The Weird and Wonderful: Rain Forest Walk in Balikpapan

Indonesia has the world’s third largest tropical forest, after the Amazon and the Congo. And lucky us, we currently live in Kalimantan, a/k/a Borneo, where the rain forests cloister species still being discovered; currently our island — the third largest in the world — is home to a huge range of flora and fauna found nowhere…

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Mystical Stones of Borneo

Stone jewelry sales have exploded in Indonesia; particularly for men, who love to wear enormous stone rings and/or stone pendants strung with gold or silver chains. Within the sixteen months we’ve been in Balikpapan (East Kalimantan Indonesia), we’ve noticed a marked increase in stores and little stalls selling various raw and polished stones within the local markets…

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Lunching with Sun Bears

Balikpapan’s Sun Bear Sanctuary lies in the Sungai Wain preservation area of East Kalimantan’s rain forest, off Kilometer 23 on the road to Samarinda. Here, seven sun bears rescued from poachers and other threats roam the 3.25 acre natural enclosure. Twice daily, the bears, whose Indonesian name “Beruang Madu” actually translates to honey bear, pad…

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We’re Famous! BIWA’s Biking Group Caught on Camera

Indonesia’s Independence Day, August 17, is right around the corner, and the streets festooned with mini Indonesian flags and garlands of red and white painted party cups make this a fun time to stroll or bicycle through the villages (“kampungs”). This Wednesday, the BIWA cycling group did just that.   Bike rides with the Balikpapan…

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Hiking Bukit Dinding off Samarinda Road, Kilometer 45

Bukit Dinding (Wall Hill) is a stunning backbone of boulders arching above East Kalimantan’s rain forest, about an hour and twenty minute’s drive from downtown Balikpapan. Pak Yayan has been telling us about this place for months, and since Sam had a weekend off to go further from camp, we said, “Let’s do it!” Now, the title…

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Pasar Klandasan, Balikpapan’s Awesome Fresh Market

This post is dedicated to Pasar Klandasan, a fresh market here in Balikpapan that I frequent about once a week. 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…

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Cycling Trip from Balikpapan to Penajam: 7 bikes and a boat!

One of the best things about living in Balikpapan is the stupendous, completely original, I-can’t-believe-I-get-to-do-this-on-a-regular-basis! cycling here. One recent experience was a group ride from Balikpapan’s Kampung Baru (also known as “Water Village”) to Penajam, a village across the Balikpapan Bay, where back roads lead through idyllic little plantations of tapioca, water farms filled with fish,…

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