Welcome to Sungai Mahakam
The mighty Mahakam, the second-longest river in Indonesia (after Kapuas), is a microcosm of Kalimantan. As you float upriver in search of the heart of Borneo, you'll pass countless barges hauling it downriver to sell to the highest bidder. You'll see centuries-old villages just around the bend from coal mines and logging camps, and impossibly tall trees looming next to oil-palm plantations. You'll pass imposing government offices with flash SUVs parked out front on your way to haggle over the price of a hand-carved mandau (machete) with a man who's barely keeping his family fed. This is Kalimantan in all of its conflicting, powerful, confusing and compelling beauty. And there is no better way to see it than on a trip up the Mahakam, a journey you'll remember for a lifetime.