Bukit Bangkirai is a natural rainforest located in Regency of Kutai Kartanegara, East Kalimantan. This conservation area is opened for public as Ecotourism destination that offers an ultimate adventure to the jungle deep. Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai also offers various fun activities on the jungle.

Bukit Bengkirai (Source: putrowicaksono.wordpress.com. Credit: putro wicaksono)
Bukit Bengkirai
(Source: putrowicaksono.wordpress.com. Credit: putro wicaksono)

To Get There

Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai is located on Jalan Soekarno Hatta KM 38, Samboja District, Regency of Kutai Kartanegara. It is most accessible from Balikpapan or Samarinda. From Balikpapan, you will need to drive for about 1.5 hours through the route of Balikpapan – Kilo – KM 38 Samboja – KM 38 Petung – Bukit Bangkirai. From Samarinda, it is about 150 kilometers away with the route of Samarinda – Mahakam Bridge – Samarinda Seberang – Loajanan – Bukit Soeharto – KM 38 Samboja – KM 38 Petung – Bukit Bangkirai.

Besides those options, you can also use public transportation like bus with the route of Balikpapan – Sepaku. Get off at the gate of Bukit Bangkirai. This bus is available from Balikpapan and Samarinda.

After getting off at the entrance gate to Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai, you need to buy the entrance ticket and the parking ticket for your vehicle. The prices are:

  • Adult Visitor : $0.2
  • Child Visitor : $0.1
  • Two-Wheeled Vehicle Parking : $0.2
  • Four-Wheeled Vehicle Parking : $0.4
Entrance Gate to Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai (Source: Flickr. Credit: glar pray)
Entrance Gate to Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai
(Source: Flickr. Credit: glar pray)

Tropical Rainforest

Bukit Bangkirai rainforest is about 1,500 hectares wide but only 510 hectares of them utilized as Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai. The name “Bukit Bangkirai” means Bangkirai Hill. It was named that way because the jungle is dominated with Bangkirai trees. Those trees are approximately 150 to 200 years old. The height could reach up to 40 to 50 meters and the diameter could reach to 2.5 meters.

Various species of orchids are also living well on this jungle, either the ones that live on living trees or the ones that live on dead ones. Black orchid is the most unique species and also is the mascot of East Kalimantan. Inside the forest, there is also an area of fruit fields where you can find some endemic and local species of fruits. This fruit field is about four hectares wide.

Not only for various floras, Bukit Bangkirai is also habitat for various species of animals. There are about 113 species of bird including the endemic species such as Punai bird and Stone Trush. You can also see several species of primate such as long-tailed monkey, beruk, and red ape. Other species of animals are hog, flying squirrel, and deers.

To explore this wonderful jungle, there have been 7 different tracks prepared. These Jungle Tracks lead to different area with different length of path as well. The shortest track is only 150 meters long and the longest one is about six kilometers long.

One of the Jungle Track (Source: Flickr. Credit: glar pray)
One of the Jungle Track
(Source: Flickr. Credit: glar pray)

Canopy Bridge

The most unique attraction on Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai is the Canopy Bridge. This bridge connects five old Bangkirai trees with advanced structure engineering. Total length of the bridge is about 64 meters where each part of bridge could span about 10 o 15 meters long. Canopy Bridge of Bukit Bangkirai lays on the height around 25 to 30 meters above the ground.

The construction of this bridge used Bangkirai wood to match with the jungle. In order to improve the strength and durability, galvanized steel was added too. Built in 1998, the bridge was estimated to stand strong until 15 to 20 years later.

To get on the bridge, you need to climb up the spiral stair. With the height of 25 to 30 meters, sure it would be exhausting to climb up the stairs without resting. Therefore, a balustrade is provided on every spire. At this balustrade, you can catch up your breath while enjoying the air, the view, and probably take some pictures.

The Canopy Bridge (Source: Flickr. Credit: tenggarong box)
The Canopy Bridge
(Source: Flickr. Credit: tenggarong box)

Enjoying this wonderful Canopy Bridge would only cost you $3.75 . It is considered very cheap compared to the view and unforgettable experience you will get.

 

Other Activities

Besides going around exploring the jungle and walking across the canopy bridge, there are many other interesting activities you can do at this ecotourism forest, such as:

  • Memorial Plant Program

To promote the conservation of Bangkirai trees and other living creatures on this forest, a program has been initiated to allow visitors to participate. On Memorial Plant Program, you can plant a tree at this area as a memorial of your visit. You can also donate some money for their conservatory program.

  • Outbound (Team Building)

Another activity that would be awesome to be practiced on the forest deep is outbound, especially if you come here in a group of friends. This activity not only could make your body stronger, but it could also build solidarity in a team. Outbound zone has been prepared at Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai to accommodate that purpose.

  • Sports

Enough with the outbound activity, other things left to do is sports. Practicing sports would feel different and way more fun in the middle of jungle. This might surprise you, but at this forest, there are venues of tennis court, volley ball, swimming pool, biking tracks, and more.

 

To Stay

One day would not be sufficient to explore this awesome jungle of Bukit Bangkirai. Besides that, staying in a jungle could really be a unique experience. Therefore, several choices of accommodation have been prepared inside this ecotourism area.

If you wish for a comfortable and fancier option of accommodation, you can try getting reservation at the cottages. At this area, there are five fancy cottages. Each cottage is built with traditional Dayak architecture. But it has complete facilities such as bathroom, electricity, and even internet connection. These nice cottages are located about 300 meters from Canopy Bridge. The reservation rates for a cottage range from $30.

Cottage in the Middle of the Forest (Source: Flickr. Credit: khatulistiwa info)
Cottage in the Middle of the Forest
(Source: Flickr. Credit: khatulistiwa info)

If you wish to feel as close as possible to the Mother Nature, then camping would be the best option for you to spend the night. A comfortable and safe camping ground is available. With the area of about 20 x 50 meters wide, it sure can accommodate large group of people. This camping ground is very popular for school program or office outbound.

 

Supporting Facilities

Not only two choices of accommodations, Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai has also prepared some supporting facilities to serve you, such as:

  • Restaurant

Exploring the jungle surely will drain your energy. The only way to recharge your body is by eating something nice. In the area of Bukit Bangkirai, there is a nice restaurant with Dayak architectural style.

  • Jungle Cabin

Jungle Cabin is a shelter prepared for the visitors to rest after a few hours of walking around the jungle. This cozy shelter was constructed mainly with woods.

The Jungle Cabin for Resting Shelter (Source: putrowicaksono.wordpress.com. Credit: putro wicaksono)
The Jungle Cabin for Resting Shelter
(Source: putrowicaksono.wordpress.com. Credit: putro wicaksono)
  • Mini Canopy Bridge

Nearby the jungle cabin, there is a mini canopy bridge. This building is another choice of resting shelter as well as easier choices of Canopy Bridge, if climbing up the real one is too tiring for you.

  • Rumah Panjang

Another facility available at this forest is a multi-purpose room called Rumah Panjang which literally means “The Long House”. This traditional Dayak building can be functioned as meeting room or event venue. This building has the capacity of 50 to 70 people.

 

Ecotourism Area of Bukit Bangkirai is such an interesting destination for forest exploration. Not only because there are plenty of activities to do there, but also because this object can make you feel closer to nature.

 

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