Voyage Indonésie
Lascaux caves of Borneo

Archaeological adventure in Kalimantan jungle, discovering the decorated caves with Luc-Henri Fage (member of the SEF)


Such as Henri Breuil, (the first prehistory expert to enter the Lascaux caves in 1940), be among the first privileged people to discover the most beautiful caves paintings of Bornéo! Following the paths of Indiana Jones, but being more aware of the sites preservations!, you'll have to find your way through a wild jungle by foot or by boat and control your dizziness or your insects phobia ( all secured of course but with just what it needs of excitation ! ). The reward will be up to expectations : from the first discovered Ilas Kenceng, where a negative hand was dated to be more than 10 000 years old, to Gwa Tewet, most probably the most beautiful one with its 240 handprints and its mysterious “tree of life”, passing through Liang Karim, its paintings of honey tree and tapir, and Gua Jufri with its humans and animal figures, you'll feel like being in a time travel machine ! To guide you throughout this beautiful adventure, you'll have the privileged to be with Luc Henri Fage, THE very specialist, French explorer and speleologist who was the first in 1988, to highlight those exceptional sites. And the cherry on the cake : you might have the chance to observe the moving and threatened orang – utans..

5 bonnes raisons de faire ce voyage

  1. Discover the prints of men who used to live there more than 10 000 years ago
  2. Benefit from the knowledge of the « discoverer » of those caves : Luc Henri Fage, member of the French Explorers Society
  3. Walk, climb, paddle, to explore caves, primary forests, karst
  4. Observe a fascinating wildlife : birds, monkeys, insects, orang-utans..
  5. Have an overview of the Dayak tribe way of life, one of the most famous tribe in Bornéo

En savoir plus DĂ©couvrir le programme complet et les tarifs

Image Lascaux caves of Borneo

Le programme de la rando

  • Jour 1 Paris - Balikpapan

    Scheduled flight to Balikpapan with stopover. Meals on board and overnight flight.

    HĂ©bergement : Ă  bord

  • Jour 2 Balikpapan - Sangata

    Arrival at Balikpapan International Airport. Depending on the time of arrival, either a night in Balikpapan or direct departure from the airport to Samarinda, Bontang and Sangata, the last "town" before the forest.

    HĂ©bergement : Ă  l'hĂ´tel

  • Jour 3 Sangata - Miau Baru

    Early in the morning, we make some final purchases for the expedition before getting back on the road, heading towards Ambur Batu, but we won't stop there and keep going to Muara Bulan. We'll stop there to visit an isolated karst peak, Kongbeng, above the oil palm trees where there is a surprising cave. Spectacular peaks requesting a good physical condition: a first bite of the karst landscape! In the evening, we sleep in the Dayak village of Miau Baru. It is a traditional Apo Kayan village. 40 years ago some of the community made a big move to leave the center of Borneo, where they believed there was no future. Despite this migration, they managed to maintain their traditions. Visit of the village, evening of Dayak dance and music. We sleep in the longhouse decorated with polychrome wood paintings.

    HĂ©bergement : chez l'habitant

  • Jour 4 Miau Baru

    We reach Ambur Batu in the middle of the day, from where we leave in Luc-Henri’s Basap friend Tewet’s canoes (two adventurers per boat). First stop in Batu Adji. Depending on the time available, visit of a large cave, with upper galleries: if we have fallen behind schedule, there is a possible place to camp by the cliff; otherwise, we arrive in the evening at the foot of Gua Tewet where we will set up the camp. And if the water levels have risen… we will sort things out !

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 5 Gua Tewet

    In the morning, we visit the Gua Tewet cave, discovered in 1999, which we will reach by a short walk in the forest followed by a climb of about 70 m between jungle and rocks (belay on some sections and on the last section to reach the cave). Visit of the cave, which is a 200-square-meter cave with breathtaking views of the surrounding area, and discovery of the rock paintings - including 240 negative handprints and a "tree of life". The sunset gives a superb light. For the best climbers it's possible to visit the limestone peaks above, going as far as Gua Pindi, which has some paintings but in particular offers a lovely viewpoint that gives a good idea of what a tropical peak karst is. The descent begins in the early afternoon before... going up a valley (steep slope, clay, so difficult in the rain) just next to Gua Tewet to visit Liang Karim. Discovered in May 2003, you can find the fantastic "honey tree" and a kind of tapir (but the particular species became extinct in the Pleistocene era, which means it’s at least... 10,000 years old!).

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 6 Gua Tewet

    Go up the Bengalon river to Gua Keboboh. Visit of the cave, with its many entrances, specific fauna (cavernicolous insects, snakes, amphibians, etc.), its strange stalagmites and stalactites and its amazingly shaped rocks carved by water. It was also an old encampment used by swift nest hunters. An easy walk back will take you through the forest on the right bank along the river towards Gua Mentis and Gua Kayu Sapung, where there are a few negative handprints. We will also see Liang Jon, a large rock shelter where excavations have been made on a site dated to be 23,000 years old, then we walk until we get back to beautiful clear water. Canoes take us back for the third night at the Gua Tewet camp.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 7 Gua Tewet - Gua Tangkorak

    We leave the camp to go up the Bengalon river again, then turn off into the pretty little Marang river at the confluence that we will have seen the day before : Gua Keboboh. We keep going, with some acrobatic passages for the boatmen, up to Gua Tangkorak, where we set up the camp. Before lunch, a short easy walk will take us to the cave. It is a large gallery decorated with stalagmites and stalactites. A side gallery descends to a second entrance with a ceramic wedged high in the clay. The entrance has some traces of paintings. The cave was excavated by archaeologists in 2003. After the meal, we go to visit Gua Sungai, also called the "river cave", a lovely chamber crossed by a small underground river with ponds, rimstones, snakes, and, among other things, cavefish.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 8 Gua Tangkorak - Gua Tebo

    The last stretch by canoe is from Gua Tangkorak. The river is shortening, dead trees hinder progress, and some rocks are hiding in the water. Depending on the stram, we will either have to walk on a track that doesn’t follow the river, or stay in the canoes. Majestic passages below limestone peaks, omnipresent forest (cathedral-like), and sometimes a canyon... When the river comes to an end, we can see that it's coming out of a cave. This is Gua Tebo, where we will camp. Depending on when we arrive, we can go on a foray and swim up the underground river. The river comes from the other side of the Marang mountains. In a few days we will find the place it loses its stream.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 9 Gua Tebo

    The Orang-utans, victims of the deforestation, took shelter here. With our best tracker, Ham, we will be able to explore a vast depression located east of Tebo. We pass caves, swamps, tall grasses... All around us in the trees, some orang utans are hidding. There is no guarantee we will get to see them, but the hike will be for sure beautiful. We go around a karst depression - the mountains overhanging it are impressive. From a karst peak, we finish the day watching the sun set on the limestone peaks, then we will pack our stuff for the next day.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 10 Gua Tebo - Gua Ham

    Things now start getting serious: Two days hiking will take us to the eastern side of the Marang mountains. It is only 5 km away, but depending on the difficulty in opening up the trail with a machete, it can take us more than a day. We zigzag through the forest, crossing bare spaces where there are limestone outcrops, go down a slope that gradually gets steeper and ends with a near climb down into a valley. This is the pass: on the way down we turn to the right to look for Ilas Kenceng, one of Borneo’s cave art sites. A huge cave, parallel to the cliff, which as we get closer is lit by its open mouth. There are some exceptional rock paintings. It is where a negative handprint was dated to be 10,000 years old! We keep going on a difficult path down the cliff to Gua Ham, an exceptional chamber where there are over 400 negative handprints! The proximity of some water in a nearby cave will let us setting up a cursory camp there.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 11 Gua Ham - Gua Sedepan

    A vertiginous descent to the bottom of a small valley leads to one of the last real virgin forests of Borneo. A magical forest, rich in plant species and animals. In a two-hour walk south, we come to where the Marang river loses its stream in the huge mouth of the Gua Sedepan cave. A fortified cave, because guards protect one of the last sources of swallow nests in the Marang mountains! By cajoling them, we will be able to visit part of this gigantic chamber (more than 8 km of networks), with incredible rock formations, and amazing cavernicolous fauna... We will camp outside the cave, not far from a small river.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 12 Gue Sedepan

    From Gua Sedepan, we can return to the foot of Gua Ham and then try exploring the isolated peaks in the north, where Ham remembers seeing cave paintings that he was unable to find in 2013 during our last visit. Will we have the chances to find any new ones? Back to the Gua Sedepan camp.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 13 Gua Sedapan

    Above Gua Sedepan, at the top of an extremely steep slope where we have to move carefully, a cave known as Gua Jufri is hidding. This is where the most spectacular anthropomorphic figures were discovered, as well as animals (deer, wild boar, etc.) and negative hand prints.

    HĂ©bergement : en bivouac

  • Jour 14 Gua Sedapan - Pengadan

    We leave camp for the return journey that will take us to an abandoned forest camp. Depending on the tracks condition, they may or may not be passable for the 4x4s that will pick us up. If we have to walk, there is at least 20 km of rutted forest tracks and rickety bridges and we will probably have to camp on the way. Once we meet up with the vehicles, we just have to return to Sepaso, the village on the coast where Tewet lives. 154 km of forest tracks, then through oil palm plantations. Before getting back onto a tarmac road, after the village of Pengadan, there is a last cave visit to Gua Mardua - the cave where we discovered the first rock paintings in 1994. Stopover in a very simple "losmen" (guest-house) in Pengadan.

    HĂ©bergement : en guest house

  • Jour 15 Pengadan - Balikpapan

    Return to Sepaso by road. Lunch near Tewet’s house, then we leave for a 7 hour drive to Balikpapan. Drive in the dark, late arrival in the local economic capital. Accommodation in a comfortable hotel.

    HĂ©bergement : Ă  l'hĂ´tel

  • Jour 16 Balikpapan

    In the morning, visit to the city, buying souvenirs. Take off from Balikpapan for Paris.

    HĂ©bergement : Ă  bord

  • Jour 17 Paris

    Arrival of the return night flight from Balikpapan to Paris. Morning landing.

    HĂ©bergement : Ă  bord

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Ce circuit est proposé par l'agence de voyage Nomade Aventure. Pour connaitre les prix, faire une réservation ou poser une question, rendez-vous direction sur le site internet de l'agence de voyage :

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L'agence de voyage pour ce circuit en Indonésie

Ce séjour en Indonésie est proposé par Nomade Aventure.

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