Blogs from Kalimantan, Indonesia, Asia - page 4


Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Derawan July 31st 2012

Off the beaten path in Borneo Our journey to Derawan was interesting and frustrating in the same time. We must admit that it was very exciting to be faced with all the struggles on the way that you don’t encounter often in South East Asia i.e. huge language barriers, lack of local transport, lack of budget accommodation etc. We left Sandakan knowing that it would take us many days to reach our final destination but we were absolutely fine with it. The bus to the border town of Tawau took long 9h instead of 4 because we had engine problem, then breaks problem and then tire problem. In the end we had to be transferred to another bus to be ... read more
so close to us
view of Derawan from the sandbar
Tomek and green turtle

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Pangkalan Bun July 30th 2012

we hired a klotok for four days and sailed up and down the river and canals in tanjung puting national park. these were the most enjoyable days of our holiday in kalimantan... read more
the river
orang utang and baby
orang utang

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Sangatta July 30th 2012

We left Kuala Lumpur for Balikpapan in East Kalimantan (South Borneo) on the 27th at 4 in the morning. Two taxis, a flight, train and two bus journeys later we arrived mid-afternoon in Samarinda. Here we checked into the Hotal Gelora which looked slightly run down to say the least. However, it was pretty clean and the staff, with very limited English, were all lovely. After most people being able to speak at least a bit of English in Malaysia, Indonesia is a stark contrast where charades are needed to describe the simplest of things but everyone says hello to you on the street. We organised, through the hotel, a trip up to Kutai Wildlife National Park where we were to do jungle treks in the hopes of finding orangutans! We drove for 4 hours and ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Banjarmasin July 22nd 2012

No one got much sleep last night. The beds were reasonably comfortable but the temperature was too high for us as we have been spoiled by AC so far. Also there are mosques all around and we were all woken for prayer before dawn. We all finally got back to sleep only to be wakened by a knock on the door. We were surprised to find on opening it that we were provided with breakfast. We were surprised because we didn't know it wasn't the price and also because no one else would be eating at this time due to Ramadan. We gratefully accepted the delicious tea, but due to the disturbed night no one was up for omelette and rice. We packed up and went to get a minibus back to Banjarmasin. We had plenty ... read more

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Banjarmasin July 21st 2012

Sometimes there are destinations that blow your mind and sometimes there are places to be forgotten. In both cases you need to get there and often the journey is an experience to be enjoyed or to learn from. Too many times we are thinking about the nxt destination instead of enjoying exactly where we are at the present. Today we enjoyed the journey. In our short time in Banjarmasin we had really fallen in love with the city and the people, but it was time to move on and see some more of Kalimantan. Most tourists head up to Loksado from Banjarmasin to trek and take a bamboo raft ride, but we wanted to be in Jakarta Sunday evening and were pushed for time. The stopover town before Loksado is Kandangan and from here you can ... read more
Toby and Harriet on ojeks
Evening fishing

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Banjarmasin July 20th 2012

Ramadan started today, but there was some confusion. The government decided it didn't start until tomorrowbut some Muslim groups insist it is today. We are waiting to see how it will affect us especially as we are in a strong Muslim area and then heading to Jakarta which is even stricter. We got up early and boarded a boat in the dark to reach the markets. We had been to a floating market in Thailand which was very busy and full of tourist stuff. They had stalls on the banks of the river as well as those in the boats. This was very different. It was in the middle of the river and definitely served locals not tourists. It was a lot smaller than we expected, but fascinating to see the ladies manoeuvre their boats so ... read more
Floating market before dawn
Prayer time in the street because the mosque is full

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Banjarmasin July 19th 2012

We enjoyed the trip with Joni the guide at the canals yesterday so decided to go with him to the mines. We dropped our parcel off at the post office first and feel really relieved that it is gone. Harriet was excited that there was no need to get up before 9 but her plans were thwarted as they are doing works at the hotel which started at 8. It was impossible for her to sleep through the drilling and hammering. It's hard being a teenager. Joni took us to a polishing shop where they explained about rough diamonds, agate and how they cut and polish. We watched them at work and then got to look at the ones for sale - no surprise! Fiona didn't actually like any of the settings so it was easy ... read more
Holding a diamond
Unbelievable work conditions
Mud glorious mud and hopefully diamonds

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Banjarmasin July 18th 2012

The airport ticket sales office was closed and when it did open the flight was already full. We found a cafe to wait in until the other airline ticket office opened. We played cards which has became a daily ritual and lingered over fresh juice and coffee, until Toby finally got us tickets. This flight was great. We had more legroom than on our international flight with Jet Star and we had time in the airport to figure out where to stay and what to do in Banjarmasin. We knew we wanted to send our diving gear home as it was so heavy and bulky and we weren't going to use it again and we were also desperate for a laundry. As soon as we had checked in the hotel we set off to find the ... read more
The first stow away
Kids, kids, kids
Processed rice

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Sangatta July 17th 2012

We slept surprisingly well with no AC and funny noises all around, waking after dawn. Breakfast was again provided and served by Sipiani and we got ready for our next walk. It was actually pouring with rain so we weren't holding out much hope of seeing an orangutan. They make nests at night high in the trees and don't move much if it is wet. We wandered around the forest for about 3 hours without spotting another orangutan, but we did see hornbills and macaque monkeys high in the trees. Several times the path was really muddy and the river crossings unsafe. Several times one or another of us ended up in the mud on our bums or knees. We also saw centipedes and these red bugs which curl into a ball like a marble when ... read more
Crossing the streams
Macaque at the camp
Insect disguised as a marble

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Sangatta July 16th 2012

We had come to Kalimantan for only one reason - to see orangutan. We knew that they could be spotted at various places in Borneo but that if you want to see them in the wild and not at a feeding station, the best place to go was Kutai National Park. The big issue is that the information on getting to them at Kutai was very hard to collect. Lonely Planet had a small section which was full of names and options which made it confusing. There were blogs from people who gave several options and a link to the Ntional Park website. This was on Bahasa and set up in such a way that finding information was like searching for a needle in a haystack. One blog Fiona found of people who had been in ... read more
On the bus before everyone joined us
Searching for crocs

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