Beyond Kota Bangun, there’s a definite thickening of the forest along the banks as the river enters the marshy lakelands. Sadly, even here the jungle isn’t as lush as it used to be and the effect of years of logging is evident. Around two hours from Kota Bangun, and twelve from Samarinda, is the 8km boardwalk, candy-coloured stilt village of Muara Muntai. A massive fire here in July 2004 destroyed more than 250 homes, but it has now been completely restored and is back to the charming wooden village it once was, complete with losmen, convenience stores, mosque and even its own hospital. Muara Muntai is the last place along the Mahakam to buy any supplies, though prices are often more expensive than in Samarinda.

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