SEEING ORANGUTANS IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA
Replies: 260 - Last Post: Apr 1, 2013 1:37 AM Last Post By: montyman
Jan 25, 2012 3:39 PM
Thanks for all your invaluable info. It's amazing you've been with this board since 2003. I read your summaries of the national parks & rehabilitation centers, which dates back to 2003. I wonder if some of your statements are still true in 2012. Would you mind reconfirming these statements because I'm taking your suggestions to heart for my upcoming trip!
1. Now that it's 2012, do you still consider the Danum valley to be "...the very best place in Malaysia to see wild orangutans in pristine habitat"?
2. What’s the current state of Kutai National Park? Is it still undervisited? Do you have a 2012 estimate of wild orangutan population? You mentioned it was around 700 in 2003. I imagine it’s less now.
3. Is Gulung Palung National Park still “…probably the best park in Borneo apart from Danum”? Is this still your opinion after all these years? Is the density of wildlife still unparalleled?
Lastly, how in the world does one travel from Pangkalan Bun to Kutai National Park? Air? How do I find flights? And from Kutai to Sabah area to see the Danum valley. Can anyone help with how one organizes air travel and with whom?
Thanks so very much.
Jan 27, 2012 3:04 AM
2. I read it had fallen to 200, but that too must be a mere guess. It is still undervisited for sure, though more visited than before I wrote this thread! ;-)
3. It may still be good for the wildlife it contains, but seeing it is more difficult now for reasons outlined in this thread.
There are no direct connections from Pangkalanbun to Balikpapan, I think. You may well need to fly via Java. From Kutai you can travel northwards by road to Tanjung Selor, then by boat via Tarakan to Tawau, then on to Danum via Lahad Datu. Or fly via KL.
Feb 10, 2012 3:03 AM
My daugher and I are trying to plan our trip from Sydney Australia to see the orangutangs preferably not in the rehabilitation centres behind glass, but where they are roaming and mabye will come close.
Can you tell us where to fly into and where to go. We have never travelled before, we plan to be away for one month, and want to see Singapore and Thailand as well after we have experienced time with these amazing animals.
Would you mind giving us a starting point please.
Thank you very much
Feb 13, 2012 5:40 PM
228Even in the rehabilitation centers they are not behind glass...but they are not actually wild. In most they are released into wooded environments and live on their own except for feeding and medical checks. At Sepilok in Sabah they are supposed to be moved into full independence after they mature. At Semenggoh (near Kuching) they have lived "free" for a couple of generations. Some come to the feeding area, others don't.
In Indonesia the Bukit Lawang and Tanjung Puting Preserves are the easiest to see orangutans. Many of these are also former rehabilitants. To see wild orangutans on can go to Ketembe in Sumatra, Gunung Palung or Kutai in Kalimantan. In Sabah one can see wild orangutans along the Kinabatangan river or at Danum Valley. Those are the main spots. Wild orangutans are much more furtive, and can be hard to see in the canopy and run away. Sometimes people visit a spot for days and don't see wild orangutans who may be feeding in another area. It's not a 100% deal. Conversely close up photos and clear views are almost always guaranteed at a rehab center.
There really is no direct flights from Sydney to any of these spots...so you'll have to fly to a hub like Singapore, KL or Jakarta. From KL you can fly to Sandakan in Sabah and easily access the Sepilok rehab center and then the Kinabatangan river for wild orangutans. Or if you want to travel a bit farther you can go to Danum Valley. From KL there are also flights to Kuching, where the Semennggoh Rehab center mentioned above is located. KL's Air Asia also flies to Medan...and Bukit Lawang is about 4 hours from there...Ketembe is about 10 hours by bus.
You could also fly via Singapore and go to KK (then to Sandakan), or Kuching.
Mar 4, 2012 8:06 PM
229Laszlo (or anyone else),
Years ago (in late '04) you provided information that helped me find great experiences around Borneo (including an unforgettable if challenging experience at Ganung Palung). I noticed that you had posted on some national parks in Sulawesi and wanted to see if you had any current information on Bogani Nani Waterbone.
I am no longer taking multi-month breaks so my time is a bit shorter than before. I will be in northern Sulawesi for about 15 days, the primary goal is a few days diving in Bunaken and a few at Lember but I want to get off trail a bit as well. I plan to spend a day/night in Tangkoko for the easier wildlife spotting but would like to take 4-5 days to travel to BNW. Information around seems sparse so if you have any or could point to someone who you may know who has tried the trip recently it would be appreciated.
Mar 8, 2012 3:44 PM
230Hello, I'm planning a trip to Indonesia in June 2013. I'm aware that the Tanjung Puting National Park is the most famous (and overated) place to see orangutans and tropical birds. However, since most tour companies that I've found go there, I'm not sure how to approach booking a trip anywhere else to see orangutans. Is there a more accessible site to visit? Is there a more affordable tour company that goes elsewhere? I'm travelling on a budget but would love to see Borneo and experience what is left of the tropical rainforests. Any help is much appreciated.
Mar 9, 2012 9:53 PM
231Sorry Avi, I have no recent experience with that park.
The cheap way to visit parks is NOT to book any tour with anyone, just to show up in person and arrange things on the spot. In Indonesian Borneo you could do this with Kutai NP fairly easily as it's just a few hours from a major airport.
Mar 25, 2012 7:47 PM
Mar 25, 2012 9:28 PM
Last year i done my research in Gunung Palung National Park, exactly in Batu Barat Resort.
That has a complete ecosystem such as river, lowland forest up the hill. My focus is endemic primate of Borneo.
There, i find some of species of endemic primate such as orangutan, Bornean gibbon, proboscis monkey and red leaf monkey. There are also other wildlife such as long tail monkey, hornbills and banded leaf monkey.
That's so amazing, i should go by canoe for identication habitat along river and end up on the hill.
Beside that, i learn many things from the community around the park. Stay with them and feel sense of life.
I think, you should try to go there and enjoy your life.
Mar 26, 2012 5:18 AM
Like my information above. Last year i went to Gunung Palung National Park (West Borneo), there we can find orangutan, red leaf monkey, proboscis monkey, Bornean Gibbon and others wildlife such as hornbills.
Exactly, in Tanjung Puting you can find orangutan. Almost orangutan in Tanjung Puting is semi-wild, there's a rehabilition centre so you can find orangutan more easy.
Orangutan in Gunung Palung is wildliife, so we can find orangutan in habitat and not easy to find it. We should trakking around the forest or we can observe along river by canoe. That's real adventure, you can try it.
Please free to share about your planning.
Edited by: Andreas_at_LP
Apr 19, 2012 10:38 PM
235For people concerned about orangutans, see if this petition is still active. It concerns the recent fires in Aceh, Sumatra and the threat to the orangutans there.
May 26, 2012 10:44 AM
Thanks to everyone who's posted, I've read through most of the thread and found it extremely helpful but there's still a couple of things I'm unsure of.
Context - I'm heading to Indonesia over June-July and I wanted spend some time seeing amazing wildlife (including orangutans), exploring deep dark jungles and experiencing different cultures. Then my girlfriend decided to come; she's used to 5 star package tours so things are a bit more complicated this time.
Also neither of us speak Bahasa Indonesia, I especially find it a struggle to pick up anything but the most basic greetings in any language.
Before I found this thread I was really excited about chartering a klotok in Tanjung Puting NP, seeing orangutans, probiscis monkeys and all of that ... but well "overrated" definately dampened my enthusiasm.
Is TPNP really not worth it? And are Lonely Planet's estimates of a klotok cost (including crew, food etc) under US$100 / day accurate?
For once I'm not so worried about getting off the tourist trail (easing my girlfriend into real travel because anything's going to be less touristy than the luxury cruises she's used to). What I'm looking for are exotic animals in the wild (but 'rehabilitated' is okay) without too much obvious logging. Lazy evenings on a boat and the opportunity for short treks are both major pluses. This in mind, where does everyone think is the best spot in Indonesia?
Jun 25, 2012 5:40 AM
Aug 14, 2012 7:33 PM
Thanks all for this information!!
I realize it's last minute, but I've arrived in KK yesterday and will leave Borneo from Kuching on he 25th.
Can anyone give me advice on the best route which includes seeing Orang Utans in wild, and which I can make within these 10 days?
It seemed like the rehabilitation centers were my best guess, but after reading the information here I feel very little motivation to go there.
Aug 14, 2012 7:36 PM
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