View of Pasar Klandasan from parking lot
Balikpapan is flush with large fresh markets (called “pasar” in Bahasa Indonesian), especially in the old town area of Kampung Baru and Kebun Sayur, where Blue Sky Hotel stands prominent, or along the ocean-front drive of Jalan Jendral Sudirman.
Lucky for us, we are about a fifteen minute walk from the latter area … and Pasar Klandasan, one of Balikpapan’s biggest and best fresh markets!
From the parking lot (pictured above), this place may not look like much, but once you step under that white sign and venture inside, a new world exploding with color, smells and sounds assails you.
Inside Pasar Klandasan (it is very much appreciated to give a little change to the special needs individuals often seated in the center of the main walkway. )
It’s a destination onto itself just to walk through the narrow lanes lined with stalls selling everything from freshly caught squid and slurpy, newly-slaughtered (and quease-inducing) chicken , to cookware and household items to basil , pineapple and tomatoes. And then there are the little shops and stalls lining the outside, selling fresh coconuts, random housewares, papaya and bananas … you get the picture.
All of this leads to the (not-so-picturesque) ocean front where fishermen bring in their catch and a wooden pier lined with barbecue fish stalls hovers on stilts over the tidal mash-up of sandy beach, plastic bags and a lot of other stuff you probably just don’t want to know about. Coming here is, in my opinion, a Balikpapan highlight. It’s a great way to interact with the locals (who should win the Friendliest-People-on-the-Planet award) and, short of growing your own produce, you won’t find fresher ingredients! But this place is meant for photo’s, so here’s a photo tour of my favorite Balkipapan grocery-stop:
Sponge and sundries vendor just inside the main entrance. This is where I buy my kitchen sponges…
Santi, the nicest egg seller ever! (A big carton costs a little under 3 USD). She also sells big bags of Kopi Kapal Api (excellent, finely-ground Indonesian-brand coffee) for under 2 USD a bag!
Banana row. A bunch of bananas goes for about 10,000 IDR (less than 1 USD). The boy is wearing a face mask made of ground rice, turmeric and water. It is used ubiquitously (though usually not applied so thickly) to protect skin from the sun and is thought to also lighten and soften the complexion.
Lady selling flower petals just inside the main entrance. These are used to decorate graves.
Ibu Djumiati and her nephews. This is where I buy most of my vegetables. She sells almost everything you can want, and most of it is locally grown. One can purchase a huge bag of veggies consisting of local basil, carrots, tomato, water spinach (delicious! called “Kangkung”), bell peppers (red and green), green beans, broccoli, cabbage, romaine lettuce, avocado, onions, garlic, chili peppers, chives, limes and pineapple for about 10 USD total!
Dragon Fruit, Papaya, Squash, Avocado, Mango, Cantaloupe and Limes!
Another view of Ibu Djumiati’s stall. She has the best price for pineapples (8,000 to 10,000 IDR — under 1 USD)!
Dried fish stall across from Ibu Djumiati.
Pak Ridwan carrying my groceries so far (trust me, by the end of your trip, you’ll be glad for the help!). A lot of men and boys will ask to carry your goods. In exchange, you give them $10,000 IDR (under 1 USD) after they help load your things into your vehicle. They are always really nice and can point you in the direction of a certain vendor if you aren’t sure where to go for something.
Haja Lela picking out my potatoes (women who have visited the holy city of Mecca are given the title “Haja”). Haja Lela went to Mecca in 1996.
Haja Lela weighing my potatoes. I always go to her for my potatoes and sometimes tomatoes and onions. She’s really nice and, like Ibu Djumiati, always gives a fair price. Potatoes go for 15,000 IDR per kilo (a little over 1 USD).
Variations of Tofu
This funny guy is always coming up to foreigners and speaking some dialect that is to me, incomprehensible. He knows Bahasa Indonesian, but he just likes to see how long it takes for a person to catch on that he’s messing with you.
Warning! A few graphic photos of poultry, beef and seafood…
Beef (local) Vendor.
Where I get my chicken… Yup. Not for the faint of heart. On the bright side, this lady (who was too shy to give me her name) is so sweet and she gives me the same price she gives to locals. Currently, about 38,000 IDR (a little under 3 USD) for a large chicken. She even puts the head and feet in a separate bag for me so I can give those to a friend of mine who uses them!
Pak Faddil’s fish stall. Where I buy my Snapper and Tuna … about $3 per kilo!
Delivering freshly caught fish (usually afternoons at around 3:00)
Crabs (“Kepiting”) … Balikpapan’s specialty
And now, winding our way around the parking lot outside to the back of the pasar…
Drink vendor in parking lot
Man selling salak (snake fruit)
Pet fish, anyone?
Chickens going to Klandasan for slaughter…
Pak Iskandar weighing my apples … usually his wife Ibu Muliati is here. They are super nice and often throw in a seasonal fruit for free. Apples are, relatively speaking, pricey in Balikpapan. They sell for about 35,000 IDR (under 3 USD) per kilo.
Popping into a little shop (“toko”) for dry goods and sundries. These tokos surround the parking lot area.
Coconut and local stone vendors outside market, before pier
Pandanus leaf baskets for cooking rice, seen especially during Ramadan
Back side of Klandasan … where the fishermen bring in their catch (see the little patch of blue water to the right?).
Wooden Pier behind Pasar Klandasan, where they slaughter chickens (to left) and sell grilled fish (at right)
View from Klandasan Pier
Hut with light blue is where the chickens are slaughtered, bright blue building is the back of Pasar Klandasan
View of developing Balikpapan: Balikpapan plaza and Cahaya mall in background
Best time to go: mornings for fresh produce, afternoons (3-ish) for freshly hauled fish.
Where it is: Just off Jalan Jendral Sudirman (the main road hugging coast), across from the main mosque (the one that is lit up at night with different colors). Nearby shops include Diamond Photo, Toko Anda and Toko Mickey. Across the street and down away is the well-known Toko Susanna. The large malls of Balkipapan Plaza and Hypermart are within easy walking distance, as are the Novotel and Grand Sudirman hotels and Ocean Restaurant.
Bargaining? Yes, but it’s not as flexible as other places. I can usually bargain down a little from the stated price … except for the regular vendors whom I frequent and the price is already established.