About the challenge
Indonesian Kalimantan occupies almost three-quarters of Borneo and is a land of mountains, thick jungle and rivers; its remoteness is legendary. Our challenging trek takes us truly off the beaten track. We trek through dense, steamy jungle, surrounded by the incredibly atmospheric sounds made by a myriad of insects, animals such as gibbons, hornbills and tree frogs, and the allpervasive dripping foliage. Staying in local Dayak villages, we gain a privileged insight into their ancient culture. You won’t have many home comforts, but this is an unforgettable challenge in an untamed environment – a true adventure in every sense.
Day 1: Depart London
Day 2: Jakarta – Banjarmasin
On arrival in Jakarta, we clear immigration before transferring to our internal flight to Banjarmasin. After checking into the hotel there will be a full trip briefing when we’ll meet our local guides. After dinner we’ll need to pack our bags in preparation for our challenge! Night hotel.
Day 3: Banjarmasin – Tanhui – Village
After a good breakfast, we load up the buses and transfer to our trekking area near Loksado, stopping on the way for lunch. In the afternoon we will trek for about four hours on a good path into the heart of the rainforest. Depending on time, there may be an opportunity to bathe in the local river. This will be our first night in the rainforest and you’ll be amazed at the volume of noise that the myriad animals and insects make, especially the tree frogs! Overnight local houses.
Drive approx 4 hours; trek approx 10-12km / 4 hours
Day 4: Village – Dayak Longhouse
Heading deeper into the rainforest, we soon leave the good paths behind us, following smaller, narrower paths through thick vegetation, with some steep sections up and down hills. You will soon get used to avoiding the trailing roots and vegetation as you negotiate the often-slippery paths! As the day goes on, the heat and humidity will increase with a good chance of an afternoon shower making the going even tougher. This will be the norm most days: you don’t get to appreciate one of the most remote eco-systems on the planet without some discomfort! There are a few riversand streams to cross throughout the day and, depending on how much rain has fallen, we may need to don our sandals and wade across. The final section is fairly even as we arrive into the Dayak community, where we’re warmly welcomed by our hosts. Night traditional longhouse (basic facilities).
Trek approx 15-17km / 8-9 hours
Day 5: Dayak Longhouse – Homestay
After a good breakfast, we pack up our kit and say goodbye to our wonderful hosts. Our day starts with a short walk along the valley floor; we then start to climb up the hillside before reaching a ridgeline which offers us magnificent views of the surrounding forest. We head along the ridge before dropping steeply down into the next valley and to a river. Our route follows the stream bed for a while before a steep climb takes us onto a tree-covered ridge and up to the hill summit. After a rest, we descend the far side of the hill and traverse another stream bed before climbing away from the river through bamboo forest. This is a tough day, but well worth the effort. There may be an opportunity to visit a waterfall for a swim in the afternoon, time dependent. The last 1½ hours are spent gradually ascending on easier paths to our night’s stop. Night homestay.
Trek approx 13-14km / 7-8 hours
Day 6: Homestay – Homestay
After another night in the rainforest we head out for our last full day of trekking. Today is a day of two halves; the first a long, steady and sometimes steep ascent which allows us to appreciate the dense understory of the rainforest. It will take us approx four hours to reach the top of the ridge. From there we have a long, gradual descent towards Loksado. Towards the end of the day the forest thins out as human influences, in the form of farming, become more prevalent. The heat intensifies as we lose altitude, but the trekking becomes less challenging! Night homestay.
Trek approx 20-22km / 8-10 hours
Day 7: Homestay – Loksado – Banjarmasin
This morning sees a short trek to the finishing point of our challenge! After celebrating our massive achievement and taking some group photos, we load up onto the buses and transfer back to Banjarmasin and the luxury of a hotel shower! Tonight you’re free to explore the city. Night hotel. (Dinner not included)
Trek approx 4-5km / 1-2 hours; drive approx 4 hours
Day 8: Free day Banjarmasin
For those of you able to face an early start, we have the wonderful opportunity to visit Banjarmasin’s traditional floating market, which is where most local people buy goods such as fruit and vegetables. The market is very authentic and untouristed, and it’s a real visual delight as well as a wonderful insight into local life on the waterways. The rest of the day is free to soak up the atmosphere of the waterways and stilted houses of this small ‘river city’. Night hotel. (Lunch & Dinner not included)
Day 9: Depart Banjarmasin
We fly via Jakarta and board our international flight home.
Day 10: Arrive UK
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
For details of our once-in-a-lifetime Orang-Utan Rehabilitation Extension trip (4 extra days), please contact us.
The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights and transfers, internal air taxes, and all meals except three as specified in the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of porters, guides, cooks and drivers. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
It does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement if charged by the airline (capped by Discover Adventure), meals as specified, tip for local crew, or international airport tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites you may wish to visit.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Singapore or Malaysian Airlines; internal flights will most probably be with Garuda, however, we don’t always use fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure.
Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We stay in hotels, local village homestays and, for one night, a traditional Dayak longhouse. The hotel in Banjarmasin is 2-3* – clean and comfortable with private facilities, but please do not expect the same standards as you would in a tourist hotel in the UK! On the trek facilities are basic – as you would expect in the middle of a rainforest. This is not a tourist route; we stay in the very authentic homes of friendly local people. We will bed down side-by-side on the floor, usually in one large open room. Washing facilities are limited to natural water sources where available – you will not be able to wash every night. This is a real cultural experience and is all part of the challenge!
All food is included when trekking. The food is good and there is plenty of it. Three meals as detailed in the itinerary are not included.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are.
Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Borneo would be led by one or two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Local Support Crew
Our local support crew is made up of local guides, porters, cooks and drivers. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers, cooks and porters rarely speak more than a few words of English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! See ‘Costs in Borneo’ above for a guideline amount; your leader will let you know if there is any change to this guideline. All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. All luggage, food, water and equipment is carried by vehicles or boats. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening. Bags should be waterproofed or lined with plastic bags to protect the contents.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up in the UK. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
We follow some firm dirt or concrete paths, but the majority of our trails in the rainforest are narrow and overgrown, on sticky clay or rock, both of which can get very slippery. We also walk alongside or in stream-beds at times, and will be crossing numerous watercourses. Some crossings have bridges, varying from planks to well-constructed rope bridges. There are some very hilly sections. It is hot and humid trekking in the dense rainforest as little air comes through the tree canopy. We are travelling through remote areas and whilst every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of the group, please be aware that this is a remote and adventurous challenge. You will trek approximately 70km on this trip overall. Because of the varied terrain and lack of accurate maps, it’s impossible to give accurate daily distances. It’s also much more useful when training to think about the hours you need to walk for – it’s your time spent trekking each day and the terrain that you need to focus on! We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through very remote regions, where we could be exposed to extremes of weather at any time so be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. Weather conditions can change quickly. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer.
It will generally be hot and humid, day and night, though as you gain height in the mountains expect temperatures to cool, especially at night.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
Passport & Visa
A valid ten-year passport is essential for travel in Borneo and must be valid for at least 6 months after entry into the country. Visas are required for British passport-holders; we recommend obtaining it in advance from the Indonesian Embassy in London. Visas for UK passport-holders, as well as some other nationalities, can be obtained upon arrival at Jakarta airport but queues are notoriously long and slow, and we do not recommend you rely on this option. Other nationalities should check with the embassy.
We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years and highly recommend vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. You will need a yellow fever vaccination certificate if coming from an infected area and we recommend malaria prophylaxis.
You should always check with your GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow trekkers and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.