Enjoy the beauty of the Mahakam River’s tranquil waters, sitting on the top deck of your houseboat watching the river flown, the unspoiled vistas and the secluded villages.
Mahakam River is a landmark found in Indonesia and flows 980 km from the district of Long Apari in the highlands of Borneo to its mouth at the Makassar Strait. It serves as an economic resource for fishermen and farmers, as well as freshwater source and as a waterway since ancient time until today.
Kutai National Park is a lowland national park found in the east coast of the Borneo Island, ranging approximately 10 to 50 kilometers north of the equator and in the north of the Mahakam River including lakes Danau Maau, Santan, Besar and Sirapan.
Kutai National Park is dominated by Dipterocarpaceae lowland tropical rainforest and serves as home to 958 species of flora – including eight of the world’s nine genus of Dipterocarpaceae family, 41 species of orchids and 220 species of medicinal plants. Other vegetation types found in Kutai National Park include coastal mangrove forest, freshwater swamp forest, and kerangas forest.
Kutai National Park provides habitat to ten species of primates such as the orangutan, maroon leaf monkey, white – fronted leaf-monkey, probosci’s monkey, and Bornean gibbon. 90 species of mammals, such as the Malayan sun bear, sambar deer, banteng, clouded leopard, black flying squirrel, marbled cat, flat – headed cat, otter civet, smooth-coated otter, and yellow – throated marten; and 300 species of birds.
In recent studies, the number of Orangutans in the area was found to have been decreasing, however, a study conducted in 2010 identified more than 2, 000 orangutans to be dwelling in the Kutai National Park.
Tanjung Isuy Village is the first Dayak Village and is the most visited place that is included to the Mahakam travel itinerary. It serves as a settlement of the Benuaq Dayak at Jempang lake as the big lake in the under stream of the Mahakam River. In the village, you will find an original, traditional longhouse which welcomes guests and gives the possibility for an overnight and enjoy a standard Indonesian style of accommodation.
In Tanjung Isuy Village, you will see women weaving ulap doyo – a traditional free – fiber cloth typical to the area. Aside from this guests will also get the chance to see the guardian statues and the grave of a Benuaq king in this area along the Mahakam River from Samarinda. You will also see floating houses on Lake Jempang which serves as a water buffer of the Mahakam River.
Interesting activities such as jungle trekking and exploring the flora and fauna in the area may be done here. Be indulged with magnificent beauty this village holds!
Mancong village is a Dayak village built on boardwalks like Muara Muntai whose own two-story lamin can house 200 people. Mancong is a village found just a few hours from Tanjung Isuy. Mancong’s banks are teeming with wildlife and flowering trees reaching into and across the waterway and serves as one of Kalimantan’s scenic highlights.
Guests may also see hornbills soaring above your heads, dazzling king fishers skimming the water, and probosci’s monkeys paddle across while macaques skitter along branches that you will pass by along the way.
Mancong recalls life on the Mahakam before logging, oil, and coal dominated. Until now, lush green forests still surround the village almost entirely.
The Dayak, Dyak, or Dayuh are the native people of Borneo. Their name is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups, located principally in the interior of Borneo, each having its own dialect, customs, laws, territory, and culture, their common distinguishing traits, however, are readily identifiable. They are widely seen in villages in Indonesia such as Tanjung Isuy Village and the Mancong Village.
Irrawaddy dolphins are rare dolphins that live in small isolated populations around Southeast Asia. You may see some of these in the Mekong River and in the Malampaya Sound in the Philippines. These dolphins also thrive in the Mahakam River which teems with resources for them to feed on. It is similar to the beluga in appearance but is most closely related to the killer whale.
The Irrawaddy whale has a large melon and a blunt, rounded head, and the beak is indistinct. Its dorsal fin which is located about two – thirds posterior along the back, is short, blunt, and triangular. Its flippers are long and broad and are slightly colored all over but slightly more white on the underside than the back.
Unlike any other dolphin, the Irrawaddy’s u-shaped blowhole is placed on the left of the midline and opens towards the front of the dolphin. Their short beaks appear very different than those of the other species of dolphins and their mouths are known for having 12 – 19 peg – like teeth on each side of their jaws.
Irrawaddy dolphins are shy of boats, not known to bow-ride, and generally, dive when alarmed. They are relatively slow moving but can sometimes be seen spy hopping and rolling to one side while waving a flipper, and occasionally breaching. They have been seen spitting water from their mouths in the wild and this behaviour is thought to help them hunt by confusing schools fo fish.