Tourist guide to Balikpapan

Restaurant in Balikpapan

Restaurant in Balikpapan © Ridho Nur Imansyah/Flick

Balikpapan is a port city located in a region that is well known for its mining and oil exports. This region is known as East Kalimantan, and is located on the east coast of the Island of Borneo. The city of Balikpapan is the second largest city in demographic terms in East Kalimantan after Samarinda.

Many people know very less about this important city, so we decided to present a brief tourist guide to Balikpapan that includes the climate of the city, information about its airport and some historical facts that help us to understand the present development and the industry of the city.


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The climate of Balikpapan

The city of Balikpapan has a humid tropical climate. The average annual precipitation is 2,800 mm, and rains in about 110 days a year. The average annual temperature is 27 degrees Celsius, the city benefiting from a constant climate.

Sunset at the Melawai Beach in Balikpapan

Sunset at the Melawai Beach in Balikpapan ©Ridho Nur Imansyah/Flick

The airport of Balikpapan

The city has the second busiest airport in Borneo, called the SAMS Airport, which organizes both external and internal routes to the neighboring towns. Besides the airport, the city also has an important port, Semayang, serving to for trading with different cities.

Historical facts

From historical point of view, the city was originally a small isolated fishing village. In 1897 a small company that deals with oil refinery began to work in the city. Soon, a Dutch oil company arrived here, and with its arrival, the town of Balikpapan began to develop by building streets, offices, warehouses, wharves, and others.

Ferry Terminal in Balikpapan

Ferry Terminal in Balikpapan ©imageo/Flick

On January 24, 1942, a convoy of Japanese troops attacked the city of Balikpapan, but was attacked by four ships of the United States Army and 3 of the Japanese transports were sunk. Shortly after this conflict, the Japanese army landed in the city. After a short battle they managed to defeat the Dutch garrison. After they have taken the garrison, the Japanese began to kill many of the Europeans they captured.

The biggest conflict in the city of Balikpapan took place in 1958, when the city was attacked by the CIA, in order to stop the oil export. The United States organized a mission to remove Sukarno, the President of the government. They decided to support the rebels in Indonesia, along with Taiwan and the Philippines. With the one refinery that remained in the region after the conflict, Balikpapan became an important center of oil production. The Pertamina company opened its first office in the city, and then followed other subsidiaries of other oil companies. Many workers across Indonesia came to town to fill the jobs provided by the oil companies.

Restaurant in Balikpapan

Restaurant in Balikpapan © Ridho Nur Imansyah/Flick


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