Balikpapan is a city in East Kalimantan. It serves as headquarters for international oil companies, mining companies and related support industries operating in (and out of) eastern Kalimantan. The city is a relatively clean, small city, with clear blue skies but not much by way of nightlife. The population are a mix, with lots of Javanese due to transmigration, lots of people from Sulawesi, and of course, the locals. the people are quiet and polite, and the pace is slow and relaxed.
Most people arrive by air. Balikpapan's Sepinggan International Airport (IATA: BPN) 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. There are also international flights from Singapore operated by SilkAir 6 times a week and from Kuala Lumpur operated by Air Asia 3 times a week. The airport is on the coast just outside of the city, around 8 km away from the city center. Airport taxis operate from the terminal; there is a fixed fare depending on the destination (starting from Rp 70,000, as of March 2016). You may be offered an unofficial fare outside the main exit if you walk to the left past the official taxi ranks; while some of these drivers may offer a slightly cheaper fare, many will quote an inflated price when they see a foreigner, so make sure you've asked the official fare to your destination in the taxi booth if you intend to bargain with them.
Despite the numerous signs which you'll see after leaving the baggage claim area, as of March 2016 there's no airport bus service to Balikpapan; the buses mentioned on these signs are going to Samarinda.
- Susi Air to local destinations across Kalimantan. +62 811 211 3080
Balikpapan can be accessed from Samarinda, Bontang And Banjarmasin by land through 2 bus terminal From Samarinda, Bontang by Terminal Batu Ampar, and From Banjarmasin from the other terminal in the Batu Ampar District.
Semayang's seaport that serves cruises from Makassar, Pare Pare, Tarakan, Surabaya, and other eastern parts of Indonesia. This port is one of the busiest ports in Indonesia and the main gateway to Borneo, serving cargo ships not only from Indonesia and South East Asia.
Traffic does not yet inhibit travel within the city but is increasing by the day as relatively high living standards help to support a sea of small motor cycles.
Some taxi companies operates in Balikpapan. It is advisable to call for their call center, tell your location and wait the call center arrange their unit to pick you up. It is uncommon to wait for empty taxis on the street because they usually stop and wait for orders from their call center.
List of taxi companies and their call center number:
- CIty Taxi (+62542 743417 or +62542 8520001)
- Mawar (+62 542 873145)
- Kalung Mas (+62 542 762222)
- Globalindo Taxi (+62 542 878787)
Public transportation in Balikpapan consists of small minibus named angkutan kota or angkot for short. Locals often call angkot as taxi and metered taxi as taxi argo. There's no public bus inside the city. Minibuses serves public transport between points. Although there're dedicated routes, they often deroute due to passenger's request. They also sometimes don't serve the whole route.
The color of the minibuses determines their routes. Common routes are as follows:
- White top/Orange bottom (Route 1): between Kampung Baru Ujung and Terminal Batu Ampar
- White top/Light Green bottom (Route 2A): between Terminal Damai and Terminal Batu Ampar through Ring Road (possible deroute to Balikpapan Baru housing and or Damai III area)
- White top/Gray bottom (Route 2B): between Balikpapan Baru and Jalan A Yani through Jalan AMD
- White top/Light Blue bottom (Route 3): between Terminal Batu Ampar and Pelabuhan Semayang through Klandasan
- White top/Yellow bottom (Route 5): between Kampung Baru Ujung and Terminal Damai through A. Yani
- White top/Dark Blue bottom (Route 6): between Kampung Baru Ujung and Terminal Damai through Pelabuhan Semayang
- White top/Green bottom (Route 7): between Terminal Damai and Gunung Tembak
- White top/Light Yellow bottom (Route 9): between Terminal Batu Ampar and KM 24 to Samarinda
- (BOS) Orangutan Sancuary and Eco lodge. Go see rescued orangutans and sun bears in their natural habitat. Just roaming around for the day or stay at the eco lodge for a few nights and experience the wildlife in the jungle. You can also do a 2 week or 4 week volunteering course, where you can help out with the animals. It is about a 1 hour journey by car from the city centre and if you stay the night or volunteer you will need out door equipment such as walking boots, spare clothes, insect repellent etc.
- Crocodile Farm (30 km from Balikpapan near the Manggar Beach).
- Pantai Menpora.
On Merdeka(Independent) square you can play soccer and do other sports. Check out the beach in balikpapan. See one of the nice local markets, and local tour operators arrange river safaris on the Mahakam River and Orangutan tours.
Balikpapan has a beautiful beach such as Manggar and Lamaru located just outside the city, and Kemala Beach further off Klandasan with nice views of the sunset.
- Plaza Balikpapan. This is the most popular shopping mall in Balikpapan. Located at the centre of the city and it is a must visit for visitors.
- Kebun Sayur Traditional Market Center. A lot stones, gems, jewelry, diamonds with various type and price. Borneo is acknowledged as the rich island not just by oil or coal, but also with the beautiful gems.
A local delicacy is Amplang/Kuku Macan, a kind of chips made from fish. Pacifica Food Court in Balikpapan Plaza Mall has good food and a lot of choice.
- Beach House Restaurant - Batakan / Manggar
- Batakan Beach Cafe
- Lia's Bar and restaurant - Batakan Kecil
- Yuli's Cafe (bar and restaurant) - Batakan Kecil
- Palm Court Restaurant - Batakan
- Dapeen Cafe - kelandasan
- Ocean's Seafood Restaurant - Klandasan
- Bondy Restaurant. A big restaurant on the main drag with a very nice selection of seafood
- Kepiting Kenari, Jalan Iswahyudi (10 minutes from Sepinggan Airport). A very giant fresh crab cooked with some option of sauce (black pepper; sweet n sour; oyster sauce; boiled etc.)
- Dandito, Jln Jend. Sudirman (above airport). Crab specialist restaurant
- Kepiting Tambora, Jalan Jendral Sudirman. Crab specialist Restaurant
- Pondok Nelayan Seafood Rest. (Balikpapan Branch), Jend. Sudirman Street No. 561 (Stal Kuda), ☎ +62 542-5660066. Weekday&Sunday : 10AM - 10PM, Saturday : 10AM - 11PM. Originate from Pontianak's (West Kalimantan) well known Seafood Restaurant.
- Color Beat Pub (Blue Sky Hotel)
- Borneo Bar(Le Grandeur Hotel)
- Borneo Sports Fishing Club (prev. Sid's Bar) at Jl Sudirman 24, Gunung Bahagia. Bar with sea views.
- Rende Vu (Novotel Hotel)
- Red Square (Sagita Hotel)
- Lamaru Pub (Hotel Grand Senyiur)
- SQ (Adhika Bahtera Hotel)
- Nakhoda (Adikha Bahtera Hotel)
- Suzannas Liquor Store- you can buy alcohol by the case to drink at home.
There are a number of star rated hotels poised on the hills and at the beach that are perfectly adequate.
- Bahana Surya / Blue Sky Hotel one of the better places in town. With a nice swimming pool (external entry 30.000 IDR per person)
- Hotel Bahtera from 400.000 IDR
- Hotel Benakutai
- City hotel
- Dusit Hotel/ Le Grandeur
- Gran Senyiur Hotel The first 5 five stars hotel in town, owned by local people. phone : +62 542 820211
- Le Grandeur Balikpapan, Jl. Jend. Sudirman, ☎ +62 542 420-155. 185 rooms and suites, the hotel sits in its own extensive gardens, adjoining a beautiful sandy beach, and overlooking the Makassar Straits. It is Kalimantan's only beachfront hotel. Best rates on official website start at IDR 619,835.
- Hotel Haai, Sepinggan by pass, ☎ +62 542 766-309. the only "back to nature" hotel in Balikpapan, cottage/bungalow style rooms with private garages, room rate from 280.000 IDR, 3 mins from airport (10 mins to city).
- Hotel Murni a cheap option
- Hotel Nuansa Indah
- Town House Bukit Damai Indah, 0542-8879 650
- Aiqo Hotel, Jl. Apt Pranoto No.9, ☎ +62 542 750-288, +62 542 750336, +62 542 750267. the hotel located within 5 minutes walk to Balikpapan Plaza, 15 minutes drive from the Sepinggan airport, start at IDR 228.000,-, clean and comfy
- France Consular Agency, c/o Total Final Elf E&P, Jl. Gunung Bugis, ☎ +62 542 533-999.
- Philippines Honorary Consulate, Jl. Projakal 157, Klandasan Ulu, ☎ +62 542 25-687.
- Bukit Bangkirai, ☎ +62 542 736-066. Bukit Bangkirai is located 58 km north-west of Balikpapan.The main attraction here is the Canopy Bridge which is very famous in East Borneo. It was originally built for biological study of the ecosystem in the canopy of the tropical rain forest. However, it is popular for public to sight-seeing the beauty of tropical rain forest from 30 m / 90 ft above the ground. It's also a very nice place to enjoy the nature or to camp and watch the stars