Head way off the beaten path in Kalimantan's rainforest
This trip will whisk you deep into the remote reaches of Kalimantan’s protected rainforest. You’ll sail through the jungle-flanked riverways of Kalimantan, watch wild orang-utans at play in the forest canopy and learn about the age-old rituals of the hospitable Dayak tribe. It’s a rustic, unusual experience, giving you a window into a secluded, ancient way of life. If you’ve a curious mind and a hearty appetite for adventure, it will be right up your street.
What to expect in the Kalimantan rainforest
The rainforest of Central Kalimantan is far beyond the beaten path. It’s a hidden world of overgrown waterways and time-honoured tribal rituals that will set adventurous spirits soaring. Combining a two-day trip aboard a traditional ‘rungkan’ riverboat with a night as staying with Borneo's indigenous Dayak people, you’re in for a genuine rainforest adventure.
Exploring the exotic Kayahan river by ‘rungkan’ is something quite special. For two days, you’ll drift quietly along the meandering river, looking out for orang-utans in the trees and waving at the locals as you pass their floating villages. Each morning, you’ll awake to a tropical melody of squawks, whoops and trills - a rainforest ‘dawn chorus’ that will serve as a daily reminder of your secluded location.
Your refurbished wooden riverboat is a unique and intimate floating home, carrying only a handful of passengers at a time. Your cabin will be simple but steeped in charm, with floor to ceiling windows for great views. Two communal bathrooms are shared between the five cabins. During the trip, you’ll be served three tasty meals each day, and the upper deck is a superb spot to settle into a comfy sofa as you travel deeper into the rainforest.
Floating far from the tourist hotspots, you’ll encounter islands chock-full of orang-utans, and you’ll hop into a smaller boat to get a closer look. You’ll also use this smaller craft to navigate the narrowest channels of the river, keeping your eyes peeled for proboscis and macaque monkeys along the way.
Next, you’ll get a firsthand glimpse of rainforest hospitality as guests of the Dayak tribe, who have lived in their jungle sanctuary for millennia. On arrival at Tumbang Malahoi you’ll be given a ritual cleansing to ward off any evil spirits in your wake.
During your stay, your hosts will teach you about their traditions and take you on a gentle jungle trek to learn about their sustainable farming techniques. You’ll sleep in a renovated wood and iron longhouse, built in 1869 but subsequently renovated, where your accommodation will be humble but memorable. There may even be the opportunity to witness part of the 30 day Tiwah ritual - the unique Dayak funeral ceremony that honours the dead and the local nature spirits.
Location: The Kayahan River and rainforest surrounding Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan
Duration: 3 nights
Accommodation: two nights aboard a traditional ‘rungkan’ riverboat and one night at the Tumbang Malahoi longhouse, as guests of the Dayak people.
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'In terms of accommodation it's back to basics, for sure - but this is real rainforest living...'
Important to note...
This trip is a real rainforest adventure with basic accommodation, so it isn’t for everyone. You’ll need an open mind, a flexible attitude and an adventurous spirit! You’ll also need a reasonable level of fitness for the jungle trekking.