This five-day trip will lead you deep into Kalimantan to explore the unearthly secrets and biodiversity of one of the world's last genuine wilderness destinations. This trip combines jungle treks, journeys to the internal on a lazy wooden houseboat. It stays with Dayak in their traditional longhouse to provide an in-depth insight at the fascinating traditions and proud cultural heritage of Indonesia's one of the unique tribes, Dayaks.
Dayak, also spelled as Dyak, are the non-Muslim native people of the Island of Borneo who traditionally lived along the banks of the larger rivers. The major subgroups of Dayak are the Kayan, which is famous as Bahau in Kalimantan, kenyah, and the Ngaju. These people mostly live in a traditional longhouse with more than a few hundred members. Most Dayak village's major occupation is shifting cultivation of hill rice. They also do fishing and hunting as subsidiary activities. In the past, the Dayak people practiced the ancient tradition of headhunting. After they converted to Islam or Christianity, headhunting was banned and eventually disappeared. Dayak people use some unique weapon for hunting and war in ancient times like the blowpipe (sipet), saber, lonjo (spear), shield (telawang), and spurs. Dayak people use tattoo that refers to their religion, social status in society, as well as the appreciation for a person. They have a belief that more tattoo they have, they will be lighter on their death. Still, they cannot make a tattoo as much as they like, as they must comply with customs rules. At present, Dayak people engage in agricultural activities like planting the rice field, planting bananas, or palm oil. Nowadays, the large destruction of Kalimantan's rainforest has been a huge threat to Dayak's tradition and livelihoods. Oil palm plantations – and the floods in the rainy season and choking brush fires in the dry season that have come with deforestation – are a continuing and increasing threat for Dayak communities who have been unable to oppose these schemes.
Kalimantan is the world's second-largest island whose three-fourths of the Island of Borneo is politically the part of Indonesia. The rest of the island falls in the Sabah and Sarawak states of Malaysia. The history of this island is almost that of India, and there is much evidence of the influence of Indian culture. There have been many inscriptions written in Sanskrit that date from the late 5th century. Buddha's statue has also been discovered here. In eastern Borneo, numbers of Buddhist and Hindu images dating back to the 7th to 11th century and the images showing Javanese influence have been found. The huge part of the population of Kalimantan is ethnic Malay and Muslim, who live mostly in coastal areas. However, it is also home to a significant minority of non-Muslim native peoples collectively called Dayak. One of the best places containing Kalimantan's biodiversity is Tanjung Puting National Park, with its area covering 416040 hectares of primary forest, peat swamps, mangroves, and coastal beach forest. The splendors of Kalimantan do not lie only inland, but also beyond its sea, which is full of countless fascinating beings and is perfect for diving, snorkeling, and underwater photography. So, whether you want to visit Borneo for trek adventure, encounter endangered wildlife in the wild, or witness the traditional life of the Dayak, Kalimantan won't ever disappoint you.
Kalimantan Rainforest wildlife
The Borneo rainforest is one of the oldest rainforests in the world with the age of more than 130million years and is more than 70million years older than the Amazon rainforest. Borneo has an abundance of biodiversity compared to many other areas. This rainforest is home to 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of trees, 221 species of mammals and 420 species of birds. Due to the mass deforestation, the Borneo rainforest is one of the very few remaining natural habitats for the endangered Bornean Orangutan. The forest is also an important shelter for endemic forest species like the Asian Elephant, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, the Bornean Clouded Leopard, and the Dayak Fruit Bat.
Climate in Kalimantan
Kalimantan has a tropical climate with a temperature ranging between 23-31 degrees Celsius on average. There is high annual precipitation on this island with a light rainy season from March to May and a more intense between November and January. However, the precipitation level is much lower than in other nearby parts of Indonesia.
Language in Kalimantan
In the four provinces of Kalimantan, there are 74 languages currently spoken. The official language is Indonesian, while the Banjar language serves as a lingua franca on most parts of the island except in West Kalimantan. At West Kalimantan, Malay is more common. Other major languages in Kalimantan are Dayal, and several dialects related to the Chinese Hakka and Minnan languages.
Highlights of Kalimantan
Orangutan and many other animals
The most incredible being that lives in the legendary jungles of Kalimantan is the Orangutan. These are one of the most intelligent primates and use a variety of sophisticated tools and are popular for their learning abilities. Borneo's Orangutans are quite larger than those of Sumatran and have a rounder face.
Besides Orangutan, the dense forest of Kalimantan also hosts much other incredible wildlife like the Proboscis Monkeys, Honey Bears, Long-tailed Macaques, Arowana Fish, Hornbill Birds, Kancil Deer, Wild Boars, and a whole lot more.
Fascinating Dayak and their traditional way of life
These native people of Borneo have some amazing traditions. The major subgroups of Dayak are the Kayan, which is famous as Bahau in Kalimantan, kenyah, and the Ngaju. These people mostly live in a traditional longhouse with more than a few hundred members.
Singkawang and the Festive Cap Go Meh Celebration
While the Dayak Culture is the main feature of Kalimantan, one can never overlook an amazing small city in West Kalimantan called Singkawang. This city dubbed as the City of the Thousand Chinese Temples has a different oriental atmosphere and contains hundreds of Chinese temples around almost every corner of town. From each Chinese New Year to Cap Goh Meh, or the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, this quiet city comes alive. For this event, Chinese from all over the region, including those from Singapore and Malaysia, flock to Singkawang to celebrate.
Underwater splendors of Derawan Islands
Kalimantan not only has wonders inland but also is one of the best diving destinations in the world. Derawan Islands, located just off the coast of Beru Regency in East Kalimantan, is the third-best dive destination in the world. This isolated island with soft white sandy beaches, waving palm trees, pristine seas that change color from green to deep blue also contains a great underwater life-like giant turtles, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs and barracudas, stingless jellyfish and even whales. Every diver dreams of diving in the waters of this island.
Cross Borneo Trek
Those who want to experience an authentic off-the-beaten-path trek experience, Kalimantan offers one of the world's finest, but mostly overlooked adventure travel routes. East and West of Kalimantan, divided by the Mueller Mountain range, also serves as the headwaters for The Mahakam River and Kapuas Rivers, two of the longest river in Indonesia. So, by heading up the Mahakam River, you can hike over the Mueller massif, and traveling down the Kapuas River, you can cross the world's third-largest island from one side to the other, forming a single Cross-Borneo Trek.
Get insight into the lifestyle of a unique traditional Dayak people
Roam the jungle and encounter various wildlife
Participate in a Hornbill Dancing Part and spend nights in a traditional Dayak longhouse
Sail through the rivers of Kalimantan on a wooden Klotok houseboat
- One night's basic accommodation in Dayak traditional longhouse, One night's camping in the jungle, Two night's accommodation on a houseboat in Tanjung Puting
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport pick up and drop off
- Tours and activities as per the itinerary
- Professional and licensed English-speaking guide
- All entrance fee, donations, and parking fees as per itinerary
- Public liability insurance
- 11% local government tax and 10% service charge
- Visa fee/arrangements if applicable
- Any domestic or international flights
- Any alcoholic beverages
- Personal expenses
- Personal health and travel insurance
- Gratuities/tipping for driver/guide
- High season and peak season surcharge
- Any additional excursion that is not mentioned in the itinerary
Arrival Pangkalan Bun, Drive to Kudangan Village
Upon arriving at Pangkalan Bun Iskandar airport, our professional guide and driver will welcome you and take you on a four hours' picturesque drive by chauffeured vehicle to Kudangan Dayak Village in Lamandau Regency where you will see the life of Dayak tribesmen. As you arrive in the village, the villagers will offer you a warm welcome. As there are no particular plans for this day, the rest of the day is free for leisure. In this time, you can interact with Dayak people, observe their lifestyle at an authentic Dayak village. After dinner, observe villagers playing their traditional musical instruments and gathering for the Hornbill Dancing Party.
After breakfast, get ready for trekking as today we will trek up to the primary forest while moving thorough the village farmland, secondary rainforest, hills, suspended bamboo bridges, and rivers. This afternoon, we will enjoy a picnic lunch along the way. In the afternoon, we stay on a camp beside the river. While camping, you can learn from Dayak the way of cooking traditional food for dinner in the jungle.
Jungle Trekking/ Kudangan/ Kumai/ Tanjung Puting
After breakfast, we return to Kudangan and then drive to Kumai village. After reaching Kumai village, we hop on a houseboat and move towards Tanjung Putin National Park. The houseboat is a traditional riverboat made from woods and features an upper deck from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding rainforest. You will make a trip on a boat with the boatman, a cook, and an expert guide who will provide you with information about the trip and the many amazing sights that await you on this tour. The houseboat has basic but comfortable facilities. You will have a thin mattress, pillow, meals, bottled water, mosquito net, kitchen, and a simple toilet available on board.
Pondok Tanguy/ Camp Leakey
After enjoying a mouthwatering breakfast onboard, we sail up the river to reach Pondok Tanggui. Upon arrival, we walk on the wooden platform built by volunteers from around the world. This wooden platform was built to visit the feeding station and also to observe the natural habitat of the orangutans. This afternoon, enjoy freshly prepared lunch as the boat slides through the river to reach Camp Leaker, which will take approximately an hour. Dr. Birute Galdikas and Rod Brindamour established this Orangutan Research and Conservation Base in 1971. Here, you enjoy short trekking to the feeding station and also observe how an Alpha male becomes the king of all in the wilderness. Spend the remaining day hiking through the rainforest, explore peat swamps, lowland dipterocarp habitat, search from wildlife or see varieties of fungi, mosses, and ferns. We spend another night in a houseboat while sailing back down the river. We will have dinner on board in the evening.
Tanjung Putin- Kumai Port- Departure Pangkalan Bun
Rise to the songs of birds, cry of gibbons, and wild macaque troops. You will have breakfast on board as the boat returns to the port in Kumai. Then, we will drive you to the airport about three hours before your scheduled flight to your next destination.