Balikpapan Travel Guide

Balikpapan is the main city and gateway to East Kalimantan, although it is somewhat of a boring town with little in the way of nightlife or entertainment. There are some beaches nearby, however, and some pleasant scenery.

Balikpapan has an international airport and is the gateway to East Kalimantan; the provincial capital, Samarinda, is farther north. The town is home to several oil companies and caters to oil workers with several bars and some shopping. Plaza Balikpapan is the main hangout in town with plenty of shops and eateries. There is also the Kebun Sayur Traditional Market Center for those into handicrafts and cheap food.

Perhaps Balikpapan’s greatest asset for tourists is the nearby beaches - Dapur Bunda, Lamaru Beach, and Manggar Beach - the latter of which has the best sands and boasts a crocodile farm nearby. There is also an orangutan sanctuary just outside town where visitors can stay at an eco-lodge and muck about with the beasts.

Getting There & Away

Sepinggan International Airport is the main airport in the province and receives flights from Jakarta. It is just outside Balikpapan and also receives flights from Singapore and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Jakarta is a 2-hour flight away from Balikpapan. All roads in the south point to Balikpapan, including those from Samarinda and Bontang. Balikpapan also receives ferries from all over Indonesia, including from Sulawesi and Java.

Things to Do

Balikpapan Attractions

Manggar Beach

One of the main attractions in town, this beach is just a few kilometers out and has nice sands.

Kebun Sayur Traditional Market

The best place in town for picking up handicrafts.

Side trips from Balikpapan

BOS Orangutan Sanctuary and Eco Lodge

Extensive courses are available here focusing on rescued orangutans.


Manggar Beach Sea Festival

A yearly event at manggar beach with plenty of coconut juice drinking.