Orangutan at Tanjung Puting National Park, Kalimantan

Monkey Islands

Rather than heading straight back to town after your floating market experience, consider heading a little further downstream to Pulau Kembang (Monkey Island) and Pulau Kaget (Shock Island) located in the middle of the Barito River.

Long tailed macaque at Monkey Island near Banjarmasin, KalimantanPulau Kembang actually translates as “Flower Island” but over the years it has become more commonly known as “Monkey Island” due to its large population of long-tailed macaques who live among the trees and an abandoned Chinese temple. Many locals believe spirits live inside the monkeys so they are never disturbed or harassed but unfortunately, the monkeys don’t share the same respect towards visitors who come with handouts of food. Boats are usually met at the small dock by several local “guides” who will sell you a bag of peanuts to feed the monkeys and keep the cheekier ones at bay whilst you do it..

Pulau Kegat lies about 5min further downstream and is home to a population of proboscis monkey. The monkeys are most active around the shoreline during the early morning then head deeper into the island to rest until the late afternoon. Pulau Kaget is actually two islands separated by a narrow tidal channel and your best chance of seeing one is along the ‘hidden’ southcoast of the northern island inside the channel. Ideally, ask your boatman to cut the noisy engine as you approach and drift into the channel.

Unlike their cousins over on Monkey Island, these guys are genuinely wild so there’s no guarantee of actually seeing one but you can improve the odds by planning your visit carefully. If like many, you’re combing the islands and Muara Kuin floating market into a single outing, we suggest leaving the markets no later than 6:30-7am, bypassing Monkey Island and proceeding straight to Pulau Kegat. You can drop into Monkey Island on the return trip.

Expect to pay around 100.000Rp for an island only trip, 200.000Rp for a combined market and island trip but be prepared to haggle.

South Kalimantan
3 hours
Get there
Private car, taxi
Need to know
Ask at your accommodation if they can arrange the tour

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