Balikpapan has taken the title as the city with the largest economy in Kalimantan. In terms of transportation, this city is served by Semayang Port and Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman International Airport. Visiting Balikpapan means you will get a complete vacation package. The city has stunning natural charms, as well as cultural and historical sites. Furthermore, in terms of geography, Balikpapan has an 85% hilly area, and 12% a narrow, flat area. Like other cities in Indonesia, Balikpapan also has a tropical climate. That is why the temperature in Balikpapan tends to be warmer.
Sometimes, it is difficult to pick tourist destinations you want to explore. For instance, you just have three consecutive days for a vacation. Of course, you want to get the most out of this travel. So, here is some guidance about the best tourist destinations in Balikpapan
Started operating in October 2017, Aquaboom Waterpark has become a popular family destination in Balikpapan. Built on the 7th floor of the Nicopolis South Tower Astara Building, it is also located in the same complex as the Pentacity Mall and Hotel Balikpapan. Aquaboom Waterpark has three game zones. The first one is an extreme play area that can stimulate your adrenaline. The second is a space for children's playgrounds. The last one is the swimming pool area.
With crystal clear turquoise water, Lake Cermin Lamaru is definitely one of the most popular attractions in Balikpapan. This lake is about 4 hours drive from the city centre. The track to the lake is quite difficult but fun. Furthermore, this lake is actually a former excavation for army shooting training. Once abandoned, the sunken area has been flooded and become like a lake.
Located on Jalan Soekarno-Hatta Kota Balikpapan, Hutan Lindung Sungai Wan (HSLW) is a protected forest that covers an area of more than 10,000 hectares. It has become a home for various types of flora and fauna in Balikpapan. You can many species of fishes, crabs, birds, bears, and orangutans here. By taking a day tour, you can enjoy the crystal-clear river water with views of the mangrove forest. To reach this destination, it would be more comfortable and faster with a motorcycle. Situated 15 kilometers north of the city centre, you will find HSLW right on the tip of the Balikpapan-Samarinda highway. Some terrain in the forest is still marsh, so it's a good idea to use boots when you walk around.
If you are looking for a good photo spot, Alpha Hill could be an option. Located in Manggar, Balikpapan Timur, Alpha Hill is around 45 minutes drive from the city centre. Do not forget to bring drinking water because you will not find any grocery shop or even food stalls around this hill.
This beach is a popular hangout place for young people in Balikpapan. While enjoying the sunset, visitors can sit back and have delicious meals served by beachside cafes. Melawai Beach is only 15 minutes drive (3 km) away from downtown Balikpapan. It is surely a great place for a family vacation.
It is the largest water park in Eastern Indonesia with only 15 minutes drive from the city centre. Opened since July 2007, Caribbean Island Water Park offers many exciting rides for all ages. You can explore Caribbean Castle, a tower-shaped building with a pirate castle concept. For those who are adrenaline junkies, you must try Sliding Race, a water slide that makes you glide at high speed. In this water park, you can also find dry pools specifically designed for children. Its entrance ticket costs around Rp45,000 for weekdays and Rp60,000 for weekends.
Tasting local food is the best way to get to know a city. This is not just a matter of taste, but also how we understand the culture of the local community. So, here is our pick of the best authentic food in Balikpapan
Coto Makassar is one of the most popular dishes in Balikpapan. You can taste this savory soup in Coto Makassar Klandasan H. Kasim. This restaurant also serves sop konro, a soup made from spareribs.
During your hot days in Balikpapan, eating a cold and sweet dessert is certainly very refreshing. Depot Cendrawasih serves es campur (a dessert consists of syrup, shaved ice, condensed milk, and various topping) and various cakes made without preservatives. Pia Cendrawasih is the most favorite among visitors. This cake has a filling of mung bean and cheese.
If you are into coffee, stop by Kedai Kopi Nam Min. This coffee shop has been aged for more than 50 years. Kedai Kopi Nam Min has two branches, which are located in Pasar Pandan Sari and Kebun Sayur. Aside from being famous for its coffee, it also serves a delicious homemade bread. You cannot miss its toast spread with homemade srikaya (sugar apple) jam.
With so many interesting places available, spending just one day in Balikpapan is absolutely challenging. Therefore, choose the best accommodation that will accompany your vacation while exploring this city. So, here is our recommendation for a comfortable place to stay in Balikpapan
Successfully won the Best Overall from the 2018 Traveloka Hotel Awards, this hotel is the perfect accommodation for a family vacation. This hotel is only 1km from Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan International Airport, which is also suitable for passengers who are waiting for their next flights. Furthermore, E-Walk Balikpapan and Plaza Balikpapan are both within 20 minutes drive from this hotel.
This hotel is strategically located in the city centre, exactly on Jalan Jenderal Sudirman No.7. Offering fully furnished suites and apartments, Aston Balikpapan Hotel and Residence is also close to several attractions such as Plaza Balikpapan, Balikpapan Super Block, and Kemala Beach. Featuring 4-star accommodation, this hotel comes with modern décor and full amenities including a flat-screen TV and air conditioning. All rooms also provide a well-equipped kitchenette and a private balcony.
As the winner of the Best Food category at the 2018 Traveloka Hotel Awards, Horison Sagita Balikpapan is also known as a culinary hotel. Located on Jalan Mayjend Sutoyo No. 69 Gunung Malang, Balikpapan, this hotel is 4 km from bustling Kemala Beach and Taman Bekapai Park. All rooms are air-conditioned and have a minibar too.
Make your trip more practical by using the Traveloka app. Also, take advantage of this app to buy entrance tickets for popular tourist attractions in your destination city.