We booked the super deluxe boat for 3n/4d tour to see the orangutans and I enjoyed every minute. The accommodation and crew on board were fantastic, the food for us being vegetarian was very tasty and plentiful, our guide Andreas was very attentive and informative. I cannot rate them highly enough, we saw wild orangutans from day one and many other wild animals all throughout the trip. Danson has gathered together a great crew with Andreas being a very personable young man with excellent english.
My parents and I took the 3-day 2-night orangutan tour on the standard houseboat and we absolutely loved it! What an amazing way to explore the beautiful jungle and see the orangutans. As for the wildlife, we were very very lucky. I had read to get up by dawn for a chance at a glimpse at some wild orangutans along the river, but we saw some the first day! And again the second! So many I lost count. Plus we saw 3 different species of monkeys. Our guide Rafael had eagle eyes and could seem to spot them from a mile away. And I think he was just as excited to see them as we were! Especially when we saw the silver leaf monkey which are relatively rare to see. The last night we also camped in the area with so many fireflies! It was unbelievable. And bring a flashlight and take a look into the jungle at night--you may see some reflection of eyes coming back at you from a distance! Who knows what is watching from in there? Cool to think about.
Of course the real draw is to see the orangutans at the feeding stations and this did not disappoint. The first spot we didn't see a large number because the alpha male was there and frightened the others away. There were a few others cautiously watching and occasionally they'd sneak up for a bite of food and then run away as soon as they'd grabbed some! But the other feedings the large males were absent and as a result, we got to see a much larger number, including many juveniles and babies. It was really interesting to see the dynamics and how the different individuals interacted differently depending on who was around!
As for the boat, we were pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it was. When we arrived, there were two sets of two twin mattresses stacked and made up, basically serving as couches. At night they laid them out on the deck under mosquito nets--I had my own and my parents had two side-by-side twin mattresses together under a single net. The breeze at night was cool and I was very comfortable! Fortunately for us it did not rain. (If it rains they have to put tarps down on the side of the boat and it would be very stuffy indeed I imagine.) The nets kept the mozzies and other bugs away from us while we were sleeping. (Of COURSE there were bugs around the boat though, and they would fly near you if you were near lights in the evening, but you're in the jungle so there is really nothing that can prevent this, and if you can't handle it this isn't the boat for you.). The mattresses are a bit hard by American standards but perfectly fine, and the sheets were clean. I was surprised that they put fresh sheets on after the ones that had been on during the day when we were lounging.
As for the rest of the boat, there is a nice table area that is a very pleasant place to eat. The bathroom is basic but clean and there is a shower head to rinse off (although no drain so it gets a bit wet, but the crew took care of that immediately!). The water is cold but you won't need hot water. It might get uncomfortable if you wanted to do a longer tour but the 2 night tour is actually the perfect length. (Note that the 3rd day there are no activities--you just have breakfast and disembark around 9.) You see plenty with three feedings and two days on the river.
Finally, the crew was absolutely fantastic. Rafael was a great guide. His English was excellent and he always attended to us closely and made sure we were enjoying ourselves. I am a photographer and he always worked to find me a good vantage point. Ari our chef cooked some of the best food we've had in Indonesia. (And I have been here two months.) I was shocked at how good the food was especially considering the facilities. Every lunch and dinner we had seafood and/or chicken (if I recall correctly it was both for every meal but I could be mistaken), vegetables, some sort of noodle or rice dish, steamed rice, and fresh fruit. Breakfast was eggs and some pancakes. Really, really good food. Bassist and Akbar our captain and assistant captain were also great and kept us safe and well cared for. The best crew we could've asked for!
Overall, I'd say you would enjoy the standard boat if you like things like camping. It's far more comfortable than camping with the chef, mattresses, mosquito nets, shower, and service. But still if you are someone who finds camping torture this probably isn't for you. I personally thought it was perfect. I was comfortable enough, yet with the open air and authentic boat I was really experiencing the jungle. I would have missed out on that feeling with the fancier AC boats. (We also saw some of these bigger ones and they can't get as close to the shore and therefore the wildlife!). So all in all I would highly recommend.
A few tips:
-July and August are the busiest times but also the best weather. It's not rainy and not too hot. December and January are very rainy and very hot. Our guide suggested may and June as a time to get good weather but miss the crowds. But I was in Bali in June and the temperature is much different in June than August (hotter in June) so keep that in mind if you'll be sleeping outdoors
-the standard boat would fit 4 very comfortably. They technically fit 6 but I think 5 or 6 would be cramped
-let them know ahead of time if you have dietary restrictions. They can accommodate but not at the last minute because they have limited resources. Same with beer. They'll get it for you but need to know in advance. It's not that easy to find in Indonesia (outside Bali).
-bring bug repellent
-you can charge things as they will run the generator and bring an outlet up to your deck. If you need to charge more than one thing bring a power strip. (Always a good idea in Southeast Asia as many rooms have only one outlet!). Outlets are European style. They have to run the generator so I recommend charging things during the day while the boat is moving. The generator is loud but the boat engine is too so you don't notice it in motion. When the boat is stopped it's much better for the generator to be off so you can enjoy the peace and quiet and the jungle sounds.
-lots of people try to get right up within a few feet of the orangutans. Don't be that guy. When your guide tells you to stay back, listen. You're putting them in an awkward situation if you refuse. Orangutans look cute but they are strong, gigantic wild animals and your guides are telling you to get back for a reason. I was shocked at how many people ignored their guides who were just trying to keep them safe.
-come with a sense of adventure and get ready for what id call "camping plus!"
Stayed on boat for 2 nights and 3 days. 3rd day was name sake as 3rd day by 7.45 am we disembarked the boat.
Staff was co-operative. Except guide no one understand English. Lunch and dinner they served 4 items one non- veg dish, vegetable , one egg preparation and one fruit. Non veg preparation was good. Vegetables they served fried or boiled or saute (without gravy). Egg preparation was so so. Fruits were tasty. They tried to give variety. Expected some bread and desert but not there.
Considering the price paid and experience of similar stay in boat facilities were much inferior in the boat. Entering room is an exercise. Very steep stairs. Worst part was bathroom ( no cleaning during stay, no sink , toilet and shower at same place, toiletremained wet) , approach to room (too steep) and pillows hard and thick, you can not use it without neck pain in morning). There are many small things where by spending a little amount things can be improved and made comfortable for stay. It seems lay out of boat has not been finalised by professional. Bed is ok. You have air conditioning only night time. They were starting AC around 7- 7.30 pm. Stopping around 4 am. And again for some time to supply hot water. So you have to stay whole day forceibly on deck as no ac or fan in room. So AC is not of much help.The hot water mixer in bathroom is not working. Most of door stoppers are very tiny and bathroom one not closing from inside. Either you have hot water or cold water as pressure of water is very low mixing not possible. So if you are planning head wash forget it. They don't change towel during stay.
The sounds of birds and night creatures accompanied our night,
There is nothing to buy in Tanjung Puting, so don’t bring too much cash.
Over all stay was average.May be this is what available in area. Stay can be made more comfortable by taking care of small things.
Once again special thanks for booking our air ticket.
I'd give it more than two thumbs if I had more.
I booked the Super Deluxe Houseboat for an orangutan jungle cruise with my mother. I was a little nervous about bringing her to the jungle on a boat, but the whole experience was great.
The houseboat was lovely and well cared for. Obviously it is a wooden boat in the middle of the jungle, not a cruise ship, but it was very comfortable for our 2 day trip. Our room had it's own bathroom with a western toilet and a small shower area. The room also had a real bed as opposed to a mat on the floor of the boat deck. Air conditioning was turned on in the evening. The boat had a beautiful deck area with comfortable lounge chairs, big bean bags, and a bed for sprawling on. The boat was continually cleaned throughout the trip.
This was the best part of the trip. Our particular trip stopped at 3 different orangutan feeding platforms. We saw plenty of orangutans at each platform (although this is not always the case since they are wild animals). Also the crew on the boat was continually on the lookout for movement in the trees while boating and we stopped several times as they sighted orangutans along the river bank.
Our boat had a fantastic staff. There was a driver, a cook, a few crew hands, and a guide. They were all quite friendly and went above and beyond to make the trip a great one. Our guide, Andreas was very knowledgeable and friendly. He spoke excellent English. He obviously knew what he was doing. He recognized all the individual orangutans by name and also helped us safely cross several paths blocked by orangutans (this was kind of my favorite part of the trip!!)
I normally wouldn't comment about the food, but the food on this boat was so delicious I feel like I should probably mention it. I do not know the name of the cook, but he did an amazing job. Every single meal was fresh, delicious, and beautifully presented (which I am assuming is not easy to do in a small boat kitchen). In addition to meals, there was also plentiful snacks every time we returned to the boat (and we were always presented with fresh, chilled washcloths to freshen up on returning to the boat).
In short, there are lots of boats on the river, but Borneo Ecotour was a super professional operation and I would recommend them without hesitation.
We did spend 3 days/2 nights at eco tours on the deluxe house boat. The accomadation on the houseboat with a/c and own toilette was very luxerious. Seeing the orang utans was an experience in a lifetime. We arrived at around 6 pm with a delay of a couple of hours so we missed the first part of the tour in daylight. The service, our guide hany (don't know if the spelling is correct), the whole team were so nice. Food was far too much but very good as well.
We travelled in november but were shocked by the smell of burning wood, which comes from the desastrous burning of the forest. So since our stay we do at least try to avoid using products with palmoil. I can very much recommend this stay.
Starting with reserving the trip, the staff was informative and very helpful. We had lots of questions which were all promptly and completely answered. We wanted to adapt our plans from the existing itineraries and Borneo Eco Tour were happy to adapt.
Upon arrival, they were waiting with smiles at the airport. We were quickly transferred to the houseboat.
The houseboat itself was exactly what we expecting but seeing it in person was exciting. The staff consisted of 4 people - the captain, cook, guide, and assistant. The we're all friendly and willing to do what it takes to make sure we had a great time. They even cleaned our shoes after each hike!
The experience was more than what I expected. The feeding camps are simple but our guide provided lots of color about their importance and value. Of course the orangutans are amazing to see in person.
The food on the houseboat was simple but good. We were never hungry!
The cabin thankfully had air conditioning so we were able to sleep at night! It uses a generator from 6pm to 6am. The bed was comfortable.
The only downside was that we were in the jungle so we had to contend with lots of bugs... very large bugs. The crew made sure t he bathroom was bug-free as much as possible but be prepared. Remember, this is the jungle!
Overall, this was a perfect way to see Borneo.
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Didnt expect that Pangkalan Bun has this eco-type hotel. Perfect location, gorgeous design, super comfortable. It was the best night after a long and challenging journey. I slept like a baby. The food was super delicious. the staff is friendly. great management!
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