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Mahakam River & Kutai National Park Exploration (8D/7N)

Tour Code: BTG-BORNEO16

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Mahakam River & Kutai National Park Exploration (8D/7N)
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Get ready for an adventure through the Mahakam River and vast rainforests of Kutai National Park aboard houseboats and motorized canoes! This expedition will allow you to explore first-hand the endemic fauna of this area so close to the equator. Also, you will have the opportunity to meet the Borneo Orangutans and meet the Dayak tribes. More incredible animals you can expect are rare water birds in danger of extinction and with a little luck, you will see the “fresh water” dolphin.

  • 7 Nights
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Pickup: Balikpapan, Borneo (BPN)
Itinerary: Mahakam River & Kutai National Park Exploration


Welcome to Balikpapan! It is now a port city but once a fishing village built by Bugis people. You can find jewelry and gemstones sold at many markets, as well as nice white sandy beaches on the coast area.

Your Mahakam River Tour begins upon arrival at airport. Meet our guide who will take you to the town of Loa Janan that is about 2 and half hours driving car. It is where you will board the houseboat prepared for you to explore the Mahakam River. Meals and accommodation are provided on board.

Meals: Lunch – Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Houseboat AC


After breakfast on boat, we stop at Muara Muntai which is a traditional fishing village along the river. Here, you will observe the ways of life of the local tribe.

Then, continue the trip by motorized canoe over the Lake Jempang. It is one of the 3 major wetlands in the region and happens to be also a birdwatcher’s paradise. After that, you will cruise through the Ohong river where you can see wildlife alongside. The destination will be Mancong which is one of the scenic village where you will meet a Dayak tribe.

On arrival, welcome ceremony will be performed by Dayak Benuaq tribe in front of their long house. Enjoy some time with them then we will return to the house boat in the late afternoon.

Cruise by motor canoe to Tanjung Isuy which is another Dayak village where will do some sightseeing. After that, we go back to the houseboat for dinner and overnight as it cruises to Muara Pahu.

Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner

Accommodation: Standard Houseboat AC


After breakfast, we will continue by canoe upstream for about one hour until we arrive at Mount Bayan. We will visit the Terbisak Village, known of its longhouse of the Dayak Benuaq tribe. It is still inhabited by about 100 people living in their community house, who preserve the traditions of dry rice fielding and hunting.

After that, we go downstream by canoe. Along the river banks, we can see the exotic nature and wildlife such as otters, leave monkeys, endangered proboscis monkeys and birds. We move to the delta of the Belowan river with chances to spot the fresh water dolphins in the colliding stream of the Kedang Pahu and the Belowan River. In the afternoon, return to houseboat to continue upstream to the town of Melak.

Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner 

Accommodation: Standard Houseboat AC


Arrive in Melak, we will drive to Eheng Village by a jeep or minibus passing by beautiful highlands to reach the old longhouse of Dayak Tunjung. After that, we will visit Kersik Luway Reserve and explore the forests. This reserve is famous for the interesting Black Orchids, and with a little luck we can find it on our journey.

In the afternoon, move to Ombau Asa waterfall, an exciting place for swimming and relaxing. Return to Melak then board to the houseboat and downstream to Tenggarong City.

Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner 

Accommodation: Standard Houseboat AC


Arrive at Tenggarong, visit the former palace of Kutai Kartanegara sultanate. Where you will see the Sultan’s impressive collection of heirlooms, ceramics, Dayak’s art and culture items. Afterwards, we go by car of about six hours to Sangatta. Check in at hotel, for dinner and overnight.

Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner   

Accommodation: Kutai Permai hotel 


Early in the morning by motor canoe upstream Sangatta River into the jungle of Kutai National Park Reserve. Upon arrival at prefab orangutan research station, we will drop our stuff and directly start a jungle trek into the forest, looking for wildlife and Orangutans.

The park which extends over an area of 2,000 sq. km is home diverse flora and fauna. There are more than 900 species of flora and other vegetation types such as mangrove forest and freshwater swamp. Moreover, it provides habitat to 10 species of primates, 90 species of mammals including orangutans and 300 species of birds. Meanwhile, the number of orangutans was found to have decreased from 600 recorded in 2004 to about 60 in 2009. However, a survey in 2010 identified over 2,000 orangutans to be inhabiting the park.

In the afternoon, return to prefab station for lunch and rest then later do another forest trekking in search for more wild animals and encounter the beauty of rain forest flora. Dinner and overnight at prefab research station.

Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner   

Accommodation: Jungle Lodge at Kutai National Park


After Breakfast, go by motor canoe to the mangrove forest at the Delta of the Sangatta River to spot long-nose monkeys, birds, crocodiles and other wild in the mangrove forest.

Return to Sangatta for lunch and continue by car for about 1 and half hour to Sangkima side. There, you can find an old big hard wooden tree and diversity of vegetation. We continue by car to passing some Bugis villages along the road. We will have dinner en route to Samarinda and overnight at the hotel there.

Meals: Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner   

Accommodation: Senyiur Hotel 


Breakfast, free at leisure, enjoy the hotel atmosphere until departure transfer to Balikpapan airport for your flight to your next destination. Thank you for exploring Mahakam River and Kutai National Park with Come2Indonesia. Sampai Jumpa!

Meals: Breakfast    

Accommodation: –

Photos: Mahakam River & Kutai National Park Exploration

Price Includes

  • Accommodation and meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Room All Twin Shared
  • English speaking guide during the excursions
  • Transportation and visits as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Donations and Entrance fees, permits
  • A unique experience!

Price Excludes

  • Domestic/international flights
  • Travel Insurance (Highly Recommended)
  • Visa
  • Airport tax
  • Alcohol, soft drinks, personal expenses
  • Extra expenses occurred due to causes beyond our control (force majeure) such as cancellations of flights, natural disasters, diseases, etc.
  • Everything that is not mentioned in “INCLUDES”
Map: Mahakam River & Kutai National Park Exploration


When is the best time of the year to do this tour?

Our favourite time for travel in Indonesia is between April to October. Although Indonesia is a great year-round destination, offering memorable experiences for all kinds of adventures. July to August are the peak summer months.

In the West to Central part of the weather is delightfully warm and it’s a popular time for travellers to visit for holidays. Whilst if you wish to travel from October to April, the Eastern part Indonesia, like Banda and Raja Ampat would be the best option.

For a more relaxing journey in Indonesia with less crowds, the shoulder months of April to June and September to October are ideal and slightly more economic. If you must travel in ‘high season’ but want to avoid the crowd, worry not, there are numbered of unbeaten track in Indonesia ready to be explored.

What should I bring?

The tropics is a warm and often sweaty place, especially if you have Borneo or Sulawesi included in your travel. Check out our suggestion on What to Wear:

  • Comfortable and light shirt and at least a pair of long sleeves
  • Comfortable walking shoes or trekking shoes if your trip include some trekking
  • Shorts and long pants
  • Couple of pairs of socks
  • Waterproof Jacket/Raincoat

Depends on the type of travel, you may also need these in your What to Bring list:

Underwater Trip:
  • Dive Insurance
  • Dive certificate
  • Certificate of Nitrox (for those who are using Nitrox)
  • Dive equipment except Tanks and Weights. Please consult your travel expert to find out if the equipment is inclusive or not in your booking
  • Swimsuit/Dive suit
  • Adaptor DIN or INT
  • Flashlight
  • Sunscreen SPF +40
  • Waterproof bags
Land Tour and Trekking:
  • Small backpack for daily important item
  • Travel Insurance, which covers trekking and sport risk
  • Trekking shoes (check with your travel expert if you need a Goretex or simply a walking shoes)
  • Pullover (as in some area like Mt Bromo and some other places at high altitude, the temperature can get as low as 0 degree)
  • Hats
  • Small flashlight or head flashlight
  • Towel (preferably quick dry microfiber towel)
  • Flight tickets (keep the soft copy in your mobile)
  • Valid passport with Valid Visa (or check if you are eligible for Visa Free Entry)
  • Travel/Dive Insurance
  • Personal medication (include contact lenses)
  • Waterproof bag to put all important documents
  • All documents for your trip: vouchers, tickets, contact numbers
  • Credit card (in some major cities, credit card are widely accepted in restaurants and shops. Small charge might be applied)
  • Cash in Euro or USD (you may change into local currency Rupiah when you arrive here)
  • Camera, Battery and Charger
  • Adaptor (220V is used in Indonesia)
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen and Sunglasses
  • International driving license (if you plan to drive on your own)
  • Mosquito Repellent with DEET
  • Hygienic travel kits (mask, disinfectant or anti-virus spray, etc, etc)

How do I get to Balikpapan?

Balikpapan is easily reached from all major cities in Indonesia. Most airlines have flights to Balikpapan, including from Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar. Besides Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air, other domestic low-cost carriers to Balikpapan are Sriwijaya Air, Citilink, Indonesia Air Asia. Internationally, SilkAir flies direct to Balikpapan from Singapore. 

How hard is our tour?

We have classified our tours in 3 different classes. Always check which one suitable for your condition. If you have any doubt, you may consult to our travel expert.

Easy: Suitable for most people in good health. These trips can include short walk for days with around 2–3 hours in good paths and at low altitudes.

Medium: A reasonable level of fitness or technique is required, as these trips can require sustained endurance levels as the trip may include longer days of approximately 5-6 hours of activity or/and in higher altitudes, or snorkelling in strong current.

Hard: These trips are physically demanding and best suited for people with a high endurance level, good level of fitness and exercise regularly. Days can be long around 7-8 hours of activity, often at high altitudes, in remote regions and sometimes without a support vehicle nearby. Travellers may be required to carry their backpack, trip with trekking overnights without access to normal toilets or accommodations.


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