The Meratus Mountains divided South Kalimantan into two distinct regions. The eastern part of the province is filled with the mountains covered with dense tropical rain forests, home to the "Orang Gunnung" or Mountain Peoples.
Collectively called the Dayak, they form the minority of the region's population. The Southern section of the province is much flatter with large rivers, meandering through lowlands to vast mangrove swamps along the coast, helping to make South Kalimantan an exceptional fertile land. Many villages and settlements have been built along these rivers, particularly the Barito River, by the indigenous majority, the Banjar.
South Kalimantan is full colorful and distinctive traditional arts and cultures which can be seen in its people's ways of life, art, dance, music, ancestral dress, games and ceremonies. Exquisite traditional and commercial hand-crafts are all made from local raw materials which include a variety of precious and semi-precious stones, gold, silver, brass, iron and a wide variety of trees such as ironwood, meranti, pinups and rubber have helped to make the province a unique and rich natural resource.
The provincial capital, Banjarmasin, lies a short distance from the mouth of the Barito River at its confluence with the Martapura River. The rivers are literally the lifeblood of the city and everything revolves around them. They are lined with tightly packed stilt houses. A lot of business is done on the water ways; floating markets flourish selling an enormous variety of goods including a tropical selection of fresh fruit such as Kesturi, a rare aromatic species of mango, durian, rambutan, butter fruit, pineapple, watermelon and banana.
South Kalimantan is well connected with cities all over the Indonesian Archipelago through Syamsuddin North airport, which is about 25 km from Banjarmasin. This busy airport handles DC-9's, allowing Merpati Nusantara, Bouraq and Sempati dan Dirgantara Air to service the prov-ince. South Kalimantan can also be reached by sea at Trisakti arid Banjarmasin. For interior travel there are roads, but the waterways are the pre-ferred form of travel.
|Banjarmasin and its surroundings||Floating Market|
|Flower Island||Kaget Island|
|Diamond Digging at Cempaka & Martapura||Loksado|
|Adventure River Rafting|
Banjarmasin, the capital city, lies at the delta of the Barito river. Nicknamed ‘River City’, it is crisscrossed by numerous rivers of various sizes and lengths, the major two being the Martapura and Nagara. Local people build traditional floating houses made of wood or bamboo facing the rivers called "lanting". There is a virtual flood of lively floating markets. To experience Banjarmasin you must take to the river, either by "klotok" (river bus), or a speedboat for longer trips.
Banjarmasin is developing as a tourist city. Supermarkets such as Mitra Plaza,Ujung Murung Central Market, and Pasar Barn provide for the travelers needs. There are 7 starred hotels and 20 lesser hotels. For entertainment there are 21 movie theatres, Karaoke bars, cultural theatres and restaurants serving local as well as international foods.
There are floating markets of all sizes everywhere on the river, but one of the best is at the junction of the Kuin and Barito rivers. Get there early, everyone packs up and heads home by 9am.
The island on the Barito River is not far from the floating market. Although there are many species of monkeys on the island, most of the action is at the old Chinese temple where local Chinese bring offerings of fresh fruit and peanuts to a tribe of aggressive macaques in hopes of being blessed with even greater prosperity.
It takes about 1 1/2 hours by klotok boat or 1 hour by speedboat to get to this island reserve, home to a wide variety of birds and monkeys, most notably the humorous long-nosed proboscis monkeys.
Cempaka is a small village 10-km from Banjarbaru, and 45 minutes from Banjannasin. It is an old site of traditional diamond dig, using very simple equipment. In 1985 a large raw diamond of 116.7 carats was found. Martapura is the center of diamond and precious stone polishing.
Loksado is an important market town in the mountains east of Kandangan, and an excellent place to base yourself for exploring the area. There are a few small losmen and hotels for accommodation. The trekking is wonderful, over 20 villages in the surrounding area are inhabited by peoples lying in the traditional ways.
The Amandit River runs through Loksado and then joins the mighty Barito River. Visitors usu-ally use the river to get back after visiting Loksado. The river trip, by either bamboo or rubber boat, includes some exciting white water sections. The trip can be made in two parts. The first is from Loksado to Muara Hatip. The second is from Muara Hatip to Batu Laki. The first stretch has rapids ranked grades t to 2 1/2. The second includes rapids of grade 3.
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