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Boat Tour of Danau Sentarum National Park, The Biggest Lake of Borneo

Location : Danau Sentarum, Kabupaten Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia.

To us the highlight of the trip was the lake tour generously thrown in by the organiser at a price of IDR5,000/pax (US$0.27). The offer was good for 2 trips per day for 3 days. Normally, for the tourists trips like this would have cost over US$100 using speed boats. Locals from as far as Pontianak made up the bulk of the guests, grabbing this rare offer.

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The one hour delayed ride kicked off at 8am under cloudy sky which was good as we chose to sit on top of the ‘Kapal Bandung’ a huge wooden boat designed for carrying goods rather than passengers.

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Motor Bandong

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Speed boat practicing for the race that afternoon

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Briefing by park ranger

The view was good from the top and the gentle breeze cooling. At the shallow regions we could a lot of tree canopies with their trunks hidden under the water. There were little ‘islands’ scattered here and there. When we reached the deeper and wider region it seemed like we were out in the ocean with nothing insight in the horizon, somewhat reminiscent of my trip across the Tonle Sap of Cambodia.

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Drink seller from Ponti showing off his muscles

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Bukit Babi

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Busy day for speed boat operators

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On board selling kerupuk basah a popular fishy snack

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Nice tattoos

Our first stop was at Pulau Sepandan which we needed to hike about 45min to the lookout point for a good view of Sentarum lake. Coming down the wet and slippery slope was a lot more challenging than the ascent. Luckily, thanks to the school scouts who were camping at the island gave a helping hand to those who were ill prepared wearing only slippers.

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Pulau Sepandan

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The next stop was at Pulau Melayu where a lucky draw was conducted by the park ranger.  Although we did not win any prizes, two very kind souls, a Tshirt seller from Pontianak and a young lady from Putussibau sacrificed their souvenir mugs to us. Such a nice way to treat visitors! I was really dying inside for those mugs to add to my collection. Psychics they were!

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Pulau Melayu

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Lucky draw in progress with many souvenirs up for grabs

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Me with my ‘donated’ prize

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Then it was time for the young ones to take a dip in the lake….like ducks to water! Happy as can be.

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It is always fun to travel with locals in a big group but opportunities like this are rare indeed. Thanks to the ‘Wonderful Indonesia’ program and their ever efficient organisers. An unforgettable 4hr of fun for just 5,000 rupiah. Looking forward to a another visit during the dry season where water level could drop by as much as 4m. Next…….driving to an Iban longhouse at Danau Sentarum.

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