Indonesia is the 4th most populated country in the world with more than 250.000.000 people --- There are 316 ethnic groups which speak 670 dialects in Indonesia --- There are 17.508 islands in Indonesia, which is the largest Archipelago in the world and only 6.000 of them have a name with only 1.000 are inhabited --- If you could spend only 1 day on each island of Indonesia, you would need 48 years to see all of them? (Transportation between islands not counted) --- Indonesia has the longest coastline in the world, with 100.000 kms long --- Indonesia is probably the last country in the world, which has still unexplored territories, and is not completly mapped? (specially around Irian Jaya) --- There are about 400 volcanoes in Indonesia, and 150 out of them are active, which represents 75% of all active volcano on the planet


Travelling to Palangkaraya - Borneo

Ecotourism in Palangkaraya

Located right in the middle of the country, Central Kalimantan is the third largest province in Indonesia (157,983 square kilometers) and full of natural assets such as forests and national parks, providing opportunities for a very different kind of tourism.

Going Up the River to Meet the Orangutan
Ecotourism in Central Kalimantan is an accessible experience. You don't need to spend a long time traveling far into the interior; you can have a very interesting trip from the provincial capital, Palangkaraya, within a single day.

The trip offered by Kalimantan Tour Destinations, "A Day Cruise with Rahai'i Pangun," for example, allows you to explore beautiful river views and appreciate the local culture on a 20 x 6-meter boat especially designed for comfortable river cruising.

To enjoy this unusual experience, start early in the day. Seven AM is the best time to go to the Tangkiling pier, where the Rahai'i Pangun is docked.

When the boat, with its five double cabins, sets off for Pulau Kaja – the trip's first destination – the most amazing natural colors He has bestowed on the earth start to emerge from the shadows. Plants green as jewels envelop the boat as it moves upstream, while the blue sky above delights the eyes. And then we arrive at one of the trip's main events: the orangutans' feeding time.

Kaja island, 40 km from Palangkaraya and bounded by two rivers, the Rungan on the east and Terusan Kaja on the west, has only 40 orangutan left. Their rehabilitation center is well protected by thick foliage and located not far from the Nyaru Menteng orangutan quarantine center.

If you arrive at just the right time, you will be entertained by the orangutans' antics, displaying their joy and comfort in their habitat. After they eat, they become rather more sedate.

To see more of the orangutan, the Rahai'i Pangun then takes you further, to Pulau Bapalas. You'll be one of the lucky ones if you catch a glimpse of them amidst the dense forest. But they are not the only creatures inhabiting the island.

Rahai’i Pangun bersandar.The Rahai'i Pangun docks at a safe place, and you travel in a smaller traditional boat called a kelotok to explore the smaller islands. Flocks of birds maneuver in the sky. When the sun is high, the birds' shadows create enchanting reflections in the nearby rivers. If you want something a bit more extreme, you can encounter some of the island's fiercer creatures; but it's all up to you, because with the Rahai'i Pangun, you can arrange your own ecotourism journeys in Palangkaraya or other areas of Central Kalimantan.

The Natural Riches of Sebangau National Park
One of Palangkaraya's greatest ecotourism potentials is Sebangau National Park. As one of the remaining peat bog ecosystems in Central Kalimantan, and still in relatively good condition, is offers a great range of biological diversity, combined with high economic value. It also serves as a fresh water preserve for the three localities it encompasses: Katingan Regency, Pulang Pisau Regency, and the City of Palangkaraya.

In terms of biodiversity, Sebangau is the largest remaining habitat for the wild orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), containing around 14% of Kalimantan's total orangutan population, around 6,200 to 6,900 individuals, with an average density of 1.5 individuals/ square kilometer (Husson et al., 2004).

It's also the largest habitat of the gibbon (Hylobates agilis albibarbis, or owa in Indonesian), with 19,000 individuals (Buckel et al., 2006). And at just one location (Baun Bango village in Katingan regency), 94 species of plants with medicinal potential have been identified, according to a LIPI ethnobotany study in 2006.

According to the CIMTROP of Palangkaraya University (2002), there are at least 166 species of flora, 106 bird species, 36 fish species, and 35 mammal species, with the key species being the orangutan and the 36 identified types of fish.

Sebangau National Park, bounded by the Katingan and Sebangau rivers, covers an area of 568,700 hectares and was designated a national park by the Forestry Department on 19 October 2004. For tourism activities, Sebangau National Park offers lovely lakes, the diversity of the peat sub-ecosystems, ecosystem gradation, and unique indigenous flora and fauna. Everyone who visits is enchanted by the beautiful scenery, the abundant agro-ecosystem (rattan), traditional fishery and culture, and the local wisdom of the park's human communities, who reside there peacefully and comfortably.

Desa Bau

For educational tours, Sebangau National Park has the international-standard Peat Forest Nature Laboratory (LAHG-CIMTROP, Palangkaraya University) and a forest rehabilitation/restoration research center at Kanal Mangkok (SSI). Yet at the same time, precisely because of all its natural wealth, Sebangau National Park is also under threat from destructive practices such as illegal logging and the digging of canals that destroy the peat bogs, causing the terrain to dry out and leading to forest fires.

According to Greenomics (2004), the economic value of fisheries and river transport alone – which depend on the hydrological role of the Sebangau region – come to a net value of Rp 361.63 billion over 55 years. This economic value is far higher than what could be obtained from commercial extraction of timber from the same area (only Rp 4.74 billion over 55 years). In other words, if commercial logging continues in the Sebangau area, the local community, and the local governments concerned, will no longer be able to enjoy the economic value of the fisheries and river transport sustainably over 55 years.

Rehabilitation of Sebangau National Park for Sustainable Living
The forest provides a huge range of benefits. People who know about the importance of the forests for sustainable living realize that they need to be conserved. Equally important, 42,000 people live in 41 villages scattered throughout the park, working as farmers, fisherfolk, and farmers and gatherers of rattan, natural latex, and fruit, and their lives essentially depend on Sebangau's natural resources.

CEO WWF & Executive Director Mubariq Ahmad (left) and President & CEO Garuda Indonesia Emirsyah Satar initiate planting at TN Sebagau.WWF-Indonesia has three major targets it wishes to achieve through its programs in Sebangau. First, the peat bogs in the Sebangau area need to be preserved and managed in a collaborative and sustainable way. Second, to improve the quality of life for local communities. Third, local administrations should integrate the principles of conservation and sustainable development into all policies and planning.

One clear manifestation of concern for preserving one of Indonesia's greatest assets is the reforestation effort. The inauguration of this program, including the initial planting, was jointly held on 15 April 2008 by Garuda Indonesia in cooperation with the Department of Forestry, the local governments in Central Kalimantan, and WWF-Indonesia.

Through the "One Passenger One Tree" program, Garuda Indonesia is planting up to 100,000 trees within a 250-hectare area in Sebangau National Park. This program is being carried out using funds Garuda Indonesia sets aside from proceeds of ticket sales to Garuda Indonesia passengers from Australia and Japan.

This planting program is also the follow-up to the memorandum of understanding signed by Garuda Indonesia and WWF-Indonesia in November 2007 and a form of Garuda Indonesia's concern for conservation activities as part of the continuing effort to achieve "Clear Sky" flight operations for future generations.

For more information:
Kalimantan Tourism Destinations, Jl. Tjilik Riwut km 36,
Palangkaraya 73225. T. +62 811 520648/+62 819 52058259

WWF-Indonesia, Sebangau Conservation Project, Central Kalimantan,
Jl. Pangrango 059, Palangkaraya 73112, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. T. +62 536 3236997 F. +62 536 3239404

Kalimantan Meeting Center, Rungan Sari, Jl. Tjilik Riwut km 36, Sei Gohong, Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan 73225, Indonesia. T. +62 819 52010010/11011 F. +62 536 3333878

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