[This article has been published before at JakPost Travel on 29 April 2015]
Balikpapan a city in East Kalimantan is famous for its clean city in Indonesia. It also serves as headquarters for international oil and mining companies. But little do tourist knows that the city’s relaxing pace makes it a perfect destination to visit for family holiday. Here are our Balikpapan guide on how and what to do.
How To Get To Balikpapan
Most people arrive by air. There are frequent flights from Jakarta arriving at The New Sepinggan Airport. Travel to Balikpapan by car is accessible to visitors coming from Samarinda, Bontan, and Banjarmasin. People from Makassar, Pare-Pare, Tarakan, and other eastern parts of Indonesia can get to Balikpapan by Ferry at Semayang seaport.
There are mini bus or “angkot” according to the local for public transport. Getting around by taxi is not easy as there is rarely taxi in the street. It is recommended to call the taxi center to pick you up. The best way to get around is by renting a car. The price of one-day rent is IDR 500,000++ exclude gas for 8 hours.
What To Visit
- Kawasan Wisata Lingkungan Hidup (KWPLH) or Sun Bear Education and Conservation Center is home to 6 sun bears that were taken from the wild as cubs and some were kept illegally as pets. To visit the enclosure, visitor only needs to give donation to replace entrance fee. KWPLH is located 23 KM off the main road to Samarinda. There is approximately 1.3 hectares of secondary forest and surrounded by fences. For viewing opportunities, visitors can see from the visitor boardwalk.
- Kemala Beach is located in Jl. Jendral Sudirman, Balikpapan. To reach the destination there is public transport or angkot that serves daily. The destination terminal is Batu Ampar – Pelabuhan Semayang. Several food stalls are setup for visitor selling bread, instant noodle, and drinks.
- Pertamina Area. This area is not a tourist place but a compound for Pertamina, Indonesia’s biggest Oil and Gas Company. Located in Kilang Minyak Street is a place for Pertamina’s employee’s lives. It is recommended to do a drive in to see the neat complex and check out the oilrig from outside.
- Bukit Bangkirai is located 38KM at Jl. Soekarno Hatta or 58KM from the city of Balikpapan. The Bangkirai forest is famous among visitor for its canopy bridge. Stretching 64 meters at the height of more than 30 meters from the ground and connects 5 Bangkirai trees. The entrance fee to climb this bridge is IDR 25,000 (as of April 2015). To reach this place as the road is not smooth, it is recommended to rent a car for the 1.5 hours drive.
- Crocodile Breeding Area in Teritip. This place holds more than 3000 crocodiles. The entrance fee is IDR 15,000. Surrounded by fences and brick wall to protect visitor. This place serves Crocodile meat satay for just IDR 5,000 per satay. Open daily from 8AM to 5PM this 5-hectare area is quite famous for local to visit.
- Pasar Impres or Impres Market at Kebun Sayur is place to arrays of local craft from batik silk, clothes, and many more. Most famous for market to look for gems stones and jewelries. Pasar Impres is widely known among locals and expat. Use public transport to get to Batu Ampar terminal station.
- Seafood Dinner at Dandito’s
Famous for its array of seafood places, visitors should not miss the chance of eating the famous crab dishes in the city. One place that is well known and has been the destination for culinary seeker is Dandito’s located in Jl. Marsma Iswahyudi Gn. Bakaran, Balikpapan. The special menu is the King Crab with Dandito’s Special Sauce price at IDR 175,000 – IDR 185,000. For someone who not likes crab you can choose other seafood such as calamari (IDR 75,000++), Soft Shell Crab (IDR 85,000++), and more. Drinks start from IDR 10,000 for tea to IDR 20,000++ for fresh juices. Most commonly visitor would bring the crab and packaged it to bring as gifts and it is suitable for air travel.
Phone: 0542 – 764367
Address: Jl. Marsma Iswahyudi Gn. Bangkaran, Balikpapan. Indonesia
- Breakfast at Mantaw Goreng Canton Coffee Shop
Arriving early in the city is the perfect time to taste your palate for a local brunch. Mantaw Goreng Canton Coffee Shop located in Jl. Jendral Sudirman No. 101, Balikpapan is one of local destination to taste the fresh black coffee. Howerver, nowadays people come here to taste their famous chicken pao (IDR 8,000), and array of porridges such as Samarinda Porridge, Manado Porridge, Fish Porridge (IDR 15,000 – IDR IDR 25,000), and Hainan Chicken Rice (IDR 25,000++). The area of the shop can hold approximately 30 to 40 people in one time. This family place is open from Monday to Saturday from 7AM to 4PM and Sunday from 7AM to 2PM.
Phone: (0542) 732033
Adress: Jl. Jendral Sudirman No. 101, Balikpapan
- Lunch at Warung Soto Kuin Abduh
This stall or warung is famous for it’s Soto Banjar dish. According to the locals, every Ied Fitr day, Balikpapan people like to serve their guest with Soto Banjar dish and some of them order their food from here. The price for 1 Soto Banjar with rice is approximately IDR 15,000++. Located on the side of Jl. Jendral Ahmad Yani, Balikpapan, this warung could serve about 15 to 20 people at one time.
Address: Jl. Jendral Ahmad Yani, Balikpapan