Welcome to the forth of ‘WHAT’S IN SOUTHEAST ASIA?‘ blog series.
Last week I posted about East Timor and what you could do in East Timor.
Now, I’m gonna show you the forth country to see in Southeast Asia, which is Indonesia!
According to WIKIPEDIA
Indonesia, officially Republic of Indonesia is a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country located mainly in Southeast Asia with some territories in Oceania. Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is the world’s largest island country, with more than thirteen thousand islands.It has an estimated population of over 260 million people and is the world’s fourth most populous country, the most populous Austronesian nation, as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country. The world’s most populous island of Java contains more than half of the country’s population.
Indonesia have a lot of diversity such as, languages, cultures, religions, and historical things that still haven’t found nor expose yet. No wonder, if you traveling to Indonesia and go to some place in the same island, they would speak different languages. For example, I stay in Jakarta in and it located in Java Island. From Jakarta to Bogor is about 45 minutes by train and when I reach there, they speak in Sunda language. Or if I go to Central Java, they would speak in Javenese language but Central Java area. But, everyone could speak in Bahasa Indonesia since Bahasa Indonesia is our officially language. Indonesian also sometimes speak english but mostly youngster do that.
What can you do in Indonesia?
Perhaps when you’ve heard about Indonesia or when you’re do some searching about Indonesia for your next destination in Southeast Asia, Bali, Lombok, Komodo Island, and Raja Ampat would be the top lists or showing in the first list you’ve search on Google. I admit, it really nice and fantastic but sometimes I guess a lot of foreigner or tourists don’t know that Indonesia isn’t only Bali or Lombok. And yes, Bali is like a full package and so much tourist (mostly Australian, because it’s very close) going there. But you know what? Forget Bali, Lombok, and Komodo Island for a minutes while you’re scrolling here. I’m gonna show you another beauty in Indonesia and it’s in Kalimantan (most people called it Borneo) and Maluku island.
Why Kalimantan and Maluku island?
Well, first of all Kalimantan is where I was born and raised for 18 years. And yes, I’m from West Kalimantan. It’s like a connection to your homeland and you’d like to tell the world,
“Hei! We have a lot of potential here. Why don’t you come and make the local economy growing?”
To be noted, we’re from Kalimantan isn’t Malaysian. I mean, we do share island but doesn’t mean we are Malaysian. It just, people know Borneo as Malaysia, even Malaysia only have ¼ of island ( I guess), still Kalimantan or Borneo is Indonesia and Malaysia and Brunei.
For Maluku, they really have a lot of beautiful traditional songs (I learned it since 11th grade). And Maluku also have a lot of potential to be explore. That’s why I choose Kalimantan and Maluku island.
NB: Indonesia using rupiah or IDR as their currency.
About Kalimantan, I have a lot of things to say but I guess it’s gonna be bored you to death. So, I’m gonna go to the tourist spot directly. Kalimantan is known for it’s forest or jungle or woods (whatever you call it) and yes, we do have a lot of trees. But, we are people who’s knowing technology either. Some stigma and stereotype always hit us that, when people knowing us from Kalimantan, they would asking about the tribes and how cannibalism we are. I mean, I’m from Kalimantan and haven’t meet cannibalism life or eat another human yet. And I know internet like you, in fact I’m writing this blog tell the world that I’m proud and not a man from the stigma and stereotype you’ve heard.
Back to the tourist spot, to be honest I kind of confuse to show what’s in Kalimantan that you could enjoy. I mean we have a lot, but I just want to show the best one (doesn’t mean the others aren’t). So, I choose East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan to become a Kalimantan representative of tourist spot. Why not West Borneo, my own hometown? The answer is gonna be next time in next project (finger cross!), so here they are!
East Kalimantan is the widest province in Indonesia, broadly region is about 245,237.80 Km2 or about one a half point of Java Island and Madura or 11 % from Indonesia region wide total. Located of the province is located on Kalimantan Island (Borneo). The capital province in Samarinda City. This province abuts on direct with neighboring state, that is Sabah and Sarawak, East Malaysia.
To get to East Kalimantan from Tawau in Malaysia. From Tawau there is a boat to Tarakan. From there another one to Nunukan in Berau district. You need a visa to enter Indonesia on that port (Visa on arrival is not available) but there is an consulate in Tawau which seems to do visas quite quick.
What can you do in East Kalimantan?
The Derawan Islands are in the province of East Kalimantan in Indonesia. They include Derawan, Sangalaki, Kakaban, Maratua, Panjang, and Samama Island and submerged reefs and islets.
Derawan islands is a part of Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth. Located in a biodiversity hotspot, the Derawan Islands feature 872 species of reef fishes, 507 species of coral, and invertebrates, including protected species (5 giants clam species, 2 sea turtles, coconut crab, etc.). Some of the islands harbor the heavily exploited turtle eggs and yet the largest green turtle nesting site in Indonesia.
Derawan is a fishing island about three hours by speedboat from Berau that has developed as a dive resort. Stilted guesthouses suspended over turquoise water, manta rays with seven-metre wingspans and friendly locals are all part of its charm: this is an island that time forgot.
To reach Derawan, SilkAir flies from Singapore to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. Or you can take a flight from Jakarta, Surabaya or Denpasar to Balikpapan or Tarakan. Then take a connecting flight to Tanjung Redeb in Berau. From here, boats will take you to the islands.
Over the last 10 years, turtles have been tagged, and the volume of eggs they lay has been carefully monitored. If you want to get involved during your stay, head to Losmen Danakan, where the Turtle Conservation Group is based.
Kakaban island is part of the Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The island has an area of 774.2 hectares and is quite steep. Its limestone cliffs are covered with dense jungle right down to the water’s edge. The most distinctive feature is the huge brackish water lake in the middle of the island, in the local dialect Kakaban means “hug” as the island hugs the lake from the surrounding seawater.
There are only three places in the world where you can safely swim with stingless jellyfish! One is Palau, Philippines and the other two are in Indonesia which are Kakaban island, East Kalimantan and Togean island, Central Sulawesi. When you dive into the lake, there are a lot of creatures (good one) that really made your day, such as stingless jellyfish for sure. The jellyfish consist of four different species which do not have the ability to harm humans with their stinging cells.
The lake is at most 17 metres deep with poor visibility and is 10 minutes walk from the beach. Kakaban was probably uplifted during the Holocene and sea water was trapped turning the area and formed a landlocked marine lake. The water is now a mixture of salt water and sweet water from the rain and it is called as freshwater.
Apart the lake, in Kakaban island also have Barracuda Point and Blue Light Cave. Barracuda Point is a steep wall, where the current brings large pelagics like whitetip sharks, leopard sharks, jack, tuna, snapper and barracuda. Drift diving can be done with the help of a grab line permanently secured at 24 metres across a relatively flat area on the upcurrent side of the point. Currents can be fierce with down currents.
Meanwhile in Blue Light Cave, the cave starts at a crack at 2 metres deep and descends through a narrow chimney. At about 21 metres the chimney opens into a large cavern that extends for about 120 metres. The exit is a long vertical crack in the wall at 44 metres. The name of the cave comes from the blue light of the sea which is seen from the cavern.
Kota Bontang or Bontang City
Bontang is a city on the eastern coast of the island of Borneo in Indonesia, in the province of East Kalimantan. The town is hilly and located on an ocean estuary. It is relatively swampy, with frequent flooding, especially in its north district. There is little to no tectonic activity in Bontang. A mangrove forest is located in the town.Bontang gets its fresh water from the Api-Api River.
One of the best spot in Bontang is Beras Basah Island. It’s located in offshore of Bontang city, about 25-35 minutes using speedboat. This island have beautiful panorama, the white sand that outspread along the beach with the beautiful wave, hardly suited for water sport activity like jet propulsion sky and as fluent as wind.
Another favorite tourist spot in Bontang is Gosong island. This island is about 7 sea miles in north side of Bontang, or about 20 minutes by speedboat. To reach Gosong island, you could rent the boat from Loktuan, Tanjung Limau or Bontang Kuala port.
Central Kalimantan is the biggest province on Borneo island, about 253 800 km² width and its territory is mostly forest. The northern part is mountainous which are difficult to reach, the center is dense tropical forest, while the southern region is swamp with many rivers.
In this province you have the opportunity to enjoy nature tour in the exciting place. That’s because Central Kalimantan is rich in natural reserves, such as in Bukit Raya and Monumental Kotawaringin Timur Forest group, Bukit Sapat Hawung in Barito Utara, and Merang in Palangkaraya. There is also a nature reserve land and sea in Kotawaringin Barat. Malau Besar Waterfall and Pauras in Barito Utara, Tangkiling in Palangkaraya. The beautiful and natural beach in Kotawaringin Barat and Ujung Pandaran in Kotawaringin Timur.
Apart from any tourist spot Central Kalimantan offered, I’m gonna show you this beautiful place where I’d like to go. It is Tanjung Puting National Park!
Tanjung Puting National Park
Anaconda and the Blood Orchid is pretty familiar with this. The life of people sleep on the boats, crushing the river and surrounded by heavy forest. Except, it doesn’t have a big Anaconda in the water. Tanjung Puting National Park is a national park in Indonesia located in the southeast part of West Kotawaringin Regency in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. The nearest main town is the capital of the Regency, Pangkalan Bun.
This national park is a place for wild Orangutan. The orangutans are the two exclusively Asian species of extant great apes. Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, orangutans are currently found in only the rainforests of Kalimantan and Sumatra. In addition to orangutans and proboscis monkeys, the park is also home to gibbons, macaques, clouded leopards, sun bears, wild boars, porcupines, and sambar deer. The park also features many reptiles, including crocodiles, monitor lizards, and pythons, birds, including hornbills and kingfishers, and insects, such as the giant Bornean butterfly.
The park is best seen from a klotok (Indonesia traditional boat from kalimantan) , a two-storey romantic live-aboard boat that travels up Sungai Sekonyer to Camp Leakey. During the day you lounge on deck surveying the jungle with binoculars in one hand and a drink in the other as the boat chugs along its narrowing channel. The park’s 200 varieties of wild orchid bloom mainly from January to March, although the abundance of March fruit may lure orangutans away from feeding platforms. At any time, bring rain protection and insect repellent.
From my personal experience, I haven’t see a wild Orangutan in their habitat, only the one that already caught or put in a rehabilitation. I really want to see the wild one, because it is so beautiful. Once I was in high school and went to hiked to national park in West Borneo, I only see the nest. It was a very disappointed because I did woke up early like 4 AM, but they are already gone. Apart from that, there’s still Tanjung Puting National Park to offer.