We had picture perfect weather for the decorated boats, Jukung Hias, competition on 20 May. Its an integral and dramatic part of the annual Isen Mulang Festival in Palangkaraya. Festival dates never change and are from 18-23 May, though the boats may sail on any of the days. Isen Mulang is ‘never give up! and it celebrates the independence of the province of Central Kalimantan as a Dayak homeland from South Kalimantan in 1957.
Ritual decorated boats or bamboo barges are used in tiwah or secondary burial ceremonies in some areas, symbolising the boat of the dead carrying the departed spirits to Lewu Tatau, the Prosperous Village. Rivers are the highways here in both the living and spiritual worlds!
These competition boats are sponsored by different local Government Departments, Provincial and Regional, or organisations. Rivalry is intense, giving decorations that riotous colour, dominating green, red and yellow, favourite colours in the Dayak pantheon. The smaller canoes, klotoks, carry judges, who follow the boats and rate them for the final prize giving, based on the appearance, themes, and quality of the dancers and musicians.
Why not join us next year! Drop us a line at wowborneo.com.
“This trip exceeded out expectations – wonderful food, great staff. Fantastic boat with a good blend of cultural and natural experience. We appreciate the way you are working with the local communities. This was a great trip to assist with learning the natural history of
“The beauty of the river, the night sky, the morning mist, and quaint little villages, were all very special. Also the caring attitude of the staff helps to make this a special experience. It is important that the beauty and biodiversity of
Going on the Rungan River in small traditional canoes with film teams and their heavy equipment to watch orangutans, is all in a days work for us at Kalimantan Tourism Development. Arranging the schedules, finding the best Palangkaraya hotel, getting the right permits in advance, and the best transport is only part of the challenge. Central Kalimantan is just opening its doors to tourism, and so each trip is an adventure, like looking at a new world.