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Kalimantan

Photo © shinenyc

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Kalimantan

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Introduction

Kalimantan staircase

Kalimantan staircase

© All Rights Reserved zags

Kalimantan is the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, which is shared with Malaysia and Brunei. Unlike these countries, the Indonesian part is less developed and travelling through the interior is still quite an experience, yes even an expedition if you like.

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Geography

Kalimantan's total area is 544,150 square kilometres. Kalimantan is divided into five provinces: West, South, East, Central and North Kalimantan.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

  • Tanjung Puting National Park has several ecosystem as lowland tropical rain forest, dryland forest, freshwater swamp forest, mangrove forest, coastal forest, and secondary forest. Endangered and protected animal species inhabiting Tanjung Puting Reserve, include the orangutan (Pongo satyrus), proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), maroon leaf monkey (Presbytis rubicunda rubida), sun bear (Helarctos malayanus euryspilus), lesser Malay mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus klossii), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), and leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis).
  • Betung Kerihun National Park
  • Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park
  • Betung Kerihun National Park
  • Gunung Palung National Park
  • Kayan Mentarang National Park covers an area of 1,300,000 ha located in the far interior of North Kalimantan province and is the largest block of jungle and untouched rainforest in Borneo. Half of the Kayan Mentarang Reserve consists species of dipterocarp lowland and hill forest while cloud mountain forest at Kayan Mentarang covers 40% with mountain up to more then 2,000 metres above sea level. The park is inhabitated by several thousand Dayak and Punan people. WWF has been working on developing eco-tourist projects in cooperation with the local people.
  • Kutai National Park - Kutai Park wildlife is exotic and includes the Orangutan, only found on Sumatra and Borneo, along with the endemic proboscis monkeys, and other forest denizens including clouded leopard, leaf monkey, macaque, pangolin anteater, tiny tarsier, lizards, crocodiles, pythons and more then 600 bird spieces as the most famous Sun Birds, pheasants, cockatoo and Hornbills.
  • Wehea is a tropical rain forest area of 38,000 hectares, located in East Kalimantan province of Indonesian Borneo, it has diverse wildlife as clouded leopards, orangutans, proboscis monkeys.
  • The Fascinating Mahakam River is a intriguing history of Sultan Kingdoms and traditional Dayak Tribes, with a wealth of ecological and cultural treasures that survive deep within the rainforest jungle of Indonesia's largest island. It's the highway into Kalimantan ’s dense jungle where you can discover the rich Dayak Culture and their Longhouses. The grand diversity of exotic flora and wildlife from black orchids to fresh water dolphins and orangutans give you an unforgettable trip at East Kalimantan.
  • Derawan Island has a total land surface of 40,000 hectares and is a nature reserve with beautiful scenery and beaches. Several species of rare flora and fauna are preserved here, such as scaled turtles, belimbing turtles and sea cows.

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Weather

Kalimantan has a hot and humid tropical climate. Temperatures are usually between 25 °C at night and around 30 °C or a little more during the day. There is little variation regarding temperatures throughout the year, and even rainfall is possible in all months. There is no real dry season, but rainfall is highest between October and April and somewhat lower from June to September. The interior is both wetter and cooler than the coastal areas.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are several airports in Kalimantan with flights to for example Jakarta and several other destinations in Indonesia. By far the busiest airport though is Sepinggan International Airport (BPN) near Balikpapan on the eastcoast of Kalimantan. It has flights to Jakarta, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Manado, Kota Bharu, Makassar and Singapore.
The airports near Banjarmasin and Pontianak serve as the main gateway for the the south and west of Kalimantan respectively, with at least flights to Jakarta and also to Kuching in Malaysian Sarawak from the latter. Kalimantan has no connections with Kota Kinabalu in Sabah or with Brunei.

By Car

The only crossing over land is the road between Kuching in Malaysian Sarawak and Pontianak in West Kalimantan.

By Bus

Buses connect Pontianak with Kuching, usually leaving in the morning and arriving around 9-10 hours later during the late afternoon or early evening.

By Boat

Pelni, the main ferry operator in Indonesia, has connections to a number of cities/islands, including Sulawesi and Java (Jakarta and Surabaya). There are ferry connections from Balik­papan, Samarinda, Banjarmasin, Pontianak and Kumai. Catching a cargoship might be an option as well.

There are also connections between Tawau in Sabah and both Nunukan and Tarakan in East Kalimantan.

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Getting Around

By Plane

There are quite a few airports apart from the major three mentioned above. Most of them have daily connections, including a few airstrips in Central Kalimantan. Dirgantara Air Service (DAS), Batavia Air and Trigana Air have most flights, but routes and airlines change quite frequently, so ask around.

By Car

Hiring a car with driver is recommended and quite cheap, especially if you are with 2 or 3 persons. Driving yourself, unlike in Malaysian Borneo, is not recommended in Kalimantan.

By Bus

Buses travel regularly between Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan and both Balikpapan and Samarinda in East Kalimantan. West Kalimantan has no services to/from South or East Kalimantan, you have to go trekking and take river boats or take a flight. There are buses however between several places in West Kalimantan, from Pontianak both inland and in northern and southern direction. Central Kalimantan has few roads.

By Boat

One of Kalimantan’s highlights is to travel up the Sungai Mahakam river on a longboat. This bascially is a narrow vessel with two large outboard motors at the rear and bench seats in a covered passenger cabin. They still ply the river on a daily basis despite more and more roads opening up for buses and 4wd vehicles.
Small motorised canoes and speedboats are common modes of transport at the smaller rivers in the central parts of Kalimantan and river taxi's in more remote areas.
Along the Sungai Kapuas river in West Kalimantan there are large large cargo-cum-houseboats (called 'bandung') that take up to a month to move upriver to Putussibau!
There are also a few boats travelling all around Kalimantan's southern coastline, mostly ferries en route to other islands, stopping in various ports on Kalimantan.

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This is version 13. Last edited at 12:30 on Jan 3, 13 by Utrecht. 16 articles link to this page.

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