Pre Departure Information

About Palangka Raya

Palangka Raya, capital of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan (Kalteng), is a frontier city of some 300,000 people. Planned and built by President Sukarno in the 1960’s some 60 years ago, it is destined to become the administrative capital of Indonesia in the near future. Palangka Raya is the business base for the development of the Province’s wealth of natural resources. Starting point also for the Rahai’i Pangun Jungle River cruises, it is the gateway to accessing the natural wonders of this fast developing province.

People & Language & Local customs

Kalteng is home to a multi ethnic mix of Dayak tribes, the indigenous inhabitants of Borneo with their unique culture, languages and religion. Kalteng is also home to Melayu, Javanese, Balinese, and many more cultures, who have migrated here from across Indonesia. Villagers often speak 3 languages. Early Christian missionaries converted many Dayaks, but today the Muslim faith has a majority of adherents.

Bahasa Indonesia is widely spoken. English is little understood. Dress is modest, with shirts having sleeves, no mini skirts, short shorts or tank tops. When meeting people, it is normal to shake hands, and if a group, to shake hands with all the people. Drinking alcohol in public is not accepted and pork is not usually served in restaurants.

Climate

The rainy season is November to May, and the remainder of the year has less rainfall and may be dry. Rains are welcome, coming in sudden downpours, often late in the afternoon, cooling the temperature. Temperature is usually 32 – 35 deg C during the rains, normally hotter in the dry season, and dropping to 23 deg C in the early morning. Humidity is 70-80%.  August, September and October are usually the driest months. As a result, the river levels fall and we have an alternative route, visiting different villages. We see the Orangutan Islands and BOSF Education Centre with a combination of car and canoes. These months may also be affected by smoke.

Money change

Indonesian currency is the Rupiah. As changing money is difficult in these remote destinations, we ask all guests to change currencies before arrival. Note that on the trip it will not be possible to access ATM’s, so if you intend to make donations or purchases, please bring some rupiah cash along.

Flights

Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Citilink, Wings Air and Batik Air operate daily flights to Palangka Raya originating in Jakarta, Surabaya, Solo, Pontianak, Pangkalan Bun and Balikpapan. These flights are direct and take approximately one hour to one and a half hours. There are no international services.

Health

Bring along a basic medical kit which contains at least hydrating powder for drinks, such as Oralit or Hydralit, Norit charcoal tablets for upset stomach, Panadol, insect repellent, sunscreen, and antiseptic cream. Malaria rarely occurs here, and we advise wearing long sleeve shirts and trousers in the evenings, and using mosquito repellent. Mostly there are not many mosquitoes on the river, in the running water, but if we tie up near the forest, there can be mosquitoes. Treatment for malaria is now effective and fast acting.  Check http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/malaria.htm for information or talk to your doctor.

The sun is very strong here, we are only 2 deg off the equator. Sun stroke and dehydration are real risks, so wearing a sun hat is advised, as is drinking plenty of water. All drinking water (and re-fill water) is supplied on the boat. Wow Borneo provides you with a re-fillable water bottle.

We recommend guests have their own travel insurance, with evacuation cover.

Please inform us of any dietary requirements or other special needs before the cruise begins.

Village library visits

We will be stopping at either Katimpun or Marang village libraries. These have been set up by a small local foundation to enrich village children’s learning experience. Donations of books or materials are most welcome.

Shopping

There is a traditional market in Palangka Raya where local handicrafts can be purchased. These include woven rattan bags and mats, wood carving, jewelry, rubber miniature boats, swords, blowpipes, beaded purses, some precious stones and simple woven hangings. A selection is also available at the airport on departure.

Bring with you …

Throw in your sun hat, mossie repellent, binoculars, sunscreen long sleeve shirt, long trousers, walking shoes and any specific drugs or cosmetics you need (the range is limited in Palangka Raya).

Alcohol other than beer cannot be obtained in Palangka Raya – our office holds a small selection of wine you are welcome to purchase before embarkation. Please ask for our list of what is available before arrival in Palangka Raya so that it may be on board for your arrival.

Our Boat on this route – Rahai’i Pangun

The KM Rahai’i Pangun, flag ship of the Wow Borneo fleet, has 5 cabins: 1 Superior Large Double Bed Cabin with private terrace, ensuite and optional air conditioning, 2 Double Cabins with ensuite and optional air conditioning, 1 Family Cabin with 4 beds (1 double bed and 2 bunks) air conditioning and share bathroom a step away accross the corridor) and 1 Twin Cabin which is fan cooled and shares a bathroom. The upper deck is spacious and comfortable, where you can enjoy our fabulous food and enjoy the passing scenery from the sofas or deck chairs.

Get ready to leave the city behind …

Once in board, we depart the city of Palangka Raya at 9am and pass only occasional small villages along the river course. Very little can be purchased in these villages. Generators power the boat 24 hours a day, which allows you to re-charge your phone, cameras and computers. Cabins are all fitted with mosquito wire and fans. Meals are all cooked freshly and served on deck.

Take special care off the boat, as infratructure at local ports and in the villages is not in good condition. Check-out time is 2pm, however if you have an earlier flight, we can arrange to transfer you to the airport in time.

Observing Orangutans

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) manages 3 islands along the course of the Rungan River in Palangka Raya to accommodate approximately 100 orangutans in the natural forests of the islands. These rehabilitated orangutans are in a re-wilding process in preparation to be reintroduced to the wild.

When watching orangutans along the route, it is recommended by the foundation that observation time is minimized, to prevent from disturbing their re-adaptation to the wild. Therefore, our visit to the islands is of 15 minutes duration, and the canoes maintain a distance of 10-15 meters from the islands. Guests are asked not to feed or attract the attention of the orangutans, wear bright clothing or encourage the boats to go closer to the islands. We work with the local villagers to provide canoes to the Orangutan islands. Standard cameras are fine, however professional cameras with long telephoto lenses are not acceptable to BOSF. Guests wishing to use photographs for commercial purposes, such as making professional documentaries, in articles for publication, books etc about the BOSF islands, need to seek permission from BOSF and the relevant government authorities.

WOW Borneo makes a donation to the BOSF for each guest on board our cruises. Guests are also encouraged to give further donations and to consider adopting an orangutan through the BOSF website www.orangutan.or.id in order to assist with their program.

Relax and enjoy your cruise!

Pre Departure Information

About Katingan Regency

Katingan Regency (Indonesian: Kabupaten Katingan) is one of the thirteen regencies which comprise Central Kalimantan Province on the island of Kalimantan or Indonesian Borneo. The boat landing in Jahanjang on the Katingan River is reached in 3.5 hours by road from Palangka Raya. The population of Katingan Regency is estimated as 160,000. The Spirit of Kalimantan (SOK) operates on the Katingan River, the gateway to explore the Sebangau National Park, which is one of the largest remaining habitats of wild orangutans.

People & Language & Local customs

Kalteng is home to a multi ethnic mix of Dayak tribes, the indigenous inhabitants of Borneo with their unique culture, languages and religion. Kalteng is also home to Melayu, Javanese, Balinese, and many more cultures, who have migrated here from across Indonesia. Villagers often speak 3 languages. Early Christian missionaries converted many Dayaks, but today the Muslim faith has a majority of adherents.

Bahasa Indonesia is widely spoken. English is little understood. Dress is modest, with shirts having sleeves, no mini skirts, short shorts or tank tops. When meeting people, it is normal to shake hands, and if a group, to shake hands with all the people. Drinking alcohol in public is not accepted and pork is not usually served in restaurants.

Sebangau National Park

Sebangau National Park is located between Katingan and Sebangau Rivers, covering an area of ±600,000 hectares, in the heart of Central Kalimantan province. This park is a lowland peat swamp forest and home to many mammals, reptiles, insects, birds and amphibians. Remarkable species here include the orangutan, sun bear, gibbons, proboscis, red langurs and from the cat family, clouded leopards and forest cats.

Declared as Indonesia’s 50th National Park in 2004, Sebangau had served as a source of valuable timber and was subject to rampant illegal logging. Currently, the Government is encouraging eco tourism as a source of alternative income for local people in river villages. Substantial palm oil concessions have been granted on the western bank of the Katingan River, also providing local employment. Bird nest farming has grown rapidly in the last few years, giving villagers potential alternative incomes.

Climate

The rainy season is November to May, and the remainder of the year has less rainfall and may be dry. Rains are welcome, coming in sudden downpours, often late in the afternoon, cooling the temperature. Temperature is usually 32 – 35 deg C during the rains, normally hotter in the dry season, and dropping to 23 deg C in the early morning. Humidity is 70-80%.  August, September and October are usually the driest months, during which access to the National Park may be difficult.

Money change

Indonesian currency is the Rupiah. As changing money is difficult in these remote destinations, we ask all guests to change currencies before arrival. Note that on the trip it will not be possible to access ATM’s, so if you intend to make donations or purchases, please bring some rupiah cash along.

Flights

Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Citilink, Wings Air and Batik Air operate daily flights to Palangka Raya (the starting point of the tour) originating in Jakarta, Surabaya, Solo, Pontianak, Pangkalan Bun and Balikpapan. These flights are direct and take approximately one hour to one and a half hours. There are no international services.

Health

Bring along a basic medical kit which contains at least hydrating powder for drinks, such as Oralit or Hydralit, Norit charcoal tablets for upset stomach, Panadol, insect repellent, sunscreen, and antiseptic cream. Malaria rarely occurs here. We advise wearing long sleeve shirts and trousers in the evenings, and using mosquito repellent. Usually there are not many mosquitoes on the river, in the running water, but if we tie up near the forest, there can be mosquitoes. Treatment for malaria is now effective and fast acting.  Check http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/malaria.htm for information or talk to your doctor.

The sun is very strong here. We are only 1 deg off the equator. Sun stroke and dehydration are risks, so wearing a sun hat is advised, as is drinking plenty of water. All drinking water (and re-fill water) is supplied on the boat. Wow Borneo provides you with a re-fillable water bottle.

We recommend guests have their own travel insurance, with evacuation cover.

Please inform us of any dietary requirements or other special needs before the cruise begins.

Shopping

There are no traditional markets in the cruise area. If time permits, we can stop in Palangka Raya where local handicrafts can be purchased. These include woven rattan bags and mats, wood carving, jewelry, rubber miniature boats, swords, blowpipes, beaded purses, some precious stones and simple woven hangings.

Bring with you …

Throw in your sun hat, mossie repellent, long sleeve shirt, long trousers, walking shoes, trekking shoes and any specific drugs or cosmetics you need (the range is limited in Palangkaraya).

Alcohol other than beer cannot be obtained in Palangka Raya – our office holds a small selection of wine you are welcome to purchase before embarkation. Please ask for our list of what is available before arrival in Palangka Raya so that it may be on board for your arrival.

Our Boat on this Route – The Spirit of Kalimantan

The KM Spirit of Kalimantan sails the Katingan River with a program that includes a visit to  the famed Sebangau National Park, as well as an unforgettable cruise down the majestic river to visit isolated communities and spot proboscis moneys in the quiet waterways there. The Spirit is fitted with 3 air conditioned cabins, hot and cold water, comfortable enclosed seating area and steamer chairs on the bow deck. There is also an upper sun deck for panoramic views.

Get ready to leave the city behind …

We pick you up from your hotel or the airport and depart at 9am from Palangka Raya. The Katingan Regency is reached by 3.5 hours driving from Palangka Raya city. Once on board the Spirit of Kalimantan, we leave the town of Jahanjang and visit the National Park and pass occasional small villages along the river course. Generators and batteries power the boat 24 hours a day, which allows you to re-charge your phone, cameras and computers. Cabins are all fitted with mosquito wire and fans. Meals are all cooked freshly and served on deck. Air conditioners operate at night and during the afternoon, if required.

Observing Orangutans

On the Katingan River, WOW Borneo operates closely with the National Parks Authority and WWF-Indonesia to access the Visitor Centre and to accompany these adventurous walks in the forest. All Park permits and payments to local communities are covered by WOW Borneo. We will be walking with park rangers who take us into areas where orangutans have recently been spotted, however we cannot guarantee a sighting. An estimate of 70% of our guests have seen wild orangutans on these walks. Our guests must follow all instructions from the guides, and observe wild animals quietly and without disturbing them.

Trekking in this lowland peat swamp forest requires a medium level of fitness and proper footwear and clothing. We recommend you wear strong, light walking shoes, which will be immersed in water and mud during your trek. These forests have uneven and soft areas, as well as soaks and muddy patches. We recommend trousers and long sleeves, to minimize scratching and bites, and plenty of mosquito repellent. We will carry local products with us, but you may prefer to bring stronger repellents. There are no leeches in the park.

Relax and enjoy your cruise!

Pre Departure Information

 

About Pangkalan Bun

Pangkalan Bun is the capital of Kotawaringin Barat regency which is one of 12 regencies in Central Kalimantan. Iskandar airport connects Pangkalan Bun directly to Jakarta, Surabaya, and Semarang and is only 30 minutes drive to Kumai, the gateway to the Tanjung Puting National Park. The Tanjung Puting National Park was established in 1982 and became a famous conservation area for orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) and proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus).

People & Language & Local customs

Central Kalimantan (Kalteng) is home to a multi ethnic mix of Dayak tribes, the indigenous inhabitants of Borneo with their unique culture, languages and religion. Kalteng is also home to Melayu, Javanese, Balinese, and many more cultures, who have migrated here from across Indonesia. Pangkalan Bun has predominantly Melayu people, and as a port town, has many other ethnic groups from Java and beyond. The Muslim faith has a majority of adherents.

Bahasa Indonesia is widely spoken. English is little understood. Dress is modest, with shirts having sleeves, no mini skirts, short shorts or tank tops. When meeting people, it is normal to shake hands, and if a group, to shake hands with all the people. Drinking alcohol in public is not accepted and pork is not usually served in restaurants.

Climate

The rainy season is November to June, and the remainder of the year has less rainfall and may be dry. Rains are welcome, coming in sudden downpours, often late in the afternoon, cooling the temperature. Temperature is usually 23 – 32 deg C and the driest months are August to October. Humidity is 83-89%. These months may also be affected by smoke.

Money change

Indonesian currency is the Rupiah. As changing money is difficult in these remote destinations, we ask all guests to change currencies before arrival. Note that on the trip it will not be possible to access ATM’s, so if you intend to make donations or purchases, please bring some rupiah cash along.

Flights

Nam Air and Trigana Air, operate daily flights to Pangkalan Bun originating in Jakarta, Surabaya and Semarang. These flights are direct and take approximately an hour and a half. There are no international services.

Health

Bring along a basic medical kit which contains at least hydrating powder for drinks, such as Oralit or Hydralit, Norit charcoal tablets for upset stomach, Panadol, insect repellent, sunscreen, and antiseptic cream. Wearing long sleeve shirts and trousers in the evenings, and using mosquito repellent, is advised.

The sun is very strong here, we are only 3 deg off the equator. Sun stroke is common, so wearing a sun hat is advised, as is drinking plenty of water. All drinking water supplied on the boat is bottled mineral water.

We recommend guests have their own travel insurance, with evacuation cover.

Please inform us of any dietary requirements or other special needs before the cruise begins.

Bring with you …

Throw in your sun hat, mossie repellent, long sleeve shirt, long trousers, walking shoes and any specific drugs or cosmetics you need (the range is limited in Pangkalan Bun). We recommend you bring your own raincoat and binoculars.

Alcohol other than beer cannot be obtained in Pangkalan Bun. Beer can be purchased at Kumai Port. Ask your tour guide for assistance.

Our Boat in Tanjung Puting – The Sekonyer

The KM Sekonyer operates in the Tanjung Puting National Park. With 3 air conditioned, ensuite cabins, our signature comfort and highly praised food, she has been dubbed the most comfortable boat in Tanjung Puting.

Get ready to leave the port of Kumai behind …

Once in board, we leave the port of Kumai at 12 noon and pass only one small village along the river course. Generators and batteries power the boat 24 hours a day, which allows you to re-charge your phone, cameras and computers. Cabins are all fitted with mosquito wire and fans. Air conditioners operate to 11pm, when temperatures have dropped significantly. Meals are all cooked freshly and served on deck.

Observing Orangutans

The three main areas in the park for observing orangutans are Camp Leakey, Pondok Tanggui and Tanjung Harapan. At these sites, guests take an easy walk through the forest to feeding platforms to observe orangutans coming in to take advantage of supplementary food provided by authorities. We also may glimpse  wild orangutans and proboscis monkeys along the river sides during the cruise. These are wild and we are advised not to approach them too closely and to follow the guide’s instruction at all times in the forest.

To reach the feeding platforms we walk about 10-30 minutes through the forest from the port and the visit is for a maximum of 2 hours in each station. It is estimated that there are about 3000 orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park area.

Camera usage is permitted. However, operating drone and filmmaking for commercial purposes need further permission from the Tanjung Puting National Park authority.

In Tanjung Puting, WOW works closely with the National Parks Authority to operate responsible cruises and to adhere to all guidelines. All Park permits are paid by WOW Borneo.

Relax and enjoy your cruise!

Testimonials

  • EXCITING TRIP TO WOW BORNEO

    Last week WOW Borneo (KTD) arranged our trip and accompanied by our wonderful Dayak guide Dodi (and ’trainee’ guide Jonathan) we travelled upto see the long house (*betang*) at a little village called Tumbang Gagu, right up in the headwaters of the Sampit (or Mentaya) River.

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    EXCITING TRIP TO WOW BORNEO
  • KATHY AND JACQUES, SWITZERLAND

    We had a wonderful 3 days and 2 nights on the beautiful Rahai’i Pangun. The whole crew looked after us every minute with great food, cool drinks and all the comforts to make our trip memorable. Thanks to Lorna, Sayful, Suryadi, Patirwin, Anto, Ujeng and Ready!

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    KATHY AND JACQUES, SWITZERLAND
  • NAKASHIMA FAMILY, JAPAN

    This Jungle River Cruise gave us a great present! The river and time pass slowly on the boat. Not only orangutans and jungle but also the people, especially the children of the village moved us so much. I was impressed!

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    NAKASHIMA FAMILY, JAPAN
  • ROBIN, ENGLAND

    To all on the Rahai’i Pangun, thank you for introducing me to the wonders of Central Kalimantan over a fantastic few days. Loved the boat, loved the concept, loved the food – and the company was pretty great too!

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    ROBIN, ENGLAND
  • KHALID AL-KHUDAYRI

    It was the trip of a lifetime!

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    KHALID AL-KHUDAYRI
  • MARDIAH GLEESON, USA

    It was so moving to visit the two villages. Kanarakhan and Gaung Baru were memorable in their exchange of culture with us.

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    MARDIAH GLEESON, USA
  • METTLIJS BORTE, HOLLAND

    Thank you very much for an unforgettable jungle experience. The long boat journey through the flooded jungle was great. The food was excellent as well.

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    METTLIJS BORTE, HOLLAND
  • SUE & WERNER EBERT (AUSTRALIA)

    The river cruise was beyond awesome. We had a great crowd on the boat. We had fantastic food and nothing was seen as too hard to do for us from all the crew.

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    SUE & WERNER EBERT (AUSTRALIA)
  • RENEE DUGAN (AMERICA)

    Thank you again for taking such great care of all of us during our recent visit to Kalimantan. You and the crew were so professional, kind, generous and fun. Our group really enjoyed getting to know you, eating the delicious food presented to us each day, and relaxing on your boat.

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    RENEE DUGAN (AMERICA)
  • SUE HEWETT (21-24 DECEMBER 2012)

    This cruise was everything we’d dreamed and more. The boat is very comfortable, the crew efficient and courteous and the food delicious!  The guide couldn’t have been better – fun, passionate, thoughtful, knowledgeable and great company!

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    SUE HEWETT (21-24 DECEMBER 2012)
  • J.J WALLIA – SAN FRANSISCO, CALFIORNIA

    This tour was one of the best vacation and wildlife experiences I have had (and I have seen pretty much everything in Africa). Despite all it has to offer, Kalimantan is a tough place to vacation in so I was not expecting much. However, I was blown away by this trip.

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    J.J WALLIA – SAN FRANSISCO, CALFIORNIA