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Trekking to See Orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park

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Spending the night on a boat in the middle of the jungle in Indonesia is something I never dreamed of doing, let alone taking a boat down a crocodile filled river to see wild orangutans! I spent a month traveling around Indonesia and my experience in Tanjung Puting National Park is a memory I will hold dear for the rest of my life. If you’re looking for a unique and authentic adventure, This is one that will not disappoint!

This is the way to discover Wonderful Indonesia and orangutans in their natural habitat!

 

The Journey: Β Day 1

We started our journey by flying from Jakarta International Airport to Iskandar Airport located in Pangkalan Bun on the Island of Borneo. From there we took a bus to port Kumai where we were greeted with local smiles and a traditional Indonesian dance. After admiring and taking some photos with the dancers we hopped onto a klotok boat (a two-story wooden boat) which be would our new home for the next two days. These boats are nothing glamorous but they do have bathrooms and honestly host some amazing chefs! I was blown away with how amazing the food was while on board. From here we began our cruise down the Sekonyer River deep into the rainforest to explore Tanjung Puting National Park, which is home to the largest wild orangutan population in the world. This literally felt like something out of a movie. Think the Jungle Book!

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During the day you get to spend time relaxing on the boat and observing the passing jungle as you make your way to the different orangutan observation areas. These designated areas have platforms where the park staff will put out bananas for the orangutans to eat twice a day. This national park hosts both wild and rehabilitated orangutans. There are also different types kinds of monkeys, wild boar, deer and birds that you will spot along the way, and if you’re lucky maybe even spot a crocodile in the river!

Our boat stopped at two different observation areas throughout the first day and we were lucky enough to see many orangutans at both stops! After trekking 2 kilometers into the forest you will reach a small wooden platform at which bananas are left by the park staff to supplement the orangutans food intake. The food is left for the animals if they need it and it is their choice to make their way to feedings.

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Orangutans have been threatened for years due to the palm oil burnings in Indonesia, among other threats. Getting to the platforms required only mild trekking so be sure to come prepared with some sturdy walking shoes. The platforms are set up so that although you are close to the orangutans you are still respecting their space from a safe distance. We were instructed by the Rangers to wait near the platforms in absolute silence. Orangutans are brilliant animals and won’t come if they feel threatened. Witnessing these creatures in their home is truly a moving experience. They are so beautiful and human like, it is an incredible, indescribable experience.

After spending the day watching the beauty of the orangutans we made our way back to our Klontok boat home. At night the boats are tied off and you get to enjoy a tasty dinner under the starts before heading to bed. Mosquito nets are then hung over small mattresses on the deck of the boat where you get to enjoy the sounds of the jungle while you sleep. Be sure to bring warm clothing for sleeping in as it can surprisingly get a little chilly when the sun goes down.

Day 2

Waking up to the sounds of the jungle, the second and final day on the river begins. After eating a delicious breakfast on board you continue floating down the river to visit two more orangutan areas including the famous camp leaky. Camp leaky is the oldest orangutan research and conservation center in the world!

This wild excursion is not luxury travel and is not easy; but it is so worth it! Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone on this one. Experiencing the rain forest and the orangutans in this way is truly humbling and a once in a lifetime opportunity.

 

 

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