Location : Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara, Indonesia.
A cancelled Irau event in Malinau gave us no choice but to change our 2 year plan by diverting to the much hyped Labuan Cermin. Weeks before our departure we were wondering why there was no publicity of the supposedly upcoming Irau event. We enquired high and low but nobody in Indonesia could give us a definite answer. It was only at the very last minute that we heard the organiser did not have sufficient funds. Irau or no Irau we had to go as our air tickets had been booked a year ago. Our flight took us from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu and Tawau where we spent the night.
Early next morning we flew Maswings to the Northern Kalimantan town of Tarakan. There was supposed to be a connecting flight by Kalstar to Tanjung Redeb or more popularly called Berau by the locals. From Berau our tour agent Nur would pick us from the airport to drive 6.5hrs to Biduk Biduk where Labuan Cermin was. But that 2.00pm flight was cancelled due to engine problem. Feeling somewhat pissed, we dragged our luggage to the taxi stand to get to town to spend the night. Checked into Segiri Hotel which was within walking distance to the Proboscis Monkey Park, right in the middle of town.
The deltas of Tarakan
Tarakan old airport
Tarakan old airport has a lot more character.
A very relaxing lounge with pretty ladies and good food/wifi while you sit out your flight delay…for only RM30+
Dinner at the Waroeng Bamboe Tarakan…highly recommended
We visited the park twice after learning that the next day’s feeding session would be at 9am. The first day weather was perfect and we caught some good shots of the monkeys but the second day was a disaster with the nonstop drizzling rain. The longnose played a very patient and waiting game near the feeding platform unlike their macaque cousins. We soon found out that what was good for the proboscis was not necessary good for the macaques, that was green bananas.
Taking a leak
Warden pushing his cartload of green bananas to the feeding platform
This juvenile was trying so hard to dislodge the banana. It gave up eventually, not to its taste
Nasty looking macaque
Interviewd by the local Tarakan TV station
An obliging group of kindie kids
By 11.30am our patience ran out as we had to catch the plane to Berau.
Kalstar ATR waiting at the tarmac
Bandar Udara Kalimarau, Berau Airport
Other options of getting there is by flying from Kuala Lumpur (Air Asia) to Tawau or Balikpapan before connecting to Berau by Garuda, Wing Air or Sriwijaya. Road trip from Balikpapan to Labuan Cermin is possible but the drive will be more than 15hrs. If you are flying from Singapore (Silk Air) the quickest route would be to Balikpapan. Air connectivity in Kalimantan has recently improved enormously with many new players creating new routes. So one has to check online for the latest best offer. To be continued…….