Temples, Volcanos & Orangutan Release


  • Witness sunrise over Borobudur, a mystical Buddhist temple
  • Summit Mount Bromo
  • Orangutan release into the wild
  • Mingle with the Dayak head-hunter tribe

One of the most exclusive experiences in our suite of tours, is the rare opportunity to release a re-habituated orangutan back into the depths of the East Kalimantan jungle.

Your journey follows through the stunning Hindu temples of Prambanan before setting off for a train journey through Central Java. In the old Dutch city of Malang, you have the opportunity to stay in the Former President Sukarno’s residence. Experience a magical sunrise from Mt Bromo, a haven for nature lovers, with its volcano, craters and sand plateaus as well as its breath-taking serene savannah. Then for the true highlight…

Orangutans, the only great Ape in Asia and the worlds largest tree climbing mammal, find their native habitat under great threat. Crooked Compass is working with Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOS) founded in 1991, with the support of Government Organisations and international businesses.

We have joined with BOS to offer for the first time ever, to provide travellers with access to join the release program. This is not a group tour. It’s about individual desire to help, learn and assist in releasing Orangutan deep into the jungle into protected areas. This is a once in a lifetime experience. Its very well controlled and you will work and be under the guidance of the team release leader and the head vet.

Your journey after 10 days, finishes in Balikpapan where you have the opportunity to extend and explore the remote Black River and its endemic wildlife or fly to your next destination.

Travel dates will be determined depending on orangutan release dates – please express your interest with your ‘window’ of dates.

Journey map

Fitness level



Day 1 - Yogyakarta Arrival

Welcome to Indonesia! On arrival at Adi Sucipto International Airport, after you have collected your luggage, please proceed to the arrivals hall where our guide will welcome you. Transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.

Yogyakarta is one of Indonesia’s most liveliest cities. With awesome street art, funky cafes and galleries, whilst this buzzing city is keeping up with the modern pace of the world, it still fiercely holds onto its traditions and is even still ruled by a sultan who lives in a walled palace where inside those walls, time is frozen.

Overnight Plataran Heritage Borodubur or similar

Day 2 - Borobudur Sunrise

Wake up early this morning to reach Borobudur for sunrise leaving your hotel around 3:30am. This is the most mystical time to see the Buddhist temple as the sun rises over the structure in the tranquil morning air.

Explore this massive Buddhist Temple– the largest in the world– and discover the incredible history behind its construction. Comprised of thousands of volcanic and river stone blocks, the temple was assembled entirely by human labour and took more than 75 years to complete. These days, the UNESCO Heritage site is still visible in its full glory– with magnificent carvings and an unusual, yet surprisingly beautiful bulky structure.

Coffee, tea and a light snack will be provided in a local restaurant. Continue to the nearby Buddhist temple of Pawon and Mendut. According to century old research, after major restoration took place, archaeologists found a correlation between these two local temples and Borobudur – that is that they are constructed in a straight line. Current research remains inconclusive of the actual connection between these three relics of the ancient world. Return to your hotel. (B)

2 nights Plataran Heritage Borodubur or similar

Day 3 - Kota Gede

Start the day early for a truly unique experience as you explore the historic neighbourhood of Kota Gede. Since the 1930s, Kota Gede has become famous for being the centre of the Yogya silverwork industry. Explore some of the workshops as you witness silver being transformed into beautiful works of art known as “Yogya Silver”.

Your next stop here, is the Royal Cemetery. You can only enter if you are wearing traditional attire which we will organise for you. This cemetery is the resting place for many of the Mataram kings including Ngabei Loring Pasar, the founder of Mataram Kingdom.

There is the unique tomb of Ki Ageng Mangir who’s body was buried half inside the special area for kings and the other half of his body was buried outside of the complex. The cemetery is also home to a yellow turtle who is said to be one hundred years of age and people believe the turtle to be a sacred miraculous turtle.

From here, you will head to the traditional markets where you have some time for shopping. This market is one of the oldest in the region. Practice your bartering and bantering skills! Before returning your hotel, you have one last stop at a local chocolate factory! (B)

Day 4 - Depart to Malang

This morning is an early start as you transfer to the train station where you will board a train at 0745hrs for Malang arriving at 1545hrs. Upon arrival in Malang, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Malang oozes colonial era charm and whilst it is quite modern, it has preserved its historical past well. Back by stunning mountains and home to incredible local delicacies, enjoy your evening here at leisure. (B)

2 nights Tugu Malang or similar

Day 5 - Mt. Bromo and Savannah

Mount Bromo and Mount Penanjakan National Park are famed for their magical sunrise. This national park is a haven for nature lovers, with its volcano, craters and sand plateaus as well as its breath–takingly serene savannah. Start early (1am) to be in prime position before sunrise. A jeep will take you most of the way and very little walking is required to reach the sunrise point.

On the way back to your hotel, visit Coban Pelangi Waterfall, one of the few secrets of East Java; a 30–metre high hidden beauty surrounded by a pine forest as well as the famous Jago temple. (B)

Day 6 - Fly to Indonesian Borneo

After breakfast, you will transfer to Juanda International Airport for your flight to Indonesian Borneo, East Kalimantan.

Upon arrival at Balikpapan Airport, you will meet your guide and transfer to Muara Wehea (approx 8 hours) where you will spend the night. Amongst the ravaged landscape of East Kalimantan, hides a pocket of ancient forest, tucked within a maze of palm oil plantations and logging areas. Wehea Forest is one of the few remaining protected areas in this region of Indonesia, offering a rare glimpse into a Borneo forest at its purest. You will experience this purity over the coming days. (B,L,D)

Overnight in a local guesthouse

Day 7 - Muara Wehea – Kehje Seven Forest

Depart early at 8.30am from Muara Wehea to Pelangsiran village. Your drive is through palm oil plantations. Here, you will unfortunately see the ‘green desert’ caused by the demand for palm oil use globally. Lunch today is an early stop before entering the forest as you enjoy your packed lunch box.

Following lunch, travel off road through the forests for approx 4–5 hours. Upon arrival to our furthest point, it is then a short trek through the jungle to your camp site. Trek to a small river which you will cross before continuing your trek to Pelangsiran and Camp Lesik inside The Keje Seven Rainforest.

Settle into your campsite where you will enjoy dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Camp Lesik

Day 8 - Orangutan Release Day

Depart by jeep at 8.30am and you will drive as far as you can go before then venturing on foot for a short trek to the release point deep into the jungle. The walk this morning is a about 20–30 mins depending on the confirmed release point of the day.

The release is done in conjunction with the BOS Foundation established in 1991. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation is a local NGO dedicated to the conservation of the Borneo Orangutan and its habitat. They have partnered with local communities, the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry and International partners. They are taking care of some 650 Orangutans with the support of 400 highly devoted staff, including experts in primatology, biodiversity, ecology, forest rehabilitation, agro forestry, community empowerment, education and orangutan health care.

Travellers will act as volunteers in the release and will be under strict instruction from the BOS team.

At 9.45am, the release program will commence. The Porter and vets will arrange the Orangutans who are helicoptered in cages to 3 different release points. These points are determined by the character and size of the Orangutan.

Once everything is set up, one by one they will be released under the supervision of the senior vet and project leader. The cage is opened slowly and you will watch them gently leave their cage and explore over to their first tree in the wild – climbing up into the branches finding food , playing in their protected new home a very long way from any human habitats.

Once all the Orangutan are settled and the vet is confident with the release, you will make your way back to your overnight camp in the forest. Here, you will likely encounter various species of birds and butterflies endemic to this jungle, deer, pigs and other primates which may pass through the camp. (B,L,D)

Day 9 - Return to Muara Wehea – Dayak Tribes

Following breakfast at your camp, make your way back to Muara Wehea. En–route, you will visit the ancient Dayak Tribes. The Dayak, are head hunters who live by complex religious practices which involve numerous local spirits and omen animals. Interacting with these local tribes people offers a rare opportunity of cultural exchange as you help increase their understanding of conservation as well as providing a platform for them to teach you about their ancient ways of life. (B,L,D)

Overnight in a local guesthouse

Day 10 - Samboja Lestari – Balikpapan

Depart Muaha Wehea to Smboja and the black river area.

At approx 4pm, you will arrive at Samboja Lodge where your trip finishes on arrival where you can choose to extend or transfer to the airport.

Should you be interested in extending, you can choose to spend more time here and explore the orangutan on isolated islands amongst the rivers – these are Orangutan which are not fit for release so they have been set free on these protected islands.

Since the setup of BOS headquarters is in this area, a vast tree planting operation has served not just the Orangutan but it has allowed many other species to return including the endangered Probosics monkey, one of seven returning primates, 30 species of reptile, porcupines, pangolins, mouse deer and many species of bird including hornbills. (B,L)

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What’s included

  • Private transportation
  • Services of an English speaking guide
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Cold towels and water on transfer days
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • Train ticket Yogyakarta – Malang
  • Flight from Java to East Kalimantan
  • Departure airport transfer
  • Permits and fees involved in the Orangutan release
  • Cost of vets and primatology experts assistance in the release
  • Transportation cost of the Orangutan
  • International and domestic flights not mentioned above
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Personal porters
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of 20% AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.