KLOTOK – What’s that?!

Klotok Whats that Title Pic Do you know what a ‘klotok‘ is? I was about to venture on a five-day journey on a klotok into the jungles of Kalimantan…

I woke up at 5.30am and dragged myself out of bed at 6am {no…I was not braving the cold shower-mandi at that hour!}, just packed up my stuff and I was picked up at 7am. Headed to Kumai, a small but busy harbour town about 20 minutes drive from Pangkalan Bun…once at the harbour I walked over a couple of other boats and then, I was on my “klotok” {my house-boat for the next five days!} and by 8am we were on our way, heading towards a large river canal into the jungle!

Klotok is the name used in Kalimantan for a traditional wooden river boat…there are many different sizes and styles vary too. They are generally used to transport local people and their wares from the city to their villages down the rivers. Some say that the klotok got their name from the sound that the motor makes…klo-klo-klo-tok! And when I actually listened to the sound, I realised that it did seem to be true!

These particular klotok were eight to twelve metre houseboats that are available for tourists and serve as transportation, accommodation and also restaurant…all complete with captain, guide and chef! The roof forms the top deck of the boat, which was used as both sleeping area with mattresses, pillows and a mosquito net! I’m obviously not saying it was as luxurious as my king size mattress I have at home but I still thoroughly enjoyed it! And down the other end was the dining area complete with a table and chairs for meal times. There was even a hammock…yay!!! {Perfect for me!} Downstairs provided a very hot, stuffy area for the crew to sleep and at one end was the very simple kitchen. And at the very back of the klotok, downstairs was a bathroom complete with western toilet and shower! What more could one ask for…?!

I met the captain and he proudly told me that, this was the biggest klotok available! Great…this huge klotok for just me and three local crew for five days! And at that point, I was yet to know that it was to become a talking point along the journey. Many tourists that we met along the way commented that it was a VERY large klotok for just one person! Hahaha…what could I say?!

My klotok did become home for me…even though we had one dead battery for the generator and no supply of clean water for washing for the first couple of days! And we lost our captain for a day or so! This is the adventures of living on a klotok, travelling down a river into the jungles of Kalimantan! And…I loved it!

KLOTOK Pic Collage

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