A Trip of a Lifetime: Part 1 (Travel Diary in Borneo)

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Last year we hosted a major competition for “A Trip of a Lifetime” with our friends at The Orangutan Project. In October 2018, our lucky winner, Cathy Parker, went on an 8 day Orangutan Odyssey Riverboat Adventure in Borneo hosted with Sumatra Orangutan Odyssey Tour!

To recap, highlights of the prize included:

  • Travel to the jungles of Central & West Kalimantan (Borneo)
  • See wild orangutan in their natural habitat
  • Stay in jungle lodges and river boats
  • Trek through the jungle and replant trees
  • Visit the orangutan rescue centre
  • Help save the orangutans from extinction

 

Cathy and her family are finally BACK on home turf, and she has generously documented their amazing experience in Borneo to share with us! We have split up her travel diary into 4 parts, so keep reading to find out exactly what she experienced over her 8 day trip, “Through the Eyes of the Parker Family.”

Mum – Cathy, Dad – Brian,  Tate – Aged 14  &  Bronte – Aged 12.
(October 9 to 16, 2018)

part1- adventure of a lifetime borneo orangutan project aware environmental winner travel diary

Day 1

An early start at Brisbane airport and our adventure starts with an eight-hour flight to Singapore and a two-hour flight to Jakarta. Followed by a rather hair-raising taxi ride to our hotel, FM7 where we joined the group at about 7pm.

parker family trip of a lifetime borneo orangutan project aware environmental travel diary

Day 2

Started with a continental breakfast at the FM7 in Jakarta.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

Then onto a bus to the airport before flying to Pangkalan Bun, on the island of Borneo.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

Arriving at Pangkalan Bun

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

We then travelled by local taxi to the port of Kumai where we boarded our klotok (river boat).

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

Gary Sundin, Orangutan Odyssey’s owner, introduces us to our guides Ivand & Ozzie and we are given a brief of the next part of the adventure.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

Then its on to the klotok, our home for the next few days. As we start our journey up the Sekonyer River, we get our first rain downpour (it is a rainforest after all!)

The rain clears as we enter the National Park and the scenery takes on a distinctive forest feel.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

But before we turn down a fork in the river leading to the National Park we are greeted by a giant Orangutan statue…

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

As we travel deeper into the National Park we are told of the plight of the land. On the right is untouched rainforest, on the left are the ever-growing Palm Oil plantations. The local law says that these plantations are not allowed to go closer than 100m from the river, however we saw glimpses of plantations through the trees that were much closer than that.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

All eyes were peeled on seeing some animal life, and of course the prize being an orangutan. And as luck would have it, we didn’t have to wait too long….

High up in a lone tree we spotted our first orangutan. Orangutans cannot swim so they can’t cross the river (unless there is a crossover of joining foliage in the narrower spots), and unfortunately this guy was on the wrong side, the plantation side, so his future is an uncertain one.

But it was great to see how he effortlessly balanced on the branch and his great strength as he easily snaps a branch the width of a man’s arm and begins to chew on the bark, one of many food sources for an orangutan (there are 2000 recorded food sources for orangutans).

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

Buoyed by our first sighting, the team was all eyes hoping to spot another, but alas this was our only orangutan sighting on our first day in the rainforest.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

Our klotok carried us to our first accommodation in the rainforest, a series of eco-cabins strung together by timber decks called Rimba Lodge. We are greeted at the jetty by some local monkeys, these ones are grey macaques.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

The Rimba Lodge is truly in the middle of the rainforest, as the light faded a large troop of monkeys took up position in the trees around the cabins in the hope of scavenging some food from the human guests.

Tate & Cathy stand on one of the many timber walkways around the cabins.

Even though the Rimba Lodge is deep in the rainforest, we still had the luxury of air-conditioning in our rooms – which was a godsend.

parker family travel diary trip of a lifetime orangutan project aware environmental orangutan odyssey adventures borneo

To be continued…

Phew! What an adventurous start to their 8 day journey. Did you enjoy following along?

Continue reading about the Parker Family’s Orangutan Adventures here – Part 2.