West Kalimantan, Semangit Village, Kapuas Hulu

West Kalimantan, Semangit Village, Kapuas Hulu

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The district – Kabupaten – Kapuas Hulu is located in the heart of Borneo. or geographically, in the north-east of the province West-Kalimantan – Kalimantan Barat or commonly named KalBar. It has an area of almost 30.000 square kilometers, 20.3 % of the area of West-Kalimantan.  District capital is Putussibau. The Kabupaten owes its name from the River Kapuas, the longest river of Indonesia, while Hulu means upper river or headwater.

Kapuas Hulu bounded on the north by Sarawak, East Malaysia, by the province East Kalimantan (Kalimantan Timur or KalTim) on the northeast, by Central Kalimantan (Kalimantan Tengah or KalTeng) on the southeast and by Sintang, another Kabupaten of West Kalimantan, on the west-southwest.   With the Upper-Kapuas-Range, which stretches from the northwest to the northeast and the Muller-Range, where the Kapuas originates and which stretches from the northeast to the southwest, a large part of Kapuas Hulu consists of mountainous terrain, while the landscape becomes more flatten to the west of Putussibau.

There are two national parks located in Kapuas Hulu: the mighty Betung Kerihun, a mountainous area of 8000 sq km covered with dense forest and traversed by hundreds of rivers and the Danau Sentarum, a wetland forest area of 1320 sq km with a unique lake system, that may grow to a single water mass during rainy season, when the Kapuas overflows its banks and diverting most of its water to the lakes.  Yet the rich biodiversity is not limited to the parks only, but Kapuas Hulu offers rich fauna and flora outside of the parks as well.

Not only does the incredible nature make a visit of Kapuas Hulu worthwhile, but also the local population with their unique traditional customs, rituals and  ceremonies as well as with their traditional arts and crafts. The majority of the population consists of two major ethnic groups, the Dayak and Malayu.  Yet the members of both, the Dayak tribes and the Malayu live mostly in small villages along the many rivers where they preserve their cultural heritage, despite influences of globalization and foreign cultures. And if one is keen to visit or stay in a traditional longhouse, Kapuas Hulu is certainly the right place, as the majority of Kalimantan’s remaining longhouses if not even of entire Borneo are located in Kapuas Hulu.

Touristic infrastructure and respective facilities, though, are still not very well developed in Kapuas Hulu and one, in particular as an individual traveler, might find a visit of Kapuas Hulu difficult. But this is also a chance for a smooth development of ecotourism in line and together with the local people, while preserving the nature and unique cultural traditions and increasing economical welfare of local communities at the same time.  Development of ecotourism in Kapuas Hulu is still in progress, but a number of projects have been already successfully implemented, e.g. by WWF together with KOMPAKH. Nonetheless success also depends on visitors. In this regard we want to raise attention to Kapuas Hulu with its huge number of highlights and support visitors by providing necessary information according to their needs.

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