East Kalimantan - Indonesia

Highlights * Mahakam River * Dayak villages * Kersik Luwai Orchid Reserve * Golf


Indonesia Travel Stories

Places of Interest in Kalimantan

Other Indonesian locations




East Kalimantan receives the greatest number of visitors, with a large infrastructure built for the oil industry.

Samarinda, the capital of East Kalimantan, was founded by Buginese warrior-merchants who migrated from South Sulawesi at the beginning of the 18th century. Samarinda, a city of over 50,000 people is the departure point for travel inland on the Mahakam River.

Balikpapan, to the south of Samarinda is a big, modern and relatively expensive town.

Sungai Wain Nature Reserve is 11,000 ha with a rehabilitation centre for Orangutan who are being reintroduced into the jungle after being pets. Also close to Balikpapan is the Bukit Bangkirai Nature Reserve which has protected jungle covering 18,000 hectares. There is a tree top canopy bridge you can walk across, 30 meters from the ground.

Jungle near Balikpapan

Kalimantan's Mahakam River, the third longest in the world, offers some of the greatest adventure trips, one of Indonesia's last frontiers.

Samarinda River

You can take a river trip, starting from Samarinda, either on a motor-canoe or stay on one of the many houseboats that cruise the river.


The first village you come to after leaving Samarinda is Tenggarong. Here you will find the original Sultan's Palace on the river banks, now converted to a museum housing heirlooms, art and culture from the Dayak people. You will find the village lined with traditional Dayak longhouses as well as located on the Kumala Island in the middle of the Mahakam River near Tenggarong.

Further along the Mahakam River you'll come to Muara Muntai which has the hardwood floating village. Traveling further along you will cross Lake Jempang with a chance of seeing the freshwater dolphins that live in the lake.

Freshwater Dolphin Kalimantan

Further along you will reach the Dayak village of Mancong which has the oldest longhouse in East Kalimantan.

The next village is Muara Pahau at the delta of the Bongan River. Dayak elders still practice traditional medicine as well adorning their bodies with intricate body tatoos and ear adornments. Also here is the RASI Dolphin Centre where you can get more information on the fresh water dolphins.

From Muara Pahau you can take trips into the surrounding jungle with the chances of seeing wild orangutan, monkeys, gibbons, wild ox, wild cats, freshwater dolphins, sun bear, parrots and crested fireback pheasants.

Golf Courses

Padang Golf Sepinggan

18 hole, 72 par, 6650 yard course located in Balikpapan.

Jl. Jend. Sudirman


Ph: +62 542 766 418

Fax: +62 542 514 394


Last updated 6th August 2009

Getting there and away

Flying into Balikpapan

Balikpapan's airport is called Sepinggan.

Mandala Air has direct flights from Balikpapan to Jakarta, Tarakan, Surabaya, Jogjakarta and Malang. www.mandalaair.com

Batavia Air has direct flights between Balikpapan and Banjarmasin, Berau, Jakarta, Jogjakarta, Manado, Manokwari, Palu, Pontianak, Surabaya, Tarakan and Ujung Pandang. www.batavia-air.co.id


Sriwijaya Air has direct flights from Balikpapan to Palu, Jakarta, Surabaya, Tarakan and Makasaar. www.sriwijayaair-online.com


Lion Air have direct flights from Balikpapan to Jakarta and Surabaya with connecting flights to 34 other Indonesian destinations. www.lionair.co.id


Pelita Air have chartered flights from Balikpapan to and from Bontang in East Kalimantan as well as to Jakarta and Jogjakarta. Pelita also have helicopters for charter. www.pelita-air.com


Air Asia have direct flights from Balikpapan to Jakarta. www.airasia.com


Silk Air have direct flights from Balikpapan to Singapore. Flight time from Balikpapan to Singapore is around 2 hours 15 minutes. www.silkair.com


Ferry services to and from Balikpapan


Pelni operate ferry services from Balikpapan to Biak, Jayapura, Manokwari, Sorong, Jakarta and Tarakan.


Accommodation in Balikpapan

Hotel Mirama located in the central business district with business centre, function rooms, restaurant, tavern and massage. Prices from 250,000Rp (US$25) www.hotel-mirama.com

Hotel Grand Tiga Mustika in the heart of the business district of Balikpapan, this hotel has swimming pool, restaurant and conference centre. Prices from 385,000Rp per night (US$45) www.hotelgrandtigamustika.com

Adika Hotel Bahtera centrally located in Balikpapan, 15 minutes from Sepinggan international airport. Prices from 463,000 Rp per night Nett. www.bahterahotel.com

Hotel Pacific Balikpapan hotelpacificbalikpapan.com

Hotel Novotel Balikpapan 4 star hotel, part of the Accor group. With swimming pool and WiFi internet access. Prices from 757800Rp per night. www.accorhotels.com

Hotel Sagita Balikpapan located in the centre of Balikpapan. Published rates from US$84 per night + taxes and service. www.hotelsagita.com

Blue Sky Hotel located on the west side of Balikpapan with it's own healh club and spa. Prices from 1,028,500Rp per night. www.blueskybalikpapan.com

La Grandeur Hotel Balikpapan www.legrandeurhotels.com

Hotel Gran Senyiur The first and only 5 star hotel in Kalimantan. www.senyiurhotels.com

Accommodation in Samarinda

Swiss-belhotel Borneo Samarinda is a 3 star hotel located in the business district of Samarinda. Room rates from US$69 per night www.swiss-belhotel.com

Accommodation on Tarakan Island

Swiss-belhotel Tarakan is a 3 star international hotel located 10 minutes away from Juwata airport on Tarakan Island in East Kalimantan. Room prices from 599,000Rp nett per night (US$55) including breakfast and internet connections. www.swiss-belhotel.com













































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