A major producer of oil and timber, East Kalimantan is at present the most industrially advanced province of the island. Its population numbers less than two million, and the density figure of seven people per kilometer is among the lowest of Indonesia, although relatively high for Kalimantan. More than 80 percent of the area, or over 17 million hectares is covered by forest. This is where the "Black Orchid" and many other orchid varieties grow within the sheltered confines of nature reserves.
The Banjarese and Kutainese are mostly the coastal population, living in towns and cities. The Dayak peoples form the overwhelming majority of the population of the hinterland, who live in long-houses called umaq daru. It is customary for one whole extended family or even one clan to occupy one long- house. Each family is given a separate compartment with the chief of the clan occupying the central chamber. Guardian statues are normally placed in front of the long house to protect it against evil spirits who bring disease and bad fortune. Such long-houses, however, are gradually disappearing and many have been converted into meeting halls or stages for dance and music performances. The Dayaks are also known for their artistry, making beautiful cloths and ornaments for their traditional houses. The Tunjung Dayaks still make a kind of cloth called doyo, which is woven from certain plant fibers, used in the past in rituals. But now they are offered for sale to visitors. Oil and natural gas are found along the entire east coast, with refineries centered at Balikpapan and Bontang.
Samarinda is known for its fine sarong cloth. The city shows some signs of being the capital of a prosperous province. New government offices and public buildings are rising everywhere. Samarinda has a number of modest but comfortable hotels.
Balikpapan, the center of Kalimantan's oil industry is also the gateway to East Kalimantan with air and sea connections to Jakarta and other major points in Indonesia. Even the trip to Samarinda, begins in Balikpapan. Living up to its importance, Balikpapan has a number of good hotels, including one of international standard, as well as recreation facilities. It has the second busiest airport in the nation after Jakarta, due to its strategic position.
Berau and Marine Tourism on Derawan island
Found here are the remains of a king called the Keraton Gunung Tambur and The Keraton Sambaliung. Historic objects can be seen here. Derawan island is about 3 hours by a long boat from Tanjung Redep (The Capital of Berau Regency) or via Tarakan.
There are many rare animals such as the green turtle, the scarlet turtle, star fruit turtle and sea cow.
Other things are rare species of marine plants, coral reefs, iguanas, sea birds, crab and the location for pearl diving.
It is also good for scuba diving, fishing, swimming, and other water sports.
Located in the regency of Kutai with an area of about 200,000 ha, Bontang has a rare flora and fauna. The Kutai National Park near Bontang is worth visiting to see sceneries especially those at Beras Basah.
It is one place for the adventure-seeking visitors. Things of historic value and ancient remains, art collections and traditional ceremonies, with a background of beautiful panoramas of the jungle and mountains are to be found here.
Tanah Merah Indah - Lempake
This is a recreational park called Tanah Merah Indah-Lempake with a waterfall, located about 16 km from downtown Samarinda. It can be reached by car or public transportation
Tenggarong, up the Mahakam river from Samarinda, is the capital of the Kutai regency and was once the seat of the Kutai sultanate. The Sultan's palace on the riverside is now a museum where the old royal paraphernalia are kept, as well as an excellent collection of antique Chinese ceramics. Dayak statues can be admired in the yard. A curious thing about the royal paraphernalia is that they display a strong resemblance with Java's court traditions.
Every 24th of September, the former palace becomes a stage of dance and music performances given to celebrate the town's anniversary.
This little settlement around Lake Jempang in the lake-studded East Kalimantan hinterland, has a traditional Dayak long-house which has been turned into lodges for visitors. The grave of a Benuaq Dayak chief lies aside the hamlet's only road. Visitors are usually given a traditional Benuaq Dayak welcome. The trip to Tanjung Isuy over the Mahakam river is a long but interesting one past floating villages and forest scenery. If you are lucky, you can watch a belian, or witch doctor, dressed in his skirt of leaves, cures his patients at night by performing the rites prescribed by ancestors to the frenzied accompaniment of gongs and drums. Many Benuaq Dayaks still prefer the old cures to the modern ones at government public health centers which are nearby.
Melak - Kersik Luway
Melak is a little village further upstream on the Mahakam river in the heart of the land of Tanjung Dayak. Not far from the village is the Kersik Luway nature reserve, where the "Black Orchid grows."
Muara Ancalong - Muara Wahau
Dances of the Kenyah Dayak are often performed here for visitors at a traditional long-house. Also various handicrafts can be seen and purchased.