Monday, March 23, 2015

Tanjung Puting National Park: Borneo, Indonesia


One of the last times we went to Indonesia, we took the opportunity to travel over to Kalimantan (north of Java) to visit Tanjung Puting National Park. First, here’s the flight path we took from Jakarta to Pangkalanbuun Iskandar.

I’ll reserve another post to talk about flying over to Kalimantan. It was an experience in itself that involved walking down a highway outside of Jakarta, getting a free taxi ride, and a tiny airplane. :)

Tanjung Puting National Park.

The park was originally designated as a game reserve in 1935. It wasn’t until 1982 when the national park was established and even since then it has had questionable protection mostly due to Palm Oil plantation in the surrounding lands (deforested areas).

Nonetheless, it does remain wild and natural. The park consists of over 1100 square miles of area including the rivers that weave their way through the park before flowing into the Java Sea.

Tanjung Puting is filled to the brim with wildlife, including multiple species of monkeys, gators, and a multitude of birds. It is most well known, however, for its Orangutans, made famous by a rehabilitation center at Camp Leakey.

The orangutans, displaced mostly by the palm oil expansion (through deforestation), are nursed back to health and taught how to function as wild Orangs, before they are gradually re-released into the wild.

When you go to visit Tanjung Puting, you need to have a hired guide. This guide typically includes a boat (the only real way to explore the park). There are a multitude of services online that offer tours of the park for varying lengths of time.

I must have spent weeks/months scouring through different tour services that sort of seemed sketchy or seemed really sketchy. After a multitude of emails back and forth with different options, I finally gave in and just booked with a company that would allow us to do a 2n/3d trip into the park. We were set to meet them at the airport and go from there.

Our boat was a traditional Indonesian boat similar to the boat we took in Flores to Komodo National Park, just a bit bigger. Our “area” was the top floor of the boat where there was a bed and mosquito net, a table with chairs, and some lounge chairs out on the deck.

The bathroom was a flush toilet on the first floor– where the contents are flushed to is another story and a another mystery for another day. We met our crew and spoke with the tour operator- a woman and her husband run the business. Our tour guide for the trip was a young guy, maybe 18. He showed us around helped us get comfortable.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Tanjung Puting National Park: Borneo, Indonesia
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