Published: November 17th 2007November 17th 2007
Lets get the boat to Derawan
criky how longs the jetty I need a porter, the jetty at Tanjung Batu
Recently back from a trip to Derawan it’s a pain to get to but worth the effort.
Arrived in Indonesia by our usual route to Jakarta taking the Air Asia flight to Balikpapan the next day booked well in advance and costing only about 200000Rp a bargain for sure. Took a taxi to Samarinda 200,000 Rp locals said we were being ripped off but not to badly it did take 2.5 hours to get to. Taxi driver said Samarinda not like Balikpapan Samarinda broken. This is because Balakpapan has lots of Expats and oil money. We went there to sort out a trip to Kutai National park on the way back, we had no problems meeting up with guides by the way though they wanted around 1.5 million for a 2 day trip including all transport and food for 2 this is with hiring a car and driver for the whole trip. You can do it yourself of course but being older we don’t want the possible hassles. First night we stayed in the Hotel MJ around Rp300,000 for the night not much of a place tatty rooms and worn out we chose it for the travel agents in the
The ferry to Derawan
OK so a crowd sharing is not a good way to get a cheaper trip to Derawan from Tanjung Batu
hotel. Anyway that was a waste of time as they only dealt with one airline running out of Balikpapan. They are building a Huge Mosque in Samarinda, the quality of the call to prayers was much higher than many spots I have been to beautiful spiritual sound breezing in from many directions. Much better than the crackling blown speakers that are often waking you up in the mourning.
Next day went to the airport to try and get on the Kalstar/DAS flight to Berau. DAS were not operating plane broken. So Kalstar was the only option. All booked out and paid for the next 3 flights but there were some seats on the following evening’s flight. Around 580,000Rp each. Not wanting to spend another night in the MJ (we had checked out and gone to the airport) we tried the Mesra hotel no comparison up market place nice food big pool etc. Good rooms only 50,000Rp/night more definitely worth the extra a good hotel.
Flight was OK and there seems to be a lot of flight routes operating but when you get there you realizes there is only one plane for all of the routes.
We would not even consider
Up the river to Berau
Big river to many palm oil plantations but still interesting so much life on the river
the bus which is OK if you have the time and patience and a fit young arse to sit on. The reason the flights are so busy is because of the poor state of the roads and the length of the journey.
Overnight in Berau stayed at Hotel Nirwana OK lots budget place lots of mozzys but they came round and sprayed just have to keep the door shut also we brought some spray (couldn’t find any coils) went to the Sari Ponti Chinese restaurant excellent loads of choice great food and Beer to. Good idea to get a good feed as the food available on Derawan is tasty but with limited choice.
Couldn’t find any English speakers here but managed a phone call for a Taxi, again we should have gone down the transport place and hired a Bemo or took the public one but we took a nice new 4WD for 400,000Rp to Tanjung Batu 2-3 hrs which is were you get a small speedboat to Derawan from there its about 1 hour dependent on the tidal conditions as there are many sand bars around. Derawan Rp 200,000 no bartering its just the price. This is what the
Life on the river
villages strung out along the river
locals pay we are told.
Getting back was easier but we had to change our plans around and miss out Kutai. We took the small speedboat 3 hours straight to Berau 1000000Rp most of it up the river so not to bumpy. Interesting enough going up the river and seeing Kalimantan river life but to many Palm oil plantations to be special. Went to the airport at Berau they told us that Samarinda was booked solid for the next 7 days and all flights paid for already. Well were can we go then, Tarakan was the only option for flying as we were at the airport we decided to take the flight around Rp300000 each to pricy really should have got a car to Tanjung selor (3-4 hrs road goes via Berau) and the ferry to Tarakan again we choose to make it easier for ourselves. The other option if you are not up for the bus is to hire a good car new Kajang or similar for 1000000Rp from Barau to Samarinda 8 to 10 hours and easier than the bus the road is reportedly very scenic and with the bus going overnight no one gets to see this. The price is what the locals often pay as the bus is no ones favorite. Got to Tarakan and stayed at Hotel Paradise which was OK and only just over half the price quoted in LP out of the hotel turn left walk about 0.75 km found some beer couldn’t find any in the other direction. Next day we decided to call it quits for Kalimantan as it’s a bit costly for Indonesia, and hard going, anyway with Air Asia going to Balikpapan from Jakarta its easy enough to book in advance and get both there and back for a reasonable price.
We took a flight Tarakan to Surabaya instead to visit Bromo. I will write more on that and our time on Derawan later.