Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
We’d like to thank the Betung Kerihun National Park for all their help and support during our trip. Our heart goes out to you, the people that guard our natural resources.
There’s so much to say after our trip to Betung Kerihun National Park. Studied Biology myself, it was surreal to be at one of the places put high on the biological pedestal. Borneo is where the tropical forests are intact and the wilderness is top notch, or so I’ve been taught. For about 8 days, we traveled to this national park and its surroundings to see it for ourselves. Here’s a short summary of what we did there.
There are 4 main river catchment or DAS areas: Embaloh, Mendalam, Sibau, and Kapuas Hulu. We only traveled to DAS Embaloh to camp and trek the area. The camping ground is located upstream, about 3 hours boat ride from the nearest village, Sadap Village. There are no roads to it.
From the camping ground, we trekked up a hill to come out on the other side of the hill. The terrain was steep and the paths were unclear to rookies like us. There were arrows showing directions along the way, but we would never have found them without the guidance of our local Dayak Iban friends. It was my hardest trek so far. And in the end, I could count 12 visible leech marks on me. To be fair, I wasn’t wearing socks within my sandal-shoes. Overall, I was breathing in the best air in the world, Borneo being one of the world’s lungs. I also enjoyed the clean water from the stream without worrying if there were people upstream, because there’s a slim chance there are.
Sebabai used to be an area of illegal logging before it was ceased in 2006. It is now under going rehabilitation by the national park as it borders the protected areas. We hopped behind our motor cross drivers and rode up the old logging roads that are now pretty bad and narrow by the plants. The scenery was beautiful, not so our asses that had to endure the thin saddle. We enjoyed the view and the stories our friends from the national park shared with us. This route would be excellent for motor cross enthusiasts, especially those that like new challenges. Rather than opening up new areas, why not take your bike to Borneo and ride the Sebabai track?
These parts of Borneo is pretty extreme for us and we can see that this national park would cater for special interests and not mass tourism. It’s perfect for those that really want to enjoy nature at another level.
For more information about the national park head to Betung Kerihun National Park website. It’s in Indonesian language but you email them for service in English.
We visited a few longhouses that belonged to the Dayak Iban and Dayak Tamambaloh people. Longhouses are the traditional houses built above the ground. Most of the residents work in fields and sell their produce to the markets as a living. During the day, especially in months like October, the house would appear empty, as the residents would be out in the field. Coming into the afternoon, the house starts to come alive.
We visited the Sadap and Tekalong Longhouse that belong to the Dayak Iban tribe. We also visited the Banua Tengah and Semangkok Longhouses that belong to the Dayak Tamambaloh tribe. Not to forget, we made a pit stop to the Uluk Palin Longhouse that burned down a month ago. Sad. What remains are the sturdy wood foundations, signing that they were good quality wood.
As for the Dayak people, it was great to meet the next generation. The Dayak people are mostly depicted by tattoo-filled warrior-like people but the next generation are more like you and me, as in they are modern but still standing by their traditional beliefs to some extend. Although we didn’t see many of the earlobe-dropping ladies and shaman-dressed men, we did see the real life of this ethnicity.
We were offered to fly the Betung Kerihun National Park’s trike, which is basically a glider with a machine. This plane is used to patrol the forest from the sky. We did a quick spin above Putussibau, the capital of Kapuas Hulu district. We could see how small Putussibau is and surrounded by rivers swirling around. Borneo was something else from the sky.
The added bonus to this trip was a visit to Lake Sentarum. Although we didn’t venture too deep into the lake, it was awesome just to see it during its subsiding period. We drove motorcycles into the middle where it would be filled with water during the wet season. It’s a natural phenomenon that I enjoy seeing. And the peacefulness within that dry lake… oh! So nice!
That’s just a really really general summary of what we did during our visit to Betung Kerihun National Park. There’s more to come in our future posts, so stay tuned for that.
Oh, last words, this trip was part of the #WonderfulIndonesia campaign from Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy. It was a cooperation with Google+ and their #IndonesiaOnly flag. Again, we’re big fans of traveling Indonesia and we’re so onboard with this. Seeing the world would open our horizons but seeing our own country is none less. Take time to travel Indonesia and see how dangerously beautiful it is. For more pictures from the trip, drop by Indohoy’s G+ page.