EAST KALIMANTAN, A NATURE RESERVE
The second largest province in Indonesia, East Kalimantan is more than 70% covered by forests. The province is rich in resources and is a major producer of oil and timber. Here are found various species of orchids, including the Black Orchid. It is home to the longest river in Kalimantan, the Mahakam River.
Although East Kalimantan the most industrially advanced of the four Kalimantan provinces its population is less than two million. It is mainly inhabited by the Dayaks and Kutai who live in rural areas while the other ethnic groups – the kalimantannese, Chinese, Banjarese, Bugis and Malays – live in the coastal areas. Samarinda is East Kalimantans capital.
Geography: East Kalimantan is the widest province in Indonesia, and have a common border with West, Central and South Kalimantan.
Climate: The province enjoys sunny weather with year-round high temperatures, which peaks at more than 30°C. The weather is drier between June and October.
PLACES TO GO, THINGS TO DO
The provincial capital, which lies on the banks on the Mahakan River, is famous for its beautiful hand-made sarong (a large length of fabric often wrapped around the waist and worn as a kilt by men and as a skirt by women). The craft of making the sarong was brought by people who come from Sulawesi and Bugis tribes. It takes about three weeks to produce one sarong.
Balikpapan, the centre of Kalimantans oil industry, is also the gateway to East Kalimantan with air and sea connections to Jakarta and other major points in Indonesia. It has the second busiest airport in the nation after Jakarta due to its strategic position. As a modern town Balikpapan has star-rated hotels, restaurants and entertainment centres. The Balikpapan Shopping Centre, between Sudirman Street and Ahmad Yani Street, is popular with locals and tourists alike and is one of city symbols.
Tenggarong, up the Mahakam River from Samarinda, is the capital of the Kutai regency and was once the seat of the Kutai Sultanate. The Sultans palace, situated on the riverside, is now a museum where the old royal paraphernalia are kept, as well as an excellent collection of antique Chinese ceramics. Every 24 September the former palace becomes a stage of dance and music performances given to celebrate the towns anniversary.
Pampang Culture Tourism Area
Located about 20 kms from Samarinda this is the place to get an insight into the interesting culture of the Dayak Kenyah tribe. Every Sunday, from noon to evening, the Dayaks perform their traditional dances and perform their ritual customs in their lamin (traditional Dayaks longhouse).
This little settlement around Lake Jempang in the lake-studded East Kalimantan hinterland, has a lamin traditional Dayak longhouse that has been turned into a lodge for visitors. They are usually given a traditional Benuaq Dayak welcome. The trip to Tanjung Isuy over the Mahakam River is long but interesting, going past floating villages and scenic forests. Visitors may also have the opportunity to see a belian, or witch doctor, dressed in his skirt of leaves, curing his patients at night by performing the rites prescribed by ancestors to the frenzied accompaniment of gongs and drums. Many Benuaq Dayaks still prefer the old cures to the modern ones at government public health centers which are nearby.
Melak is a little village further upstream on the Mahakam River in the heart of the land of Tanjung Dayak. Not far from the village is the Kersik-Luway nature reserve, where the Black Orchid grows.