Banjarmasin Travel Information
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Geography || History || Local Places of Interest || How to Get in || What to Do || How Delicious Food || Map of Banjarmasin
Geography

 

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Banjarmasin is the capital of South Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is located at 3°20′S 114°35′E / 3.333°S 114.583°E / -3.333; 114.583, on a delta island near the junction of the Barito and Martapura rivers. As a result, Banjarmasin is sometimes called the "River City". Its population is about 444,000 (As of 1991).

Banjarmasin is served by the Syamsudin Noor Airport, which is located about 25 km outside the town. The town is also served by a port, named Trisakti Harbour. A fairly important deepwater port, Pelabuhan Trisakti Banjarmasin is the trade center of the Barito basin; exports include rubber, pepper, timber, petroleum, coal, gold, and diamonds. Passenger ships and ferries to and from Java also carry their operation here.

The city is laced with flood-prone waterways, and many houses are built on rafts or stilts over the water. Many of such waterways are also used for travel, using relatively small rowboats (only major rivers are accessible by larger speedboats, tugboats, longboats, and barges). The city is the home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Banjarmasin.

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History

 

Nan Serunai was an ancient kingdom in South Kalimantan, but soon it was replaced by Buddhist kingdom of Tanjungpuri. In the fourteenth century, Banjarmasin was part of the Hindu kingdom of Negara Dipa and Negara Daha respectfully, a vassal of Majapahit. But Pangeran Samudera converted to become a Muslim in the fifteenth century, and Banjarese people became muslims ever since.

The Dutch opened trade there in 1606. The British controlled the city for several brief periods, and in 1787 it became a Dutch protectorate. The Hikayat Banjar is the chronicle of Banjarmasin. This text, also called the History of Lambung Mangkurat, contains the history of the kings of Banjar and of Kota Waringin in South-east and South Borneo respectively.

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Local Places of Interest

 

Sultan Suriansyah MosqueYour best bet would be the metered taxi, insist the driver to use the meter if you have to. Alternatively, you can use “angkot” or “bamikro” or public shuttle microbuses, which interesting enough are also called “taxi” too by the locals. Also available is by "ojek" (motorcity taxi) and "becak" (Tricycle Rickshaw), that cost around USD 2.00 - 2.50 or Rp. 15,000 - 20,000 for inner city trips.

The Sabilal Muhtadin Mosque, located along the Martapura riverfront, is a major landmark in the city. Built in 1980, the mosque could accommodate thousands of worshippers on Friday prayers. A state university (Universitas Lambung Mangkurat, UNLAM) is also located in the town.

Banjarmasin has long been renowned as a center for gem trading, particularly rare diamonds and ruby's. An informal network with international connections exists, which also supports the large domestic Indonesian trade in rare diamonds. Banjar's diamonds are especially known for their exquisite brilliance. In recent times, however, many of Indonesia's large diamond stones have been traded out of the country. A floating marketplace, where buyers and sellers visit by boat, is located on the western outskirts of town.

A famous local dish is "soto banjar", a soup served with lime. Another notable local dish is "Ketupat Kandangan", a ketupat dish with coconut milk soup (can be served with either chicken or snakehead meat.)

Architectural Heritage

Banjarese, the name of South Kalimantan’s ethnicity, have a unique way of building their houses and other structures in harmony with nature. There are at least 12 types of traditional Banjarese houses, which have unfortunately lost their popularity in modern times. Still, you can see a few houses that were built with traditional techniques all over Banjarmasin if you really search for them.

The palace ground was totally destroyed by the colonial Dutch, but you can still visit its remnants in Kampung Kraton, along Jalan Pangeran Samudera. There, you can see Masjid Sultan Suriansyah. Built during Pangeran Samudera’s rule, it is the first Mosque in South Kalimantan and contains the royal burial site.

  • Museum Waja Sampai Ka Puting - this was an old and genuine Banjarese traditional house in "Bubungan Tinggi" style (one of the 12 styles and the most bona fide one) before it was transformed into a museum.
  • Masjid Sultan Suriansyah - The oldest mosque in South Kalimantan, 300+ years old.
  • Masjid Raya Sabilal Muhtadin - a giant modern mosque completed in 1981, the second largest in Indonesia.

Rivers

Martapura RiverBanjarmasin is abundant with wide and mighty rivers. The rivers have always been a part of Banjarese way of life. To this very day, every morning there are floating markets in which farmers and traders brought their goods to trade on boats.

It has always been a farmers’ market and it’s interesting to see the genuine river-based way of life. The rivers are also the main venues for boat races and other festivities. The main attractions are the waterlogged suburbs traversed by canals; much of the city's commerce takes place on water.

  • Floating markets - trading is from dawn until around 9am. Get there early. Journey takes around 20 minutes by boat.
  • Canal trips
  • Pulau Kembang (lit. Flower Island) - visit the long-tailed macaques at the decrepit Chinese temple, 20 minutes by boat. You can buy nuts to feed them. The monkeys are quite aggressive if you have food and will try to steal it from you.
  • Pulau Kaget (lit. Surprised Island) - see the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), the mascot fauna of South Kalimantan. No guarantee you would have a good look at them, though, as they are really shy.

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How to Get in

 

By plane

Banjarmasin’s airport is Syamsuddin Noor (BDJ), half an hour drive from the city. To go to the city, you can take a taxi (with fixed rate) or better yet, tell your hotel to pick you up. There are daily flights from many Indonesian cities including Jakarta and Surabaya. The airport is 26km from Banjarmasin.

By car

The roads of Trans-Kalimantan are in bad condition, but if you’re patient and adventurous you can try to reach Banjarmasin from the neighboring provinces of Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan by car.

By ship

Another alternative to get to Banjarmasin is by ship from various places in Indonesia to Banjarmasin’s main harbour, Trisakti. Be forewarned that the condition of passenger ship transportation in Indonesia is poor, albeit cheap, and you might want to consider that before spending the night (at least 1 night if you come from Java). You best bet is Express Ferry where it’s available, only 8 hours from Java, and 2 days + 2 nights of seatrip from Jakarta Tanjung Priuk Harbor Passenger Terminal.

By boat

Alternatively, if you are coming from the neighboring provinces of East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, there are a lot of boat transportations through the rivers of Kalimantan. This could be an adventurous or boring ride depending on your taste. A range of boats are available, from slow moving boats to speedboats. It’s a great choice if you are extremely adaptable with the locals’ way of life.

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What to Do

 

In Sunday mornings, people from Banjarmasin have a tradition of walking, running, jogging, cycling or go with whatever you want toward the suburbs that is called "Pal Tujuh". There, they would go to the "Pasar Ahad" or "Sunday Market" which, obviously, opens only on Sundays. Enjoy local treats such as Ketupat Kandangan and Apam as your warm breakfast over there.

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How Delicious Food

 

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Soto BanjarBingkaApam

Banjarese love their foods and even though they are most of the times very excited about other kinds of foods, they adore their own local specialties more than others. The ones in restaurants, malls, or foodcourts are fine for beginners, but to find the real taste of Banjarese food, you have to go to hidden places in small streets because there you’d find the ones that are famous among the locals.Foods that are available throughout the year and are very popular with the locals:

  • Soto Banjar - "Soto" is a type of Indonesian soup. Soto Banjar is a uniquely Banjarese variant of Soto, popular in other places throughout in Indonesia. Don't miss the chance to try the real and genuine taste in its place of origin! Soto in Banjar meant that it is served with lontong, while Soup is served with rice, for the same meal.
  • Apam - Although not specifically Banjarese, the Apam here has its own twist. Enjoy it sweet and warm, accompanied with tea.
  • Bingka - A specialty of Banjarese, it came in many flavors. The pride of the Banjarese people, it's very sweet and creamy.
  • Ketupat Kandangan - It's actually a specialty of Kandangan, but you can also find it in Banjarmasin. Known as a festive food, especially favored during Eid al Fitr.
  • Klepon Buntut - Similar to Klepon, a palm sugar filled snacks coated with grated coconut found across Java, however this one has smoother texture and the flling is more liquidy.

However, in the month of Ramadhan, the Banjarese went all out with their traditional delicacies. Heaps of wadai (traditional cakes) and other treats mostly unavailable throughout the year will suddenly appears in Ramadhan. Though most travel guides won't suggest you to travel during the month of Ramadhan in Indonesia, it's an amazing experience to see the emergence of many "Pasar Wadai" (Cakes Market) all over the city, with treats such as:

  • Amparan Tatak - banana pudding
  • Bingka Barandam - Although named "bingka", tasted nothing like it. It's somekind of a cupcake soaked in sweet syrup.

Apart from localities, there are 3 KFCs, 2 Pizza Huts, and a Dunkin Donuts. If local taste doesn't suits you, go to Duta Mall and you'll dicover National as well as International renowned outlets. One should try the Banjarese tea, which is somewhat different with the teas found elsewhere in Indonesia. It is a strongly Muslim area, so don't expect to find alcohol outside large hotels. if you are have interest to find tropical fruit theres one new agrotourism area at banjarmasin its named Mek farm. there you can find and try some original tropical fruit its might be hard to find at other place.

like durian, avocado, keledang, some kind of kalimantan local manggo and ther a restaurant too. the restaurant serve ony indonesian traditional food it's easy to find the farm its only about 5 kilometer from the airport and we can use taxi, car rent or local tranporation service like what they call angkot and becak.

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Map of Banjarmasin

 

Map of Banjarmasi

Banjarmasi map

 

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