There's only one thing cooler than hiking three hours into the jungles of Borneo and happening upon the treehouse of your childhood dreams. And that's hiking three more and happening upon a family of wild orangutans.
Of course, I'm exaggerating that last part a little. It took me nearly three days of rather intense trekking through the hills of Gunung Palung National Park, located in the western part of Indonesian Borneo (locally known as Kalimantan) before I saw my first orangutan.
Even then, if it hadn't been for the amazing eye of my guide Muslianto, a 30-something man who's lived his whole life in the vicinity of the park, I never would've noticed them. Wild orangutans hang out high in the treetops, often more than a hundred feet off the ground below, amid thick leaves and fog. Even with a professional DSLR and a rockin' zoom lens, catching them on camera can be as difficult as seeing them in the first place.
I've spent a good chunk of the past five years traveling around the world, and can definitely say the time I spent in Gunung Palung was among my most unique travel experiences ever. Take a look at my photos, featured in the slideshow below, to get a feel for what you can expect if you decide to travel here too.
NOTE: Entrance to Gunung Palung National Park is strictly regulated by the Indonesian government. If you wish to visit, you must book through Nasalis Travel and Tour, a private-public company that manages park visits for foreigners. Click here to learn more about available packages.