PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia - The Tourism Authority of Lamandau Regency, Tourism Authority of West Kotawaringin Regency, Swisscontact WISATA, along with local stakeholders - conducted Tanjung Puting Familiarization Trip 2017 from November 25 - 30, 2017. Involving local and international tour operators and media crews - the trip aims to introduce new tourism destinations to support Tanjung Puting National Park, especially through Community Based Tourism Village program.
Tanjung Puting National Park - comprises three districts: West Kotawaringin, Lamandau and Seruyan - known as home to about 6,000 Orangutans (the largest of the total remaining Orangutan population in the world) as well as Proboscis Monkey or bekantan. Because of its unique fauna, this 415,000 hectares tropical rainforest area has always been a major destination for local and foreign tourists visiting the province of Central Kalimantan.
As of October 2017, 19,000 tourists have visited Tanjung Puting National Park this year. A new record for a tourist destination that had experienced a drastic drop in traffic in 2015, due to forest fires that burned no less than 100,000 hectares of its rainforest.
Despite a significant increase, Ir. Helmi, Head of Tanjung Puting National Park, underlined the importance of diversification of attractions around Tanjung Puting National Park to maintain the psychological condition of Orangutan, while increasing the duration of tourist visit in 2018.
"Currently, the concentration of tourists is concentrated in the Sekonyer River, especially Camp Leakey. Therefore, we invite tour operators to optimize the potential of other tourist attractions outside the national park, such as turtle captivity in Tanjung Keluang and tourist villages in Lamandau Regency," said Helmi.
Therefore, in this trip tour operators and media were also brought to visit some new community-based tourism villages that are being developed as a natural and cultural tourism destination supporting Tanjung Putting National Park. These new destinations are:
Lopus is a Tourist Village in Delang Sub-regency, about 2 hours drive from Pangkalan Bun city, which is being developed by Tourism Authority of Lamandau Regency. The village of about 800 people has a group of Sadar Wisata (Pokdarwis), consisting of young villagers who always actively develop the potential of local attractions to be offered to local tour operators since early 2017.
Every visitor will be welcomed by Dayak custom ceremony, namely Potong Garung Pantan. In this ceremony, tourists will be asked to cut the bamboo rod using Mandau (traditional Dayak machete) and drink the traditional wine from the buffalo horn.
Nature tourism became the mainstay of Lopus. Tourists can enjoy river tubing, rafting, trekking to Silikan Garung (long trekking) or Silikan Todung (medium trekking), or just fishing and swimming in the clear waterof the Delang River.
As a concrete step, several houses of Lopus villagers have now been transformed into homestays. Thus, tourists can feel more life as a Dayak tribe, mingling with the local community, and of course enjoy a typical culinary dish -- such as Tabiku, savory glutinous rice cooked in a bag of kantong semar.
Bolau Hill, Tapin Bini
Indigenous forest is very guarded by the people of this Tapin Bini Village is a tourist attraction that should not be missed by the lovers of nature tourism. Standing tall on the north side of the Village, Bukit Bolau, known as the Land Above The Cloud offers amazing views especially at sunrise until 9am. To reach Bukit Bolau, tourists must cross the Lamandau River by rubber boat first, of course with guidance of the local Tourism Awareness Group (Pokdarwis). "We already have our own packages, which include trekking, rafting, cultural customs, homestays, including the welcoming ceremony Potong Garung Pantan," said Indra Yudi, Chairman of Pokdarwis Tapin Bini.
A resident's house at the foot of the hill called Dukuh Ambu, can be a camping place before doing night-trekking to the top of the hill. Here tourists can learn traditional cooking using bamboo and bonfire, as well as fishing and hunting with ancient traditional methods. For more sensation, tourists can visit Bukit Bolau sometime in January - when locals flock to trekking to the top of the hill to hold a harvest celebration ceremony.
Photo caption: Stunning morning view from Bolau 'Land Above The Clouds' Hill, Tapin Bini Village, Lamandau Regency Central Kalimantan