Sungai Kahayan Travel Guide

Also known as the Great Dyak, the Kahayan River is Central Kalimantan|Kalimantan’s largest river and a vital source of livelihood, culture and transport for the Dayak people who populate its banks.

Most of the people living along the river are Dayaks, who pan for gold in the upper parts and cultivate rice in the lower stretches. The main goal for travelers cruising along the Kahayan River is to get a first-hand look at traditional Dayak life aboard a klotok boat.

Visitors can easily arrange multi-day boat cruises up the Sungai Kahayan in Palangkaraya to visit the main Dayak tribes of Ngaju, Ot Danum and Ma’anyan, where most maintain their age-old ways of subsistence life. Visitors often sleep over in longhouses during their river adventure.

Hutan Kahayan and Sabangau National Park are both along the river, providing a glimmer of hope that the rare peat swamp forests and large wild orangutan populations can survive the development of man. Visitors who make it to these remote parks can expect to see lots of orangutans, longnose monkeys and other exotic primates. The park’s orangutan rehabilitation center is among the best in the world.

Getting There & Away

Palangkaraya’s Panarung Airport is the main point of entry for visitors seeking a river cruise up the Sungai Kahayan. Flights from Jakarta arrive regularly, taking a couple of hours. There are also many regional weekly flights from neighboring cities. Once in Palangkaraya, you can arrange transport and boat service to take you up the Sungai Kahayan.