Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
The guides threw dead chickens into an enclosure and we watched the crocs, that seemed to stay still and lazy, suddenly moved fast and fought over the chickens. It was pretty wild, though this particular #Terios7Wonders adventure felt more like a zoo visit. I’m glad though, ‘cos I wouldn’t dare standing close to crocodiles in the wild. Where we were, the Teritip Crocodile Farm or ‘Penangkaran Buaya’ in Teritip Village, about 30 km from Balikpapan.
Teritip crocodile farm is the biggest crocodile breeding center in Kalimantan, having about 1,700 crocodiles in total as per now, 2015. They consisted of a few types, such as the estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) that I feared of encountering in Batukaras and the freshwater crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis). Some of these crocs’ skin are going be your shoes or bags. Not only that, they also provide crocodile satay, since the meat is believed to have health benefit especially for skin disease, and the penis is said to give benefit for men’s sexual vitality. These crocs can live up to 50 years. The old ones aren’t suited enough to be your fashion items, so they are kept as breeders.
Once I heard that crocodiles are monogamous, and when I confirmed that to the guide, he said, “Not really. One male crocodile could mate with up to five females (in his lifetime).”
Unlike a zoo, you could take pictures with the crocs in the enclosure of Teritip crocodile farm, but only from the doorway of the enclosure. They can be really intimidating because they’re so huge and often just laying there with their mouths open waiting for prey. The ones to be taking picture with are the smaller ones, nonetheless looking as fierce. According to the guide, they’re only dangerous when they’re hungry or feeling threatened. At this destination, I realized that I have a similarity with crocodiles. They can be dangerous and wild when hungry. (That, and they might not be able to think clearly too if they were to be taken out shopping.)
Then we were given time to take pictures with the crocs in the background. They made sure that the crocs were already fed and we were warned to not make any sudden movement. However I wasn’t interested as I’m not a fan of reptiles at all, so I chose to look around instead.
Some of the enclosures looked pretty dirty. There were shallow pools where the crocs could wallow and the water was murky. I remember the guide said that it was supposed to be cleared but I don’t remember exactly why they didn’t clear the water.
“We are going to have more animals here. We want to make sort of a mini zoo. Now we already have monkeys, we’ll add deer and whatnot,” said the guide. I hope when they do, at least they make sure that they take good care of the enclosures.
After a 340 km drive from Amuntai to Balikpapan, we arrived in Balikpapan almost midnight. Too tired to take pictures of the hotel, but I can say it was alright. Hakaya Plaza Hotel is perhaps a 3 star hotel, located very near to Sepinggan Airport. In fact, we could see parking airplanes from the restaurant window! Upon our visit, the wifi connection was pretty good, I uploaded this post successfully in our room. Breakfast was, meh, quite unappetizing for me, but at least they’ve got bread, jams and cereal.
Leaving early in the morning to Teritip, I didn’t have time to explore the hotel, but judging from their official website, it looks like I didn’t miss much. For about IDR450,000/night at published rate, I think it’s a pretty good deal, especially if you’re arriving with a night flight.
Ready to move on to the next destination. Pic by Bobby Ertanto.
*This trip is fully paid by Astra Daihatsu Motor in exchange of blog publication, but the opinions are my own.