Sunday, November 18, 2012

First Jakarta, Then the Klotok

I have been struggling to put into words my reaction to our recent trip to Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of Borneo) to see some of the few remaining (and quickly dwindling) wild orangutans.  Words cannot express how cool it was, but I'll give it a try:  ermahgerd.  amazeballs.  holy sh*t.  mantap. awesomesauce.
Anywho... I'm going to tell the tale over the course of multiple posts, because we saw too much for just one.  Hopefully the photos will help tell the tale... I'm sharing some that I took as well as some Miss Eileen took.

Here's how it went down:  Jenny, Eileen and Chrissy flew themselves to Jakarta (via Seoul, where much palace visiting, photo taking and passport almost-losing ensued), where we sampled the local cuisine (the girls' favorite was Indonesia's national salad, the delicious peanut dressing covered gado-gado), engaged in the local pastime (shopping at the mall) and took a look at the national monument (and some Indonesian tourists took a look at and photo of us):

Then we hopped a tiny flight to the tiny town of Pangkalan Bun in Central Kalimantan:

There we were picked up by our trusty guide JuJu (employed by the organized and responsive gang at Wild Orangutan Tours), drove to the river port town of Kumai and hopped on this blue baby, a traditional wooden boat called a klotok driven by our captain, pictured below in the hat:

 This African Queen-esque boat was our home for 3 nights and 4 days of riding the river, looking for orangutans, monkeys, crocodiles and other wildlife, eating, sleeping, changing, sweating, swatting mosquitoes...

We spent a lot of time out on this front section, keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife:

However, we spent plenty of time hiding from the sun in the main part of the boat, which served as our sleeping quarters, dressing room, lounging area, dining room and impromptu laundry area... it looks small for 4 people, but it was miles bigger than the low-ceilinged crawl space below where our captain, guide, cook and deck hand all hung out...

Our area, arranged for sleeping to the sounds of the jungle (which can occasionally be as loud as a car alarm or police siren):

Sometimes it was hard to find privacy on the klotok:

Dinnertime on the klotok was a candlelight affair:

Post meal cleanup using river water was somewhat questionable, but noone got sick, so we'll call that a win:

This was about as crowded as the river got with klotok traffic ... tidak macet sekali...


  1. LOVE IT! How did you guys choose your klotok tour company? Also, can Chrissy do a guest post on the difference between American cigs and Indonesian cigs?

    1. I picked it based on good reviews on Trip Advisor... look under "Tanjung Puting National Park". We had an awesome time, but also thought some of the other boats looked a little nicer and their guides a little more knowledgeable.

      Also, Chrissy is now well versed in the American cigarette versus the Indonesian kretek (aka clove), having smoked approximately 5,000 of them ;-)

  2. heloooo.. nice to meet you again...... i think you remember me, i am your capitain of tanjung puting national park. how are you?
    i am mr. yofie do you remember?
    i so happy if i see your blog, very nice.. i love that.
    sory my speak english no good,... for now i am organize for orangutan tour boat.
    visit to my website

    1. Pak Yofie, apa kabar? Good to hear from you! Congratulations on your new business! Your website looks good!

    2. i am fine , i hope you too
      new templet from
      i get this idea from our guest.


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