Tanjung Puting, The Exotic Tropical National Park in Borneo
Imagine you are an explorer heading out to the jungle to see wild orang utans and other exotic tropical animals and you will begin to get a sense of what a visit to the Tanjung Puting National Park is like.
The park, which covers territory the size of Bali, is home to an amazing array of wildlife including it’s world famous orang utans. The park is also home to monkeys, birds and other wildlife, not to mention the pristine vegetation of the jungle itself. This is a world famous natural treasure which attracts a growing number of international visitors each year.
Tanjung Puting is located in Central Kalimantan. The area was originally declared as a game reserve in 1935 and became a national park in 1982. The park sits on a peninsula that juts out into the Java sea. The sheer size of the park means that it has diverse habitat zones. This diversity means the park is home to a great variety of inhabitants, both flora and fauna.
The incredible jungle surrounds make this an amazing place to visit if you’re after a truly outdoor adventure. It is an oasis of pure clean air, a clear night sky as well as a home to the gentle people of the jungle – the orang utans.
The orang utans are undoubtedly the best known inhabitants of the park, made famous through the work of the Orangutan Research and Conservation Program based at the Camp Leakey research station. Camp Leakey is an orangutan preserve and the site of the longest continuous study of any wild animal in the history of science. With around three quarters of the world’s orang utan’s population living on Borneo, this park is the ideal place to see these incredible creatures in the wild.
Because the vegetation of Tanjung Puting supports a large population of animals this park is one of the most important areas in Southeast Asia for the preservation of primates, birds, reptiles and fish.
To reach the Tanjung Puting National Park take a flight to the Iskandar Airport at Pangkalan Bun from Jakarta or other main Indonesian cities.
Watch the video about Tanjung Puting:
A small selection of souvenirs is available to purchase at Pangkalan Bun. There may also be the opportunity to buy orang utan souvenirs at Pondok Tangui.
The majority of visitors to Tanjung Puting travel via boat and stay on board during their time in the park. There are also limited options to stay in simple hotels and homestays.
The Sekonyer river is famous for it’s natural beauty and wildlife. As you cruise down through the jungle, you’ll be transported to another world, a world far beyond the hustle and bustle of city life.
Relax on board your boat and take in the sights of monkeys jumping from tree to tree. The park is home to around eight species of monkeys including the very distinctive proboscis monkey, with its distinctive long nose it is sure to grab your attention. Try to spot wild orang utans swinging through the thick and lush vegetation. Remember to keep your eyes out for crocodiles too, they might be hard to spot but they’re definitely there! As well as this, the park is also a haven for over 220 species of birds.
One of the main attractions of Tanjung Puting is Camp Leakey, the orang utan preserve. The camp was founded in 1971 as a haven for orang utans rescued from domestic capture. Today the camp remains a centre of research of these amazing animals. Learn more about orang utans at the Camp Leakey information centre. The daily feedings of wild orang utans will be the highlight of your visit as you will most likely get to see wild orang utans up close in their natural habitat. Camp Leakey was named after Dr Louis Leakey, the mentor of one of the camps founder’s Professor Birute Galdikas. Dr Leakey was also mentor to Jane Goddal and Dianne Fossey in their respective studies of chimpanzees and mountain gorillas.
Professor Galdikas established the camp in 1971. Today, the work of the camp remains vital as orang utans are an endangered species, threatened by the impact of deforestation and the illegal pet trade.
Pondok Tangui is also a rehabilitation centre for ex-captive orang utans located in the park which has daily feedings of the apes. At both centres, you will get the chance to see these amazing primates up close and learn more about how we can protect this endangered species of Borneo island.
In the jungle there is no other option but to get around by foot so a visit to Tanjung Puting will involve walking in the great outdoors. As you trek through the tropical surrounds you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled for orang utans, monkeys, bush pigs and wild deer as you go. Search for native wildlife including the great birdlife while you take in the sights of a truly exotic tropical jungle.
Walks can be tailored to your level of fitness so discuss the different options with your guide before you set out. While you are staying on the river, traditional boats called klotoks will transport you around.
To explore the park, visitors must take a boat down the Sekonyer River from Pangkalan Bun. These boats will accommodate you for the duration of your stay in Tanjung Puting.
Flights run from Jakarta and other major cities to Pangkalan Bun daily.
A number of tour operators run cruises from Pangkalan Bun down the river. If you pre-arrange your tour, the tour operator will pick you up from the airport and transport you straight to the river.
Take mosquito repellent, sunscreen and a torch. Don’t forget your camera, you’ll want to record every moment of your experience up close with the orang utans.