Heart of Borneo Tour - West Kalimantan

Duration: 8 Days 7 Nights
This trip is a combination of boating, trekking, jungle camping and staying with Dayak tribes, the indigenous people of Borneo in the places where they live.

The Heart of Borneo

 The expression is taken from an international project aiming at preserving large areas of intact forest in Indonesian Kalimantan and Malaysian Sabah and Sarawak, plus Brunei. – This tour is mostly “open air” and you need to be reasonably fit. We make breaks in the day when we stop to observe and learn ecology and cultural patterns and we provide for reasonably long nights – in tents mostly.

Travel by commercial flight from Pontianak to Putussibau, the administrative centre of Kapuas Hulu District. This is where the Heart of Borneo adventure begins. You will have the unique chance to do a jungle trekking in the Heart of Borneo and explore the great nature and the traditional culture of the two Dayak tribes found there (Taman and Bukat tribes). In terms of environmental awareness we look at the rainforest as an ecosystem, uniqueness of its flora, the role of the forest cover in preserving soil fertility, storing CO2, and preventing erosion. We also look at  traditional as well as more modern cultivation methods as practiced in this area by Dayak and by migrants.

Trip Info

Trip Starts and Ends: in Putussibau, West Kalimantan. The price we show includes the flight from Jakarta to Putussibau via Pontianak. If you prefer to travel to Putussibau on your own, or from another airport than Jakarta, please let us know.

Best Time to Go:
January to April– good season for wildlife and lake cruising
May –June – good to see Dayak cultural ceremonies
July – August – Dry season, good fro trekking
Mid of September – December rainy season but variable –  El Ninyo may appear and will bring very dry weather

Duration : 8D/7N

Level of Fitness Requirement: Medium Adventure, but partly physically demanding while we walk along the river beds

Number of Participants: Min 5, Max 15

Location: Forest area north-east of Putussibau – Matalunai & Nanga Hovat (home of Dayak Bukat) , Kapuas Hulu District, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Details: We have a detailed programme we will send you on request. It is flexible to a degree so you may come with your suggestions.

Highlights

  • Explore the diversity of West Kalimantan especially Kapuas Hulu-Heart of Borneo’s flora, fauna, culture and history
  • Embark on an adventure journey by cruising a clear, fast-current river in an original rain forest of Borneo (Kapuas River, the longest river in Indonesia and Borneo Island).
  • Trek through an ancient trail of Dayak Bukat tribe  (the main communication line n the old days) in the world’s oldest rainforest in the Heart of Borneo.
  • Meet the indigenous tribes of Borneo and stay overnight in one of Borneo’s Dayak longhouses to learn about their traditional life style
  • Learn about the rain forest ecosystem and the services it provides for the local and the global wellbeing and our common future.

Note: Longhouse “Rumah Betang” is indeed a long house, built in Dayak tradition, on posts 2 – 3 m above the ground – it can be described as a row of family apartments, each called “bilik” (up to 50 or even more) with a long, common verandah in front, where the inhabitants meet and conduct common activities.  We will spend one night in the Dayak Taman longhouse in Ariung near Putussibau.

Tour Description

The expression Heart of Borneo is taken from an international project aiming at preserving large areas of intact forest in Indonesian Kalimantan and Malaysian Sabah and Sarawak, plus Brunei..We travel by commercial flight from Pontianak to Putussibau, the administrative centre of Kapuas Hulu District.This is where the Borneo adventure begins. In this expedition you will have the unique chance to do a jungle trekking in the Heart of Borneo and enjoy the unique nature and the traditional culture of the two Dayak tribes found there (Taman and Bukat tribes). We will spend one night in a Dayak Longhouse and will have the opportunity to listen to the inhabitants and learn about their way of life and what they think about the future. The Dayak will greet you in a traditional welcoming ceremony (which invariably includes drinking the rice wine they produce themselves – but you will not be forced, no worry!) You will spend some time with the Dayak and take part in the quiet, daily life. – On the rivers we travel by wooden longboats, specially designed for narrow-river transport. Our first stop is a village called Nanga Hovat, where the forest and the farm landscape meet. We stop here to walk around outside the village to look at farming and gardening including shifting cultivation, and the various types of crops avaiable.

The trekking trail is a historical route of the Dayak Bukat people. The Bukat tribe is one of several Dayak tribes which used to follow a hunting and gathering pattern of livelihood. In the past, the Bukat people used this route to transport, on shoulders, goods between the two villages Matalunai and Nanga Hovat. The trail starts by the river Kapuas, which is the longest river in Indonesia, and ends at the river Mendalam. On the way you will have to cross a tributary river and climb several river banks… be prepared for experiencing a “wet trekking”.

We build camps along the trekk, usually on a river bank. Especially early morning you will have the chance to encounter or listen to animals at the different locations through the rain forest. Animal calls will be heard during the whole expedition, especially at dawn, and you will get the great feeling of meeting a real primary rain forest in the “Heart of Borneo” – definitely a world of its own, and something you will not forget (whether it is for the majestic trees or your sore feet – we will say more on that later.)

Your trip directy benefits the villagers in the area, for they provide services for the boats, the trekking, the food and overnight stay. It goes without saying that the food is very simple, based on rice and local vegetables. We bring bottled drinking water.