the mossy forest in Bahau Hulu, East Kalimantan, Indonesia small creek in the Bahau Hulu forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia flower on Kakaban Island, East Kalimantan, Indonesia baby turtles on Sangalaki Island, East Kalimantan, Indonesia fisherman with a lobster on Derawan Island, East Kalimantan, Indonesia children playing on the beach of Derawan Island, East Kalimantan, Indonesia sunset over Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia catching fish from the Bahau River, East Kalimantan, Indonesia cooking coffee in the Bahau Hulu rainforest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia winding river from the air, East Kalimantan, Indonesia sandy beach on Derawan Island, East Kalimantan, Indonesia kids playing football on Derawan Island, East Kalimantan, Indonesia sea turtle on Derawan Island, East Kalimantan, Indonesia proboscis monkeys in Tarakan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia Borneo sunset in Sabah, Malaysia pier on Manukan Island, Sabah, Malaysia rainforest at the Kayan River, East Kalimantan, Indonesia butterflies at the Kayan River, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Thursday, 31 March 2011
Location: Bahau Hulu, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Day Two in the Jungle: Parangs and Shelters

forest shelter
forest shelter

After sunrise the guides started to prepare for the day. We were sleeping a bit longer but we soon had to wake up, too. By the time we got prepared ourselves, the breakfast was ready. Rice of course, and a huge frog on a stick...

By the way Adri had the ninth anniversary of her vegetarianism at the beginning of February, but after this she started preparing for this journey. She got used to meat day by day, so she didn't have any problems with any food. It was a good idea as apart from here we haven't found vegetarian food anywhere.

In fact she said frogs taste like chicken :)

Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Location: Bahau Hulu, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Day One in the Jungle

making coffee in the forest
making coffee in the forest

Today is Adri's birthday. She had a terrible sleep. She woke up at every noise wondering if a rat was coming into our room or a snake for the rat. All our stuff is wet (it was raining all night) and something has bitten her below the eye. It's been swollen and so have her lips.

After breakfast we packed our bags and started our trek. Our guides took everything we needed for the 6 days, plus some of our stuff. I carried my own backpack and Adri carried the small photo bag, everything else was carried by them.

We walked up and down the mountains all day, occasionally crossing creeks. The rubber shoes we'd bought in Tanjung Selor were really great ideas :) Its sole is like that of a football shoe, so it's not so slippery on the roots. It's fully made of rubber, so it's easy to jump on wet stones, and of course it's no problem if it gets wet.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Location: Long Tua, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Starting our Jungle Trek

Dayak necklace from bear teeth
Dayak necklace from
bear teeth

Today was the first day we didn't have to wake up early, so we stayed in bed until 9. We had breakfast and lunch together with our hosts and kept communicating word by word with the help of our phrasebook. They showed us their well preserved old tribal pieces: headdresses, shields, necklaces and even a pectoral decorated with 30 leopard teeth. This one well outshone the necklace with the two bear teeth.

After lunch our guides arrived and we began our journey which we came here for. Our first stop was only about 1 hour away in a small canoe. On this short section we had to get out of the boat many times and carry our bags hopping on the rocks on the riverbank and pull the canoe through the rapids. One of the guides caught two fish with a net, which became our dinner :)

Up the River

the longboat at the confluence of the Kayan and Pujungan rivers
the longboat at the confluence of the
Kayan and Pujungan rivers

We arrived in Indonesia through the port town of Tarakan. From there we went up the Kayan and Bahau rivers to start our rainforest tour. The first part of the journey was: Tarakan - Tanjung Selor - Long Pujungan - Apau Ping.

The first impressions on Tarakan were very good for both of us. Then at night it turned out to be a place full of cockroaches... We had a terrific night.

We left the place for Tanjung Selor the following day by speedboat, which wasn't a too speedy boat but a rather crowded one instead. There we met a man called Ishak, who is from the village where we'll start our rainforest trek from. He helped us a lot in the days that followed.

Thursday, 24 March 2011
Location: Tarakan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Arriving in Kalimantan

Tarakan from the pier
Tarakan from the pier

Through Malaysia's remotest gate, Tawau, we sneaked into Indonesia today. Contrary to my prejudices Indonesia has proved to be a much more pleasant place than Malaysia so far. People are greeting us and smiling at us again, like in the Philippines. Moreover, Tawau was so rundown that it fell short of all expectations.

Tarakan, however, is very pleasant and much cleaner.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Location: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

The First Encounter

pier on Manukan Island
pier on Manukan Island

We arrived on the island of Borneo yesterday and we got in close contact with the equatorial climate right on our first day here. (The Equator runs right through the centre of Borneo.) When we got off the plane we saw plenty of huge suspicious puddles, even though it wasn't raining then. It was like in a greenhouse, fog and warmth.

There are a handful of tropical islets lying out at the sea not far from Kota Kinabalu, and we have visited one of them today. The weather was once cloudy then sunny but it was warm so we decided to go. The ticket seller asked us if we wanted to return at 2 or 3 pm but we weren't suspicous at all at that time.

Monday, 21 March 2011
Location: Hong Kong, China

At Hong Kong Airport

giant Buddha on Lantau Island
giant Buddha on Lantau Island

Just about to leave Hong Kong. We have some time here at the airport and we have wi-fi here, just like everywhere in the city - even on the bus. We had one thing to visit today, a huge Buddha statue on one of Hong Kong's outlying green islands. It was a nice trip in the 25 degrees Celsius after the snowy airport in Helsinki. We are just about to leave for our next destination, the capital of the East Malaysian Sabah province, Kota Kinabalu, which is already on Borneo. The climate there is already equatorial, so we stay there for two days to get used to it before going on to our final destination, the Indonesian interior of the island. It's soon boardning time, so we say goodby now.

Friday, 18 March 2011
Location: Budapest, Hungary

Leaving Tomorrow

We aren't going to blog as actively this year as we did in the Philippines or in India but every now and then we'll report shortly about our whereabouts. And we'll do this here on this site.

But where exactly are we going to this time? To Borneo, which is the third largest island in the world and where South-East Asia's last large rainforest survives. The Borneo rainforest boasts one of the biggest biodiversities in the World: there are as many plant species here as in the whole of Africa and as many tree species that allegedly you can walk for days till you see the same type twice. And well, some of them are as high as 60 metres and the canopy so thick that having a GPS signal is hopeless, not to mention a mobile network. On one such tree patient scientists have counted 1000 insect species. Here lives the orang utan, the "man of the forest" in Malaysian.