The Cross Borneo West to East adventure is a real once in a lifetime adventure. Those who have undertaken this trip in the past have described it as the most challenging and the most enjoyable trekking trip they had ever done. The ultimate challenge – crossing one of the most rugged islands on earth from West to East using roads, rivers and feet, we traverse the jungle of Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo.
BORNEO WEST TO EAST CROSSING ITINERARY
Day 1: Jakarta Arrival
Upon arrival in Jakarta Soekarno Hatta Internatinal Airport, we will transfer you to hotel at down town in Jakarta. Day at leasure.
Day 2: Jakarta Pontianak
Transfer to Cengkareng Airport to catch your flight to Pontianak. Upon arrival in Pontianak. Accomodation at hotel Santika Pontianak. There are a lot of things to do while we are there. We can explore the riverbank area of Pontianak by the wooden boat, from where we can observe the old and the new Pontianak from the different perspective. Among the highlights of the sightseeing trip is Pontianak harbor, Beting Permai water village, and the huge Kapuas bridge. We do this for about 2 or 3 hours.
Overnight Hotel Santika Pontianak
Day 3: Pontianak – Putussibau
Departure by DAS (Dirgantara Air Service) at 09.00 arrival Putussibau at 11.00. This flight is on a small plane with capacity for just 22 people. The flight is a little bit noisy and ear plugs are recommended. On this flight, you are only allowed 10 kg of luggage so please bring only the essentials you need for this expedition
Overnight at simple hotel in Putussibau
Day 4: Putussibau – Kapuas river (B,L,D)
We will start our adventure expedition after breakfast at hotel in Putussibau and head towards the headwaters of the Kapuas by long boat. The long boat is about 1 ½ – 2 meters wide and 6 – 8 meters long with capacity for 4 – 5 passengers. The long boat has no roof so it will be hot and also little noisy. It is recommended to wear your water sport sandals (TeVa) or rubber shoes and bring ear plugs, hat, long sleeve, short pants, extra snacks & drinks and dry bags.
This journey will be undertaken with our porters as well as our guide. On the way the boat will be stop for a toilet break, cleaning the propeller, refill gasoline or to fix the engine, if required! We will pass some Dayak Villages on the riverside and their unique daily river life as well as some birds such as Eagle, King Fisher, Long Tailed Parakeet.
Lunch on the way. Dinner and overnight at the riverside at tents or local house.
Day 5: Kapuas river – Bungan river (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we continue our journey by long boats as far as up stream as possible. On the way we may stop at the Dayak village to see local communities and long houses. We will also pass some rapids, slash and burn agriculture (shifting cultivation) as well as the local people looking for gold, some by traditional methods and some by machine along the river side. In certain places we have to push the boat as the level of the water in the dry season may be too shallow.
Here you will experience how amazing the boatmen are and what we call “the Stone Men: the boat crew who know exactly where the rocks are and how to get away from the rapids. It’s a great ‘adventure challenge’ that you will experience. If the rapids are too challenging we have to walk along the rocks on the river side and the boat will pick us up. It’s tough here!
Lunch on the way. Dinner and overnight at the river side with tents or temporary house or local house.
Day 6: Bungan River – Tanjung Lokang (B,L,D)
Continue our journey after breakfast. It’s more and more challenging here with the rapids. Go down some rapids with the boat and in other areas we push the boat, walk on the rocks but overall we “enjoy” the challenging experience of the rapids. On the way we will see the tropical rainforest of Kalimantan, shifting cultivation, traditional gold mining in the river, temporary huts, till we reach Tanjung Lokan. Tanjung Lokan are small villages located inside Betung Kerihun National Park. If you are a handy craft collector you may find some nice baskets, “Mandau” traditional machete, “Sumpit” blow gun, or “Tangguy” traditional farmer hats etc. You will enjoy lunch on the way.
Dinner and overnight at a local house.
Note: The duration of the long boat journey is depend on what happened on the river. Normally the journey starts after breakfast and runs until in the mid-day for lunch. Then the long boat will start again but will stop before dark to set up the camp to prepare meals. Sometimes we have to continue the journey longer to catch the best places to stay overnight. Here we need your flexibility so you will make the most of your journey.
Day 7: Tanjung Lokan – Bobo/Sei bulit (Sungai Bulet) (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we start the trek across up Land Ladang “slash and burn” a long fellow dry rice field through the forest. The first 2 hours we will hike up the hill, then another about 2 ½ hours passing the jungle and dry small river. After lunch which we take close to a river our trek will be up and down, crossing the dry small river and Nyinyit Cave (the local people collect the swallow nests that are expensive delicacies in the towns and support their life inside the cave). Before dark we set up the tents on the river side of Sei Bulit for dinner and overnight. The guides’ team will cook for us.
Day 8: Sei Bulit – Bungan River (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we cross the river, making our way through the jungle crossing small rivers and passing some caves as we go. It is very likely we’ll see some exotic flora and fauna of Borneo. After lunch on the way on the river side, we pass temporary huts that the local people use for tending their shifting cultivation or hunting deer, wild pig, birds, and even sometimes clouded leopard. Before dark, we set up the tents close to Bungan River for dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Bungan river – Bungan Lea River (B,L,D)
We prepare for a challenging trek which is varied but tough. After breakfast we cross the big river which is about ½ – 1 meter deep. We have several challenges to deal with: lots of water, and rocks to face on our journey. After lunch on the way (by the river side), we continue the trek up and down the cliff of the river.
Overnight and dinner on the river side of Bungan Lea River.
Day 10: Bungan Lea River – Piang Lo’ong (B,L,D)
This is the longest and the toughest trek of the trip. After breakfast, crossing up and down, facing rivers and cliffs. After lunch we continue the trek as before lunch. The trek will be very challenging and everybody needs an adventurous spirit and plenty of energy. We eventually set up a campsite close to the river for dinner and overnight.
Day 11: Piang Lo’ong – Muller Range (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we walk for about two hours up and down river till reach the foot of Muller Range. It starts at an altitude of 500 meters (ASL) till we reach the border of West and East Kalimantan at 1000meters (ASL). The path is not so difficult only high up above the jungle. It takes about 1 – 1 ½ hours depending on our progress. No need to rush as the jungle view is simply fantastic.
After reaching the “TUGU PERBATASAN” (Border monument)), we need to put something from our belongings such as socks or clothes for ‘offering’ to the spirits. After lunch on the way, the trek is easier, going down hill until we reach the campsite in the river side.
Dinner and overnight at the Muller Range.
Day 12: Muller Range – Muara Cutting (B,L,D)
After breakfast the trek is almost the same before except on the way the Dayak will show us how to survive in the jungle, collecting the rotan, hunting, catching fish, setting traps etc. Lunch on the way.
Overnight camping on the riverside of Muara Cutting.
Day 13: Muara Cutting – Saite (B,L,D)
This is the shortest trek. We will trek for about 3 hours to reach Saite so we will have lots of time for relaxing and swimming after several days of hard trekking. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on the riverside.
Overnight at Saite.
Day 14: Muara Saite – Tiong Ohang (B,L,D)
After breakfast we trek across the river and jungle to reach the Mahakam River after 3 hours walk. You will pass slash and burn agriculture before reaching the river side. Upon arrival, the long boat will take us to Tiong Ohang Village – a journey of about 6 – 7 hours. Lunch on the way. We will pass some temporary huts as well as slash and burn agriculture and jungle. Dinner is at a simple restaurant. We’ll arrive at Tiong Ohang where we spend the night. This is the first village we encounter after long days in the jungle. We may also find more handy craft from Kalimantan and of better quality.
Overnight at a local (simple) house at Tiong Ohang.
Day 15 : Tiong Ohang – Long Bagun (B,L,D)
After breakfast at the local restaurant, we continue our journey by long boat for 8 – 10 hours. On the way we stop at a local restaurant for lunch. We will pass some big rapids, so we need to walk on the rocks but it’s not so difficult and the boat will pick us up below the rapids. The views along the rivers are fantastic and we can walk around to see the long houses and their unique daily life.
Dinner and overnight at a local house.
Day 16: Long Bagun for cultural performences/boarding the boat (B,L,D)
The Mahakam River is unique but we do have to be aware of the tide and height of the river. In the dry season the level of the water could be shallow so sometimes you have to leave the river at Long Bagun. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at the boat or Long Bagun.
Overnight on boat or Long Bagun
Day 17: Long Bagun – sail on the house boat (B,L,D)
The boat will begin moving around 10.00 but could be change without prior notice. It may be best to leave earlier if the water is not reliable. The house boat is a public traditional wooden boat with two decks, the first deck is for goods and economy class with capacity of more than 100 passengers and the second deck is first class! with capacity for 75 passengers. The economy room is more open both sides and has no mattress while the others have mattresses, luggage room below the bed but all is open as there are no private rooms or air conditioning.
There is a traditional Indonesian style toilet and simple restaurant that provide Indonesian meals, tea, coffee, and snacks on the first deck. The boat will stop sometimes for passengers and loading/unloading goods. During the sailing trip you will explore and learn the local way of life “river side civilization” which is very different from what we have experienced in the jungle area.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and overnight on the house boat.
Day 18: House boat – Samarinda (B,L)
We should arrive between 10.00 AM – 12.00 PM depending on the schedule of the houseboat. Upon arrival we transfer by car to our hotel in Samarinda which is about 20 – 30 minutes away. The rest of the day is free time and dinner will be served on your personal account.
Day 19: One extra day
This is an extra day. We shall use it during the trek where we may need it or just because we want to spend the time there (But it will be during the trek only)
Day 20: Samarinda – Balikpapan (B)
Breakfast at hotel then transfer at the appropriate time to drive to Balikapapan Airport to catch our flight to the next destination. It takes about 3 hours from Samarinda to Balikpapan Airport (120 km) depending on the traffic. The West to East Crossing of Borneo ends here! Congratulations- you made it!