DISCOVER KALIMANTAN " Full of surprise"

DISCOVER KALIMANTAN " Full of surprise"

Day 1. Balikpapan – Samarinda – Mahakam river*
Arrival at airport of Balikpapan, you will be met by your guide and transferred by car to the small town of Loa Janan on the banks of the Mahakam river. Here you will board your houseboat that will function as your hotel and restaurant during the next 6 days. The boat consists of two floors: below is a closed space surrounded by windows that can be opened and is used for eating and relaxing. There is a small open deck on which chairs are placed. Upstairs is a large air-conditioned room that can hold around 10 people. Comfortable mattresses are placed on the floor and not on beds because the ceiling is, in accordance with typical Kalimantan riverboats quite low around 1,80 meter. There is a western toilet and shower on this floor and an Indonesian style toilet on the lower floor.

The Mahakam river is one of the longest rivers in Kalimantan. It finds its way through the lands of several Dayak-tribes, known for their mystical practices, their silent stalking through the deepest darkest jungle, their longhouses and their appearance with long earlobes and heavily tattooed wrist and ankles. Although quite modern these days still a lot of the old mystic can be traced and some of the older men and women still keep their long earlobes and their tattoos. The smaller children are still carried in often beautiful decorated typical baby carriers to the fields and forests.

Near its estuary the Mahakam is quite broad but it gets smaller and smaller the more inland you travel. The first part of the river, near Samarinda and Tenggarong, is the main highway. Relatively small tug boats pull enormous barges full of coal and wood down river to Samarinda, and there is a lot of boat traffic with passengers traveling down and up streams. Once you are ‘out of town’, the scenery changes and becomes more rural. Small villages with lots of activity taking place at the riverbank, including people fishing in canoes, women beating clothes on river stones and once in a while a floating toilet that passes the boat.

* Itinerary of Mahakam river adventure depends on the water level of the Mahakam.

Day 2. Muara Muntai, Tanjung Isuy, Mancong
In the morning you will arrive in the town of Muara Muntai. This is one of the many towns built on the river with the ‘main road’ full of boats of all shapes and sizes zipping up and down transporting people as well as animals, wood, engines and virtually anything that can fit on a boat. A large part is built on stilts and the smaller roads are made of wood.

Shortly after Muara Muntai you will get in a small motorized canoe with loud engines and cross the Jempang Lake. This lake is one of the biggest lakes in the Mahakam area, which supports around 32 bigger and smaller lakes. Its sizes very much depends on the water level of the Mahakam. The bigger lakes and wetlands are the home of the rare and threatened Irrawady dolphin.

You will find the first part of the Jempang lake stark and quite lifelessness. But in no time, you will enter a totally new environment of green lush everglade-type wetlands. Entering the Ohong Creek you will find yourself surrounded by much higher and dense vegetation and will have the opportunity to spot some wildlife like birds and the proboscis monkey with their funny nose. In Mancong you will visit a nice renovated and decorated longhouse. In the afternoon you will travel down streams by canoe to the village of Tanjung Isuy. You will be greeted by the villagers (Dayak Benuaq tribe) with a dance performance. Afterwards you will continue to the houseboat for your diner and overnight.

Day 3 & 4. Tering, Long Iram, Datah Bilang, Rukun Damai
During two days you will be cruising further upstream. Not to far from Muara Muntai you will enter the Bolongan-river. The Irrawady dolphin is constantly monitored here and therefore the location of the animals is known precisely. With this information the chance of seeing a dolphin is rather considerable.

Returning to the Mahakam-river you will find the river getting narrower and village life from both banks are well visible. You will pass and stop at typical Dayak villages. Both Datah Bilang and Rukun Damai are villages that belong to the Dayak Kenyah-tribes. You will reach them by local motorized canoe and will spent one night at a local house. You will experience and observe the life of Dayak people and have a look at their longhouses or communal houses.

Day 5. Rukun Damai, Data Bilang, Long Iram, Tenggarong
You will be cruising down streams, back in the direction of Samarinda. You will leave the boat at the village of Tering and will visit an old longhouse of Eheng by car. You will witness a traditional dance performance. Afterwards you continue to the Ombau Asa waterfall and have a swim in a refreshing pool at the base of the waterfall. In Melak you will board the houseboat again and continuing traveling towards Tenggarong.

Day 6. Tenggarong – Loa Janan – Balikpapan
In the morning you will arrive at Tenggarong, de centre of the former powerful Kutai-sultanate. You will visit the Mulawarman museum and have a look at the impressive collection of heirlooms, ceramics, Dayak art’s and culture items. Tenggarong is the place where you Mahakam-trip will come to an end. You will be transferred by car to Balikpapan and check-in at your comfortable hotel.

Day 7. Balikpapan – Banjarmasin, river tour
You will be driven to the airport of Balikpapan from where you take a domestic flight to Banjarmasin.

From the airport of Banjarmasin you will be picked-up and transferred to your comfortable hotel in center of town. Banjarmasin is the capital of South-Kalimantan and is situated at the delta of the Barito-river. The numerous rivers and canals that flow through the city are an unique characteristic of Banjarmasin. Daily life of its inhabitants involves along these waterways. Every family has its own canoe. In the afternoon you will travel by small boat on the Martapura River that flows through the backyard of many houses. It allows an unique view of daily life of Banjarmasins inhabitants.

Day 8. Floating market – home industry – sasirangan
Early in the morning you walk to the Barito River, were you board a small-motorized canoe and cruise to the floating market in the delta of this river. Jukung (local canoes) are loaded with all sorts of products: fruit, rotan, rice, clothes and vegetables. There are also several salesmen and women who specialize in selling tea, coffee and different kinds of cakes. Here you can park your boat and relax while drinking and eating snacks. If the sun is too bright or if its raining the big round Banjarnese hats, made of palm leaves, are used as protection. After lunch you will make a short trip by car to see the process of batik sasirangan. Batik sasirangan is a local procedure of decorating textile. Nearby you will be offered a great traditional Banjarnese meal at local people’s home. In the afternoon there is still some time to visit some old Banjar houses as well as a museum and the biggest mosque of Banjarmasin, Mesjid Raya Sabilal Muhtadin.

Day 9. Diamond mining
In the morning you will leave by car in the direction of the small town of Cempaka, north of Banjarmasin. Nearby is the village of Pumpung where diamonds are found using traditional methods. Work starts with digging a deep small shaft. Depending on the structure of the soil, this shaft can reach depths of 30 meters. At the bottom men fill rotan baskets with earth. These baskets are taken to the surface where the soil is washed and checked for diamonds or other precious stones. As the precise location of the mining changes once in a while you probably need to walk short distance to reach the mines.

After the diamond mining you will drive by car to the town of Martapura to see the traditional polishing process. You will also visit the colorful market. On the way back to Banjarmasin you can stop at a small local museum.

Day 10. Banjarmasin – Pangkalanbun – Tanjung Puting
You will leave Banjarmasin and fly in around 1,5 hour to Pangkalanbun in Central Kalimantan. Here you will be picked-up from the airport and driven to the town of Kumai were you will board your klotok (motorized boat) that will serve as your hotel and restaurant for the next several days.

National Park Tanjung Puting is covered by a complex mosaic of lowland habitats, like nipa palms, mangrove forests, tropical rainforest and lakes. This amazing mosaic is home to a diverse fauna and flora. There is a relatively high population of primates. However Tanjung Puting is foremost known for its orangutan center. These big red apes that once lived in captivity are taught how to live in their natural environment again.

By small boat you will travel on narrow black-water rivers with lush vegetation. You will spend the night and will eat on board and will make walks in the forest in search of wild orangutans. In the mornings and late afternoons it is relatively easy to spot the funny nose-monkeys. The male of this primate species has a big red pickle-like nose.

Today you will travel 2-3 hours until Tanggui, the first orangutan center on your way. Your crew will find a quiet and save spot to spend the night.

Overnight on board

It is a unique opportunity to sleep amongst the rich fauna and flora of the Tanjung Puting Park. The boats that are used for this trip consist of a closed deck as well as an open deck. There are mattresses and mosquito nets, a simple toilet and you can rinse yourself with water. A cook will join you and will provide you with tasty meals. The boat offers enough space for 4-6 persons.

With additional costs it is also possible to spend the night at a comfortable hotel located in the heart of the national park.

Day 11 Tanjung Puting
You will wake up surrounded by the many sounds of the forest. After breakfast you will cruise to the main orangutan center, Camp Leakey. Here you will make a walk through the forest guided by local rangers. If you are lucky you will see wild orangutans (depending on the availability of fruits). In the afternoon you will travel by boat upstream in search of more primates and other animals.

Day 12 Tanjung Puting – Kumai
In the morning there will be some time left to make a short trekking in a different part of the forest, before heading back to Kumai where you will arrive in the early afternoon. This friendly town is dominated by Buginese (from Sulawesi) and Malayan people.

Day 13 Kumai – Pangkalanbun
You will be taken to Pangkalanbun from where you can fly to Banjarmasin or to Semarang on Java.