Kalimantan, Indonesian portion of Borneo
The expansive Indonesian part of Borneo – is an adventure in every sense of the word.
Kalimantan, Indonesian part of Borneo
Kalimantan is an adventure in every sense of the word. Remote jungle, snaking rivers and interior mountains serve up endless opportunities for epic rainforest exploration, while its cities are low-key and little visited by Indonesian standards. You can travel here for weeks without meeting another foreigner, and at least some knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia is recommended.
Kalimantan’s natural resources have made it a prime target for exploitation and its once-abundant wildlife and rich traditional cultures are under threat. Protected areas mean this is still the best place in the world to see the noble orang-utan sharing the remaining jungle canopy with acrobatic gibbons and proboscis monkeys. The indigenous people, collectively known as Dayak, have long lived in concert with this rich, challenging landscape and their longhouses can still be found near Kalimantan’s many waterways, creating a sense of community unmatched elsewhere in the country.
Flora and Fauna
The Borneo rainforest is 130 million years old, making it one of the oldest rainforests in the world and 70 million years older than the Amazon rainforest. Borneo is very rich in biodiversity compared to many other areas. There are about 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of trees, 221 species of mammals and 420 species of birds. Subject to mass deforestation, the remaining Borneo rainforest is one of the only remaining natural habitat for the endangered Bornean Orangutan. It is also an important refuge for many endemic forest species, as the Asian Elephant, the Sumatran Rhinoceros, the Bornean Clouded Leopard, and the Dayak Fruit Bat.
Kalimantan has a tropical climate with the average temperature ranging between 23 and 31°C. The island has a high annual precipitation, around 300 mm per year, with a light rainy season between March and May, and a more intense one between November and January. Precipitation levels are however considerably lower than many other neighboring parts of Indonesia.
Sepinggan International Airport (IATA: BPN) near Balikpapan is the primary airport on the Indonesian side, and fields flights from Kuala Lumpur (Air Asia) and Singapore (Silk Air) as well as many Indonesian cities, but there are no direct flights from the tourist hub in Bali.
Syamsudin Noor Airport (IATA: BDJ) is a regional airport located in South Kalimantan, has a good connection to major cities in Indonesia (Jakarta (Soekarno-Hatta), Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Denpasar/Bali, Makassar, Balikpapan, Pontianak).
Kalimantan at a glance
- Country: Indonesia
- Area: 544,150 km2
- Population: 15,895,000
- Provinces : West Kalimantan
- Tanjung Puting National Park: Meeting orang-utans and sailing Sungai Sekonyer.
- Derawan Archipelago: Diving into Kalimantan’s best underwater and island life.
- Sungai Mahakam: Taking the slow boat.
- Balikpapan: Living it up with live music, shopping and fine dining.
- Merabu: Delving into Kalimantan’s near and distant past.
- Loksado: Bamboo river rafting and settling into mountain village life.
- Sukadana: Taking the speedboat from Pontianak then spotting wild orang-utans in Gunung Palung National Park.
- Banjarmasin: Rising early for the floating markets.
- Putussibau: Visiting Dayak longhouses and remote national parks.