East Kalimantan is the northeastern part of Kalimantan (Borneo) in Indonesia. Administratively it consists of the provinces of East Kalimantan (Kalimantan Timur, Kaltim) and North Kalimantan (Kalimantan Utara, Kaltara). East Kalimantan is best known for the beautiful beaches along its east coast, stretching from the Celebes Sea near Malaysia to the Makassar Strait.
In 2022, President Joko Widodo announced that Indonesia would be moving its capital from Jakarta to a new purpose-built city in East Kalimantan known as Nusantara in attempt to lessen the developmental inequality between Java and Indonesia's other islands. The location would be somewhere between the existing cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda.
East Kalimantan is one of Borneo's most sparsely-populated regions. With a population of only 3 million people and a land area of 204,534 km2 (78,971 sq mi), the population density is only 17 inhabitants per km2. Most of the population are Javanese. The indigenous Kutai people traditionally inhabit the southern part of East Kalimantan. Another recognized minority is the Dayak people. There has been a lot of immigration, in particular from the other Indonesian provinces.
East Kalimantan is formally an Islamic province.
East Kalimantan is the centre of Indonesia's timber, oil and gas industries. As you might guess, the stripped coastal areas are not a pretty sight, but the province's more interesting sights lie far upriver in areas untouched by the voracious logging machines.
- 1 Samarinda – the capital city of East Kalimantan
- 2 Balikpapan – the industrial and financial centre of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo)
- 3 Bontang – an energy industrials city near Kutai National Park
- 4 Nunukan – an inshore island and town in the far north of the region
- 5 Tarakan – an inshore island and city in the northern part of the region
- 1 Apo Kayan - remote highland plateau inhabited by Dayak tribes
- 2 Derawan – an offshore island with diving and marine attractions
- Labuan Cermin Lake - with layer of fresh water on top and salt water beneath.
- Mancong and Tanjung Issui - these two villages are inhabited by Dayak Banuaq living in a long-house. Most visitors take a house boat on Mahakam River beginning from Loajanan, the area just before Samarinda City from Balikpapan.
- Tering Village - further up Mahakam River, Tering Village where Dayak Tunjung and Kenyah with long ear woman are worth to visit. Next to Tering is Melak Village, the location of Black Orchid garden.
- Balikpapan's Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan International Airport (BPN IATA) has frequent flights from Jakarta, as well as commercial services from Surabaya, Banjarmasin, Tarakan, Palu, Makassar, Yogyakarta, Semarang and Denpasar, as well as numerous smaller airports in Kalimantan.
- Samarinda APT Pranoto International Airport (AAP IATA)
- 1 Kalimarau Airport (BEJ IATA). This airport is in the town of Tanjung Redeb in Berau Regency.
You can access East Kalimantan province 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 at that port (visa on arrival is not available) but there is an consulate in Tawau which seems to do visas quite quickly.
Unlike Java or Sumatra, there is no train network in Kalimantan, so to get around the province you'll be on the road or in the air. There are flights available to a few destinations in East Kalimantan. Susi Air flies light aircraft between Samarinda and Maratua Island. Wings Air flies ATR aircraft between Samarinda and Kalimarau.
Visiting Mahakam River hinterland and orangutan or exploring Kutai National Park are the best attractions.
There is quite good diving on the east coast.