Discover the Beauty of Kalimantan Tourism

West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, South Kalimantan

About Kalimantan

Kalimantan is the third largest island in the world located to the north of Java and to the west of Sulawesi. Kalimantan Island is divided into Brunei, Indonesia (two thirds) and Malaysia (one third). The island of Borneo is known by the nickname “Pulau Seribu Sungai” due to the many rivers that flow on this island.

In ancient times, Borneo – derived from the sultanate of Brunei – was a name used by the British and Dutch colonies to refer to the island as a whole, while Kalimantan was the name used by residents of the eastern part of the island which now includes Indonesian territory. The northern region of the island (Sabah, Brunei, Sarawak) used to be called Indonesian North Kalimantan in North Indonesian, but in the present sense North Kalimantan is northern East Kalimantan.

In the broad meaning “Kalimantan” includes the whole island which is also called Borneo, while in the narrow sense Kalimantan only refers to the territory of Indonesia.


The origin of the name Kalimantan is not very clear. The term kelamantan is used in Sarawak to refer to groups of people who consume sago in the northern region of the island. According to Crowfurd, the word Kalimantan is the name of a type of mango (Mangifera) so that the island of Borneo is an island of mango, but he added that the word smelled of fairy tales and was not popular. Local mangoes called klemantan are still found in many villages in the Ketapang and surrounding areas, West Kalimantan.

According to C. Hose and Mac Dougall, “Kalimantan” is derived from the names of six local tribal groups namely Iban (Dayak Laut), Kayan, Kenyah, Klemantan (Dayak Darat), Murut, and Punan. In his essay, Natural Man, a Record from Borneo (1926), Hose explains that Klemantan is a new name used by the Malays. But according to Slamet Muljana, the word Kalimantan is not an original Malay word but the word loan is like the word Malaya, Malay which originates from India (malaya which means mountain).

Banjar Hikayat, an ancient chronicle from South Kalimantan whose final chapter was written in 1663, but the Banjar Hikayat manuscript itself originates from a manuscript with an older Malay text during the Hindu kingdom, in which the island of Borneo is called Malay, namely the island of “Hujung Soil”. The term Hujung Tanah appears based on the geomorphological form of the South Kalimantan region in ancient times in the form of a peninsula formed from a row of Meratus Mountains with land that ends in South Tanjung that juts into the Java Sea. This situation is identical with the shape of the tip part of the Malacca Peninsula, namely the State of Johor, which is often called “Ujung Tanah” in ancient Malay texts. Hujung Peninsula Land is in conflict with the Majapahit region in East Java so that later it gets the name Tanjungnagara meaning island in the form of a peninsula / peninsula.

The island of Kalimantan is in the middle of Southeast Asia because of that the island has a lot of cultural and political influence from the surrounding islands. Around the year 400 the island of Borneo has entered historical times with the discovery of the Yupa inscription from the Kingdom of Kutai but the development of civilization is relatively slower than other islands due to geographical and population constraints.

In the 14th century Odorico da Pordenone, a Catholic monk, had visited Borneo. Around the year 1362 Majapahit under the leadership of Patih Gajah Mada expanded its power to the island of Kalimantan, namely countries: Kapuas-Katingan, Sampit, Ungga City, Waringin City, Sambas, Lawai, Kadandangan, Landa, Samadang, Tirem, Sedu, Barune, Kalka , Saludung (Maynila), Solot, Pasir, Barito, Sawaku, Tabalong, Tanjung Kutei and Malano remain the most important on Tanjungpura Island.

The island of Kalimantan was once divided into 3 major royal territories: Brunei, Sukadana / Tanjungpura and Banjarmasin. Tanjung Dato is the border of Brunei with Sukadana / Tanjungpura, while Tanjung Sambar is the boundary of Sukadana / Tanjungpura with Banjarmasin.


Kalimantan’s original inhabitants can be classified into 4 groups: Malay, Malay-Dayak, Dayak, and Dayak-Malay. There are 5 basic cultures of the indigenous people of the Austronesian family in Kalimantan or Kalimantan Ethnic People, namely Malay, Dayak, Banjar, Kutai and Paser. The Malays occupy the Karimata island and the coast of West Kalimantan to Brunei. The existence of the Malays can be likened to the existence of the Betawi tribe on the island of Java. The Banjar tribe occupies the coast of Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and East Kalimantan. The Kutai and Paser tribes occupy the East Kalimantan region. While the Dayaks occupy the entire interior of Kalimantan. The presence of many Chinese people in the city of Singkawang can be likened to the Benteng Chinese community who live in the city of Tangerang near Jakarta. Indeed, several cities on the island of Kalimantan are occupied politically by the majority of immigrant tribes such as the Hakka (Singkawang), Javanese (Balikpapan, Samarinda), Bugis (Balikpapan, Samarinda, Pagatan, Nunukan) and so on. The immigrant tribes try to incorporate cultural elements for some reason, even though they do not have indigenous territories and are not recognized as indigenous to Kalimantan, even though their existence has long come across to this island. The Bugis are the first transmigrants to settle in, incorporate and have historical links with the Malay kingdoms (read: Islamic kingdom) in Kalimantan. Some time ago the Bugis tribe, appointed a traditional commander for the island of Nunukan which caused a reaction by the indigenous tribal institutions. The Rindang Kemantis Dance is a combination of dances that take elements of several ethnic arts in Balikpapan such as Banjar, Dayak, Bugis, Javanese, Padang and Sundanese, which are considered less reflective of local cultures, leading to protests by local tribal institutions. In Balikpapan the formation of the Lagaligo Brigade, a social organization from South Sulawesi, is a provocation and is opposed by local tribal organizations. The city of Sampit was once considered the 2nd Sampang. The Singkawang Mayor who came from the Chinese tribe built in the center of Singkawang a liong statue, a dragon typical of Chinese culture, which was commonly placed in the temple, causing protests by the Islamic Defenders Front, the Malay Defenders Front and the NGO alliance, on the other hand, the Dayak tribe supports the existence of the statue the dragon. In Kalimantan culture the character of a dragon is usually juxtaposed with the hornbill hornbill character, which symbolizes the harmony of the upper and lower world. An immigrant tribe figure has written something that offends the ethnic Malays. However, some parts of Kalimantan’s culture are the result of adaptation, acculturation, assimilation, amalgamation, and incorporation of cultural elements from outside such as Samarinda sarong, Pagatan sarong, Banjar shadow puppet, Spot yarn (Ngaju Dayak batik), ampik (Dayak Kenyah batik ), Zafin dance and so on.

Basically Kalimantan culture is divided into inland culture and coastal culture. The attractions of these two cultures are displayed every year in the Borneo Festival, which is participated in by the four provinces in Kalimantan in rotation. Kalimantan is rich in culinary culture, including seafood dishes.

List of Provinces

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