An insight into Kalimantan

In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo,  while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo. Kalimantan makes up 2/3 of the island and is well known for its tropical forests, rich natural resources, and exotic flora and fauna, offering a unique, unexplored world. Originally inhabited by the Dayak, it is now home to 10 million inhabitants with a variety of culture. The indigenous Dayaks, or the Orang Gunung (Mountain People), traditionally live in longhouses called Lamin or Umaq Daru that can house as many as 50 people. Once known as headhunters, the tribe consists of many sub-tribes such as Iban, Punan and Banuaq. The arrival of newcomers has given this land a rich cultural mixture of Dayak, Malay, Chinese, Javanese plus religious influence of Islamic teachings and Hinduism.

Rivers play an important role in communication and economy of the inhabitants. Most of community life are centered along rivers: houses, activities, etc. For the adventurous, there are many options to satisfy that desire: rafting or traveling along some of the world's most beautiful and challenging rivers, trekking through traditional villages and jungles, or take a safari trip in one of the many national parks.

There are four provinces: East, South, Central and West each having their own governor.

East Kalimantan
Home to the longest river in Kalimantan, the Mahakam river, where freshwater dolphin can be found, East Kalimantan is growing to be an industrially advanced area. This is contributed by its position as a major producer of oil and timber, and as the second largest province in Indonesia. Also home to Kalimantan's indigenous inhabitant, the Dayaks, in this province we can find many of Dayak cultural materials. 80 percent of this province is covered by forest.

South Kalimantan
This rich, fertile province is divided into two distinct regions by the Meratus mountains. The eastern part is mostly covered with mountains and dense tropical forest, while the southern part has more rivers and lowlands. The abundance of forests with their wide variety of trees has helped make this province one of the largest wood producers in Indonesia. The rich, unique natural resources found on this land can be seen from the exquisite traditional and commercial handicrafts which are completely made from local raw material. Some of the most exciting ways to experience all this is by backpacking over hills and racing down river on bamboo rafts.

Central Kalimantan
Covering an area of 153,800 square kms and consisting mostly of dense jungles, this is the largest province of the island. The terrain includes mountainous area in the northern part, dense tropical forest in the central, and swampy area with many rivers crisscrossing the southern part. Like other parts of the island, it has tropical climate with temperature ranging from 26 C to 30 C in day time and 15 - 20 C on nights, and average humidity of 70 - 90%.

West Kalimantan
The nickname 'land of the equator' earned by this province is contributed by the geographic position of its capital, Pontianak, which lies exactly on the equator. Covering an area of 146,807 square km, the province has swampy low plains containing many rivers, lakes and villages, often linked by bridges. Once an important cultural crossroads, and because of its strategic location in the trade route of neighboring countries, this province is easily accessible from Jakarta and Singapore. Like other Kalimantan provinces, this land is also rich of unexplored natural resources, such as minerals and precious stones.


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