Tourist attractions in East Kalimantan or East Borneo

Derawan Island in East Kalimantan

Derawan Island in East Kalimantan ©NeilsPhotography/Flick

Known as one of the major oil deposits and timber producer, East Kalimantan is the most industrial area of the Island of Borneo and the second largest province of Indonesia.

The original inhabitants of the island are the orang gunung, the mountain people. The group of people is collectively known as the dayaks, but this term is not accepted by many indigenous people, they rather try to define their cultural identity with the special name of their smaller community – such as iban, punan and benuaq. The local ethnic groups are traditionally living in community “Long Houses”, called Lamin or Umaq Darun.


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The long houses are sometimes standing on three meters high wood piles to protect them against the wild animals and the flood. The spaces of the families in the long houses are separated from the community areas. This latter is the place of the village meetings and ceremonies by which periodically strengthen the community bonds compensating effects of the rapidly changing world in the 21st century.

The city of Samarinda

Samarinda is the center of the province of East Kalimantan, its beautiful sarong worldwide famous. In the park of the Mulawarmani University is a school forest including a 62.4-hectare large botanical garden located at 12 km from the city to the north. It is a modest city, but the travalers are awaited by comfortable hotels.

Samarinda in East Kalimantan

Samarinda in East Kalimantan ©M. Kelley/Flick

Tanah Merah Indah – Lempake

In the leisure park of Tanah Merah Indah – Lempake at 16 km from the city of Samarinda is a beautiful waterfall. It is easily accessible by car or bus and is a beautiful tourist attraction in East Kalimantan.


Balikpapan is the center of the Kalimantan oil industry and also a major transportation hub; aviation and maritime services link the region to Jakarta and other big cities of the country. Balikpapan has many good hotels and sports courses, including internationally recognized places as well. The city has the second busiest airport in the country after Jakarta.

The airport of Balikpapan

The airport of Balikpapan ©Brian Harrington Spier/Flick

The museum in Tenggarong

Tenggarong is today the center of the Kuta regency, once being the seat of the Kuta Sultanate. The Sultan’s palace built on the river is now a museum, where is kept the ancient royal regalia and a fine antique Chinese ceramics collection. There are Dayak statues in the garden. The interesting thing about the regalia is that they strongly remind us of the ones found in the Javanese courts. On every 24th of September 24, on the foundation anniversary of the city, the former palace is the scene of music and dance events.

Two beautiful islands

The Derawan and the Sangalaki Islands can be reached in three hours with long boats if you go from Tanjung Redep to the north. They are an important tourist attraction in East Kalimantan. Many rare animals live on the island: the green turtle, the scarlet turtle, the carambola turtle and the sea cow. The marine environment of the two islands is fabulously rich as well: corals, canary crabs, green turtles and pearls can be seen in the water.

Derawan Island in East Kalimantan

Derawan Island in East Kalimantan ©NeilsPhotography/Flick

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