Friday, May 29, 2015

Tanjung Puting – cruising the rivers of Borneo


One of the driving factors behind my visit to Indonesia was the desire to take a trip by klotok, a houseboat where we would eat, sleep, and live, with a captain, guide, crew, and cook, up the Sekonyer river through the jungles of Borneo.

I have always wanted to see exotic places, the wilder the better, and the jungles of Borneo seemed about as exotic and wild as I could think of.

We flew to Pangkalan Bun, and were taken to Kumai, where we boarded the Kunang Kunang, which means Fireflies (I thought she said French fries! said Emily, hahaha).

Most of the klotok on the river are newer than the Kunang Kunang, but our boat is made of expensive, sturdy ironwood, and she is beautiful.

We spend most of the day cruising along the river. The klotok is well-equipped with a deck with wooden chairs, a shady area with mattresses, bean bag chairs, and hammock, a dining area, and an open-air washroom.

The crew spend most of the time below deck, where there is a library, a space for the captain, and a kitchen, where the cook makes us assorted dishes three times a day, on top of fried bananas, drinks, tea, and coffee for snacks in between.

When Louis Leakey’s three famous students set off to study the great apes, Jane Goodall headed to Africa to study chimpanzees, Diane Fossey made a name for herself studying the gorillas in Africa, and Canadian Biruté Galdikas came to Borneo to study orangutans.

The main draw of these klotok tours is to visit the orangutan feeding stations when the rangers call to them and leave out fruit.

The orangutans are semi-wild, most having been rescued, rehabilitated, and released as part of Professor Galdikas’ efforts.

We visit Tanjung Harapan the first afternoon, Pondok Tanggui in the morning on the second day, and arrive at Camp Leakey later that afternoon before beginning our journey back to Kumai on the third day.

The journey to Camp Leakey takes an hour and a half by speedboat, but the journey by klotok is way cooler.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Tanjung Puting – cruising the rivers of Borneo
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