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BALIKPAPAN - information

Balikpapan, Indonesia, is a port on the eastern coast of Borneo, in East Kalimantan Province, on Makassar Strait. It is the centre of Kalimantan's oil industry is also the gateway to EaVisit Balikpapan with Guidepost Toursst 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.

A battle between United States and Japanese naval forces was fought nearby in 1942. Population (1997 estimate) 433,494.

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 centred at Balikpapan and Bontang.

Visits to Balikpapan can be arranged by Guidepost Tours for individuals and groups. Contact Guidepost Tours for further details.

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