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“Best trip of my life!”

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Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 July 2013 via mobile

I had the pleasure of visiting Rimba and hanging out with Fardi and all the orangutangs. The best trip I have ever had. To experience living in the jungle and then being lucky enough to watch the wildlife!! So so lucky! Thank u Fardi for guiding us on our adventure. Hope to re visit again some day. Amy

  • Stayed: February 2013
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Thank Amyjaneomara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ecolodgesindonesia, Owner at Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2013

We thank you for your positive report on our Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge. We have put a great effort to upgrade this lodge and will continue to do so. Reports like yours give us great heart to continue.

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146 - 152 of 252 reviews

Reviewed 28 May 2013

The Rimba Lodge has the air of days gone by. The buildings are all strung between elevated boardwalks and are made from Ironwood, to last in the constant damp. I stayed in an “Emerald” room, which had a King bed and air conditioning, but it was more like a fan, which was still a relief after a day in the thick air. The rooms are shabby but clean, which is all that matters to me in places this far flung. The shower was a bit odd, as there is no drain. So, you kind of shower and the whole bathroom floor gets soaked, but it seeps down through the Ironwood overnight (they provide flip-flops but if you’re squeamish about feet or fungi, make sure you have shoes you can get wet). There are Macaque monkeys and frogs and lizards all over. I didn’t see any during daylight hours, but you are very much amid the jungle noises at night. Breakfast was simple but all one needs – some choice of eggs or toast and coffee/tea and fruit. I spent very little time at Rimba apart from appreciating a shower at the end of a day, getting a good sleep, and up by 6am to eat quickly and get back on the boat.

Additional context, as I hate trip reports that don’t take into account calibrating for the traveler. I’m a late-30s experienced female traveler, but I was traveling solo on this one, which initially made me a bit nervous (for no reason, it seems). I prefer “glamping” to really roughing it, but I’ve also spent quite a bit of time in serious, far-flung eco-tourism spots, from Fiji to Costa Rica to Venezuela, so I understand the nature of less-developed or purposefully lower impact areas. And I was on a semi-limited budget.

High-Level Route and Tour Details:

* Los Angeles via Tokyo to Singapore (where I was attending a conference)
* Singapore to Balikpapan (Indonesia/Borneo) to Banjarmasin
* Borneo Discovery Tours (BDT) (http://www.borneo-discoverytours.com/tour_16_Camp_Leakey_4D_3N.html) had a representative meet me there to pay the balance of the fee (the rest was sent by bank transfer as a deposit) – cash only
* Spent one night in Bandjarmasin (often spelled without the D), which may be required due to limited internal flights, but make sure to check as schedules change, and got up at 4.30am to see the Floating Market
* Flew Banjarmasin to Pangkalan Bun (pronounced Pankalan Boon) where I was met by the BDT contact, who took me by taxi to Kumai
* Boarded the Klotok (traditional river boat) in Kumai and headed up the Seykonyer River for 3 days in the Tanjung Puting National Park, including 2 feeding stations, a reforestation station, and Camp Leakey rehabilitation research camp (http://www.orangutan.org/our-projects/research/camp-leakey)
* Stayed all 3 nights at the Rimba Eco-Lodge (http://rimbaecolodge.com/) but had all meals except breakfast on the boat
* Return to Kumai and taxi transfer to Pangkalan Bun
* Flight to Jakarta and back to Singapore for the return to LA

Overall Rating:

I would HIGHLY recommend this trip to those interested in eco-tourism or wildlife – seeing the Orangutans in this way is something I will never forget. I found the people to be lovely and generous, I didn’t feel nervous or threatened traveling alone, the dollar goes a long way in most situations (though the tour companies know how to corner the market, so book or find guides BEFORE you go), and once you arrive in Kumai, the trip is pretty comfortable. I’ll provide details below on all tour guides and contacts, as I found this group to be more than satisfactory. I did see some other boats from tours that seemed, perhaps, a bit better appointed, but the differences are minimal, and it’s more a question of what you want to spend. Also, BDT made the internal flight arrangements for me, and it all went off without a hitch.


Tanjung Puting and Camp Leakey:

I landed in Pangkalan Bun about 15 minutes early, so I couldn’t find my BDT guide when I came out of the airport. Someone asked if he could help, and once I provided the name of my guide, Danny Hamdan, he texted and found him snoozing in the air-conditioned waiting lounge. So, be sure you have a name and contact number for whoever is meeting you – it’s often not the person with whom you correspond to make arrangements.

We whisked off in a cab to the city of Kumai, about 30 minutes away, a dusty port town, which does brisk business for Palm Oil, among other things. Don’t be put off by the shabby dock huts that every tour company has. You spend barely a moment there, which is why they’re simply not kept up. I boarded the Klotok, was immediately offered a coffee, and off we went.

The Klotoks are two levels, and they sway. But it’s a solid, old-school river boat, and much better for viewing the wildlife than the speed boats which occasionally zoom past. Generally, you’ll stay on the upper level, which is shaded and perfect for being almost eye-to-eye with the wildlife if you’re watching the trees go by. There is a carpet and a mattress with a pillow (you can stay on the boats, which many people do), a couple of deck chairs for lounging while watching for wildlife, a table where you have meals, and that’s about it. The crew (your guide, a captain, an assistant, and a cook) will generally hang below on the lower deck. All cooking happens below, and there is a basic toilet on that level as well.

On my trip, both our assistant and the captain had incredible eyes for spotting monkeys and things, so I’d hear a shout and the engine would stop, and we’d scramble to the best viewing spot. I loved spending time on the boat, and I think the trips up and down the river were as much a highlight as the time in the jungle. I will admit it felt a bit “colonial” to have a crew of four attending to my needs, but they all seemed very happy with the work and most prefer to be showing off their country than working for the mining or Palm Oil companies.

Also, don’t worry if other boats “beat” you to a spot to see monkeys. I found that even if a couple of boats pulled up, we all got a good look. And sometimes, it’s just as well to be behind or in front, as you catch other things. On our morning return, we passed a boat with a couple I’d met the day before. They were moored by some reeds where there was a wild Orangutan in a nest. We didn’t realize it, so we kept going (I heard from them later when I saw them at the airport), but we saw a troop of Proboscis monkeys swim across the river, which was incredible.

We saw quite a bit on our way up the river, but it was past dusk when we arrived, so keep in mind that the travel time really cuts into a “four day / three night” tour…I’d say I had 2.5 full days and 3 nights.

Things to Note for Preparations and Precautions:

• Water – the water is filthy. Everyone washes in it, all waste and sewage gets dumped in, and most of the river is now polluted from the effluents and mercury coming from the illegal gold mining up-river. All tours will have endless supplies of sealed bottled water. But you can bet nothing is washed in it – so, if you’re really squeamish about this, it will be hard not to consider what your dishes were washed in and the knives used to cut fruit. I’m not sure there’s a way around this, and as of this moment, I’ve survived with no stomach problems on the whole trip. They boil mineral water for coffee. So, I ended up not needing the purification tablets or Steri-Pen that I had with me. But it’s not a bad idea to have one or the other just in case.

• Clothing – As you’d expect in the jungle, it’s HOT. I’d definitely suggest quick-dry clothing, in layers, as you’re just pouring sweat at the feeding stations in the jungle, but you’ll dry quickly once back on the boat. The best purchase I made was an Ex-Officio hoodie of extremely lightweight, breathable material, pre-treated in Permetherin (http://www.exofficio.com/products/details/womens-bugsaway-lumen-hoody). I threw it on whenever we headed into the jungle, over a tank top, and it kept mosquitoes away like a charm. I also had treated a couple of pairs of pants, which helped immensely. I’d recommend sandals tougher than flip-flops, though plenty of tourists were making do…but there are jungle roots, mud, and it can be slippery if it rains. So, I was glad I brought my Keen’s.

• Electronics – Almost every airport I passed through had a Starbucks (sad, yes, but I hate to admit also handy) with free wifi and plugs to charge electronics. If you’re headed into the jungle, that will be last place to do so, unless you bring solar chargers. The Rimba Lodge did have a couple of outlets in the room, but I felt guilty using them, as they have limited solar and mostly diesel power. That said, I did use them to charge camera batteries, and I HIGHLY recommend getting a few extra rechargables. Despite the three I had with me, I ran out of juice by the end of the first day. The jungle is so stunning, that I did a lot of video, so the batteries drained quickly. If you have other sensitive electronics (like a hearing aid), I’d recommend you bring a Bheestie bag to de-humidify overnight. (http://www.bheestie.com/)

• Toiletries – whether you’re staying on the Klotok (boat) or in one of the few eco-lodges, I’d suggest bringing bio-degradable products. All water waste goes directly into the river, and it’s a shame to contribute to the pollution if you can avoid it. Aveda makes wonderful products (http://www.aveda.com/products/5249/Collections/ShampureTM/index.tmpl), and I left my extras with the cook on our boat. If you prefer, some Burt’s Bees are fully bio-degradable, and Dr. Bronner’s Soap definitely is. Toothpaste is a bit harder, but if you can stand Tom’s for a few days, I’d go for it. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have a pack of Bio-Wipes (http://www.rei.com/product/750942/adventure-medical-kits-fresh-bath-travel-wipes) or YES! Cucumber wipes (http://www.yestocarrots.com/product/yes-to-cucumber-facial-towelettes?product_id=1023), as you’ll be grateful by midday when you’ve had multiple layers of bug repellent and a couple of stints in the jungle.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled solo
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16  Thank kbrecher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ecolodgesindonesia, Owner at Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2013

Dear Friends,

We wish to thank you for your report on our precious Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge. Thank you for emphasisng so many of the important points.

Alan Wilson,
Founder and Chairman,
ECOLODGES INDONESIA

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2013

We went for three nights & four days and in our opinion, this is enough.
The lodge put a programme together for us and will make any arrangements that you think will best suit you.

We chose to stay at the lodge each night and not overnight on a boat... this come from our experience in India and we are pleased we stuck with the decision... the rooms have A.C. and hot water... not available on the boats. Your movements on the boat is also limited.

Our choice was for the best accomodation the lodge had which also means the highest price... this is SO worthwhile. Our room overlooked the jungle and what a show we had. One evening we had a troupe of Proboscis monkeys jumping from tree to tree about 6 metres away. One morning we had two large male Orangutans barking at each other and swinging through the trees about 50 metres away. On our last morning, we had a troupe of Macaque monkeys on the roof. Walking onto our verandah, I could have pulled their tails as they hung over the roof eaves.

Rimba Lodge is close to three feeding stations , including the famous Camp Leakey. Your holiday starts when you get on board the klotok (put-put boat) and cruise up the river in the jungle of Borneo for two hours... this is not boring but a treat.

Our programme included three feeding stations, a firefly cruise at night (VERY special), crusing to view other wildlife, and we saw lots. We could write lots but the review will become boring... JUST GO!

Remember that the lodge is in the middle of the jungle, so the quality of catering etc should be judged on where it is. In the city, this would not be a five star place but edging on four. The staff we very friendly and our guide, Hakim, was excellent.

Our trip was in May which is not yet the high season which starts in June so it was almost empty. We believe that it is booked out in the high season (which coincides with the dry season). We had a few showers that helped cool the air and got soaked once... all part of the experience. Some folk brought their own plastic raincoats... pretty smart.

Room Tip: It is worthwhile paying a bit more for A.C. and hot water. The rooms are also larger than the cheap...
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Adventurers049
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ecolodgesindonesia, Owner at Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 28 June 2013

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your wonderful review of our precious Rimba Oranguan Eco Lodge. It makes all our hard work worthwhile as we believe this is one the best primate experiences in the world,

Alan Wilson,
Founder and Chairman
ECOLODGES INDONESIA

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Reviewed 16 April 2013

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Rimba... the staff are incredibly friendly, the atmosphere is suitably relaxed and it feels fantastically remote - while still offering lovely rooms and facilities. The food was diverse, abundant and always delicious. All the rooms are built on boardwalks which adds to the wilderness feel. I would highly recommend staying here and using their guides and boats to explore the parks. From speaking to other people exploring the area - and from attempting to research other options, it certainly seemed like Rimba was the best way to do it! If I was ever lucky enough to be going back I would stay here again for sure.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank KiwiKateLiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ecolodgesindonesia, Owner at Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 29 June 2013

Dear Sir,

We thank you for your review about our Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge. Reviews like yours makes us all the more determined to develop the lodge further in the face of serious threats from especially oil palm plantations.

Alan Wilson,
Founder and Chairman,
ECOLODGES INDONESIA

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Reviewed 10 April 2013

We were traveling up and down the river to stop at different areas of Tanjung Puting National Park and meet some of our closest relatives, the orangutans. We met a few people doing the same, the difference was we were the only ones who knew about this awesome sustainable resort called Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge.

We passed a fair few other groups on the river and all of them were sleeping on their boats, I mean, there is nothing wrong with that, it an adventure, right?... But we would pull up at the lodge on the river each night, have a hot shower, a prepared meal, play some table tennis while having a drink and sleep in comfortable, well maintained beds with mosquito nets!.. and we were almost the only people there!

Set up on boardwalks as the river goes up and down with the distant tide, abundant in wildlife and friendly faces, this resort blew us away!

The staff are amazing, so kind and helpful, they live on site and grow and prepare the food themselves (of course), the lodge is sustainable so they produce their own electricity and water etc.

If anyone mentions wanting to do a trip to visit the orangutans in Borneo to me I suggest this place in the next breath, the area, the river, the local village, the resort and our boat crew were awesome!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank debudy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ecolodgesindonesia, Owner at Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2013

We wish to thank you for your report on our lodge especially your comments re our staff.. We have spent great efforts on this lodge taking it from a heap of decaying timber in 2004 to now. Support like yours is greatly appreciated.

Alan Wilson, Chairman of The Board, Ecolodgesindonesia

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Reviewed 1 April 2013

We recently spent three nights at Rimba and had a great time. The lodge offers basic accommodation including hot water and air con for those who want to pay a little more. Staff are friendly. The food was ok but the food is not the reason to stay at Rimba. The wildlife is the reason. We saw wild and semi-wild orangutans, gibbons, proboscus, macaques, crocs, monitor lizards and birds (Red and Black Broadbills, Pied Oriental Hornbills, Black Hornbills and Storkbilled Kingfishers). Our guide, Dian, made the trip memorable. He knew the wildlife and our 28 month old really took a shine to him. Dian often kept the lad occupied while my wife and I snapped photos. Ask for Dian. One observation: some of the klotok crews dumped their garbage into the river. The river is in trouble (there is a gold mine up river) so keep this in mind...leave only footprints...and tips for good service.

Room Tip: My tip is about visiting the Leakey feeding station. Try to be the first to reach your klotok when...
  • Stayed: March 2013, travelled with family
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4  Thank DarrellFreund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ecolodgesindonesia, Owner at Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 July 2013

Dear Darrell,

Many thanks for your review which is greattly appreciated by us

Alan Wilson,
Founder Member and Chairman
ECOLODGESINDONESIA

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Reviewed 8 March 2013

My husband and I stayed at the Rimba Lodge to, of course, observe orangutans in their natural habitat and experience the Borneo jungle environment. It was an awesome experience. The Rimba package offered was very convenient and made the logistics effortless, as it included assistance with flights to and from Jakarta, jeep to the river, river trip to the lodge, lodge accommodations and meals, and then river transportation with our own klotok and guide for the three days we were there. The lodge accommodations were fine and we were glad that we opted for an air-conditioned bungalow. It was a joy just to sit outside our room, listen to the jungle sounds and watch the lodge inhabitants (monkeys, monitor lizards, birds, etc.) The food was adequate and the staff were very attentive. Considering where we were, the existence of the lodge in that location borders on miraculous, so we weren't expecting the Hilton. It was an experience we would recommend to anyone who cares about the environment and wildlife.

Room Tip: Just choose one of the air-conditioned bungalows.
  • Stayed: December 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank RickyD917
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ecolodgesindonesia, Owner at Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 April 2013

Thank you for your exciting review on our lodge. We have worked hard to give a good guest experience and reports like yours give much support and is greatly appreciated.

Alan Wilson, Chairman of The Board, Ecolodgesindonesia

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge

Address: Sekonyer River | Kumai, Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Kalimantan > Central Kalimantan > Pangkalan Bun
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 8 Speciality Lodging in Pangkalan Bun
Price Range: £55 - £70 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge 2.5*
Number of rooms: 30
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Rimba Orangutan Eco Lodge Pangkalan Bun, Indonesia - Kalimantan

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