Borneo by Water

The Orangutan Feeding Station at Camp Leakey.  (Photo Credit Nick Rains.)
The Orangutan Feeding Station at Camp Leakey. (Photo Credit Nick Rains.)

In the July Active & Experiential Travel Issue, we covered Borneo because when it comes wilderness travel Borneo is ahead of the pack. Here, we recommend Borneo by water, both independently and with Lindblad Expeditions.

One of the best ways explore Borneo is by boat. Many of the rivers are navigable by spiffy speed boats and/or the traditional longtail boat (the icon of South-East Asia transportation) on day trips from eco-lodges and resorts. And river travel is certainly the best way to explore Indonesian Borneo (a.k.a. Kalimantan), home to Tanjung Putting National Park, habitat to the single largest (6,000) oragantun population in the world. Most travelers book their trips along the Sekonyer River aboard klotok river boats, parking to hike a trail or spend the night on board by the river banks, where bobble-nose proboscis monkeys whoop at your arrival and kind-eyed orangutans loop overhead.

On a larger and luxury scale, Lindblad Expeditions markets the National Geographic Orion, a 102-guest expedition vessel, cruising on its 13-day Borneo & Indonesia itinerary between Bali and Singapore. Highlights include discovering an incredible array of Borneo’s flora; birding and tracking rare primates like the proboscis monkey in Bako National Park in the state of Sarawak; exploring the jungles of Tanjung Putting National Park in Indonesian Borneo by local boat and interacting with orangutans and other rare wildlife at rehabilitation centers;and meeting with Dr. Birute Galdikas on a visit to Camp Leakey, the research center she established to rehabilitate formerly captive and orphaned orangs for a return to a new life in the wild. Additional, cruise passengers spend two days snorkeling the coral reefs of the uninhabited isles of the Natuna and Anambas archipelagos. Departures for 2015 are scheduled for May 23, June 2, Aug. 28 and Sept. 7, and costs range from $9,550 to $19,990 pp dbl. For more information, call (800) 397-3348 or visit