Klotok Hire

Klotok travel is a windfall pleasure of visiting Tanjung Puting. These 8m-to-10m houseboats serve as transport, accommodation and restaurant, generally for up to four adults. At night, crews moor well away from settlements, so passengers can enjoy sunsets and wildlife peacefully. Sleep on mattresses on deck under mosquito nets, and wake to the haunting cries of gibbons and lilting songs of sun-birds: 'It's like those tapes of the rainforest,' one visitor said.

Three days is a reasonable length of stay, though it's possible to see all three camps and only stay overnight. Some travellers spend a week or more. Three days allows time to survey the rivers unhurriedly and explore around and beyond the camps. Plan river movements for dawn or dusk, when primates come down to the banks.

Boat demand peaks in July and August and around local school holidays, but outside these times hiring a klotok independently in Kumai is a simple matter - operators will generally find you. Basic boat designs are similar, but there are differences in size, standard and deck arrangement, so shop around.

Each klotok is identified by name: Harapan Mina III and Rosalia (operated by Pak Muliadi and Pak Housni), Cahaya Purnama (Pak Emeng), Everedy (Pak Ari), Garuda I and Garuda II (the Bakso family), Satria I and Satria II (Suyono Majit), Omega (Anung Emen), Britania (Jen Joan), Spirit of the Forest (Herry Rostaman), Harapan Mina I (Anang), Harapan Mina II (Maslian), Gaya Barn (Andi), Kalimantan I (Usup), and Kalimantan II (Sukma).

At the time of research, daily rates were 400,OOORp to 450,OOORp for a boat and captain, including fuel. Cooks cost 50,OOORp per day. Food is generally 50,OOORp per person per day. It's optional to provide the crew's food and considered poor form to decline.

Advance book a klotok with tour agencies in Pangkalan Bun (see p250) and throughout Kalimantan. Hotels in Kumai can also assist.

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