Friday, December 30, 2016

Bobo and Chichi: Searching for Orangutans in the Borneo Jungle

Its not often you get to see endangered animals in the wild. Let alone witness them for four days straight while riding your own private boat through the jungles of Borneo. That’s just what we got to experience during our adventure in Borneo Jungle by boat.

This entire trip is all a special thanks to our friends Katy and Emil, who we met in Laos last year. The four of us instantly hit it off during our trip to Nong Khiaw and we ended up traveling together for the next week. The two of them did this exact experience last year and told us about it. They loved it so much they said they wanted to do it again, this time with us!

One of the most unexpected and one of our favorite parts about traveling long term would be the friends you meet along the way from all over the world. Meeting back up with them again somewhere else is even more exciting.

So thanks to our friends we were set up for four incredible days in the jungle. On their last trip they learned how to get the most of their experience starting with finding the best guide to take you on the boat with their crew which made our four days one of the most memorable travel experiences to date.

Our Guide

Our friends met Chris on their first trip. During one of the walks they were paired up with Chris and were impressed with his knowledge of the jungle as well as respect other jungle guides gave him. They couldn’t help but wonder how much better the trip was with Chris instead of their original guide, and decided to book this trip through Chris.

We couldn’t have had a better guide!

Chris is such a fascinating person. Having grown up part of his life in the middle of the jungle, he’s devoted his entire adulthood to sharing his home and teaching others about the jungle and the orangutans who live there. He made our trip complete, his company was one of the best highlights of our experience.

Chris would take us with a crew consisting of a captain, captain’s assistant, and a chef for the next 3 nights through the jungles of Borneo (Kalimantan) to watch the orangutans at the three different feeding stations as well as wild sightings in the jungle from our boat.

During our walks through the jungle he would stop and point out any interesting insects or plants that might interest us and explain what it was. There were a few occasions where he would find plants and tell us about the medicinal purpose and have us try it! I got to try a bitter plant that is said to help treat malaria.

From giving us jungle medicine, making Katy and I queens for day with crowns made of leaves and sticks, treating us after leeches attacked our feet, helping us with a magic eucalyptus oil for our itchy bug bites, and introducing us to the orangutans he knew by name, teaching us about every animal we saw in the wild, he was the best damn jungle guide we could have had and wouldn’t go back again without him!

I seriously could write a whole book about how awesome Chris is. A few small paragraphs just isn’t enough. Seriously, this is the guy that Nat Geo calls when they need a jungle guide to take their photographers to spot wild animals. If Chris had a resume to hand out, it would be freaking impressive.

Life on the Boat

We set off for three nights on a klotok, our wooden boat, where we would be cruising through Tanjung Puting National Park and the Sekonyer River to three different orangutan feeding stations and any stops for sightseeing we wanted to make along the way. We loved sitting at the front of the boat and looking for any animals in the wild. From looking high in the trees for proboscis, macaques, gibbons, and orangutans to looking in the water for vicious crocodiles. We would get a lucky treat of seeing a giant hornbill from time to time as well.

Some of our favorite times of this trip were spent on the boat just cruising down the beautiful river, bonding with our guide, and looking for wild animals.

We would sleep on a mattress with a bug net on the top floor of our wooden vessel each night hoping a huntsman spider didn’t join us at some point in the middle of the night. We went to bed when the sun went down and woke up each day when the sun came up.