The Mahakam river stream down from the highlands which is called the heart of Borneo in to the Sulawesi sea, an almost 1000km downstream. The Mahakam river is a flush of brown water, and the vein of Kalimantan.
Coast & Delta of the Mahakam River
The Mahakam river lingers between four big lakes. After that is streams towards the north to meet its most important side rivers near Muara Kaman, the Kedang Kepala and Belayan.
Samarinda is te Capital of East Kalimantan, is split up by the Mahakam River, here the river is more then 1km width, and is a crowded traffic route for ships in all kinds and sizes.
Tenggarong, is home to the sultanate of Kutai kingdom which is about 50km upstream from Samarinda.
Muara Kaman write history as the head quarter of the Hindu kingdom of the old days.
Muara Muntai at the Mahakam River bank, is the jump-off point for a trip over the lakes to visit Dayak settlements and longhouses. Little further upstream Muara Pahu is found as a transit point for those who get up the Kedang Pahu River, when lucky the Irrawwady fresh water dolphins can be spot here. Upstream the Kedang pahu River several Dayak settlements with longhouses can be found.
Middle Mahakam River
Melak is a small trade city located on the Mahakam river bank, little outside the city the Kersik Luway park can be visited with many wild Orchid and Pitcher Plants species, little further west Eheng Longhouse is worth a visit. Ask around if there are ceremonies to happen.
From Melak the Mahakam river narrows, traffic will be less, and villages will be replaced by forest filled river banks. Upstream, authentic Dayak settlements as Data Bilang, Rukun Damai with very art full longhouses and cultural Dayak designs can be found, local Dayak people with long ears, and tatoo are often seen in the villages.
Upper Mahakam River
The Mahakam River springs in the 1500 to 2000 meter high Müller Range, not too far from the border with Sarawak. Before streaming down about 100 kilometers to the first Dayak village, Long Apari, three side-rivers - Apari, Hubung and Kasau - join the Mahakam River.
After several dozen small mountain villages, the river falls down about 150 meters through several dangerous rapids. Besides several noisy longboat there is no other traffic here.
The Dayak along the Upper-Mahakam River mainly live from agriculture ( ladang cultures ). Incidental income are gained from birds nests, rattan and washed gold. Because of the hard and dangerous transport route through the rapids, basic goods are extensively expensive.