road that leads to where you start your hike from is an excellent place for sumatran striped rabbit…

    It also sounds like if you manage to get there, your mammal watching results would be way better than at Way Kambas, at least for the time being – with Way Kamas’s operational challenges (noisy car / noisy and smoky boat / uninterested driver, etc..)

    • Antee

      Well, Way Kambas boat is not noisy and smoky anymore (new 4 stroke engine). The car isn´t more noisy than any other used when spotlighting around the world. Both the driver and ranger are doing their job very good. In other words… you don´t notice them and they will keep going until you say stop.

      No operational challenges whatsoever last summer.

      • tomeslice

        That’s great to hear!!!

        Maybe I’ll have to give that place another visit, now that it’s improved.
        Did you see any cool, special mammals when you were there? Do you have a report?
        I really love Sumatra, I think it has so much potential 🙂

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