East Kalimantan Travel Guide

A major producer of oil and timber, East Kalimantan is at present the most industrially advanced province of the island and the second largest province in Indonesia. It is also the home of the first inhabitants of Kalimantan, the Orang Gunung or Mountain People. The tribes are collectively called the Dayak, although this name is not readily embraced by all the tribes, who prefer to be known by distinct tribal names such as Iban, Punan or Benuaq. The local tribes traditionally live in communal longhouses called Lamin or Umaq Daru. The lamin is built of timber, sometimes 3 meters high, as protection against wild animals and flooding. Guardian statues would be placed in front of the longhouses to protect its inhabitants against evil spirits which are believed to bring disease and ill fortune.

The Punan people are nomadic huntergatherers, and only use the longhouse at the height of the rainy season. Steeped Derawan Islands is an archipelago located in Berau Regency, East Kalimantan. In this archipelago there are a number of charming marine tourism objects, one of them is the Underwater Park which attracts foreign tourists, especially world-class divers. Derawan Islands has three sub-districts namely, Derawan, Maratua, and Biduk Biduk Islands, Berau. There are at least four famous islands in the archipelago, namely Maratua, Derawan, Sangalaki, and Kakaban Islands which are inhabited by endangered green turtles and hawksbill turtles.in tradition, the interior of the longhouse is typically divided into separate family quarters with communal areas connecting each of the family. The communal areas are used to hold village meetings and perform ceremonies, which serve to reinforce the strong tribal bonds in the face of rapidly advancing times.

The more remote and traditional peoples have pierced earlobes, which over the years have become stretched by the weight of heavy gold or brass rings, and beautifully elaborate tattoos. Traveling along the extensive Mahakam River system is a truly fascinating adventure. River boats slide unobtrusively through heavily silt-laden waters, and wild orchids drip off trees. Proboscis monkeys signal your arrival to the crocodiles and legendary hornbills. A 5,000-acre Orchid Reservation close to the village of Kersik Luwai cultivates 27 different species of orchid including the very rare ‘Cologenia Pandura’, the black orchid.

Read also : Kalimantan Travel Guide

East Kalimantan Places of Interest


is a capital of East Kalimantan Province known for its fine sarong. The Garden of Mulawarman University has an educative forest with 62.4 hectares of arboretum some 12 kilometers north of Samarinda.


the center of Kalimantan’s oil industry, is also the gateway to East Kalimantan, with air and sea connections to Jakarta and other major points in Indonesia. Balikpapan has a number of good hotels, including one international standard accommodation, as well as recreation facilities. It has the secondbusiest airport in the nation after Jakarta.

Tanah Merah Indah – Lempake

This is a recreational park with a waterfall located 16 kilometers from downtown Samarinda. It can be reached by car or public transportation.
Tenggarong lies upstream Mahakam River from Samarinda. It is the capital of Kutai Regency and was once the seat of the Kutai Sultanate. The Sultan’s Palace at the banks of the river is now a museum and houses an excellent collection of antique Chinese ceramics. Dayak statues can be admired in the yard. The royal paraphernalia displayed bears a strong resemblance objects found in the Javanese court. Every 24th of September, the former palace becomes a stage of dance and music performances in celebration of the town’s anniversary.

Tanjung Isuy

This little settlement around Lake Jempang, in the lake-studded East Kalimantan hinterland, has a traditional Dayak longhouse which has been turned into lodges for visitors. The grave of a Benuaq Dayak chief lies aside the hamlet’s only road. Visitors are usually given a traditional Dayak Benuaq welcome. The trip over Tanjung Isuy over the Mahakam river is a long but interesting one, past floating village and forest scenery. See the magic dance of the ‘Balian’ a Dayak witchdoctor. Dressed in skirt of leaves, the witchdoctor would cure patients at night by performing rites prescribed by ancestors to the frenzied accompaniment of gongs and drums. Many Benuaq Dayaks still prefer old to modern cures available at nearby government public health centers.

Derawan and Sangalaki Islands

can be reached by a 3-hour longboat ride from Tanjung Redep in the north. The islands’ waters are home to green turtles, scarlet turtles, star fruit turtles and sea cows. Derawan and Sangalaki Islands have an amazing marine environment, including fabulous coral formations, crabs, turtles and pearls. Read Derawan Travel Guide

Read also : Kalimantan Tour Package