10 Exciting Things to Do in North Kalimantan
If you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Indonesia, North Kalimantan should be on your list. This underrated province boasts a rich culture, stunning landscapes, and thrilling adventure activities that will satisfy any traveller’s wanderlust. Here are ten exciting things to do in North Kalimantan that will make your trip unforgettable.
Discover the Natural Beauty of North Kalimantan
North Kalimantan is a province located on the island of Borneo, known for its natural beauty and diverse wildlife. It is a destination that is perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Explore the Kayan Mentarang National Park
The Kayan Mentarang National Park is a must-visit destination in North Kalimantan. This protected area spans over 1.3 million hectares, making it the largest national park in Southeast Asia. The park is home to a pristine ecosystem of dense forests, rivers, and waterfalls. The lush greenery is inhabited by various flora and fauna, including orangutans, probosci’s monkeys, and hornbills. You can trek through the park’s trails and witness the stunning landscapes and wildlife that make North Kalimantan unique.
As you explore the park, you will come across hidden waterfalls and streams that are perfect for a refreshing swim. You can also camp overnight in the park and experience the tranquillity of the forest at night. The park is also home to various indigenous communities, and you can learn about their way of life and culture.
Visit the Heart of Borneo Rainforest
The Heart of Borneo Rainforest is a vast rainforest that spans three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei. A portion of this rainforest is located in North Kalimantan, covering about 200,000 hectares. The forest is home to diverse species of flora and fauna, including the iconic Borneo orangutans, pygmy elephants, and clouded leopards. Exploring the rainforest will require a guide, but it is an experience that is worth the effort and cost.
As you trek through the rainforest, you will come across towering trees that are hundreds of years old. You will also hear the sounds of exotic birds and animals that are unique to the region. The Heart of Borneo Rainforest is also home to various indigenous communities, and you can learn about their way of life and culture.
Witness the Unique Wildlife at Danau Sentarum National Park
Danau Sentarum National Park is a wetland reserve that sits on the border of Malaysia and Indonesia. The park is unique due to its lake system, which consists of peat swamps, freshwater areas, and floodplains. The park is home to rare and endangered species of flora and fauna, such as the Irrawaddy dolphin, freshwater stingrays, and the probosci’s monkey.
You can explore the park by boat and witness the unique wildlife that calls the park home. You can also go fishing in the lake and try your luck at catching the famous giant catfish that are found in the park’s waters. The park is also home to various indigenous communities, and you can learn about their way of life and culture.
In conclusion, North Kalimantan is a destination that is perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its diverse wildlife, lush forests, and unique wetlands, it is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression. So pack your bags and head to North Kalimantan to discover the natural beauty of this hidden gem.
Immerse Yourself in the Local Culture
Experience the Traditional Dayak Longhouse
The Dayak community has been living in Borneo for centuries, and their culture is prevalent in North Kalimantan. One of the most unique cultural experiences is staying in a Dayak longhouse, a communal dwelling that can accommodate dozens of families. Many longhouses are located on the banks of the rivers, and their architectural design is a marvel to behold. You can learn about the Dayak way of life and participate in cultural activities, such as music, dance, and handicraft-making.
Attend a Local Festival or Ceremony
North Kalimantan has several annual festivals and ceremonies that showcase the province’s diverse culture and traditions. One such event is the Tenggarong Seberang Festival, held in November, which celebrates the Dayak culture through various activities, such as traditional sports, a river parade, and a cultural parade. The festival attracts tourists from all over the world, making it an exciting and vibrant event to attend.
Learn About the History at the North Kalimantan Museum
The North Kalimantan Museum is located in Tarakan City and offers a glimpse into the province’s fascinating history. The museum exhibits artefacts and relics that date back to the prehistoric era, such as ancient swords, jewellery, and pottery. You can also learn about the Japanese occupation of North Kalimantan during World War II and the province’s struggle for independence from Dutch colonialism.
Adventure Activities for Thrill-Seekers
White Water Rafting on the Kayan River
If you are seeking an adrenaline rush, white water rafting on the Kayan River is an excellent option. The river has different grades of rapids, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters. You can enjoy the stunning scenery as you paddle through the river, passing by waterfalls, green hills, and traditional Dayak villages.
Trekking and Camping in the Borneo Jungle
Trekking and camping in the Borneo jungle can be a challenging but rewarding experience. You can explore the lush forest, cross rivers, and climb hills to reach scenic viewpoints. The jungle is home to diverse wildlife, including gibbons, macaques, and sun bears. You can camp under the stars and listen to the sounds of the jungle at night.
Dive into the Underwater World at Derawan Islands
The Derawan Islands, located off the coast of Berau, is a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkelling. The islands have pristine waters with diverse marine life, such as manta rays, turtles, and vibrant corals. You can explore the underwater world through guided diving and snorkelling tours, making it an unforgettable experience.
Savour the Flavors of North Kalimantan Cuisine
Taste the Local Delicacies at Tarakan Street Food Market
Tarakan City is renowned for its vibrant street food scene, which offers a wide variety of local delicacies. You can taste dishes such as nasi kuning (yellow rice), soto Banjar (beef soup), and mi kering Tarakan (dry noodles). The Tarakan Street Food Market is a hub of food stalls where you can savour these dishes and many more.
Try Traditional Dayak Dishes
The Dayak cuisine is unique and full of flavours that reflect the local ingredients and cultural influences. One must-try dish is the papeda, a starchy porridge made from sago flour and served with various side dishes, such as fish or chicken. Other dishes include muara fish soup, smoked wild boar, and terung asam (sour eggplant). You can try these dishes at local restaurants or during your stay in a Dayak longhouse.
Indulge in Fresh Seafood at Coastal Restaurants
Given that North Kalimantan is located on the Borneo coast, seafood is a staple of the local cuisine. You can find various types of fresh seafood, such as crabs, prawns, and fish, cooked in different styles. One great place to experience the seafood culture is at the coastal restaurants in Tanjung Selor, where you can enjoy the sea breeze and stunning views while savouring delicious seafood.
In conclusion, North Kalimantan offers a plethora of exciting things to do and see, making it a perfect destination for adventurous travellers who want to explore the beauty of Indonesian Borneo. Whether you love nature, culture, or adventure, North Kalimantan has something to offer for everyone. So pack your bags, and get ready to embark on a memorable journey through this hidden gem in Indonesia.