The Ultimate Guide to Balikpapan, Kalimantan 2023

Balikpapan, a relatively unknown place that could be on your off-the-beaten-path exploration in Indonesia, is a city in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. This small city is clean and quiet; thus, do not expect much of a city hustle and bustle or much of a nightlife.

You will find many people from Indonesia, like Javanese and Sulawesi, mingling with the locals. They are all generally nice, quiet, and polite, making life here more slow and relaxed.

Where is Balikpapan, Indonesia

Balikpapan is a city in Indonesia. It is located in East Kalimantan of Indonesia, north of Java and west of Sulawesi. It is also south of Malaysia and part of the Borneo continent.

Map of balikpapan, east kalimantan, indonesia
Map of Balikpapan, East Kalimantan

Why visit Balikpapan City

Balikpapan is a hidden gem worth exploring in Indonesia. This city in East Kalimantan offers a unique experience off the beaten path. With its clean and peaceful atmosphere, don’t expect the typical hustle and bustle or vibrant nightlife. Instead, you’ll encounter friendly locals, including people from different parts of Indonesia, creating a laid-back and welcoming environment. Discover the charm of Balikpapan and immerse yourself in its slow-paced and relaxed way of life.

Balikpapan travel guide
Balikpapan Travel Guide. Photo by Eko Purwanto on Unsplash

Things to do in Balikpapan

Visit Manggar Beach: Enjoy the beautiful sandy beach, swim in the clear waters, and indulge in various water activities such as snorkeling or jet skiing.

Explore Kemala Beach: Another famous beach in Balikpapan with stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere. You can relax on the beach, walk along the coastline, or watch the sunset.

Beach at balikpapan, east kalimantan, indonesia
Beach at Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. Photo by zulfinho.

Visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center: Head to the Samboja Lestari Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, located near Balikpapan, to observe and learn about the conservation efforts of these endangered primates.

Take a Mangrove Tour: Join a guided tour through the mangrove forests of Balikpapan Bay. Explore the rich biodiversity, spot wildlife such as proboscis monkeys and birds, and learn about the importance of mangrove ecosystems.

Visit the Crocodile Farm: Pay a visit to the Teritip Crocodile Farm, where you can see various species of crocodiles up close and learn about their conservation.

Explore the Balikpapan Ocean Park: This marine park offers a range of activities such as snorkeling, diving, and even underwater walking, allowing you to discover the vibrant underwater world.

Visit the Balikpapan Museum: Learn about Balikpapan’s history, culture, and heritage through the exhibits and artifacts displayed at the museum.

Enjoy Local Cuisine: Balikpapan is famous for its seafood. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor delicious fresh seafood at local restaurants and street food stalls.

Shop at Pasar Klandasan: This bustling market is a great place to shop for traditional crafts, clothes, accessories, and local products.

Drop by Pasar Inpres Kebun Sayur: Also known as Precious Stones Market in Balikpapan, it is a bustling traditional market known for its wide variety of local produce and vibrant atmosphere.

Explore Taman Bekapai Park: This park offers a peaceful environment to relax, take a stroll, or have a picnic. It features a beautiful lake and well-maintained gardens.

Where to stay in Balikpapan City

When it comes to accommodations in Balikpapan, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you prefer luxury hotels, budget-friendly guesthouses, or cozy homestays, you’ll find something that suits your needs.

Hotel Grand Tjokro Balikpapan


Hotel Grand Tjokro Balikpapan is a centrally located hotel in Balikpapan, Indonesia. With its comfortable rooms, modern amenities, and friendly service, it caters to the needs of both business and leisure travelers. The hotel offers a variety of dining options, including local and international cuisine, ensuring guests can indulge in delicious meals. It also provides well-equipped meeting rooms and a business center for corporate events. Guests can enjoy recreational facilities such as a fitness center and an outdoor pool. With its convenient location and range of services, Hotel Grand Tjokro Balikpapan aims to provide guests a pleasant and convenient stay experience.

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Aston Balikpapan Hotel & Residence

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Aston Balikpapan Hotel & Residence is a prominent hotel in Balikpapan, Indonesia, offering a comfortable and convenient stay experience. The hotel features well-appointed rooms and suites with modern amenities, catering to the needs of both business and leisure travelers. Guests can enjoy various facilities, including a fitness center, swimming pool, and spa, ensuring relaxation and rejuvenation during their stay. The hotel also provides versatile meeting and event spaces, making it an ideal choice for conferences and social gatherings. It has a prime location with proximity to key landmarks, business districts, shopping malls, and entertainment venues in Balikpapan

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Swiss-Belhotel Balikpapan


Swiss-Belhotel Balikpapan is a premier hotel in Balikpapan, Indonesia, offering luxurious accommodations and modern amenities for a comfortable stay. With elegant rooms, a fitness center, a spa, and a swimming pool, guests can relax and rejuvenate. The hotel also provides versatile event spaces suitable for weddings, conferences, and social gatherings. Multiple dining options serve delicious cuisine, satisfying diverse tastes. Swiss-Belhotel Balikpapan aims to provide exceptional service and a memorable experience for guests, combining sophistication and comfort in a prime location.

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If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, Hotel Ibis Balikpapan * is a great choice. It offers clean and comfortable rooms, friendly staff, and a convenient location near popular attractions.

How to get to Balikpapan

Fly into Balikpapan’s Sepinggan International Airport (Balikpapan airport), with flights internationally with Air Asia 3 times daily from Kuala Lumpur and Silk Air from Singapore. There are also domestic flights from Jakarta, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and many more.

You can also get to Balikpapan from Bali with

Use Skyscanner * to find the best Balikpapan flights deals.

Sunrise at sea, balikpapan, east kalimantan, indonesia
Sunrise at Sea, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan. Photo by gatotkusumo.

Where to go nearby

Bukit Bankirai – 59km northwest of Balikpapan with a tourist attraction of Canopy Bridge, which is generally popular in Borneo and has many beautiful tropical rainforests.
Samarinda – the capital of East Kalimantan
Derawan – for diving in East Kalimantan

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