Alesa Tours

Mahakam River Cruise & Orang Utan Survival



Need to Know

Pick up point

Balikpapan or Samarinda Airport

Drop off point

Balikpapan or Samarinda Airport


East Kalimantan

Chalenge Level



4 Days / 3 Nights

Tour Code

ATB 242


Navigate along the Mahakam You'll see the daily lives of the locals that's linked to the waterways on which they live, work and play. Thousands of homes or traditional floating homes, businesses and warehouses are built stilts over the water. Proceed to visit Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. You'll get the chance to have direct contact with the orangutans by for example feeding them and more orangutans will again be released into the wild by your support.

Tour Highlights

  • Cruising up the middle of Mahakam river
  • Overnight on the houseboat
  • Visit the dayak village, long house and their performance.
  • See the nature and wild life
  • Encounter the orang utans and sunbears
  • Overnight at Samboja Lodge surrounded by rain forest
View Map

Upon arrival at the airport, meet and greet with your guide, then transfer to Loa Janan by vehicle to embark the houseboat.

Welcome on board.

Enjoy the adventure on mighty Mahakam river. Lunch and dinner will be served on board. Take an overnight cruise through the waterways of Mahakam river.


Balikpapan Airport – Loa Janan (110 km) : 2,5 hours drive

✔  Samarinda Airport – Loa Janan (38 km) : 1 hour drive

✔  Loa janan – Muara muntai : 15 hours by boat

Today is a full day excursion with picnic lunch.

Start your day with a visit to Muara muntai. Visiting the market to see it’s fresh produce.  After exploring the market and village take a motor canoe through the water village of Jantur, then Jempang lake and Ohong creek to explore rural Kalimantan. You'll pass the  locals washing, fishing and bathing while enjoying the shade of the lush green surroundings. Here you will see the rain forest and its wildlife such as proboscis monkeys, long tailed macaques, king fishers, lizards, snakes and any bird species. Upon arrival at Mancong, the Dayak traditional ceremony welcomes you in front of their Long house. You may Join into the dance performance. Mancong village is home to arround 500 inhabitant of Dayak Benuaq. Afterwards visit Tanjung Isuy for sightseeing. Late afternoon transfer back to Muara muntai. Get on the houseboat then proceed cruise down stream to Tenggarong.

Dinner and overnight on board.

Arrive at Tenggarong, visiting the former palace of Sultan Kutai Kartanegara.  Here you will see the Sultan's impressive collection of heirlooms, ceramics, Dayak's art and culture items. Afterwards back to house boat for lunch while the boat cruises slowly towards Loa Janan. Disembark from the house boat, then take vehicle drive to Samboja Lodge. On arrival, check in to your beautiful room at the Lodge and enjoy the coffee or tea at the terrace restaurant. Here you can take a look beautiful view of the park seen from the tower. A local guide will conduct a briefing on the up coming activities. Today you will come face to face with the incredible endangered animals of this area. After fresh up, depart for the Orangutan island in time for the afternoon feeding session at 15:00. Then head to the Sun Bear Sanctuary nearby.

Walk back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.


✔  Loa Janan - Samboja Lodge (65 km): 2 hours drive

Breakfast at Lodge, then transfer to Balikpapan airport for your next destination.


 Samboja Lodge - Balikpapan Airport (40 km) : 1 hour drive

  • NOTE

Our services include:

  • Accommodation : 2 nights on House Boat, 1 night stay at Samboja Lodge.

    Twin or shared double room.

  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)

  • English speaking guide (for other languages supplements apply)

  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle & House Boat and private motor canoe.

  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned

  • Other services than mentioned

  • International and domestic Flights

  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature

  • Tips, Travel insurance


Mahakam River is in the east-central Indonesian Borneo, rising in Borneo’s central mountain range and flows east-southeast through southern East Kalimantan province and emptying into Makassar Strait in a wide delta.

It’s a highway of East Kalimantan, which can be reached via the main Airport of Balikpapan or Samarinda. The River is almost 1.000 km long, and the only way to bring you into the deep interior of East Kalimantan.  Mahakam also the inhabitant of endangered freshwater populations of Irrawaddy dolphins, locally named Pesut Mahakam is fully protected under Indonesia Law. Nevertheless, the population is critically endangered with less than 90 individuals remaining in the entire river.

The Dayaks are the indigenous people inhabiting Kalimantan beside the Kutainese and Banjarese. The Dayak indigenous religion has been given the name Kaharingan, and may be said to be a form of animism. the Kaharingan is registered as a form of Hinduism in Indonesia. The integration of Kaharingan with Hinduism is not due to the similarities in the theological system, but due to the fact that Kaharingan is the oldest belief in Kalimantan.

The main attraction of the lower part are the Lakes, The art full Dayak Culture and Longhouses, the area is covered by mangrove, swamp, and lowland rain forest. 

The Tourism spots are the Villages and river life. The further you get upstream the more adventures it will be, till you reach the dense jungle after the rapids.

Samboja Lestari

Samboja Lestari is an area of restored tropical rainforest. Located in Regency of Kutai Kartanegara. It’s created by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF).
Samboja Lestari also supported the local people through Corporate Responsible Social such as in the fire protection program and maintaining the security of drinking water resources.

Orang Utan Rehabilitation 

The Orangutan Rehabilitation Project at Wanariset was moved to Samboja.
"Forest Schools" were established, areas that provide natural, educational playgrounds for the orangutans in which to learn forest skills. Here the orangutans roam freely but under supervision and are returned to sleeping cages for the night. "Orangutan islands" were created where the orangutans and other wildlife that cannot return to the wild are nevertheless able to live in almost completely natural conditions.

Orangutan Islands

Some orangutans live on six man-made islands (a nice walk from the Samboja Lodge). The Island orangutans are for not release candidates, due to handicaps and miss-behavior. Therefore, they can only be viewed from the land. Every day workers bring over many kinds of fruits, vegetables and leafy branches. Though there is No Contact for Visitors permitted with any of our orangutans, we could use your help in making new behavioral enrichment devices for them, preparing their food and even in taking observational data! The islands are easily reached on foot from the Lodge.

Sun bears

Samboja Lestari is home to one of the world's largest sun bear projects. You can help with the maintenance of the cages, observations on the behavior of newly formed groups, creation of behavioral enrichment, preparation and feeding out of food. The bear compound is a short 15min walk from the Samboja Lodge. The sanctuary includes a 58 hectares area put aside for the bears including a 55 hectare patch of fenced secondary forest with maturing fruit trees and a river and a second area of approximately 3 hectares.              

Day Temperatures 27 °– 32°C
Night Temperatures 20 °– 25°C
Humidity 80%-90%
Rainfall 4,000mm per year
Wet Months October & June
Dry Months February & August ( but expect daily rain )

Things You Wish To Bring:

  • Rain coat, cap or hat.

  • Torchlight,

  • Sun block lotion.

  • Walking shoes

  • Toiletries.

  • Insect Repellent

  • Binoculars

  • Camera

  • Small water proof bag for the documents

Samboja Eco lodge

Samboja Eco Lodge is a new venture for The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), by building the facilities in Samboja Lodge. Here, for the first time, visitors will be able to work closely with us in many projects that are currently active in Samboja Lestari, in aid to save our rainforests and orangutans. In Orangutan Trip, we could use your help in making new behavioral enrichment devices for them, preparing their food and even in taking observational data. Activities at the Orangutan Islands in the morning or afternoon with a return to the lodge for lunch. The islands are easily reached by foot from the lodge.

Samboja Lodge

Samboja Lodge

Samboja Lodge

Samboja Lodge