Sungai Belayan Travel Guide

The Belayan River is a major tributary of the huge Mahakam River in Borneo’s East Kalimantan province. It is navigable by ferries and charter boats and makes for a good cruise.

The Sungai Belayan snakes through an exotic landscape of lowland rainforest that harbors all sorts of plants and animals. A typical three- or four-day cruise up the Belayan would generally include sightings of monkeys, lizards, crocodiles and many types of birds.

The indigenous Dayak and Kutai peoples inhabit this region of East Kalimantan and you can also do a jungle trek between their villages. These people are extremely friendly and practise traditional medicine as well as being into body piercing and large earlobes.

Most people tend to head for the main Mahakam River when looking to do a boat tour of the region, and Sungai Belayan offers a slightly different and less touristy experience. The river gets a lot tighter in parts and the scenery is pretty dramatic further up the river.

Getting There & Away

Samarinda is the gateway for visits to Sungai Belaya; a 30-minute flight from Balikpapan’s Sepinggan International Airport, the nearest major airport. You can also take a bus to Loa Janan (near Samarinda) from Balikpapan in 5 hours and get a boat there for the trip up the Lower Mahakam to the mouth of the Belayan River.