East Kalimantan Travel Guide

Indonesia’s second largest province is East Kalimantan, located on the island of Borneo. There are two main cities in this resource-rich province: Samarinda and Balikpapan. A pleasant mix of culture and nature make this an ideal Borneo destination.

Samarinda is the largest city, and is used by many travelers as a gateway to the remote regions of Kutai Barai, Kutai Kartanegara, and East Kutai. Balikpapan is a seaport that thrives on its resource exports. There are two harbors and an international airport here.

East Kalimantan’s natural scene is wonderful, but under threat from rampant logging. The Kayan Mentarang National Park now contains less than half its original rainforest, and many other preserves are not well-monitored.

Derawan Island is an amazing place if you want to see the underwater world of Borneo. Rare marine creatures swim among healthy coral gardens making for excellent diving, swimming and other water sports.

Bulungan is a hot spot for adventure seekers. Ancient remains, traditional ceremonies, and incredible art and crafts await the most intrepid travelers. Best of all, the town is set against a stunning backdrop.

Tenggarong should also not be missed. Its legacy of Kutai Sultanate opulence can be experienced in its nice museum and ancient buildings. To catch a performance of the Kenyah Dayak dance in a real longhouse, head to Muara Ancalong or Muara Wahau.

Getting There & Away

Samarinda has an airport and a port, but Balikpapan’s Sepinggan International Airport is the busiest airport in Kalimantan and the easiest way to get here. The impressive selection of international carriers ensures a good selection of flights from around Asia to Balikpapan. A flight from Jakarta should take less than 3 hours. Balikpapan also has a busy seaport called Semayang, which handles ferries from many destinations around the region.