Mount Palung National Park: Habitat of the Orangutan

Located on the border between Ketapang and North Kayon in the province of West Kalimantan, Mount Palung National Park is one of the largest national parks in Indonesia. Officially open to the public in 1990, Mount Palung National Park covers a total area of approximately 90,000 hectares containing many animal species including birds, mammals, as well as many rare floras. The main attraction of the national park is the undisputed ruler of the Borneo rainforests:  theorangutan (Pongo satyrus). These rare and unique primates find their playground safely protected behind the thick trees in the jungles of Mount Palung .

Gunung Palung National Park is a nature conservation area with very high biodiversity value and a variety of ecosystems, including mangrove forest, swamp forest, peat swamp forest, freshwater swamp forest, lowland tropical forest and montane forest, always shrouded in mist.

This Park is the best and most extensive Dipterocarp tropical forest in Kalimantan. About 65% of the area is still primary forest, undisturbed by human activity, and it is rich in plant and wildlife communities.

An encounter with these gentle and friendly giants on their own turf will provide an insight into how orangutans live their daily life in the wild. An estimated 2,000 orangutans inhabit the area, roaming the land from the heart of the jungle all the way to the peat lands on its outer rim.

Other peculiar faces of this jungle are the uniquely long-nosed proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus). Along with the orangutans, the proboscis monkeys are among many of the endemic species inhabiting Mount Palung National Park.

Other animals that also dwell in the jungle of Mount Palung are the land squirrels (Lariscus hosei), forest deer (Muntiacus muntjak pleiharicus), honey bears (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus), beruk apes (Macaca nemestrina), klampiau(Hylobates muelleri), lemurs (Nyticebus coucang borneanus), rangkong badak (Buceros rhinoceros borneoensis), kancil(Tragulus napu borneanus), forest chicken (Gallus gallus), enggang gading (Rhinoplax vigil), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis), Ivory turtles (Orlitia borneensis), penyu tempayan (Caretta caretta),  and the rare canary squirrels.

Similar to other forests in West Kalimantan, Mount Palung National Park is decorated with various species of flora including: jelutung (Dyera costulata), ramin (Gonystylus bancanus), damar (Agathis borneensis), pulai (Alstonia scholaris), rengas (Gluta renghas),Ulin woods (Eusideroxylon zwageri), Bruguiera sp., Lumnitzera sp., Rhizophora sp., Sonneratia sp,the strangler  ara, and many herbal plants.  The special flowers found in this national park are the exotic black orchids (Coelogyne pandurata). These tropical beauties can easily be found near the Matan River especially in the months of February to April when many are in full bloom.

As a National Park, the significance of  Mount Palung Park is not only limited to the country, but also to the rest of the world as  its diverse flora and fauna  act as one of the earth’s richest bio-diverse ecosystems. There are at least 7 types of vegetations found within the Mount Palung National Park, they include mangrove forests, swamp forests, alluvial forests, tropical lowland, tropical highland forests, and sub- alpine forests.

Being a place of such importance, Mount Palung National Park is dubbed by many as Kalimantan’s “Eden” as it features such a wide variety of colorful flora and fauna.  From the exotic Black Orchid to the gentle orangutans, Mount Palung National Park is unmistakably the main gate into Borneo’s tropical wilderness.

For more Information, rules and regulations, and reservation, you can contact:

Balai Taman Nasional  Gunung Palung 
Address:  Jl Wahid Hasyim 41A Ketapang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Telephone:+62-534-33539 Fax: +62-534-33539. Contact Person:
Franky Zamzani

Interesting locations and attractions:

Pulau Datok Beach and Lubang Tedong hill: marine tours and swimming.
Mount Palung (1,116 m asl.) and Mt. Panti (1,050 m asl.): climbing, waterfalls, observing plants and animals and camping.

Cabang Panti: research centre complete with a research station, accommodation and a library.

Matan and Simpang Rivers: kayaking/canoeing, observing animals and historical sites.

Access:

From Jakarta or Kuching, it is approximately about a 75 minutes flight to Pontianaks airport.  From there, it’s another hour’s flight to reach Ketapang Airport. Ketapang is the starting point to make the two hour overland journey to Sukadana, which is the entry point to Mount Palung National Park. If you feel adventurous, you can take a 5-hour hike through thick jungle and high bushes to get to the heart of Mount Palung. Alternately, you can take a 6-hour motorboat ride or, for a one-of-a-kind experience, try the traditional boat ride that can take up to 8 hours.

Alternative Accesses:

  • From Pontianak to Ketapang by plane, 1.5 hours. Or by motor boat for 6-7 hours. Then proceed to Sukadana by four-wheel drive, 2 hours. From Sukadana to the Park: by longboat (bandong) up the Meliya River, about 4 hours.
  • From Pontianak to Teluk Batang by speedboat, 4 hours.  Then to Teluk Melano by motorcycle, about 1 hour.
  • From Pontianak to Teluk Melano by speedboat, 9-10 hours.

Suggestion:

Best time of year to visit: June to September.

Temperature: 25° – 35° C
Rainfall: 3,000 mm/year (on average)
Altitude: 900 – 1,116 m asl.
Geographical location: 109°54′ – 110°28′ E; 1°03′ – 1°22′ S

Some basic regulations issued by the management of Mount Palung:

  1. Visitors must report to or get permission from the Mount Palung National Park Office by submitting your legal identity documentation.
  2. Visitors must bring adequate equipment and logistics required during the trek.
  3. Visitors must be accompanied by a guide, when wishing to make a trek inside the national park.
  4. While you are within the area of the national park:
  • Do not remove any plants, animals, or other species from the park. Any type of vandalism is prohibited.
  • Visitors must carry back with them any inorganic waste from within the national park area. It is also prohibited to spoil or pollute rivers.
  • Visitors must not make loud noises that can disturb the surrounding habitat.
  • Tents may only be set up at designated areas, and the use of fire is limited to prevent fire hazards to the area.

Source: The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy Republic Indonesia, and The Ministry of Forestry Republic Indonesia

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