Journey back to the jungle

There are a number of ways to get from England to Malinau but which ever route you take, it’s going to be a good 3 days of solid travelling with different operators to get back to the jungle. My usual route starts with a flight on Emirates from London, Heathrow to Dubai. Night flights are my favourite as to be honest, the best thing to-do on a long haul flight is sleep. The only annoyance is that others on the flight seem to think 1am is a good time to indulge in an in-flight meal and so insist on waking you up to ask you to put your seat forward…

Dubai airport is pretty average really. It’s got all the usual things you’d expect (shops, restaurants, too many people etc) but does also feature free wifi which is great.  It seems a bit hit and miss, only working in certain areas but is nice to have (take note BAA Heathrow!).

From Dubai, it’s onwards to Jakarta; loosing more hours of the day as you travel eastwards. The trick on this leg is to not fall asleep. Doing so is a big error as the flight gets into Jakarta at 21:35, so you really want to be tired by the time you get in, otherwise it’s going to be a long night!

After an overnight in Jakarta it’s then onto Balikpapan. It doesn’t matter what time you choose to fly as all the connections from there are not going to get you to Malinau that day, so you might as well take your time.

A further overnight in Balikpapan then allows you two options to get to Malinau. A company flight leaves in the morning for Samarinda and then allows you another connection to Malinau or fly commercially to Tarakan and then take a company flight from there to Malinau. The former takes longer and gets you into Malinau late afternoon.

I arrived in Malinau yesterday to discover there’s a bit of a water crisis. It seems the central pumping station hasn’t been working properly for a month, so there are days when the house has no water. Added to that the electricity supply has been rather hit and miss, especially at night time. I guess it worked for about 2/3rds of the time last night. Just want you need when you’re jet-lagged and have contracted the mother of all colds on the journey.

Welcome back to the jungle!!

Matt Dearden

Matt Dearden

English born professional pilot, writer, blogger and columnist. Currently flying the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter in Papua, Indonesia.

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2 Responses

  1. Point about staying awake on second half of flight noted! Next Thursday i’m whizzing to Jakarta via Abu Dhabi for my first interview – with SusiAir to be prcise 😉

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