A Journey to Borneo, World’s 3rd Largest Island

— No bridges to cross the longest river in Indonesia, Kapuas River in Tayan, a small town if you want to go to Ketapang from Pontianak by land transportation.

Kalimantan Island, or well known as Borneo Island is the 3rd largest island in the world. As one of the islands with biggest tropical forest in the world, Kalimantan - Indonesian prefer to use Kalimantan than Borneo- famous with it’s jargon as world’s lungs. All you can see is green forest, clean water, long river, and the rare mammals like Bekantan, Orang Utan or even Enggang bird.

This is my journey to Ketapang, a regency in southern of West Kalimantan province. Ketapang is where Gunung Palong national park located. A place to see the preservation of rare orchid, orangutan, bekantan and belian woods or even to do trekking to the mountain with the amazing and virgin waterfalls. As a journey back to my hometown, the city where i was born 19 years ago, Ketapang is always amazing and yet ironic, where palm plantations step by step change the diverse green forest to a monoculture palm plantation. It’s time for us to valuing nature, and give our care to deforestation that happen in Kalimantan. 

All you see is green forest and long river.

If you want to go to Kalimantan Barat, there is various way you can chose. The easiest way is by using air transportation from Jakarta to Pontianak (the capital of the province), or you can go trough Semarang where small turboprops airplane will bring you directly to Ketapang, or you can chose direct flight from Jogjakarta to Pontianak. If you prefer sea transportation, you can chose “the 3 days on the sea ships” from Jakarta, Semarang and Surabaya. Or if you coming from Malaysia, you can go to Sarawak and chose land transportation by bus from Sarawak to Pontianak. Direct flight to Pontianak from Jakarta is relatively cheap during non-holiday season, it’s about $50-100 US. Ships and Buses are even cheaper. 

Palm plantation with Gunung Palong as the background during the long journey.

From Pontianak you can charter a car with the driver, or chose water transportation to Sukadana, it will spend you about $20 for water transportation until $150 for 3-4 days car rent with driver. From Pontianak to Ketapang or Sukadana it takes about 5-8 hours, depends on road condition. Before you go to the national park, make sure you have the permit letter from forest department officer in Pontianak or Ketapang. During your journey to the national park, you will see the palm plantation start to become the major of the land. You will see the small village and rubber trees dominating the trans Kalimantan road. If you come in summer time, you will see the land get burned by society to create new field. Society here still traditional but very friendly to help you. 

River is vital things as the source of water, fishes, even gold mining and transportations.

In national park, you can choose the eco-tourism package that provide you some package that considering your purpose and length of stay on there. If you are a tourist you can chose 3 to 5 days package, or if you a scientist you can chose to stay even until a month or three there.

Even if the price is relatively expensive, and the journey to the national park is so hard, but you will get the unforgettable moment here. It’s also a part of your contribution in loving this earth. You will empowering the local society to develop eco-tourism rather than become labor in palm plantations. Your degree as a traveler will elevated, as a traveler that already explore the famous tropical forest in Kalimantan, world’s 3rd largest island.

Water transportation to Sukadana from Pontianak



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