Kalimantan, Indonesia: Travel/Tourist Information
Kalimantan is the Indonesian part of Borneo. It is the 73% of the island's area and the rest belongs to Brunei and East Malaysia. The term “Kalimantan” in Indonesia refers to the whole island of Borneo. This region mainly consists of a jungle that is 70 million years old. Being a tropical rainforest area, be prepared for a high level of humidity. Temperatures range from around 30 to 33 degrees centigrade and the humidity makes it seem even hotter. Make sure to have a vaccination against malaria before arriving and plan ahead of time so that unusual events are pleasant and part of the jungle experience.
Provinces of Kalimantan
The provinces of North, East, Central, West, and South Kalimantan are what the island consists.
North Kalimantan's administrative capital is Tanjung Selor. However, Tarakan is mostly visited by tourists. It is a city situated across the border from Sabah, Malaysia. It was once a major oil producing site during the Dutch colonial period. The city had a great importance during the World War II and some of the fragments can be seen throughout the city. These are the Peningki Lama Site at East Tarakan, the Museum Roemah Boendar the Roundhouse Museum, the Pillbox/Stelling Post, The Australian Monument at the Kodim (Military Command Center) on Pulau Kalimantan Street, and The Japanese Ash Monument. There are also other places to visit in the city including The Tarakan Orchid Garden, Amal Beach, Juwata Crocodile Breeding Center, and The Mangrove and Proboscis Monkeys Conservation Area.
East Kalimantan is the home of the Oil City of Indonesia, Balikpapan, located on its eastern coast. Balikpapan is the main gateway to the rest of the region. Another pride of the region is the Derawan Archipelago. It is one of the world's richest biodiversity areas and the third best diving destination in the world.
East Kalimantan is rich in another commodity: oil. Besides that, this area of Indonesia is also engaged in wood trade and mining and this is the most modern area of Indonesia. In Eastern Kalimantan, one can visit Kutai National Park or try Melawai Beach, which is the main beach in Balikpapan. Here, the thing to do is eat freshly prepared seafood dishes.
In Central Kalimantan lies the World's Lungs Forest. It is located in the capital city, Palangkaraya or the Sacred Great Place. Another place to visit in the province is the Pangkalan Bun, a town on the Arut River and the gateway to the Tanjung Puting National Park.
In Kalimantan, one can embark on a three-day tour in Tanjung Puting National Park to see Orangutans in the wild as well as rare botanical species of trees and plants and other nature elements. On the first day, the guide picks up the group of visitors at the airport at Pangkalan Bun Airport. Then, the trip goes on to reach Kumai and the Kumai river is crossed in a 15-minute ride. Two hours later, the first destination is reached at the National Park where a meal is served by the cook, who is part of the team of guides. After lunch, a tour is organized to see rare Proboscis monkeys and then, dinner is served on the houseboat.
The next day after spending the night in the houseboat, which is large and comfortable, one wakes up to the sounds of nature in the river. Then, go upstream to reach Camp Leaky where on the way a hike is done in the jungle enabling viewing Orangutan monkeys who are fed bananas on a special platform to ensure safety.
The third day is a tour downstream to reach Pondok Tanggui where orangutan offspring are fed and cared for. A visit is also made to the Tanjung Harapan Village, which is Malay. After this, lunch is ready on the houseboat. The group makes its way back and spends the night on the houseboat and is taken to Nipah Palm. Dinner is served and it is the last night of the tour. The next day, the boat makes its way to Kumai and the passengers descend and are taken to Pangkalan Bun Airport.
West Kalimantan's capital city, Pontianak, is busy trading port facing the South China Sea. It is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse races and ethnic groups that live peacefully. The province's 2nd largest city, Singkawang, is a home to hundreds of Chinese temples that are found almost at its every street providing an oriental atmosphere.
The South Kalimantan is the home of the city of thousand rivers, the Banjarmasin, its capital city. Other cities that are worth visiting are the Martapura, a sparkling little city filled with diamonds, and Kuala Kapuas, a town well-known as the City of Water.
A visit can be done to South Kalimantan where a day trip can be organized to see the Cempaka Diamond Fields, which are near the Banjarmasin Martapura Road. This trip is best done with local guides but adventuresome diamond discoverers can try using local transport to Banjarmasin and then onto Banjarbaru. The best thing on the way back is to spend the night in Banjarmasin.
A 45-kilometer trip towards the east of Banajrmasin, the capital city of South Kalimantan, takes one to Martapura which is a small town that specializes in cutting and polishing diamonds. This is the place where diamonds are sold and bought. This is not Antwerp, Paris, London or New York with elegant shops and discreet security systems. Here in Martapura, diamonds are traded in small shops that look kind of dingy but the dealers are experts and you can try to find some nice diamond earrings here.
Things to Do
Kalimantan is practically untouched by tourism or any sort of business.
An exotic thing to do in Kalimantan is to visit the floating market of Loksado which is reached by klotok, a traditional yet motorized river boat. The floating market is interesting and is a traditional activity of the Banjaresse people that live nearby. After visiting the market where some tasty fruit can be purchased, lunch is served before arriving to Loksado at a distance of nearly 4 hours by car. After lunch, the expedition takes a break in a lodge and afterwards a visit is done to the village of Malaris which is reached by a hanging bridge to reach the Dayak Bukit tribe. Night is spent at the lodge and on the way back one can participate in a rafting adventure in the Amandit river.
One can tour by river boat along the many rivers in the jungle spotting exotic birds, wonderful plants and flowers such as many types of orchids that flourish here. Seeing orangutans in their native habitat is also an option. Borneo is mainly a sanctuary for wildlife. Many endangered species live here and can be seen on expeditions or safaris into the jungle. It is also possible to visit Dayak tribes who live in the middle of the jungle. Getting to places here is done by boat or by plane.
There are many rivers crisscrossing Borneo. Going on a local tour of the jungle is a must for everyone coming to this remote part of the world. There are adventures to be found here around every corner. Riding in a “klotok,” which is a traditional canoe, can be done by anyone regardless of their level of experience. People with more experience can shoot the rapids in the Kiulu River or Kota Kinabalu. Serious white water rafting can be done in the Padas River in the Southwest of Kota Kinabalu. There are a few companies that organize expeditions for white water rafting. The place where the river starts is in a village called Pangit. The length of the river for rafting is at approximately 23 kilometers long with different levels of rafting to suit any experienced rafter.
Bird watching is a special event to not be missed that can be done in Kalimantan. Other interesting things to do in Kalimantan are going on a botanical tour and seeing up close many exotic types of vegetation that one would miss otherwise as they are part of the general setting. It takes an expert to point them out and explain their singularities. Scuba diving is another thing that can be done in Borneo. This can be done in Sarawak.