After some great days passed with Yana and her friends in the surroundings of Melak experiencing Dayak life and nature, it was eventually time to say goodbye, going back to Mahakam River in the village of Tering to take the Kapal Biasa and head toward Long Bagun.
This was best location of the many available in the area, Melak, Long Iram and Tering: We took this choice according to this travel article about Tering Lama and this other blog post we read about the Dayak side of the village, Tering Lama, and it was definitely a good decision!
Once again Yana and her Backpacking friends, managed to give us a direct ride to Tering, while they were on their way to a camping weekend on top of a local mountain, that we had to decline because of limited time.
The village of Tering is composed of three different agglomerations: the first one, is the "Malay" village, where people working in the mines are living; then is the Dayak village of Tering Lama just across the river (you can cross for free with the ferry carryig the motorbikes, or for 5000Rp with a fast boat, don't be scammed), and then the newest part of all, Tering Baru.
In the Malay side, there is nothing really interesting, but it's the base of choice, since it's the only location where there are Penginapan (Inns) for sleeping and Warungs (Eateries). The cheap options for sleeping are all on the riverside in front of the harbour on the Mahakam River.
We spent two nights in Tering, but the second night we had to change accommodation, moving from the second of the 3 guesthouses to the last one, since at night there were crazy screams and noises from a schizophrenic guy "jailed" in the basement. When we went downstairs to ask what was happening, the dozen people at the warung started to take joke of us. The third Penginapan was a much quieter place and costing only slightly more, 70.000Rp per night instead of 50.000Rp: ok, we are on a shoestring, but 1€ difference was not worth our sleep and safety!
In Tering there is an over sized mosque, still under construction but already active, and a series of cottage like houses, some on stilts, with local life going on in between. Along the main road not far after the mosque, there is one notable and quite artistic private house, worth to check if you are around.
Tering Lama is definitely much nicer and enjoyable than its twin sisters. There are some Dayaks artifacts and buildings, houses are surrounded by green gardens, kids are playing in the streets, and there is an interesting Catholic Church with wooden sculptures worth to check.
We saw several groups of Dayak children playing this exact same game, but we couldn't understand fully the rules: it was something about throwing stones with a stick and getting as close as possible to a reference stone, decorated and stick into the ground. We haven't seen this game anywhere else in Indonesia so far.
The Catholic church is a modern, almost out of place, wooden construction with carvings depicting local scenes of life, quotes from the bible and missionaries converting people.
After hanging around a little bit, we managed to catch the attention of some road workers, that went to take the keys of the church from the priest (called pastor locally) and letting us enter inside (for free of course).
The interior is not as impressive as the exterior, but there are still some worth to see wooden decorations and pillars: I was personally impressed with a female head sticking out of the plane, but it's not as interesting in the photo.
The church is at the edge of Tering Lama, and from here proceeding further up on the road parallel to the river, it's possible to eventually reach Tering Baru, passing through a less densely populated area with banana plantations and some harmless stray dogs. A very pleasant walk that we suggest to take if it's not raining too bad.
Reports we read in internet suggested that it was possible to walk all the way to Long Iram from Tering Lama, but we didn't adventure in this route!