// Besar (Halau Halau)

Facts

Elevation: 1,892 m (6,207 ft) Prominence: 1,792 m
Ribu category: Google MarkerKurang Tinggi Province: Kalimantan Selatan (South Kalimantan)
Google Earth: kml Other names: Halau-Halau
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Photos

Besar (Halau Halau)Next »
One of the many bridges in Loksado in the Meratus Mountains (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)One of the many bridges in Loksado in the Meratus Mountains (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)
One of the many bridges in Loksado in the Meratus Mountains (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)
View west from near the summit of Gunung Besar (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)View west from near the summit of Gunung Besar (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)
View west from near the summit of Gunung Besar (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)
View north from the summit of Gunung Besar (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)View north from the summit of Gunung Besar (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)
View north from the summit of Gunung Besar (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)
Gunung Besar summit sign (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)Gunung Besar summit sign (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)
Gunung Besar summit sign (Daniel Quinn, October 2011)

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Bagging It!

Gunung Besar is the highest peak in the Meratus mountain range and the highest peak in South Kalimantan. Being relatively close to Banjarmasin, it is also one of Kalimantan’s most accessible Ribus. Even better, it is quite unlike most other jungle-clad peaks in Borneo because the summit actually offers fabulous views over the surrounding forests. It is climbed on a monthly basis so it is a well-trodden but clean and wild trail. You are unlikely to meet any other hikers.

There are two main routes to the peak – one from the west at Batu Kambar (via Barabai) and one from the southwest at Kampung Kadayang near Loksado. Both places take about 4 hours to reach from Banjarmasin by car (3 and a half from the airport). The Barabai route goes via Sungai Karuh (Karuh River) which is the traditional place to camp after 6-8 hours of hiking. It is then another 3-4 hours to the summit. By all accounts, the Barabai route is slightly longer and more arduous, so given that there are guides and accommodation in Loksado I would recommend the latter.

Loksado actually gets a sizeable write-up in the Lonely Planet guidebooks and it is clear that locals are used to a regular trickle of foreigners. It’s a friendly Dayak village with traditional wooden bridges over narrow rivers but be warned that food options are extremely limited here and there appears to be no alcohol for sale whatsoever! Also, although strong hikers can climb to the summit with just one night spent camping, very few guides will want to ‘rush’ what they consider to be a three-day trek. Nevertheless if you contact Pak Amat (see ‘guides’ page) in advance he will be able to find a local who can cover the distance quickly if you have limits on your time. To reach the peak takes about 6-8 hours and 5-7 coming down. It’s not technically challenging but the length of the hike and the fact that the starting point is at a mere 500m will probably exhaust some people. Most hikers camp at Penyawungan which is about an hour before the summit.

From Loksado, it’s a fun 30 minute ojek ride for 12 kilometres, and passing over several wooden bridges,  to Kadayang, the final village at the foot of the Meratus Mountains. The locals sit out on their wooden porches, preparing kayu manis (cinnamon). The trail begins here (approx 500m above sea level) and follows a river upstream. It is very humid and there isn’t much shade for the first 1.5 to 2 hours. After a kilometre you will reach a hut and after a further 500 metres or so along the trail you will cross over the river (after one hour total). This is the final reliable water source on the hike so stock up here if you need to.

After crossing the river (600m elevation) the trail ascends more steeply to a wooden lookout hut on stilts (775m elevation). This marks the beginning of the forest. There is a nice view to the right from here over to a shapely nearby peak known as Gunung Batudari. You can climb the rotten steps of the hut but take care as it is falling down. After this hut, there is a final hut which is almost completely rotten.

The next landmark is a large rock (900m) which marks the beginning of a rockier section of the trail. Watch out here for leeches and mosquitoes and take care as there are a few places where you could have a nasty fall here. At 1,327m the trail reaches what feels like a ridge. This is a long shoulder of the Meratus Mountains and it continues, rising and falling, up and down, for almost 4 kilometres before the proper ascent up to the peak itself.

The ridge is a long yet pleasant forest stroll and there are some limited views to nearby lesser peaks. All along the ridge are places flat enough to be suitable for camping and you will probably encounter several remnants of campsites made by Banjarmasin students. If you set off early enough, it is definite best to camp at Penyawungan (1,708m) which is the finest flat area on the higher slopes of the long ridge and the last decent camping area before the peak. Wherever you do choose to camp, look out for sun bears – apparently there are one or two still lurking in the Meratus mountains though you don’t need to worry as they don’t pose a serious threat to groups of humans and will most likely try not to be spotted.

From Penyawungan it is less than an hour to the narrow summit which is perhaps one of the best viewpoints in Borneo. Looking northwards you see a series of smaller mountains of the Pegunungan Meratus including the sharp peak immediately to the north of the summit which is known locally as Puncak Kambangan. In particularly fine weather you should be able to see the coastline to the east. Southeast of the peak is another peak in the Meratus chain, hidden behind which is Gunung Kahung many tens of kilometres further south and not able to be seen from here. It’s a truly fabulous panorama of forested mountains and valleys in all directions.

The summit is crowned with a sign erected by Banjarmasin students in 2010. It gives the height as 1,901m which is probably a little optimistic, not that it particularly matters. The peak is also known as ‘Halau-Halau’ and is regarded as haunted by many local Dayaks. Halau means ‘expel’ in Indonesian and apparently the peak has this name in reference to the expulsion of spirits of the dead. Ask your guide for a better explanation!

Return to Loksado the same way.

Bagging information by Daniel Quinn (October 2011)

Practicalities

Getting there From Banjarmasin it takes 4 hours to Loksado (3 and a half direct from the airport). You can do this by public transport via Kandangan but it would probably take most of a day. Hiring a car/driver is about Rp500,000 per day.
Accommodation Wisma Loksado is basic but centrally located. There is a more upmarket option available 7km before Loksado. You can also stay in traditional houses for a modest fee.
Permits Not required but take a photocopy of your passport photo page just incase.
Water sources River at 600m elevation. Take plenty with you.
Recommended Hotel:
Local Average Monthly Rainfall (mm): banjarmasin

Location

Origins and Meaning

‘Gunung Besar’ means ‘big mountain’ in Indonesian. ‘Halau Halau’ refers to the expulsion of spirits of the dead.

Links and References

Wikipedia Indonesia

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Trip Reports and Comments

2 entries for “Besar (Halau Halau)”

  1. avatar

    Some great info on bagging this one from Udhin….if anyone is keen on joining me I may try this one in early August….

    1. Loksado
    - kalau mau ke Loksado via bandara Syamsudinoor (banjarmasin) langsung cari angkot L300 (antar kabupaten) tujuan Kandangan tarif berkisar antara Rp. 25.000 – Rp. 30.000 (3 jam perjalanan).
    - kalau udah nyampe Kandangan (minta berenti depan Bank BRI Kandangan) ada 2 alternatif pilihan transportasi menuju loksado yaitu : angkutan pedesaan (biasa ada di seputaran Muara Biluy) tanya saja sama tukang becak/minta antar ke Muara Biluy itu, tarif Rp. 10.000 – Rp. 15.000. bisa juga naik ojek tarif sekitar Rp. 50.000 – Rp. 60.000 (pilihan kalo-kalo udah ga ad angkutan pedesaan lagi). (40 menit – 1 jam).
    - kalo dah nyampe loksado bilang aja mau ke Balai Adat Malaris atau ke PIM (pondok Informasi Mangkuraksa), pondok yg dibangun masyarakat lokal sbg pusat informasi Adat & wisata, kalo bisa kesana saja jangan nginap di wisma Loksado.

    2. Gunung Besar
    - ambil angkutan (L 300) jurusan Barabai/Tanjung minta singgah di terminal kota Barabai, tarif Rp. 30.000 – 35.000 (dari bandara ), trus cari angkutan tujuan Birayang tarif Rp. 5.000 – Rp. 10.000.
    - dari Birayang cari angkutan pedesaan tujuan Batu Kambar tarifnya Rp. 25.000 – Rp. 30.000.
    - kalo dah nyampe Desa Batu Kambar cari aja rumah bapak Noorsewan, teman – teman pecinta alam biasa numpang nginap di rumah beliau, kalo mau pake jasa porter/guide bisa tanya -tanya sama beliau.
    - dari desa batu kambar tinggal jalan kaki ke arah Balai Adat Kiyo sekitar 30 menit – 1 jam dari desa batu kambar, disini bisa nyari guide/porter (disarankan makai jasa guide/porter), karna jalurnya terlalu banyak simpangan & jalan setapak bekas masyarakat berburu dan nyadap karet, tarif sekitar Rp. 50.000 – Rp. 100.000/hari.
    - dari Balai Adat Kiyo estimasi waktu perjalanan ke base camp sungai karuh sekitar 6 jam. dari base camp ini ke puncak bisa 3 – 4 jam.
    - dari base camp Sungai Karuh bisa turun ke Loksado dgn melewati beberapa balai adat masyarakat dayak. ( jalur ini yang menguasai cuma guide/porter lokal dari desa batu kambar/ balai Kiyo.

    * sangat disarankan memakai jasa porter/guide lokal.

    and a rough translation from Google….

    1. Loksado
    - If you want to Loksado via airport Syamsudinoor (banjarmasin) direct search for public transportation L300 (between districts) Kandangan goal tariff ranges between Rp. 25,000 – Rp. 30,000 (3 hours drive).
    - If you’ve nyampe Kandangan (ask the front berenti Kandangan Bank BRI) there are two alternative transportation options to loksado namely: rural transportation (normally found in around Muara Biluy) ask each pedicab / Estuary Biluy’m driven to it, the tariff of Rp. 10,000 – Rp. 15,000. can also ride a motorcycle taxi fare of about Rp. 50,000 – Rp. 60,000 (if option-if already ga ad rustic again). (40 minutes – 1 hour).
    - Kalo aja dah nyampe loksado say want to Balai Adat Malaris or PIM (cottage Mangkuraksa Information), local community-built shack as Adat & tourist information center, if there can be no staying in the guesthouse Loksado.

    2. Big Mountain
    - Take transit (L 300) majoring Barabai / Tanjung ask Barabai stop at the city terminal, the tariff of Rp. 30000-35000 (from airport), trus looking for transportation purposes Birayang rate Rp. 5,000 – Rp. 10,000.
    - From rustic looking Birayang Stone purposes Kambar rate of Rp. 25,000 – Rp. 30,000.
    - Kalo dah nyampe Stone Village Kambar looking Noorsewan father wrote home, friends – friends of nature lovers ordinary passengers staying at his house, if want to use services of a porter / guide may ask questions at him.
    - From the stone village kambar live walking towards Indigenous Kiyo Hall about 30 minutes – 1 hour from the village of stone kambar, nyari here can guide / porter (recommended wearing a service guide / porter), because the track is too much deviation & trails former hunting community and tap rubber, the rate of about Rp. 50,000 – Rp. 100.000/hari.
    - Balai Adat Kiyo estimation of travel time to the base camp karuh river about 6 hours. from base camp to the summit could be 3-4 hours.
    - From base camp down to the river could Karuh Loksado through several halls with indigenous Dayak communities. (This pathway that controls only guide / local porters from the village of stone kambar / hall Kiyo.

    * Strongly recommended the services of a porter / guide local.

    Posted by Dan | July 20, 2011, 08:11
  2. avatar

    If you were insane you could do this in a regular weekend from Jakarta – but you would have to climb at night. I flew to Banjarmasin on the Friday night, stayed there for the night (Mira Hotel – cheap and clean/modern) arranged transport (via Pak Amat in Loksado) for first thing on Sat morning and started hiking by lunchtime. Back down on Sunday and had a long sleep in Loksado before heading back to Banjarmasin on Monday morning.
    Loksado was a very pleasant area but, having heard of the area before, I was surprised not to find any other foreigners or even a decent place to eat. The hotel, Wisma Loksado, sits on an island and the river flows either side of it. Unfortunately there was no a/c and not even a fan so it was a very hot night. To add insult to injury there was no alcohol in the warungs. A real shame – the place could really do well with foreigners but the local policy makers appear to be rather conservative Muslims. Not much respect for ‘unity in diversity’ in South Kalimantan.
    The night we spent on the mountain was a stormy one. The young Dayak lads built themselves a wooden shelter but they dived into the tent as soon as the thunder and lightning started! Unfortunately, so did the leeches – there are quite a few here, as on most if not all mountains in Kalimantan.
    I was worried the skies weren’t going to clear in time for morning but they did and we had a great view over the surrounding forests.
    The trail is in good condition too – not too much litter. There are little red bits of tarpaulin stapled to trees to mark the way.
    At the summit there are a few banknotes left as offerings to the Dayak spirits I suppose. There was an egg up there too! I have no idea what spirits might do with an egg and I didn’t check if it was boiled or not!
    The Dayak guides were great – really fast. Pak Amat wanted to come but he said 2 days would be too fast for him and he was amazed that we made it back to Loksado by 1pm on Sunday. The guides also managed to get quite a lot of extra drinking water from Bamboo stems.
    I suppose a lot of people think Kalimantan is a tough place to find a hike with good views that you can do in a short space of time. This is the obvious choice for a long weekend.

    Posted by Dan | October 4, 2011, 14:20

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