Orang Utans- Pangkalan Bun, Central Borneo (or Kalimantan Tengah)
This was one of the most amazing trips I have ever taken! Not only because it was a girls trip with good friends, but because of the magnificent encounter we had with one of the most beautiful creatures on this planet: the orangutans. Based on research and recommendation from others, we chose Tanjung Puting National Park as our destination. It is located on the river of Sekonyer, in the southeast part of the province of Central Borneo. This park is the base of one of the largest and most famous rehabilitation centre, Camp Leakey.
Ports and Public Transportation:
Iskandar Airport, Pangkalan Bun (about 45-60 minutes direct flight from Jakarta)
Taxi to Port:
You take a 20-minute taxi ride to the port in Kumai, where you will get on a rented KLOTOK (wooden river boat) for your river journey into the Borneo rainforest.
The journey from port of Kumai to Rimba Ecolodge on the klotok takes about 1.5- 2 hours. An amazing journey through the Borneo rainforests.
Recommended Hotels and Tours:
One alternative is to stay at Rimba Ecolodge, and hire the hotel’s “klotok” to visit the orangutan camps. The hotel is located on the Sekonyer river, on the edge of Tanjung Puting National Park.
This 90% solar-powered lodge is in the middle of the rainforest and very often you hear the early morning birdsong from your room, as well as the resident Macaque monkey troop wandering around on your roof. A truly unique experience!
Another alternative is to hire and sleep on the klotok during the entire stay. Although quite basic, they are nice, clean, comfortable and equipped with a kitchen for staff to cook meals for you all day. The klotok will remain in the Tanjung Puting National Park area during the evenings, therefore you will be sleeping in the middle of the Borneo jungle surrounded by orangutans, monkeys, fireflies, and crocodiles!
The following are those who offer complete stay and tours on their klotoks:
Orangutan Tours, Perama Tour, Borneo Holidays, Jenie Subaru, Amazing Borneo.
Most of the tour packages include: klotok transportation from the port in Kumai to hotel; hotel or klotok stay; journey to the camps; three meals a day; entrance tickets to camps plus donations; and the return journey back to port in Kumai. What you might need to add and pay at the end of your stay is the tip for the staff, including those for the tour guides, and the captain and his staff.
Packages range from 2 days/1 night to 5 days/4 nights.
What you should wear:
Very comfortable and this clothes (cotton) and shoes (trainers). You might want to wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers because as you can imagine what kind of insects and mosquitos and how many are living in the jungle and rainforest. I also recommend that you bring a thin raincoat, a change of clothes and a towel just in case you get caught in the rain. And bring lots of mosquito repellents!
Tanjung Puting National Park was established in 1982. It is made up of over 415,000 hectares of dryland dipterocarp forest, peat swamp forest, heath forest, and mangrove and coastal beach. The park is home to orangutans, proboscis monkeys, gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, wild boars, porcupines and sambar deer. It is also home to a variety of reptiles such as crocodiles, lizards, and pythons, as well as birds and insects. Today, the park is a popular ecotourism destination.
Two of the most famous and oldest research centres for orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park are: Camp Leakey and Pondok Tanggui. The tour companies will schedule your visit to any of these camps depending on each individual camp’s feeding times, which is normally twice a day.
All meals are inclusive in the orangutan tour packages, provided by the hotel or the wooden river boat operators.
If, and when you decide to visit Indonesia, I strongly recommend you take at least two full days to visit the rainforests and see the orangutan camps in Borneo. It is just a one hour flight from Jakarta. I promise you an experience that you will never forget!