Cruising down a quiet Indonesian river, catching glimpses of orangutans along the shore — if that sounds like paradise to you, try a trip on a traditional klotok boat floating along the Sekonyer River.
The KM Sekonyer boat offers just such an experience, and it’s an intimate one at that — just 18 meters long and three meters wide, it’s been built in the Bornean klotok style and contains three simple, but comfortable, cabins.
People who have taken the trip don’t mind the simple accommodations, since they spend most of their days on the upper deck, which is outfitted with rattan furniture and completely open to allow views of nearby nature and animals. This is also where meals are served.
Though the accommodations are simple, they do afford the necessities and facilities that visitors from the city would like to have: air conditioning, warm showers, mosquito netting, waterproof clear blinds for nature-watching as it rains, western toilets, reading lights, and electricity.
The food onboard is also part of the overall experience. Fresh, local Indonesian specialties abound on the onboard menu, with reviewers mentioning that they loved that each meal was unique, with no dish prepared twice — no matter how much they nagged the staff to try a certain dish one more time.
The trip takes travelers along the Sekonyer River, which winds through Southern Borneo and passes through the Tanjung Puting National Park, a well-known orangutan habitat.
Guests have reported seeing orangutans just moments from departure, and as close as 20 meters from the boat.
They appear by the riverside for most of the journey, playing, eating, sleeping, and washing. Some have even witnessed mother orangutans teaching their babies to climb and swing through the thick riverside jungle vines.
Those who have taken the trip say it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and were charmed by the jungle and rainforest they passed through on their trip, as well as the chance to visit local villages and interact with the people living there.
Apparently, the staff and crew members of the boat know each local orangutan by name and can even offer a few tidbits about each animal’s backstory and personality.
But the large primates are far from the only wildlife seen on the journey — gibbons, macaques, probosci’s monkeys, wild boars, water snakes, tarantulas, and endless varieties of birds and butterflies are often spotted, too.
The cruises depart Tuesdays and Saturdays from Kumai Harbor with three, four, and five-day itineraries available.