Borneo… for generations of Europeans and Americans, the very name stood for the most remote of lands, and exotic destination cloaked in mystery and adventure. Until recent years, only the most intrepid world travelers ventured to this grand islands. Fewer still penetrated the interior of Kalimantan, the intriguing southern half of Borneo. Today even the once-remote inland regions of Kalimantan may be visited with comparative ease by the adventurous traveler.
A realm of diamond mines, mosque, floating markets and orchid forest, Kalimantan is laced with waterways that wander trough its jungles. The great Mahakam River, with its thousands of miles of tributaries, and the Barito River emptying into the Java Sea to the south, are pathways to adventure for the traveler willing to trade minor comforts for a new sense of personal discovery. You will travel by riverboat or houseboat – even, perhaps by dugout canoe and bamboo raft – to the domain of the blow-gun wielding Dayaks, 200 distinct brave, and at one time, headhunting tribes.
Also inside the jungles you will find spectacular wildlife, the most famous being the orangutans, or “man of the jungle.“ For a good close-up of orangutans it’s best to visit Camp Leakey within the Tanjung Puting Reserve on Kalimantan’s south central coast. There, on the banks of the scenic Sekonyer River, a fascinating program is underway for reintroducing this endangered species to the natural life of the jungle.