Location : Balikpapan, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia.
Long overdue post of our trip last year to Derawan, Maratua and all the other islands around them. There are 3 ways to reach these islands ex the jetty from Tanjung Batu which is 2 hours drive from Tanjung Redeb in the regency of Berau. We chose the most difficult route from Kuala Lumpur to Balikpapan-Samarinda-Bontang-Wahau-Tanjung Redeb-Tanjung Batu for the sake of adventure as we wanted to see as much of East Kalimantan as we could. In terms of economy it would not make sense. But luckily we have our Samarinda friend Mr Guntur to get his younger brother to drive us and for such a private and customised service with his 30 day old Avanza car, I would say that was the best deal anyone could get.
The flight from KLIA2 took us 3hours and the first surprise to catch us was the brand new airport. Frankly speaking I still prefer the old and exotic looking airport which was just beside the new one. I hope they keep the old one and turn it into something useful.
The old Balikpapan airport just beside the new one
Balikpapan new airport
Our first meal in Balikpapan
The 2hr drive to Samarinda was very pleasant this time. Road was widened and straightened plus a fresh coat of asphalt. As we got pass the half way point something pinkish on the roadside caught our attention – it was the season of the dragon fruit. Kaltim’s latest craze. Everyone is into it and why not. Healthy fruit and good income. Grade 1 was selling for RP15,000 a kilo. Fascinated by it, we stopped to grab some and also to sneak into one of the many farms closeby.
Dragon fruit craze here
Yum yum Dragon fruit / Buah naga / 火龙果
As we got nearer to Samarinda I noticed the ‘Rumah Adat Tator’ on the right and quickly got my Bugis host Mr Guntur to U turn back so we could check out this latest addition. Awesome architectural structures of the Dayak Toraja of Sulawesi. Good to see another ‘foreign’ culture blending into Kaltim’s colourful landscape. 5 houses were already up. Looking forward to another visit when this project is completed.
Toraja cultural park
With Guntur and 2 Dayak Toraja Martin and Petrus
We would like to thank the group of young adventurers of SamarindaBackpackers to come out to meet us after dinner. Their choice of the venue for the meetup was most interesting. Allowed us to learn how the locals ‘lepak’.
Catching up with Samarinda backpackers at a very interesting food outlet