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Orangutang houseboat tours

Hove, UK
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42 posts
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Orangutang houseboat tours

Hello,

can anyone recommend a reputable company with which to book a houseboat tour in the Pangkalan Bun region?

There seem to be quite a few dodgy companies in the area and it's very difficult to distinguish between them. All names seem to have the organgutang in their names. Has anyone heard of Borneo Eco Tours?

Any advice would be very very welcome!

Thanks

Dona

Sister Tour
Nature & Wildlife Tours
Orangutan Tour
Nature & Wildlife Tours
OrangutanDays
Multi-day Tours
Italy
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339 posts
47 reviews
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31. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

I'm planning to go in December, so will follow this thread and hope that people will continue to report back on their experiences.

Central Kalimantan...
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32. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

Ok michel , I'll see you in Kumai , congratulations Best Enjoy your holiday on the island of Borneo Together Beautiful orangutan natural life.

33. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

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Denver, Colorado
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27 posts
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34. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

I was on one of "Siti's" tours last week, and can recommend it with some reservations.

First, make sure you know what you're getting into by signing up for one of these klotok tours of Tanjung Puting. The smoke is terrible, and breathing it 24 hours a day for several days will give you headaches and respiratory problems. It also reduces visibility greatly, which means that airline flights in and out will be delayed or canceled. But it also means that you won't see the sun, moon, or stars the whole time you're there. The sun appeared one day for us as a very weak orange disk, so dim you could look directly at it; the rest of the time it was invisible behind layers and layers of smoke. Also, the low visibility means that there will be days you can't see birds or monkeys on the sides of the river because you literally can barely see the side of the river. The towns of Kumai and Pangkalan Bun are both very dusty and dirty. The airport is terrible, and runs out of food when passengers from one or two or three flights all get stuck there at the same time waiting for the smoke to clear enough so that airplanes and operate. Our flight was delayed 12 hours, and the only information anyone could get is "your plane is stuck on another island, so check back in 30 minutes".

Second, Siti doesn't do all the tour guiding herself. In our case, even though all our communication with her was that she would be guiding us, we were surprised that someone else showed up at the airport to greet us, a different person met us at the dock to take us to the Rimba Ecolodge the night before our klotok trip, and a third person met us the next morning and guided the tour the next three days. We did eventually meet Siti after we returned from the national park, and she took us to supper the night we arrived back in Kumai. She is a wonderful, energetic, knowledgable person. But you should know that she may not personally be your tour guide. That's important to know, since you will be paying a premium to go on one of her trips over a trip organized by someone else.

Those two big caveats aside, the trip was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. We saw orangutans every day, and not just at the scheduled feedings that the park rangers arrange (where tourists from several boats all gather). We saw several types of monkeys, gibbons, etc. We saw tarantulas, several species of exotic birds, the native squirrel, wild pigs, a civet, and crocodiles.

And the one-day tour around Pangkalan Bun the day after we returned was also good. We visited the sultan's palace and the princess' palace, took a trip on a motorized canoe up and down the river to see how the local fishing families live, toured Yayorin's education office and homestay, and saw a traditional Dayak long house.

Sydney
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302 posts
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35. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

Thanks for reporting back, Todd! We are going at the end of this month and I am hoping that the rain will have washed a lot of the smoke and dust away by then. Have just found out that our guide is called Purwadi but there is also an assistant guide. Did you find that the assistant guide spoke good English (assuming the main guide will)? I speak Indonesian myself but my family don't so don't want to be on interpreting duty all holidays if I can help it. My other question is whether you gave tips or gifts to guide and boat crew? Trying to think of something appropriate to take with me. Anything they are likely to be in particular need of? We will be there on Christmas day so was planning to bring some (halal) Christmas foods for sharing.

Denver, Colorado
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36. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

We didn't really have an "assistant" guide, just one guide, named Robi (I may have spelled that wrong), who was part of Siti's network of guides. His English wasn't as good as Siti's but was good enough.

We didn't have anything to give as gifts, since we were traveling very light as part of several months of extended vacation. But we did tip. We gave one tip to the guide himself, another to the cook, and a third to the ship captain on the assumption that he would share it appropriately with his assistant.

Sydney
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302 posts
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37. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

Thanks for that, Todd, and can I be a nuisance and also ask if they had things like raincoats and umbrellas on the klotok or do we need to bring all that stuff with us? Also how was the food? I have a fussy vegan 16yo travelling with me. I suppose she can just eat rice for a few days if it gets to that.

Denver, Colorado
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38. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

It was the dry season, so I don't know about raincoats and umbrellas. But I would say you should bring your own. I certainly did. Pack as you would for a camping trip, just without the tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear. It's a very rustic experience; don't expect this to be like staying in a hotel.

The food was decent, but weird, of course. On our boat, it was a mix of western style foods (like chicken sandwich) and Indonesian foods. But since the cook wasn't western, her imitation of western style foods was a bit skewed, like asking for an authentic Mexican burrito in a small town in Nigeria. I honestly don't know how a true vegan could survive here. Every meal we had included some form of meat or fish or eggs. Even the rice was nasi goreng, fried rice with eggs. The cuisine on our boat was strictly halal, but far from vegan. So you may need to explain all the details of what your 16yo can and can't eat to the cook on the first day, keeping in mind that the concept will be alien to her. And you'll need to do that in Bahasa Indonesia, since she probably won't speak English, at least not well. That said, there was a lot of fruit on board.

Sydney
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302 posts
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39. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

Thanks Todd. My kids are used to Asian food. However I remember even the concept of vegetarianism being a bit strange when I travelled with a vegetarian woman in Malaysia a while back (eg, would get vegetables served in meat broth etc). As long as rice and fruit is on offer at all meals, we should be okay though. I might try and ring the guide on skype over the weekend.

Jakarta
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40. Re: Orangutang houseboat tours

Ibudewi, hey

A very interesting ( and true) observation <,the concept of vegetarianism being a bit strange>>, as indeed for lots of people ( including me... he-he) the idea * i do not meat* is much more important than the way my vegetables are cooked.