SOUTH KALIMANTAN (Kalimantan Selatan)
South Kalimantan is one of the 4 provinces in Kalimantan (formerly called Borneo).
It is often called the Province of a Thousand Rivers. One is Barito River, the largest and the longest river in South Kalimantan, and one of the longest in Indonesia at more than 600 km in length. One of its tributary rivers is the Martapura River, which in turn has two tributary rivers of its own, the Riam Kanan and Riam Kiwa Rivers. Barito connects with the Negara River which branches out into lesser rivers.
The population of the country consists of Javanese, Maduranese, Banjau, Bugenese, Chinese and Arabs. The culture and traditions are a real mix of the indigenous Dayaks, Malays, and Javanese, together with the influence of Islam which was introduced by Arab and Persian traders. This can be seen from the people’s way of life, especially in arts, such as dance and music, traditional dress, games and ceremonies.
Handicrafts are made from local raw materials. Jewellery made of precious and semi-precious stones are mostly made and sold in Martapura. Rattan and bamboo weaving are from the Tapin district, handicrafts made of gold, silver, brass and iron are from the Hulu Sungai Selatan region. Sasirangan is a specific textile design where its dyeing is a specialty of South Kalimantan. The designs and method are different from those of other parts of Indonesia.
The high rainfall and adequate sunshine have made South Kalimantan fertile. Extensive forests with a large variety of trees make South Kalimantan one among the largest timber producers in Indonesia. The region is well-known for its iron-wood, meranti, pinus and rubber.
South Kalimantan is connected with cities all over Indonesia through Syamsuddin Noor airport which is 25 km from Banjarmasin. This airport serves 737s, DC-9s and smaller aircraft. Airlines serving Banjarmasin are Garuda, Merpati Nusantara, Bouraq, Sempati and Dirgantara Air Service (DAS). The main runway was to be lengthened to 2400 metres to allow larger wide bodies aircraft to land. The work should have been completed in 2006.(we are not certain if the work is complete at this stage – if anyone has further information, please let us know)
South Kalimantan can also be reached through the seaport of Trisakti and Banjarmasin harbour. Plenty of good roads access towns in Kalimantan.
If waterways are preferable, go by boat along large rivers which head in almost every direction.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Banjarmasin and its surroundings
Banjarmasin, which is nicknamed “River City”, is the capital, and is the centre of trade and tourism. It lies at the delta of the Barito River. A number of rivers various sizes and lengths wind their way through and around the city. The major rivers are Martapura and Nagara. Local people build traditional floating houses called “lanting”, along the rivers. The lanting face the rivers, and are made of wood or bamboo. Rivers have been very important for business and economic activities. This is one reason why there are floating markets everywhere.
The Barito River in Banjarmasin
Making trips along the mighty Barito and Martapura rivers by “klotok boat” or river bus will provide you with a unique experience. A speedboat can be hired for longer trips.
Banjarmasin has developed into an industrial and tourism city, and provides a number of internationally rated hotels.
This island lies in the Barito River, not far from a floating market. It is a conservation forest of about 60 hectares, inhabited by tame monkeys found only in Kalimantan, one of which is known as “bekantan” (nasalis larvatus). The island is mostly visited by Chinese Indonesians, as there is a small offering temple where the monkeys are fed. It is believed that feeding the monkeys will bring good luck an fortune.
Monkeys at the Chinese Temple on Kembang Island
Like Kembang island, Kaget island also lies in the Barito River. From the centre of Banjarmasin it takes about 1 1/2 hours by klotok boat or 1 hour by speedboat to get there. This island is another forest conservation area and is also inhabited by the “bekantan” monkeys and the Lutung (prebitis orisate), as well as a wide variety of birds.
Diamond Digging at Cempaka & Martapura
Cempaka is a small village 10 km from Banjarbaru, and 45 minutes from Banjarmasin. It is an old site of traditional diamond digging using very simple equipment. The digging is a collective work by a group, usually consisting of one family and its close relatives.
In 1985 a large raw diamond of 116.7 carats was found in a 15 metre deep mine shaft.
Martapura is a finishing centre for diamonds and precious stones, and is also the centre of diamond marketing. The town is 40 km from Banjarmasin. The polishing work uses traditional as well as modern equipment.
Diamond Mining in Cempaka
The diamonds an other jewellery is marketed at Martapura Plaza. Stone-craft of various origins and forms are easily found in the markets of Martapura. The price of jewellery ranges from as little as Rp.500, up to millions of rupiahs.
Takisung Beach lies about 10 km West of Pleihari. Folk entertainment is available, and there is a hotel and a play area for children.
Hulu Sungai Tourist Resort
Hulu Sungai is a vast region in the northern part of the province. Most areas here are swamps, but the eastern part is mountainous.
Loksado is at the South Hulu Sungai district whose capital is Kandangan, and lies about 3 hours by car from Banjarmasin. The road is good, however, from Kandangan to Loksado, the road goes as far as Halunuk, a small village. Then the trip continues by motor cycle which takes a single passenger over a narrow foot-path.
The natural surroundings of the hilly region provide attractive sights for those who enjoy hiking and mountaineering. On the way, meet the local people with their original ways and cross the river on a suspension bridge.
Adventure River Rafting
The Amandit River which originates at Meratus runs through Loksado and meets the mighty Barito River further down.
Visitors usually use the river to get back after visiting Loksado. Those who enjoy rafting may venture the trip through numerous rocky rapids by traditional rafts made of bamboo or by rubber rafts. The river trip starts at Loksado, 45 kilometres from Kandangan. If a motorcycle ride is preferred, it takes about 4 hours. Those who enjoy trekking through the forests of the hill, the trip takes 8-10 hours.
If you want to take a river trip, start from Loksado to Batu Laki which is 56 km away. The trip can be made in two stretches. The first is from Loksado to Muara Hatip. The second is from Muara Hatip to Batu Laki.
The first stretch is not very challenging because the rapids are not very strong and ranks as grade 1 to 2 1/2. On the second one, the level of difficulty increases, while the rapids are higher and stronger at grade 3, such as Hawangan and Kandihin at the mouth of the river Muara Haring. The panorama along the river is fascinating.
Bamboo Rafting on the Amandit River
Photographs courtesy of “Lovelos” (Sweden – www.pbase.com/lovelos/kalimantan) and Liono Setiowijoso, and Ken Ratihn (bamboo rafting)
Much of the Information on this page has been derived from various Indonesian Embassy links,