Blogs from Samarinda, Kalimantan, Indonesia, Asia

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Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda April 23rd 2014

It was a spur of the moment kind of trip. I had my ticket to Chongqing and China visa ready the day before departure, but the Yangtze River Cruise schedule didn't fit with my flight itinerary. I had to postpone my Yangtze River cruise trip to some other time as I didn't want to take annual leave more than I needed. The next thing I did was to go to Singapore Airlines website and went thru alphabetically all the flights that didn't require Visa (Indonesian needs visa to travel to many places in this world unfortunately). Then, I remembered my wish list of a Mahakam River Cruise, and the flight to Balikpapan from Singapore was also available. Once flight was booked, I was frantically looking for a tour agent that could arrange a cruise in such ... read more
Jantur Village
Fishermen and their catch
Proboscis Monkey

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda March 2nd 2013

Kalimantan, I have been here for almost two weeks now and if I have noticed one thing is that you get somewhere near to nowhere on a daily basis. Not because the destinations I have been to are so far flung, but because transport is so slow, and this in turn it caused by the abysmal condition of the roads. It didn’t come as a surprise, I knew what to expect, and quite frankly I am exactly where I thought I would be after twelve days, in Samarinda. What I didn’t quite realize is how expensive transport would be. You pay premium for crap rides in Kalimantan, and you don’t get very far or very much for it. If I didn’t have to pay so much for getting anywhere, I would be on half the budget ... read more
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Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda August 8th 2012

from samarinda we went up the great river Mahakam. we stayed three days in muara muntai, a little village on stilts and from there we visited tanjung issuy and muara pahu. travelling on the river by boat we spotted the river dolphins.... read more
white herons
reflections
a full load

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda July 15th 2012

A friend's daughter recently wrote an article about growing up in a small town. She pointed out that in a city or larger town how you treat someone may not matter as you may never see them again, but that in a small town you don't have that luxury and must learn to be nice to everyone. I'm glad we lived in a small town and learned that lesson. The indigenous population of Kalimantan are the Dayak people. If you travel into the interior you can visit their villages and see more of the culture. We weren't sure we wanted to spend the limited time we had in Indonesia doing this, but had read about a village only 29 km from Samarinda, Pampang, that put on a show of traditional dance each Sunday at 2pm. It ... read more
The old men of the village
A Dayak girl dancing in the decorated longhouse
Dancing with ribbons just like maypole dancing

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda July 14th 2012

Fiona had the best sleep since arriving in Indonesia. Harriet had a great sleep too, but being a teenager wasn't happy at being woken at 8.00am by her parents whispering. Toby unfortunately and ironically due to his comments yesterday, was the only one woken by the call to prayer. The first call is one hour before dawn around 5.30am. All Indonesian hotels have an arrow somewhere, usually on the roof, so that you know which way to pray towards Mecca (Kiblat). This hotel also has a prayer mat - very thoughtful. At breakfast we were the centre of attention as we were the only white guests- no photo requests, but plenty of whispers and giggles from children. The breakfast was typically Indonesian with plenty of rice, but there were many other choices too including Australian honey. ... read more
Street life in Samarinda
Fireworks stall
Samarinda

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda July 13th 2012

After struggling with the receptionist over the bill, we were a little late to the airport. Thankfully we had left enough time, but the lines were huge and check in did not close until long after it was supposed to. Fiona's indonesian friend, Budiman always insists on checking in for domestic flights 2 hours before and we could see why this was a good plan. Some travellers had obviously missed checking in for their flight and there was a huge screaming match going on. In all her travels in Indonesia, Fiona had never seen a row before. It seemed to be unusual for the locals too as many were crowding around not just to hear but to take photos too. The flight was uneventful, but cramped as expected and so it was a relif to step ... read more
For Chelsea and sugar lovers

Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda July 18th 2011

I got up and was greeted with donuts and tea. After my morning shower (aka pouring buckets of cold water) Aurelie and I headed out but just as we were about to get to the main road Aurelie realizes her camera is missing so she runs back and looks to no avail. We head off nonetheless taking the public transport into the city and the to the bus terminal. It is supposed to be 4hours but takes us 6 in a cramped non-ac bus. The road is windy and full of large potholes. The bus would often hit a bump and I'd go flying. The bus was also pathetic at getting up hills. We arrive in sengatta rather late and take a public transport to the boat dock. Seeing that we ate Bule the guy in ... read more
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Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda July 16th 2011

The next morning we got up and headed to the bus station to catch a bus. There we met Aurelie , a French girl traveling alone through Indonesia. The bus was very cramped for me with not enough room for my long legs. They were extremely sore by the end. In Indonesia on every bus there are 2 employees, the bus driver and what I call the bus master. The bus master takes the money, tells the driver when to start and stop, and does all the misc jobs. This was the most interesting bus master I've seen in Asia. He was a dwarf and had control of some very loud speakers on the bus and so throughout the ride he blasted Indonesian music. It was so loud you could not talk to the person beside ... read more
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Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda July 13th 2011

The next morning i got picked up by Dennis and drove by the large beautiful mosque on the way to Dennis' home. I met Dennis' wife, 3 young daughters and the whole extended family. I had lunch and the wandered around the little local district with the eldest daughters, ages 9 and 10. first stop was a table of men sitting around a chess game drinking bako, a home brew made from palm trees. i had some and it didn't have a strong flavour but it wasn't that good. the girls got bored so we left and wandered around a bit. almost everyone would wave and say hello. Children would run up and practice their English phrases, such as the ubiquitous "Hello Mister" as well as asking my name, where I'm from, and what my hobby ... read more
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Asia » Indonesia » Kalimantan » Samarinda July 12th 2011

I caught an early flight to balikpapan. The flight was a couple hours late and in fact every flight of that airline was late. All 12 flights. I got to balikpapan and booked a minibus to samarinda. In Indonesia but particularly in kalimantan the epitome of beauty is white people, both male and female. Girls and women, even married with their husband and children get giddy and nervous around me, much in the same manner as young girls who get a crush on someone. I get alot of attention from girls, albeit in a shy conservative way. White women also get lots of attention from men here but they are less shy about it although not too pushy either. The girls at the bus booth got quite nervous for example and tried to push their friends ... read more




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