The Indonesian province of South Kalimantan is one which is located on Borneo Island and native to the Banjar tribe which make up the majority of the population still holding a rich indigenous culture. Encompassing some of the worlds most stunning wildlife and rich equatorial rainforest, visitors will be spoilt for choice with activities and adventures above and below the water. Kalimantan makes up two-thirds of the Borneo Islands and is well known for its tropical rainforest, rich natural resources and exotic flora and fauna. With a population of over four million people influencing the area, the variety of cultures are what gives South Kalimantan its distinct charm. The bustling capital Banjarmasin also named the city of a thousand rivers for the way it rests over a multitude of canals is a centre point for exploration to absorb all the region has to offer.
The indigenous people of the area is the Banjar tribe consisting of three major groups and cover the area which is divided into two distinct regions by Mount Meratus sitting in the middle. The landscape to the south is primarily low land and rivers which run through mangrove swamps along the coast. Its this natural run through of water which provides South Kalimantan’s fertile soil from which produce is grown and sold at the many floating markets each morning. Boats laden with bananas, yams, spinach, coconuts, spices and shrimp slowly make their way around the river with merchants and farmers plying their seasonal goods.
The drier climate means trekking and orangutan watching is at its best here and why Tanjung Puting is one of the natural wonders of the world and famous for its orangutan conservation.
A vast dense rainforest which spans over four thousand square kilometres. The best way to get up close is by travelling down the Sekonyer River by Klotok. A traditional river houseboat used by locals to transport goods. Here you can get a great view of the animals in rehabilitation and many other jungle creatures some endemic to Borneo including the dutch ape and water buffalo along the Amadit river.
On the outskirts of the capital city of Banjarmasin, local markets produce and trade Borneo’s most valuable commodities including diamonds and other precious stones mined in Borneo and traditionally weaved fabrics made by the indigenous Banjar ethnic group both of which are globally recognised for their quality and rarity.
March to October is the dry season, so you are likely to experience smaller amounts of rain. This is the peak time, and also the best time to see orangutans in the wild. April to December is considered the best time to dive, with July and August having the best visibility, sometimes up to 40 metres. March to May is the best time to see whale sharks. June to September is the best time to see turtles on Lankayan Island.