South Kalimantan Travel Guide
South Kalimantan is split into 11 regencies, with Banharmasin, the sizeable capital of three million, and the other main cities of Banjarbaru, Kandangan and Palangkaraya. The capital is the largest city and the gateway to the province, with an international airport and many hotels. It’s a good place from which to explore the rest of South Kalimantan.
The countryside of South Kalimantan is rich in color and wildlife owing to the extra rainfall it gets. It harbors many large rivers and tributaries and has a diverse coastline which faces Java, Bali and South Sulawesi. Traditional indigenous Dayak villages are scattered around the province and trekking to them and around the patches of rainforest here has tourist appeal.
Major attractions in South Kalimantan include the Banharmasin floating market in the capital city. This is a great place to witness local life and the colorful trading on the water. The Meratus Mountains are another highlight and perhaps the prettiest part of South Kalimantan with their valleys, forests and waterfalls providing great trekking options. Loksado, three hours north of Banharmasin, is a small village that makes for a good base for exploring the local Dayak culture.
The best time to visit the province is May through October; the dry season in South Kalimantan. But if you arrive in April don’t miss Mappanretasi, a ceremony in Pagatan that is all about the sea and offerings, and features games and art performances.
Syamsuddin Noor Airport in Banharmasin is the main gateway into South Kalimantan, with flights arriving from all over Indonesia including Jakarta and Bali in about 2 hours, 90 minutes respectively. Express ferries land at Banharmasin’s Trisakti Harbor from Java in 8 hours.