Blogs from Kalimantan, Indonesia, Asia


Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Derawan June 2nd 2018

Nunukan was one of the anchors of my trip, because it was essentially a deserted island with a huge house reef and lagoon, located near a top site for manta rays and a jelly fish lake (aka lake full of jellies that have been isolated from predators for so long that they don't sting any more). We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and it was beautiful. Perfect. Tropical paradise. And that afternoon was the last we saw of the paradise weather - thunderstorms, rain, more rain, clouds, wind, etc. set in for the rest of the week. It was still really pretty...but that first afternoon was so amazing! The manta rays were no shows (although I can't complain at all after the bonanza at Komodo). The jellyfish were interesting - there were four different was ... read more
My beach cabin
Looking across the lagoon to the neighbor island, Virgin Cocoa

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Balikpapan May 26th 2018

From Labuan Bajo on Flores, I started a bit of a complicated journey to Nunukan Island off of Borneo. It involved a flight/nights in Bali, a flight to a city called Balikpapan on Borneo, followed by a flight to an island called Maratua and then boat ride to Nunukan. The best part of this journey was in Balikpapan...and I didn't take any pictures, except one of the band at the end. It was a Friday night, during Ramadan. My hotel hosted a huge celebration buffet for breaking the fast, and Friday night was definitely party night. There were hundreds of people celebrating, in huge groups of families, all dressed up for a night out. There was a band, and people would go up and join them singing. They mostly played traditional songs (I assumed...none were familiar), ... read more
As was my routine, Bali = laundry time. I was a bit surprised when this was the sign on the closest place to my hotel (I kept walking to the next spot)
Balikpapan - apparently the "oil capital" of Borneo - lovely view from my hotel room of what I assume was an oil refinery...although there were a lot of flames up in the air
Band at the Friday night celebration

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan May 24th 2018

5.30am and we are awake, groggy but unable to sleep further. We get up and splash welcome cold water over our faces and enjoy a most welcome cup of tea. The best to be said about the night is that the mosquito net worked. We smell even worse. After a breakfast of banana pancakes and scrambled eggs, we set off once more. We’re fortunate to see a second wild male orangutan, hanging nonchalantly in the branches. Our guide says that this morning we will go for a one hour trek to plant some trees, which she warns us will be extremely muddy and slippery after last night’s thunderstorm. We ask if we couldn’t go to a feeding station again, but she says it will be too late as feeding starts at 9am. At 9.05 we sail ... read more
Piggyback ride
Male proboscis monkey - what a nose!

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan May 23rd 2018

We are woken at 530am by the sound of the macaques leaping from tin roof to tin roof and screeching. No need for an alarm clock. By morning, Sara finds that as well as the damage to her shin, she has also bruised the inside of one knee, pulled the muscles in the other foot, and bruised her left hand, necessitating the painful removal of her rings in case the fingers swell any more. It will be painful for the rest of the holiday, but we are both hugely relieved she didn’t suffer a broken leg or knock herself out. There's not much in the way of medical attention around here. We’re up early so we can be on the boat in time to – hopefully – see some more apes from the boat. After a ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Pangkalan Bun May 22nd 2018

We arrive at Gatwick in good time for lunch in the lounge. And champagne of course. Boarding the Emerates A380 and settling in to our “suite” is always a pleasure. All passes smoothly, we follow James' example of watching films all the way and being asked to stopping loudly by a passenger who wants to sleep. Four hours transit in Dubai however is not such fun. It is the middle of the night, it is now our bed time, but we join all the other passengers in the lounge who are sitting, eating and wandering around like zombies as we all want to be in bed. Meanwhile the airport is full of Japanese tour group following their flag bearer in closed up ranks, transiting to who knows where but suitably hatted and scarved against the burning ... read more
Checking if it is safe to come down
Mama eats sugar cane
Swinging about

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Pangkalan Bun April 6th 2017

I didn't know what got into me but as soon as I returned from my Orang Utan trip to Tanjung Puting, I had the urge of going back. This time, it was such a short trip, and I decided to check out on Tanjung Keluang National Park where there was a turtle conservation, funded by the government. My guide, Yomie, was kind enough to pick me up at the airport from which we had a quick stop at a nearby restaurant and had delicious grilled fresh-water fish. From there, we headed towards Kumai, a sleepy port town near Pangkalan Bun. Most people in Kumai made a living as fishermen, tourism or from river transport. It is the main port used for the entry to Tanjung Puting and for transport of goods in and out of Pangkalan ... read more
Ground area available for picnic or team building
Hatched baby Turtles are being fed
Baby Turtle heading to the sea

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Pangkalan Bun February 11th 2017

I woke up early. Checked my watch, it was almost 5am. The two lovebirds are deep asleep; let them. After washing my face I climbed up the deck. Daylight was breaking out and I could hear some birds busy with their daily chores. A pristine and peaceful early morning. All creatures of the night have gone to sleep, an eerie calm blanketed over the misty wilderness. Today is my last day in Borneo. We are yet to see the Camp Leakey, the orangutan habitat that was established by legendary Dr. Galdikas. I was also keen on visiting a local village. It’s probably my lifetime opportunity to meet the locals here and learn about their lifestyle away from the civilization. **************** The six cylinder engine of the boat roared into life around 7am. Desi and Kadek were ... read more
Are they all mine!
Let me get out of here!
Ah, so tasty!

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Pangkalan Bun January 28th 2017

When I was a little boy growing up in India, I remember the monsoon days when I used to cuddle with my father in the evenings and pestered him to tell me the stories of the jungles around the world, the tigers, the lions and other animals. My father was awesome storyteller. He used to tell me the stories of Jim Corbett and the man-eating tigers, lions in Africa, dense forests in Borneo and his own experiences in the jungles in India. Lying close to him and curled up, I used to listen to those amazing stories while it rained outside. With the symphony of torrential rains on the tin roof, my childhood dream used to roam around in a make-believe world of animal kingdom, in the vast savannas of Africa, in the dense forests of ... read more
Arriving in Pangkalan Bun, Borneo
Kumai River
Sailing along the Sekonyer River

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Pangkalan Bun November 27th 2016

Tanjung Puting National Park was one of the places to visit on my bucket list. I didn't think twice when I got the invitation from a friend who organised the trip. Prior to this, all I knew about Pangkalan Bun was the fact that it was located in Central Kalimantan, of which the capital city was Palangka Raya. Neither did I know the two airlines that flew direct from Jakarta: Trigana and Kalstar (Garuda flies via Semarang). I had associated old propeller planes when travelling to remote places in Indonesia, so it was a pleasant surprise when I boarded a jet plane. It turned out my friend was able to gather 24 participants, all of whom arrived safely at Iskandar Airport on Friday morning. After collecting our luggages, we were picked up by our Tour Operator, ... read more
Sekonyer River
Proboscis Monkey

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Sambas December 15th 2015

It’s durian season in Indonesia. Or at least in Kalimantan. For those who don’t know what a durian is, it is a fruit. It is often called the King of Fruit. The durian is the India of fruit. You either love it, or hate it. It has a very specific taste, some compare it to crème caramel, others to cheese, and yet others to shit. One thing everybody can agree on is that the durian has a rather pungent smell. You can smell it is durian season, and it isn’t a particularly nice smell. The smell of durian is so pungent that it is not allowed to be carried on airlines (not even in the hold), many buses likewise enforce strict no-durian policies, and if you are keen on a hotel room, it is best not ... read more
Pontianak to Singkawang
Around Singkawang
Around Singkawang

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