Pandaw, the luxury river ship operator, has launched a new ‘Into the True Heart of Borneo’ seven-night river expedition on the Kapuas River System in western Kalimantan; the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.
The river system is the largest in Borneo flowing over 700miles (1,100km), fringed with rainforest and surrounded by mountain ranges. The seven-night expedition on the RV Katha Pandaw takes in the upper part of the Kapuas, a voyage of over 500km that includes traversing the Danau Sentarum system of lakes that connect to the river and are now a national park.
Pandaw’s ship, the RV Katha Pandaw, has sixteen well-appointed state rooms, open deck dining, self-service bar and panoramic round ship promenade decks.
Commenting on the new cruise, Pandaw’s founder Paul Strachan said: “This will be a truly pioneering expedition into a rarely visited area where the main attraction will be the scenery, wildlife and tribal village life”.
Passengers fly in via Kuching in Sarawak (in Malaysian Borneo), which has excellent connections to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Kuching is a highly recommended stop over with its Brooke Raj colonial buildings, fascinating museum and colourful China town. Alternatively, there is the option to fly into Pontianak, the capital of Western Kalimantan, which has daily flights to Jakarta.
The Borneo rainforest is 140 million years old, making it one of the world’s oldest rainforests. There are about 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of resident birds in Borneo. It is also one of the few remaining natural habitats for the endangered Bornean orangutan and is an important refuge for many forest species, including the Borneo elephant, the Eastern Sumatran rhinoceros, the Bornean clouded leopard, the Hose’s palm civet and the Dayak fruit bat.
Cruise-only prices for the ‘Into the True Heart of Borneo’ seven-night cruise start from $2,350 USD per person, based on 2 people sharing a main deck twin cabin.
Tentative expedition plan (in brief) – Up River
Day 1 Embark the RV Katha Pandaw at Tayan then sail to Sanggau
Day 2 Long boat trip up the Sekayam river to see the waterfalls and hot springs, then sail on to Sekadau
Day 3 Sail to picturesque Sitang, where the Mewali river joins the Kapuas.
Day 4 Visit Sitang’s orang-utan rehabilitation centre and then visit the rock monolith of Bukit Kelam. Moor overnight at Selimbau.
Day 5 Morning spent at Selimbau then sail on to Sentarum National Park.
Day 6 Explore the diverse botany, wildlife and bird life of Sentarum Lakes
Day 7 Further time ashore at Sentarum, with a visit to Pulay Melayu island
Day 8 Disembark to transfer by road to Kuching in Sarawak for your return flight home, or extend your stay in Borneo.