East Kalimantan, located in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This region boasts a unique blend of natural wonders and cultural richness, making it an exciting destination for adventure seekers and culture enthusiasts alike. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the must-visit places and experiences in East Kalimantan that will make your trip memorable. So pack your bags, and let’s start exploring!
Exploring the Natural Wonders of East Kalimantan
East Kalimantan is a province located in the eastern part of the island of Borneo. It is the second-largest province in Indonesia, and it is blessed with awe-inspiring natural beauty that will leave you speechless. From lush rainforests to stunning islands, there is something for everyone here.
Visit the Kutai National Park
One of the best places to experience the beauty of East Kalimantan is the Kutai National Park. This park is located in the Kutai Regency and covers an area of 198,629 hectares. It is home to a vast range of endangered species, such as orangutans, probosci’s monkeys, and sun bears, as well as unique flora and fauna. Trekking through the jungle, crossing rivers, and spotting wildlife in their natural habitat is a surreal experience that you’ll never forget. Don’t forget to bring your camera, so you can capture the memories of a lifetime.
Aside from trekking, you can also explore the park by taking a boat ride along the Mahakam River. The river provides a unique perspective of the park, and you’ll get to see the lush vegetation and the wildlife that inhabits the area.
Discover the Derawan Islands in East Kalimantan
The Derawan Islands are a group of islands located in the Sulawesi Sea. This archipelago is stunningly beautiful, with crystal-clear waters and an incredible variety of marine life. Snorkelling or diving in these waters is an unforgettable experience, as you’ll witness colourful coral reefs, turtles, and even mantas swimming gracefully in the ocean. Make sure to visit Sangalaki Island, which is famous for its giant manta rays.
Aside from snorkelling and diving, you can also explore the islands by taking a boat tour. The tour will take you to different islands, where you can relax on the beaches, go island hopping, and even visit a turtle conservation centre.
Explore the Maratua Island
Maratua Island is another hidden gem in East Kalimantan that you should not miss. This island is surrounded by pristine blue waters and is known for its fantastic diving spots. You can swim with sharks, barracudas, and other underwater creatures, all while marvelling at the stunning coral formations that adorn the ocean floor.
Aside from diving, you can also explore the island by taking a walk along the beach or visiting the local village. The village is home to the Bajau people, who are known for their unique way of life. You can learn about their culture and traditions and even try some of their local delicacies.
Witness the Majestic Mahakam River
The Mahakam River is East Kalimantan’s largest river and is another must-visit attraction. The river stretches for 920 km and flows from the Muller Mountains to the Makassar Strait. Touring through the river, you’ll encounter traditional Dayak villages that offer a glimpse into the local way of life. Along the way, you’ll see countless wooden homes, fishing boats, and picturesque landscapes that will take your breath away.
While on the river, you can also hop on a passenger boat and enjoy some relaxation while taking in the stunning scenery. The boat ride will take you through the heart of East Kalimantan, and you’ll get to see the province from a different perspective.
Overall, East Kalimantan is a destination that should be on every traveller’s bucket list. Its natural beauty, unique wildlife, and fascinating culture make it a place that is truly unforgettable.
Delving into East Kalimantan’s Rich Culture
East Kalimantan is also renowned for its vibrant culture, which you can immerse yourself in during your visit.
Experience the Dayak Culture
The Dayak people are the indigenous natives of Borneo Island, and their culture is still vibrant in East Kalimantan today. To experience their way of life, you can visit a Dayak longhouse, which is a communal dwelling where several families live together. Here, you’ll learn about their unique customs and beliefs and get to see traditional handicrafts such as baskets and textiles. To make the most of your visit, you can even stay overnight with a Dayak family and truly engage with their culture.
Visit Traditional Longhouses
Aside from the Dayak longhouses, there are other traditional longhouses in East Kalimantan that are worth visiting. One such example is the Lamin Etam Longhouse, a beautiful wooden structure that serves as a community centre for the local Banjar tribe. Here, you can observe traditional dances and music while feasting on tasty local delicacies.
Attend Local Festivals and Events
East Kalimantan is known for its vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. One famous celebration is the Tenggarong Sejuta Bunga Festival, which takes place in July. During this festival, the city is decorated with thousands of flowers, and various cultural performances are held to showcase the region’s rich heritage.
Taste the Unique Flavors of East Kalimantan Cuisine
East Kalimantan’s cuisine is a fusion of local flavours and influences from other Indonesian regions. You must try dishes like Pindang Tulang (spicy soup with beef bones), Nasi Kunyit (turmeric rice), and Ikan Patin Bakar (grilled catfish). These dishes are flavorful, and the use of fresh ingredients makes them even more delicious.
Adventure Activities in East Kalimantan
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, East Kalimantan has a lot to offer in terms of adventure activities.
Dive into the Underwater World
As mentioned earlier, the Derawan Islands are a snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise. The islands offer an unforgettable diving experience where you can explore underwater caves, swim with majestic turtles, and be amazed by vibrant coral gardens. Don’t worry if you are not a competent diver; many companies offer guides and lessons suitable for all levels of experience.
Trek through the Borneo Rainforest
East Kalimantan’s rainforest is one of the world’s most biodiverse places, and trekking through it is an adventure worth experiencing. You can hike through the jungle and spot various animal species, including orangutans in their natural habitat. Make sure you book with a reputable tour company that can guide you through the forest safely.
Embark on a River Safari
If you are looking for a unique experience, you can embark on a river safari on the Mahakam River. You’ll cruise through the river and encounter various bird species, as well as macaques, probosci’s monkeys, and crocodiles. As the sun sets, you’ll witness a spectacular view of the river, and if you’re lucky, you’ll spot some fireflies.
Enjoy Wildlife Spotting
East Kalimantan is home to rare and endangered animals, making it a perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts. You can go to the Tanjung Puting National Park, where you’ll come across orangutans, probosci’s monkeys, and other unique forest creatures. Plan to be here for several days to get the most out of your visit.
Summing It Up
East Kalimantan is an adventure mecca that has something to offer to everyone. Whether you are looking for natural beauty, cultural immersion, or adrenaline-pumping activities, you can find it all here. So pack your bags, put on your travelling shoes, and get ready to make unforgettable memories in the heart of Borneo.