Meeting Orangutans in Borneo
Before You Go:
- I arrived first to Jakarta and than flew to Pangkalanbuun. Local flights inside Indonesia are cheap.
- there are different tours you can book online, I booked a three-day wildlife tour. We sailed with a cute wood boat into the Borneo jungle. More than three days, might be too much. There are a lot to see in Indonesia. I recommend to do it for 3 days and move on.
- arrange your tour online and definitely bargain! Get prices from different companies per email. They are not so good in responding all your emails regularly, stay cool about that, they will show up when you arrive in the airport. My guide was @andiakellhermawan (instagram), he can direct you to his agency if you prefer.
- during the trip you will need just some money for tips. I paid around 250-300 Euros for 3 day trip.
I shared the boat with a guide, captain of the boat and a cook. You will be sleeping in the boat, meals are served also in the boat and they are delicious.
In the jungles of Indonesia/Borneo, you will have the chance to get closest encounter with orangutans which can navigate at the top of the tallest trees. They move a bit like Tarzan in the old movies, swinging from branch to branch... Its definetely a dangerous journey, a fall from that height would definitely be deadly:
There are different feeding stations in Tanjung Puting national park for semi-wild orangutans. Actually these stations are rehabilitation centers for the ones having adaptation problems to the wild nature. These orangutans are mostly rescued from illegal live pet trade, where the hunters kill the mother and sell the baby orangutan. Now they are grown, have their own babies but still need support. Around 3 p.m. each day, they come from the deep forest and eat bananas, young leaves provided by the rangers. It is strictly forbidden for the rangers to get in touch with them.
The photo below was my closest approach...we actually share 97% same DNA, the word ‘orangutan’ comes from the Malay words “orang hutan“, meaning “human of the forest“...
As sailing with the boat, we came across with many monkey species. One example, Bornean White Bearded Gibbon, one of the endangered species, this one threw the rest of his banana to my head as I was photographing around; as if he was seeking for attention...
Last night, after the dinner, we parked at a corner in a narrow river to spend the night. When it got dark, there was no light but only the natural light from the fireflies. Fireflies were really amazing. They look just like Christmas tree lights lit up. There were lots of them may be thousands. It was one of the best moments of the tour.
Entrance of one of the feeding stations:
Night Walk in the jungle was an amazing experience, yes I must admit I was little scared but it was unforgettable. In the dark we spotted many beautiful birds sleeping on the trees, pretty looking plants which are actually a dangerous trap for insects!, scorpions, giant forest ants, huge spider nets...Listening the amazing night melody of rain forest was unforgettable, I never thought it could be so laud...
The night walk team: