Location : Kota Tarakan, Kalimantan Utara, Indonesia.

Tarakan is an island and the largest city of the Indonesian province of North Kalimantan. The island city is located in northern Borneo, just across the border from Sabah, Malaysia. 

This particular visit to Tarakan was our third over several years. We had the whole morning free before the delegates were to be picked up from the hotel for the lunch gathering as well as a briefing of what to expect for the next 3 days. So we randomly picked Mulawarman Road to stroll along in order to discover more of Tarakan city on foot.

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Hotel Royal where we were put up

Along the way, we passed by the Grapari Telkomsel office and just as well we dropped in to top up our Simpati phone card credit in anticipation of lots of photos and videos to be uploaded to our social media channels.

backpackers, exploration, Kaltara, Pariwisata, Tourism, Trans Border, Borneo,
Topping up hp credit at Grapari

After that was done with, we continued our walk until we reached a point where we saw more greens than concrete we decided to turn back. We hailed an ‘Angkot’ van which happened to be passing by just to try this most popular taxi service in Indonesia. It maybe the cheapest form of land transport for locals but not necessary for tourist looking passengers like us. We could have got it cheaper using Grab. Anyway, just for the fun of it.

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Angkot

So we were picked up on time from the hotel as promised by organiser Ricky and driven to the Malabar Café at Martadinata Road. Perfect choice for lunch, ice-breaking and briefing.

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Kuching and Tawau delegates
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Ary and colleagues

Unique interior decors especially the antique door panels lining the ceiling and a lush Javanese garden to match.

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Garden at Malabar Cafe

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antik, antique, restaurant, backpackers, destination, exploration, Indonesia, Kaltara, Pariwisata, Tourism, tourist attraction, travel guide, Borneo, 印尼北加里曼丹, 打拉根岛旅游景点
Lots of door panels covering the whole ceiling.

antik, antique, FAM Trip, backpackers, destination, exploration, Kaltara, objek wisata, Tourism, tourist attraction, trans Borneo, 穿越婆罗洲游踪, 印尼北加里曼丹, 打拉根旅游景点 antik, antique, backpackers, destination, exploration, Indonesia, Kaltara, objek wisata, restaurant, Tourism, travel guide, Cross Border, Borneo, 探索婆罗洲游踪, 印尼北加里曼丹, Familiarisation trip, antik, antique, backpackers, destination, exploration, Kaltara, objek wisata, Pariwisata, Tourism, tourist attraction, travel guide, Trans Borneo, 北加里曼丹旅游景点, 印尼打拉根岛, antik, antique, backpackers, destination, Indonesia, North Kalimantan, Kaltara, Kota Tarakan, Malabar Cafe, objek wisata, Tourism, tourist attraction, travel guide, Trans Borneo, restaurant,There were delegates from Singapore, Sabah, Jakarta, Sarawak and Nunukan. After the food and briefing conducted by tour leader Mr Ricky we headed straight to the pier for the 3hr boat ride to Derawan where we would stay over for 2 nights and short visits to Kakaban, Maratua and Sangalaki islands.

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Tour leader Mr Ricky delivering his briefing at Malabar Cafe.

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Heading to the pier.
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Very busy pier at Tarakan

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They tried everything to dislodge the stuck boat but to no avail
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Stuck at sea and having fun

The buoyancy finally came and lifted us out of the disaster before shooting to the delayed welcoming ceremony.

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Finally arriving at the pier of Derawan for the welcoming ceremony. Bajau gals ready with flower garlands

The sunlight was quickly failing and we walked for 20 minutes to the Syagi Café for dinner. I was amazed by the big change here compared to 2015 when I first visited. It was so crowded and touristic looking in 2019. Well, good for the local Bajaus.

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Tourism business must be good here going by this under construction welcoming stage

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Bicycles for rent
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Sunrise Cottages
adventure, nature, backpackers, exploration, Pulau Derawan, Kalimantan Timur, objek wisata, pariwisata, Tourism, Trans Border, 跨境婆罗洲游踪, 印尼东加里曼丹
Delegates’ goody bag

Next…..Touring the other nearby islands.

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