What is a Kelotok?

When traveling on the Sekonyer River to Tanjung Puting, there are several choices of transportation. The quickest is the speedboat which is very fast and equally very noisy. It is not the choice if you have plenty of time or if you wish to see animals!

The most popular way to travel to Tanjung Puting is by kelotok. This is a type of boat, co called because of the noise they make as they travel up the river: tok, tok, tok, tok (rhymes with clock).

If the weather is fine, it is lovely sitting at the front of the boat enjoying the amazing scenery and the cool breeze. When it is raining, the canvas sides of kelotok are unrolled to keep the rain out.

A kelotok has two levels. The top level is mainly for the guests who have rented it whereas the bottom level is where the captain, the cook and other staff tend to remain.
On the top level there is a long flat surface used during daylight hours for relaxing and eating and at night it is transformed into a bedroom with mattresses covered in mosquito nets. Our kelotok had chairs and a table for meals, 2 mattresses with pillows for resting and then at the front of the boat, were 2 seats.

20130914-155741.jpgthe kelotok from the front

20130914-155947.jpgkelotok from the rear

On the lower level, there is the captains seat where the captain sits as he steers the boat

There is a tiny compact kitchen and right there in the floor is the engine! Because it is such a tiny room with very little ventilation it is always stinking hot in the kitchen!

The kitchen door is tiny and directly opposite the bathroom and toilet. Thankfully all our food preparation was done in the kitchen, but we saw one cook preparing the meal on the floor outside the bathroom!

This area is commonly used for washing the dishes

Through the kitchen on the lower level is a large space used for storage and also where the staff relax during the day and at night they lay out the mattresses and sleep there. Here is our captain having a quick snooze while we stop at one of the camps!

Here is our bathroom

20130914-161730.jpgOur bathroom was a small room consisting of a ‘bak’ which is a large tub filled with water and a scoop used for sluicing. On other kelotoks, the bathrooms were all different. Some had showers, some had basins as well!
Our toilet was a western toilet but was flushed using a scoop and the water was next to the toilet stored in a small tub. Also in here was a rubbish bin for toilet paper so that it too wasn’t flushed directly into the river. This kelotok provided toilet paper which was great because others don’t!

The bathroomm and toilet are side by side at the very back of the kelotok.

The staff used a side window to move the bedding up and down the boat which saved a lot of tooing and froing!

The name of our kelotok was Cahaya Purnama 2 which means Moonlight # 2.
I hope you have a better idea now of what a kelotok is and why our trip was so enjoyable and hopefully it will also help you fully picture what I am talking about in my next couple of posts about Tanjung Puting!


6 thoughts on “What is a Kelotok?

    • Except for the large numbers of people at each stop, this is such a brilliant experience and one I highly recommend. I do wonder though, what the impact of large numbers of kelotoks will have on the river system.

      • I agree…have a great wifi connection, sitting high above ubud on my 3rd floor balcony in the middle of ubud. Today my first day on my own. I was going to see pak agus but its too difficult to organise, so will enjoy the beauty of ubud. Yesterday had a cremebath and my hair feels luxuriant : ) xx

      • Well, think of me while you are relaxing! The year 12 teacher is looking forward to me sharing some magic tips on how to increase student motivation today!! No idea how I will do that, but at least wil get a feel for where they are at and then will draw on some of the activities I learnt at IALF.
        I am hoping to get a massage today as my shoulder is very sore! xox

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