EAST KALIMANTAN (Kalimantan Timur)
The Banjarese and Kutainese are mostly the coastal population, living in towns and cities. The Dayak peoples form the overwhelming majority of the population of the hinterland, who live in longhouses called umaq daru. It is customary for one whole extended family or even one clan to occupy one long house. Each family is given a separate compartment with the chief of the clan occupying the central chamber. Guardian statues are normally placed in front of the long house to protect it against evil spirits who bring disease and bad fortune. Such longhouses, however, are gradually disappearing and many have been converted into meeting halls or stages for dance and music performances. The Dayaks are also known for their artistry, making beautiful cloths and ornaments for their traditional houses. The Tunjung Dayaks still make a kind of cloth called doyo, which is woven from certain plant fibres, used in the past in rituals. These are now offered for sale to visitors. Oil and natural gas are found along the entire east coast, with refineries centred at Balikpapan and Bontang.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Samarinda is the capital of the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan (Kalimantan Timur). The city lies
on the banks of the Mahakam River. The name Samarinda originates from the description of the way in
which the Buginese houses were constructed. At that time the custom was that all houses were
built on a raft and generally had the same height. This had important social relevance, symbolising
equality between residents; no one's house, and therefore, no person, was seen as higher or lower than
another. The settlement was named 'Samarenda', meaning 'equal in height'. After hundreds of years
of use, the pronunciation of the name changed slightly and the city became known as Samarinda.
Balikpapan, the centre of Kalimantan's oil industry is also the gateway to East Kalimantan with air and sea connections to Jakarta and other major points in Indonesia. Even the trip to Samarinda, begins in Balikpapan. Living up to its importance, Balikpapan has a number of good hotels, including one of international standard, as well as recreation facilities. It has the second busiest airport in the nation after Jakarta, due to its strategic position.
Berau and Marine Tourism on Derawan island
Found here are the remains of a king called the Keraton Gunung Tambur and The Keraton Sambaliung. Historic objects can be seen here. Derawan island is about 3 hours by a long boat from Tanjung Redep (The Capital of Berau Regency) or via Tarakan.
There are many rare animals such as the green turtle, the scarlet turtle, star fruit turtle and sea cow. Also of interest are rare species of marine plants, coral reefs, iguanas, sea birds, crab and the location for pearl diving.
It is also excellent for scuba diving, fishing, swimming, and other water sports.
Located in the regency of Kutai with an area of about 200 000 ha, Bontang has rare flora and fauna. The Kutai National Park near Bontang is worth visiting for the wonderful scenery, especially at Beras Basah.
Bulungan is the place for the adventure-seeking visitor. You will also find ancient remains, art collections and traditional ceremonies, with a background of beautiful panoramas of the jungle and mountains.
Tanah Merah Indah - Lempake
Dayak near Tenggarong
Each year on 24 September, the former palace becomes a stage of dance
and music performances given to celebrate the town's anniversary.
Melak - Kersik Luway
Kersik Luway is a desert in the heart of a dense, tropical forest.
The desert of Kersik Luway is located in the hinterland of East Kalimantan, in the heart of Borneo. It is actually a plateau on the upper reaches of the Mahakam river, about 300 kilometres to the West of Samarinda.
White soft sand covered by shrubs and tall grass. Clumps of trees with yellowish leaves blanketed in the afternoon mist. This is Kersik Luway Nature Reserve from a distance. Kersik Luway is similar to a green oasis in the middle of a desert, which could be found in Africa and in the Middle East. The most beautiful scene is the spread of natural and unique orchids grown under the clumps of trees. Kersik Luway is home to hundreds of East Kalimantan's wild orchids which are now on the verge extinction as forests succumb to deforestation and forest fires. As you enter the reserve you will be struck with amazement at its beauty.
Located about 18 kilometres from Melak, in the West Kutai regency, Kersik Luway is a conservation area occupying about 5,000 hectares of land (this area seems to vary from 2000 to 5000 ha depending on the source of the information - if anyone is able to confirm one way or another, please let us know!). Near the entrance to the reserve, on some 400 hectares of land, are 70 species of East Kalimantan's wild orchids. Previously, it had around 80 species but 10 of them were destroyed in a forest fire in 1997.
The reserve owes its popularity to its rare Black Orchid (Coelogyne pandurata), found only in this region. Growing in shrubs, the Black Orchid blossoms between April and December. In fact, that is the best period to visit the reserve when all the orchids are in full bloom and all you can see is a plethora of colourful orchids. The dark-black orchid is the emblem of Kalimantan.
Forest fires remain the main threat to the reserve. Kersik Luway, according to the reserve's forest rangers, has been hit by forest fires four times. The first was in 1982, then 1994, 1997 and 2000.
Signs of the fires are still evident. Charcoal tree barks can be seen standing, while tall grass and shrubs dominate the vast landscape. Despite the scars, the reserve still holds its beauty.
Kersik Luway, according to the Dayak people, is used as a worshipping place. Hundreds of years ago, Kersik Luway was a holy place of the Tunjung and Benuaq Dayak people. The magical and quiet nuances have made it sacred.
Traditional people who inhabit Kersik Luway, do not dare to look for wood, to hunt, or carry out any exploitative activities. The native people consider the place as the home of their ancestors which sacred, and the silence may not be disgraced. This is probably the reason why the desert is called Kersik Luway, which in the native language means "the peaceful sand". Kersik Luway is a unique and exotic region, its beautiful nature is not yet well known.
To get there, you can travel along the Mahakam River by a car or taxi, or travel to Samarinda and then to Tenggarong. From Tenggarong, continue further to Malak. The road trip is along an incredibly uncomfortable bumbpy road. As well as getting there by road, you can also take a boat; it takes a full day and night to reach the site by river (in excess of 24 hours). While travelling along the river, you can enjoy the life of the river, with fishing and farming villages along the Mahakam River.
Muara Ancalong - Muara Wahau
Dances of the Kenyah Dayak are often performed here for visitors at a traditional longhouse. Also various handicrafts can be viewed and purchased.
Photographs courtesy of Asmat (Saham Longhouse), Mimi of Vitual Tourist (Mahakam River and Lamin House), Ieke Vierdag - www.dayak.nl (Tanjung Isuy), Williewonker (Melak) - see his photos at www.flickr.com/photos/87791108@N00, Alain Secretan "asitrac" (Black Orchid)
Much of the Information on this page has been derived from various Indonesian Embassy links, Information about Kersik Luway from Radio Republic Indonesia and Frank B. Yuwono of Jakarta Post