Attractions Nearby Kalimantan, Day Trips and Excursions
Sandwiched between the equidistant islands of Sumatra
(west) and Sulawesi
(east), Kalimantan is full of attractions worth exploring, and many of these are rather spread out around the island of Borneo, being not only located on the Indonesian region, but also within the East Malaysia
(Malaysia Timur) and Brunei areas.
Java is a relatively long and thin island, especially when compared to the much squarer-shaped island of Kalimantan, to the north. The attractions of Java are difficult to chose between, although West Java is a good place to start any visit, particularly in the capital city of Jakarta
. Also to the south is the tropical paradise that is Bali
, an island famed for its stunning white sandy beaches, backed with palm trees.
The favourite tourist destination in the whole of Indonesia
, the island of Bali has long been a leading holiday destination. Bali is located directly to the south of Kalimantan and apart from its beaches, has become known for its verdant valleys, ancient volcanic craters and majestic temples. On the southerly side of Bali, Denpasar
is the capital city and also serves as a prominent transport hub. Some of the most unmissable attractions on Bali include the Banjar Buddhist Monastery
, the Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave), the Gunung Batur volcano, and the Pura Besakih (Mother Temple of Besakih).
The Sultanate of Brunei (Negara Brunei Darussalam) occupies a relatively small northerly chunk on the island, being bounded by both East Malaysia and the South China Sea. Those who make the journey and effort to venture to Borneo will soon realise that the Brunei-Muara region forms the very heart of the country, being home to the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan and its wondrous Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque and floating Water Village (Kampong Ayer).
East Malaysia (Malaysia Timur)
East Malaysia is another part of the Borneo island and occupies the northerly third, above the Indonesian Kalimantan region. Filled with dense jungle and rich in wildlife, East Malaysia has gained much tourist appeal in recent years. The main attractions here are to be found either in or around places such as the coastal resort of Bintulu, and the sizeable cities of Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Labuan and Miri. East Malaysia is divided into three regions - Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Sandakan is often visited by tourists, while close by and just off the easterly shore of Malaysian Borneo, the island of Sipadan (Pulau Sipadan) is famous for its scuba diving and ranks in the world's top dive destinations.
With just so much to see and do on Java, this island really does warrant a long holiday if you want to experience the best attractions that it has to offer. For tourists, the main places of interest include Bandung
, the Banten
region, Banyuwangi, Jakarta
, Jombang, Semarang
, Solo (Surakarta)
, Tegal, the Borobudur Temple
. There is of course also an endless selection of coastal resorts and beaches on Java, such as Anyer Beach, Pelabuhan Ratu and those around the Ujung Kulon National Park.
The westerly island of Pulau Belitung was formerly known as 'Billiton', being named after the Australian mining company 'BHB Billiton', who successfully mined tin here for many years. However, despite its strong industrial past, the small island of Belitung really is something of an enigma and quite often completely overlooked. The attractions on Pulau Belitung comprise pristine beaches, such as both Tanjung Tinggi and Tanjung Kelayang, which really are hard to better anywhere in Indonesia. The snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities around the coastline of Belitung are also exceptional, while others prefer to enjoy a day of island hopping.
The island of Pulau Bangka is just a short distance to the north-west of Pulau Belitung and is located on the easterly coast of southerly Sumatra, being directly to the south-west of Kalimantan's city of Pontianak. Bangka's capital is Pangkal Pinang (Pangkalpinang), which is the biggest city on the island by far, although the port of Sungai Liat is certainly also of note. The beaches on Pulau Bangka are the main reason that visitors come to this island, favouring the relaxed atmosphere, and general peace and quiet.