Kalimantan, Most Visited Holiday Destinations in Asia

by Jane Sophia

Learn all about Kalimantan Indonesia, the major portion of the island of Borneo, why it is the most visited holiday destination in Asia, how can you spend your vacation in Kalimantan, where you can stay, etc in this travel blog post.

Kalimantan Map

Kalimantan has too many exciting places to see that include:

  • Tropical Rainforest
  • Lush green mountains
  • Asia’s number one place to a big range of birds and animals
  • Encounter with tribes
  • Trekking
  • Kayaking
  • River rafting
  • Night market
  • Floating market
  • River cruises
  • Orangutan tracking


Overview of Kalimantan

First, see the map below for a quick and easy understanding of Kalimantan’s position in Borneo Island.

Kalimantan Map

The whole area in the map is Borneo and Kalimantan occupies roughly 70% of Borneo. Since Kalimantan is too large an area, it is divided into five zones namely:

  • East Kalimantan
  • West Kalimantan
  • Central Kalimantan
  • South Kalimantan
  • North Kalimantan

Have you noticed the names, “Malaysia” and “Brunei” in the map above? It means, the entire island of Borneo, the world’s third-largest single island is owned by three different countries that include:

Now that you know where exactly Kalimantan is located, let us find out how to reach Kalimantan.

At the outset, you should know some of the important cities of Kalimantan. They are given below.

  • Balikpapan
  • Palangkaraya.
  • Banjarmasin
  • Tanjung Selor.
  • Samarinda.
  • Pontianak.
  • Tarakan

As I already mentioned above, Kalimantan is a very large area comprising a whopping 580k sq.km, all its important cities are serviced by flights from Indonesia’s Jakarta.

Similarly, you can easily find flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur also. You only have to decide where do you want to land in Kalimantan. I mean, decide the city of your destination and look for flights from Indonesian cities, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.


Do you know as many as seventy-four languages are spoken in Kalimantan alone? Dayak and Minnan are two examples of spoken languages in it.

So, how do you go to see all the stunningly beautiful places of Kalimantan?

Beautiful places of Kalimantan

It is no use to depend on any public transportation, as it is time-consuming to travel in Kalimantan. Based on your interest such as wildlife tour, bird watching, Orangutan safari, you have to join any organized safari or tour such as:

  • River Safari
  • Elephant safari
  • Orangutan safari
  • Jungle walk

Now, you know where is Kalimantan located and how to get there. Let us start looking at the places to see in and things to do there.

Remember, Borneo is rather expensive because of the number of visitors it attracts every day. So, join a recognized and reputed tour operator of Kalimantan, Indonesia.

  • Orangutan River Cruise

What else can be the best way to see one of the world’s most protected ape “Orangutan”? They live only in the forests of Malaysia and Indonesia. Orangutan can easily be spotted and fed in the lush tropical rainforests of Kalimantan. There are a handful of Orangutan river cruise operators in various parts of it. Join a bunch of enthusiastic tourists but keep your silence even after you come face to face with a giant orangutan who would simply gaze at you as if you are just a nobody. You are unimportant to it until you extend a banana to him.

The orangutan river cruise shows how lush green the jungle can be on either side of the Kalimantan river. As the group of tourists is led into the jungle full of Sal and Bamboo trees, they will come across the silent orangutans. Never ever miss out on an orangutan river cruise in Kalimantan, Borneo. It will be a lifetime experience, the sights, and the food on board.

Your boatman and the guide will belong to the Dayak tribe. It will be very interesting to talk to them.

  • Proboscis Monkey

Proboscis Monkey

There are a few more than 20 species of Primate in Borneo forests, the chief among them is the Orangutan and Proboscis. The proboscis is a rare primate that you do not come across even in Africa. Maybe they live in the Rainforests of Amazon.

These primates look odd with their long nose-shaped without a shape. The fur is quite thick. It is certainly a very rare sight of wildlife.

  • A houseboat cruise in River Kumai

There is no offer to stay in the houseboat but you are shown around the habitats of the exotic wildlife of Borneo on this houseboat for an hour or so. You can spot elephants, orangutan, proboscis primates, giant hornbills, woodpeckers, parakeets of mind boggling hues, reptiles, and insects.

During this river cruise, you will first ride on River Kumai and then the Sekonyer River.

There are orangutan river cruises for a longer duration in a houseboat. In such cases, you are given a luxury bedroom in the houseboat itself.

  • Tanjung Putting National Park

You saw that national park in the above houseboat trip. This is the primary national park in Kalimantan where you can see the orangutan in large numbers.

The orangutan conservation and research center is part of the Tanjung Putting National Park which is now a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Wildlife that you can see in Tanjung Putin National Park:

  • Orangutan
  • Proboscis monkey
  • Red Monkey
  • Clouded Leopard
  • Sun Bear

The warm water rivers happily hosts dangerous crocodiles and snakes.

  • Balikpapan

Kalimantan, Balikpapan

Get away from jungles and crocodiles and let us move into a very large city Balikpapan. It is a coastal city with excellent beaches that wear white sand.

Where can you buy souvenirs and gifts in Kalimantan?

In addition, tourists who are looking to buy some Indonesian and Malaysian handicrafts and jewelries are advised to visit Balikpapan’s Kebun Sayur shopping mall, Pentacity Mall Balikpapan, and Balcony City.

  • Meratus Mountains, South Kalimantan

Meratus Mountains, South Kalimantan

The Meratus Mountain range runs through the city of Banjarmasin. It is a popular trekking landmark in South Kalimantan. The scenery will steal your heart.

There is a waterway in Banjarmasin and cruise down the canal is enjoyable.

  • Derawan Islands archipelago, East Kalimantan

Derawan Islands archipelago, East Kalimantan

The Derawan Islands are located in the East Kalimantan bordering the Malaysian side of Borneo Island.

There are thirty-one islands in all but not all are inhabited. The most compulsive sightseeing option in Derawan Islands are the caves that are believed to be interconnected and all of them will open out on the Sulawesi Sea.

If you are a marine creature enthusiast, you will be delighted to spot some rare marine life such as scorpionfish, sea horses, blue-ringed octopus, and stingless jellyfish.

Watch below the Blue-ringed Octopus.

The Derawan Islands have several diving spots and the most popular diving spot is the “Blue Trigger Wall”.

  • Banjarmasin Floating Market

This is certainly a very colorful floating market in Banjarmasin city, capital of South Kalimantan.

Fruits and vegetables are heaped on bamboo baskets and sold on fast-moving catamarans. The bountiful sight is rich to look at.

  • Danau Sentarum National Park

danau sentarum national park

It’s a swamp that you see above surrounded by lush foliage comprising myriad bushes and trees. It looks as if it supports a large species of marine life. It must be haven for aquatic birds, snakes, crocodiles and moths.

The large tract of water bodies are fed by as many as 20 lakes!

Wildlife recorded in Danau Sentarum National Park, Kalimantan are:

  • Orangutan
  • Crocodiles
  • Proboscis monkey
  • Asian Arowana fish
  • Scleropages fish
  • Great ArgusGreat ArgusOMG! What a bird! I have never seen such a gorgeous bird.
  • Storm’s Stork


  • Kutai National Park

This bio-rich green-space is part of the East Kalimantan. It seems you require more than a week to see the full splendor of Kalimantan. The park has several rivers flowing throwing it, thus again making it rich in wildlife including the shy orangutan.

Here are some more top tourist places to see. If only you have the time, you would have a fantastic vacation in Kalimantan, Borneo Island, Indonesia.

  • White Mountain
  • Sembuku Sembakung National Park
  • Kakaban Island
  • Sesayap River Protected Forest
  • Samboja Lodge
  • Pontianak

Kalimantan is undoubtedly one of the topmost vacation spots in Asia for wildlife tours, forest walks, tropical river cruises, and delectable Indonesia fare.

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