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Indonesia, Central Kalimantan: A visit to Kumai and Tanjung Puting in March 2016

By Bruce Balan SV Migration — last modified Dec 01, 2017 10:51 AM

Published: 2017-11-30 00:00:00
Countries: Indonesia

KUMAI & TANJUNG PUTING

s/v MIGRATION

This information is from our visit to Kumai and Tanjung Puting in March 2016.

We are told that during certain times of the year there can be dozens of sailboats anchored in the river (certainly when the Indonesian Rally comes through). However, in March we were alone. One other boat was anchored on our arrival but they left the next day (not because of us!). This was a nice time of year because there was no smoke from the burning of the rainforest.

Indonesia_Kumai_Orangutans 1Indonesia_Kumai_Orangutans 2VISITING TANJUNG PUTING BY KLOTOK

As most people know, going up the river into Tanjung Puting National Park by klotok is a fantastic experience and not to be missed.

Tanjung Puting was declared a national park in 1982, and was established primarily for the protection of the Bornean orangutan. Its formation was instigated by Dr. Birute Galdikas, who dedicated many years of her life to helping save orangutans. Camp Leakey, named after Dr. Louis Leakey, was founded in 1971 for orangutan research and as a haven for orangutans rescued from domestic capture.

The population of the Bornean orangutan is now estimated at about 104,700, a sharp decline from the 230,000 that lived in Borneo a century ago. Each year, the natural habitat of the orangutans -- the rainforest -- continues to be destroyed by the palm oil industry.

Some of the orangutans in the Tanjung Puting area come to various camps throughout the park for feedings. The parks are not big enough to support the food needs of the orangutans during some months. Also, without these feeding zones, there would be no guarantee of spotting orangutans in the wild, which would lead to a reduced number of tourists visiting Borneo. This, in turn, would lead to less and less money coming into the country, which would eventually culminate in the extinction of the orangutans in Borneo due to additional loss of habitat as more rainforest was burned. The public exposure they receive from the feeding sites is the salvation of this amazing simian.

Orangutans are also rehabilitated and returned to the wild from Camp Leakey. Since 1971, over 200 orangutans have been returned to the wild as part of Orangutan Foundation International.

Indonesia_Kumai_klotokFinding a Klotok and Guide

We highly recommend contacting Joe Bowo. He’s a great guide and can arrange everything for you.
jbowo10@yahoo.com
081352792419

It was off-season and we actually arranged everything through Andy (Andi?)… a somewhat dubious character that I would not necessarily recommend using.

Make sure you ask to see your klotok before agreeing to the tour. They vary widely. Some are nice and some are not so nice. We were on the “One Piece” and she was a very nice boat.

Our crew was great. The cook was great – even though she was seasick she cooked a ton of delicious food. And Joe was great.

If you go with Joe, bring dominoes if you have them.

The costs

In 2016 we paid 5.2 million rupiah for 2 nights, 3 days (the rupiah was about 13,000 per US$ the time, so approx US$400). Everything was included: klotok, captain, crew, cook, guide, food, park fees, and someone sleeping in the cockpit of our boat to watch her while we were gone.

We asked around and were told that these were pretty standard prices (in thousands):

750 / day - boat

50-100 / day – cook

200-300 / day - guide

200-400 / person – food

There were also these fees in 2016:

250 / person / day - park fee

100 /day - camera fee

100 /day - boat parking fee

Indonesia_Kumai_No Tipping signCHECKING OUT OF INDONESIA IN KUMAI

As we were sailing north to Malaysia quickly, we chose to check out here so we wouldn’t have to stop further north in Kalimantan. We hired a car and driver for a very reasonable price from Harry (sorry, we’ve misplaced contact information) and went into Pangkalanbuun. We won’t go into details as we know procedures in Indonesia have changed. It was fairly easy and people were extremely helpful.  We went to Immigration and Customs and then had to stop back at the port captain in Kumai to complete the procedure. Make sure you are clear about the current order of offices to visit before starting out.

As long as you are going to P. Bun, you can provision at a very good supermarket there.

Bruce & Alene
s/v Migration
24 November 2017

Photos of our klotok and crew and more details of our trip up the river can be found at http://brucebalan.com/migrations/Migrations25.htm (scroll down)

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of noonsite.com or the World Cruising Club

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