Southern Borneo is a region of unique beauty and diversity, with a rich tropical rainforest and the presence of many indigenous tribes, each with their unique culture and customs. The indigenous communities in the region have a deep connection to the land, and many of them continue to fight to protect their traditional lands and cultural heritage from the threat of deforestation.
One of the key attractions in the region is the Tanjung Puting National Park, home to the renowned Camp Leakey orangutan sanctuary. This protected area covers over 4,000 square kilometers of pristine rainforest and is a treasure trove of biodiversity. The park is a vital habitat for the majestic orangutans, which are native to the region and have a symbolic meaning of “people of the forest” in the local language. The sanctuary, founded by Dr. Birute Galdikas, a renowned primatologist, is home to over 200 orangutans, as well as gibbons, macaques, and crocodiles. Visitors can observe these incredible creatures in their natural habitat, accompanied by an experienced guide who will help them navigate the forest and get up close to the orangutans. To visit this area by yacht, the yacht can anchor up the river of Kumai in the town of Kumai, where visitors embark with a guide usually on an overnight river boat down the smaller estuaries to the camp.
Another island worth stopping in is the Karimata Island group. These islands are located off the west coast of Kalimantan and are home to a small fishing and boat building village in this small national park. A convenient stop-off for yachts transiting the Java Sea north or south. Visitors can witness the traditional way of life of the local people and learn about their culture and customs. The islands are also popular for their pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, which offer some of the best coral reefs in Indonesia.
Belitung, which is actually part of Sumatra, is another favorite island destination. It is a nice little island and an international clearance port with decent connections and provisioning. The famous mining company BHP Billiton set up its original operations here, hence the name. The Tanjung Kelayang area in Belitung is particularly stunning for yachts, with its clear turquoise waters and dramatic granite rock formations similar to those in Seychelles. Onshore, visitors can enjoy golf courses, nice beach bars, and a tarsier sanctuary. The airport is well connected and has international flights as well.