People Of the Forest

The Information

Getting There: There are no direct flights from India to Indonesia. Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines are two convenient options, flying to Jakarta via Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, respectively. From Jakarta, it is a 1hr20min flight to Pangkalan Bun airport in Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. Kal Star and Trigana Air fly the route daily. Their flights are usually not available to book online.

The Orangutan Adventure: This can only be booked through a tour company. The package is usually an all-inclusive one: airport transfers from Pangkalan Bun airport to Kumai and back, accommodation, all meals and wildlife sighting. While the 2N/3D klotok stay is the most popular option, you can opt for a shorter or longer duration. Some travellers prefer to spend one or more nights in the Rimba Lodge, the only land-based lodging inside the Tanjung Puting national park.

What to Pack:

Binoculars

– Quick-drying clothing and footwear

– Flashlight/headlamp

– Mosquito repellent spray

– An extra battery pack for your camera

– A sense of adventure!

Life on a Klotokklotok

Staying on a klotok is a must-do for a quintessential orangutan adventure. This is not a luxury experience but is all about living life in the slow lane—spreading yourself out on the mattress or deck chairs and taking in the vistas.

Klotoks come in all sizes but work on the same principle: crew are housed in the lower enclosed deck and guests on the roofed but open top deck. The crew normally comprises a guide, captain, assistant captain and a cook. There is a basic bathroom that is shared by crew and guests. Do not expect hot showers or flush toilets. A night-light is provided but there isn’t much else by way of electricity. Food, though, is one of the luxuries on a klotok. We were served hot Indonesian meals for lunch and dinner, which consisted of a non-­vegetarian side dish, some sautéed veggies, bhajiya-like fritters and steamed rice. Tofu and tempeh, integral to the Indonesian diet, were also part of every meal. Dessert was fresh fruit and a canvas where Zuleha unleashed her creativity, carving them into enticing shapes and lining them up artistically on the plate. In the absence of fresh milk, tea and coffee are served with condensed milk. Unlimited bottled water is provided. Alcoholic drinks are not included in the price, but guests are free to bring their own.

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