For the adventurers, the exploration could continue to go deep into the Kutai National Park and adventure cruises on the Mahakam, a river that flows almost 1,000 km from the highlands of Gunung Cemaru to the Makassar strait. Home to critically endangered Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins and breeding place for hundreds of bird species. Cruising up the Mahakam in a houseboat is the only practical way to explore the rain forest region which passes through some of the world’s richest remaining wildlife and most remote tribal villages on earth.
Meeting Dayak Kenyah tribes is the highlight of any journey to East Kalimantan. In Lekaq Kidau and a few other cultural villages in Kutai Kertanegara, the indigenous population of ancient headhunters perform ritual music and dances while educating visitors to their unique customs and ancestral knowledge of the surrounding jungle. Traditional community longhouses can be seen there too, as large wooden structures built on pillars, sometimes up to hundreds of meters long, that host dozens of families, with common areas for cooking, blacksmithing and ritual ceremonies.
All around the province, some outstanding jungle destinations are open to passionate travelers and conservationists at heart. The Wehea highland forest located in the East Kutai regency is a great example of a successful restoration project. Rewarded by a Kalpataru trophy, Indonesia’s highest environmental honor, Wehea was originally reclaimed from illegal loggers and poachers and has now become a flagship 40,000 hectares reserve managed by a local Dayak tribe. The Kersik Luway Natural Reserve is remarkable too, as a heaven for trekking and orchid lovers, with hundreds of species growing there, including the mysterious Black Orchid (Coelogyne Pandurata).
Besides jungle adventures, East Kalimantan also offers a secret underwater treasure – a world class diving in a Derawan archipelago known for its wealth of coral reefs and marine life. Take a boat trip to Maratua island and meet squadrons of Manta rays, go to Sangalaki and witness giant sea turtles nesting, or head to Kabakan for its unique jellyfish lake.
“East Kalimantan is a paradise for ecotourism, but its rain forests and wildlife need to be sustainably protected as a precious heritage. Tribal communities deserve our respect too, for their culture and traditions highlight the diversity of our Indonesian nation. We invite BBTF delegates to find out more about this amazing destination” said I Putu Winastra, head committee of BBTF 2023 and chairman of the ASITA travel association Bali chapter.
Come and join us at BBTF 2023. Learn more and log on to www.bbtf.co.id