RASI Director Budiono wins Whitley Award 2012

Sangkuliman becomes ecotourism destination village for Pesut Mahakam

RASI wins Van Bree VTS Award in honour of the late Dr PJH Van Bree

Volunteer experience of Jacquelin 'Joko' in Sangkuliman village

Mahakam Dolphin Tour with latest info for increased dolphin encounters!





East Kalimantan is the largest province of Kalimantan with a surface area of 211.440 km2 and has several large rivers. One of the largest and longest river is the Mahakam with  149.277 km2 water surface area and a length of 920 km, and includes several tributaries and lakes. Within this large river system, there are several objects, which are attractive for sight-seeing.

Pesut Mahakam

The freshwater dolphins in the Mahakam, which are commonly referred to as Irrawaddy dolphin and locally as pesut, have some preferred feeding and socializing sites. The main habitat of pesut is in the main river from Muara Kaman to Melak including confluence areas with tributaries and lakes. The area with the largest population is in the area between Muara Kaman and Muara Muntai including the tributaries Pela, Belayan, Kedang Kepala and Kedang Rantau. In Pela River in the village of Sangkuliman while sitting relaxed on the terrace of homestay Bu Imang, one may see the dolphins moving up an downstream, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. Also, in the confluence of Muara Kaman at several times of the days while having your lunch or breakfast in the nice restaurant of Ramohan you can observe the dolphins directly too.

Other animals, which may be encountered along the riverbanks of tributaries or main river are many bird species, e.g. Hornbills, Lesser Adjutants, King-fishers; mammal species, e.g. Leaf Monkeys, Nose Monkeys (Proboscis), Long-tailed Macaques and Otters.

Semayang Lake

One enters the lake through the narrow Pela River, where most of the fishermen fishing at the lake live, together with Semayang village at the North side of the Lake. The lake area size is10.300 ha and several species may be encountered such as the pesut, Water Buffels, Lesser Adjutants and Egret. In the dry season, some areas may be used by rice and corn farmers.

Melintang Lake

Melintang Lake is connected with Semayang Lake through the village of Melintang, which is built completely on wooden poles and is mainly a fishing community. Here, fish is dried immediately in the open air for export. The lake is of similar size, i.e. 8.900 ha and home to several bird species, Leaf Monkeys and Nose Monkeys.

Jempang Lake

Jempang Lake is the largest area with a size of 14.600 ha. Large parts of the lake are closed with floating vegetation, such as Water Hyacinth, which are excellent breeding and resting places for many water bird species, but also many fish species seek refuge or breed under the dense vegetation surrounding the lake. On the South side of the lake is the village of Tanjung Isuy situated, which has become well known as “cultural place” since most of the community exist of the Dayak tribes Benuaq and Tunjung.  In the “long-house” (Lamin) used by the community for special occasions, there are many local, hand-made souvenirs for sale, whereas one part of the long-house has an accommodation facility for tourists.


Kersik Luway

Kersik luway is a nature reserve situated in Sekolaq Darat village, 10 km from Melak. The area is 5000 ha in size where 57 species of orchids grow! Even before the big fires of 1982, 72 species existed. Most of them grow on white sand in an area of 20 ha. Besides, other interesting plant species can be found such as Nephentes spp growing on trees but also directly on the ground.



If you are interested to go for a tour up the Mahakam River and observe the dolphins, other wildlife and local cultures, please click on the suggested itinerary below (Mahakam Dolphin Tour). Our organization is not a travel agency but we work together with local travel agencies. The suggested itineraries may give the traveler some idea of sight worthy sites and where can one most easily observe the dolphins. The proposed trip uses public in combination with private transport and overnight in the villages. However, there is also the possibility for small to large groups to travel using a private houseboat (including accommodation and meals), which is more expensive and can be arranged directly though the travels and guides mentioned in the itinerary sheet. If you like to travel without guide, you can follow some of our directions in the info sheet and our map. If you have a particular interest in wildlife and/ or environmental issues one of our staff may also escort during your trip (with daily compensation and depending on the available time). We do not ask for any commission from any travel or guide, boatmen or losmen etc and offer all information for free. However, we would like to ask for your cooperation to send us a brief feedback ( about your experience and if the information offered was useful. In this way we keep track of the tourists that visit the dolphin area and improve the itinerary. We thank you most kindly in advance!

    Have a nice journey! Do not hesitate to contact our organization or guide directly if you require more info.

Mahakam Dolphin Tour   Leaftet 1    Leaflet 2


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