Among things to do in Kalimantan, visiting Kutai Kartanegara is a must. Kutai Regency in East Kalimantan is where the history of the ancient kingdom Kutai Kartanegara took place, more precisely in Muara Kaman, in the upstream area of Mahakam River.
Since the 5th century, Kutai has been a city busy with economic activities. The recent news said that Kutai will be location for the country’s new capital city.
Aside of its ancient history, what’s in there in Kutai? Probably the most frequent question for people who have not been there. Here’s the list to follow about what to do in Kutai Kartanegara.
- Rafting in Kedang Ipil Waterfall
Most waterfalls in Kalimantan have quite grand view: high and strong current as well as magnificent surrounding scenery. But Kedang Ipil has its own uniqueness.
Kedang Ipil does not seem like regular waterfall with water flowing from a high cliff. Instead, Kedang Ipil waterfall is rather flat with only 5 meters high.
But the width is about 20 meters long. The shape looks like terraced lake with many ponds in each of the terrace. You can freely swim on the ponds or if you visit during rainy season, you can raft along the high tide for about 10 kilometers long rafting route.
Kedang Ipil waterfall is located in Kota Bangun, 72 kilometers from Tenggarong, the capital of Kutai. To enter the area, you have to pay IDR 7.000 used for parking and area maintenance.
- Watching Sunset in Semayang Lake
In Kutai, sunset is best enjoyed not on the beach, but on the lake shore. Semayang Lake offers sunset view with forest cover as the backgroud. On the beach, you usually watch the sun sets to the horizon. But in Semayang Lake, the sun rays meet the trees and create golden line on the water surface. It’s best to visit the lake in the afternoon until evening comes.
Semayang Lake also becomes the habitat for Pesut, a rare species of fish said as the evolution of dolphin which has adapted to live in the fresh water. To reach Semayang Lake, you have to go to Semayang Village in Kenohan, about 1 hour from Tenggarong. IDR 2.000 is the ticket price in exchange of parking space.
- Walking in The Woods with Orangutan
Kutai has the most unique attraction no other city in the world has. Orangutan conservation! Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) is a nonprofit institution dedicated to preserve some of the last remaining orangutans in Kalimantan.
This endangered species is endemic of Kalimantan and Sumatera forest. The organization helps to protect orangutans that are no longer able to live in the wild because of old age, physical disability, and illness.
To visit BOS, you need to go to Balikpapan Street KM 44 in Margomulyo Village, Samboja. The ticket is IDR 550.000. You can join the organisation to set loose the orangutan to the conservation forest once they are mature enough to live independently.
You can also enjoy the wilderness of Borneo forest with many tropical species inside. Please pay more attention to the visitor rules since the area and its inhabitants are strictly protected, just like other National Parks in Kalimantan.
- Learning History in Museum of Mulawarman
Mulawarman is mentioned in history book as the King who brought Ancient Kingdom of Kutai to its glory in the 5th century. His name is preserved as the name of the Kutai historical museum.
Located in the middle of Tenggarong, Museum of Mulawarman keeps many archives and artifacts from the ancient Kutai to Indonesian independence era. About 5.000 collections can be seen in the museum.
In front of the museum, there’s a bronze statue which took shape of an animal with crowned head of a lion, trunk of elephant, wings of garuda (mythical animal similar to eagle), and scales of fish.
The locals call it Lembuswana, a symbol of Kingdom of Kutai in the past. Once you arrive in Kutai, you will see this animal as statue or drawing in almost every corner of the city.
- Enjoying Night Sky in Ambalat Beach
This low tide beach is located in Samboja, not far from Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS). Pine trees are lined up not far from the coastline in 3 kilometers long.
The contour is low so the visitors can enjoy their time sitting without worrying about getting dragged by the waves. Most beautiful beaches in Kalimantan don’t have high tide or strong waves due to its geographic location.
The best time to visit Ambalat beach is from the evening. Even tough you can’t see the sunset directly because of the trees, it’s worth seeing the sky turned orange.
Once the night falls, clear sky above is full of stars. Many youngsters and families come to the beach to camp. To spend the time in Ambalat beach, you have to pay IDR 15.000 for parking and entry ticket.
Kalimantan is not as famous as other island in Indonesia to be travel destination. It is because of the wilderness of the nature that many are still not yet discovered, like attractions in Kutai National Park and Gunung Palung National Park.
The distance from one city to another is quite far. But once you step your feet on one of the cities, you will feel the traditional vibe quite strongly.
The locals try so hard to preserve their surrounding nature despite of the city development. Kutai Kartanegara is one of its famous city to combine tradition and history into the locals’ daily life.
In Kutai, people from Dayak and several existing tribes in Kalimantan are living harmoniously with the immigrants from outside the island.