Samarinda East Kalimantan

* Samarinda * Pampang Culture * Berau Marine Tourism * Bangkirai Hill * Tenggarong

Samarinda Tourism

Tourism of Samarinda East Kalimantan

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 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.

It’s Just appropriate to say that the epicentre of the emerald in the equator s the Borneo Island (locally known as Kalimantan Island). If it is the case, it’s then the East Kalimantan that serves as the entry point to enter and experience its unmatched beauty. East Kalimantan is so blessed with stunning tropical forest other than the oil, minerals, coal and gold. Those are the reasons why the Dutch people come here to do the oil exploration in Kaltil in 1897. Later the Japanese also did the same thing; they take possession of this territory in 1941 for the same reason.

Accounted for 11% of the width of the Indonesian archipelago, the East Kalimantan is home to such fascinating cultural diversity. East Kalimantan has an incomparable and diverse culture. You can experience the amazing, always close to the nature, traditional life of the Dayak tribe or the culture with deep commercial sense of the people of Bugis and Banjar-descent. It is the people who come to this city to work in the mining companies who had turned the cities in East Kalimantan to cosmopolitan urban where we fi ne luxurious apartments and lavish hotels whereas in deep forest we see the rural lifestyle of the indigenous people.

East Kalimantan is the heritage of the oldest Hindu Kingdom in Indonesia. Kutai Martadipura has existed since the 3rd or 5th century CE/AD and the Islamic Kingdom of Kutai Kertanegara that dominated East Kalimantan since the 13th century. The remains of those two kingdoms are found in Tenggarong – the capital city of East Kalimantan in the kingdom era and was moved to Samarinda in the 20th century – what makes this area complete is not just the mines but the historical tourism sites as well

Samarinda 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.

Balikpapan, 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.

Unique Tourism Flavour of East Kalimantan

Floating Market - East Kalimantan

As most Asian cities halved by a river, East Kalimantan has turned Mahakam River as its heartbeat. River is a transportation mode that drives the economy, and it also creates a unique community who live in their floating homes with their own floating market. This is what you are going to find in Samarinda, the capital city of East Kalimantan Province.

This tropical forest, one of its kinds, would not be found anywhere else in the other parts of Indonesia. At km 23, from Balikpapan to Samarinda, You can enjoy the excitement of Tourism in East Kalimantan.

East Kalimantan Art and Culture

Pampang Culture

The Culture of Pampang was formed on account of the migration of Dayak Kenyah tribe from Apokayan, District of Bulungan through Muara Wahau, Long Segar, Tabang, Long Iram, and Kutai District in 1967. This exodus involved 35 household head, who then started a new life in Pampang, Sungai Siring Village, North Samarinda Sub district (at least 25 km from Samarinda). This site can be accessed by public transport of Pasar Segiri-Sungai Siring route.

Pampang is an option for tourists who crave to experience the cultural life of the Dayak Kenyah tribe in relatively short time. This place also offers cultural attractions: Kancet Punan Letto, Kancet Lasan (gong), Hudoq dance, Manyam Tali dance, Kancet Nyelama Sakai dance, Pemung Tawai dance, Burung Enggang dance, Leleng dance.

Tanah Merah Water Fall

Located approximately 14 km from the city center of Samarinda, precisely in Purwosari Village, North Samarinda Sub district, this site is the right place to have family leisure time because it has large open verandah to relax, shaded place under the tree, shops, large parking lot, open stage and bathing place. This place can be accessed by two-wheel and four-wheel vehicles and public transport that serves Pasar Segiri-Sungai Siring route.

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.


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.

East Kalimantan Tourism


Tenggarong is gaining popularity across East Kalimantan after the local government managed to build Planetarium Jagad Raya, an educational facility. It is just on the left side of Mulawarman Museum which is also a favorite destination. The 92 seatstheater of natural concept allows visitors to watch the objects in the sky.

Bangkirai Hill

Related to forest tourism, Tenggarong has Bangkirai Hill. This 1500 hectares hill serves as conservation park for ironwood (Eusiderosylon celebicum) – a rare Wood used for roof and wooden boat. This natural site has a fl ying canopy bridge of 30 meters height connecting 5 bangkirai trees. This conservation is well facilitated with air condition. It is also available jungle cabin which is a cottage with no electricity so that the tourists who spend the night there can feel the true jungle atmosphere.

Derawan Island


Marine Tourism in Derawan Island, Sangalaki Island and other islands East Kalimantan boasts Derawan Island in its vicinity. It so obvious that in these islands we have sea park with such breathtaking corals, ornamental fish, and dugongs as well as crabs, green turtle and natural pearl.

These islands have rich marine potentials. Its sea biota wealth is ranked the third position in the world. Derawan Island has abundant sea potentials. Its sea biota is in the third position in the world. Derawan Island since 1993 is managed by PT Bhumi Manimbora Interbuana with cottage facility, diving equipments, speed boat and restaurant. The islands of Sangalaki are managed by Sangalaki Dive Lorge, a Malaysian company cooperating with the government of Berau District. Find out for more info Diving in Indonesia.

Museum Tourism

Tuan Himba Wood Museum

Located in Panji Sukarame Dum Territory, about 3 km from the central of Tenggarong, this wood museum keep collection of diverse forest products, among others herbarium, seeds, wood logs typical of this island, wood processing tools, traditional kitchen tools and household appliance made of forest products of Kalimantan. The most interesting collections are two crocodiles that had preyed on humans. These dried crocodiles are of 5.5 m and 6 m long respectively. In 1996 those two animals had preyed on the victims in Sangatta (East Kutai District) and Muara Badak (Kutai Kartanegara) in a month time.

Sadurengas Museum

This museum occupies a house of the late Sultan named Aji Tenggara, one of the sultans of Paser Sultanate who reigned in 1844-1873. In the early 19th century, this building used to be a palace of Sultan Ibrahim Khaliludin. It is a traditional house which in Paser language is called “Kuta Imam duyu Kina Lenja” meaning a storeyhouse where leader reside. In this compound we also come across burial grounds especially for the kings of Sadurengas Kingdom and not far from there is also a Stone called “Batu Kilan” believed by the locals able to foresee their fortune. This museum houses collections of ancient earthenware jar/jug from the Yuan Dynasty in 12-13 AD, household appliances, art instruments, and clothing of the Paser Sultanate.

Mulawarman Museum

This majestic construction dominated by white color was designed by Estourgie of Hollandsche Beton Maatschappij (HBM), dated 1936 in the period of Sultan Adji Mohamad Parikesit administration. The collection of old coins used in time of the Dutch Indie, Japan up to the independent Indonesia administration. Before leaving this museum, the visitors are to pass through an underground room which keeps collection of hundreds of old ceramics from China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Europe and many others.


Typical food and cooking of East Kalimantan is so diverse and so affected by the local culture and by those of the newcomers like Dayak, Kutai, Banjar, Javanese and Bugis people. As a coastal area, the cities of East Kalimantan boast its fi rst class seafood; among others are kinds of crabs and anthropodes that like coconut.

A number of recommended restaurants serving those menus are Kenari Restaurant (with its Tarakan crab specialty), Dandito (soka crab or lemburi) and Tambora. All those restaurants are not far from Sepinggan Airport. For those who like to bring home this species as souvenir, wellpackaged sauce crab is ready to be taken home.

The other food equally delicious is the gangan asam patin (kind of fi sh meal with sour sauce), which has received some infl uence from the Malay cooking. The fi sh is sliced and marinated in tamarind paste, salt and a liter of water, and later spiced with grilled candlenut, shallots, grilled shrimp paste, lemon grass and red chili. All these spices are boiled in water. After boiling the spices the fi sh is then added. Restaurants in East Kalimantan serve this fi sh meal with warm rice.


* Derawan Islands * Sangalaki

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