About a two hour’s drive north of Balikpapan city central lies one of East Kalimantan’s tourist draws: the canopy bridge walk at Bukit Bangkirai.

Bukit Bangkirai is actually a park within the rain forest, featuring log cottages for overnight stays, a small restaurant, restrooms, several [overgrown] jungle treks, a questionably maintained swimming pool and, for those who linger until five in the afternoon or so, the lure of viewing East Kal’s famous Hornbills that frequent the area around dusk.

But the main draw remains the brief but thrilling canopy walk experience.

Panorama of Canopy Walk at Bukit Bangkirai

Featuring Bukit Bangkirai's top-end patch jobs (the turquise strings)

What is Bukit Bangkirai’s canopy walk?

Bukit Bangkirai’s canopy walk consists of five narrow suspension bridges made of wooden planks, steel cabling and nylon side netting (if you ignore the random string here and there that “patches” problem areas) dangling between enormous, old-growth tees, some thirty meters in the air (that’s 98.4 feet!).

A little perspective ... A ground view of Bukit Bangkirai's canopy bridges

This sign can come as a bit of a surprise if you aren't prepared! Entrance to Bukit Bangkirai canopy platform

How the Bukit Bangkirai canopy walk works:

Climb the wooden staircase to the canopy above where the first platform awaits.  Once you cross the bridge to the next platform, another canopy bridge will bring you to the next and so on until you end at another tower with a staircase leading down.

Our intrepid leader at the start of the Canopy Walk. Bukit Bangkirai, Balikpapan Indonesia

View of two canopy bridges at Bukit Bangkirai in Balikpapan, Indonesia

This shows the slope of the canopy walkway at Bukit Bangkirai. It can be a little unnerving!

Darwin Award Contender:  Look! No hands!  (This is <em>not</em> recommended as the bridges do swing a bit.)

In any case, the view is fantastic up there, so if wobbly knees allow, make sure you take in the vast views of Borneo’s rain forest.

Rules of the Canopy. Bukit Bangkirai, Balikpapan, Indonesia

Map of Bukit Bangkarai in Balikpapan, Indonesia

Finding the canopy walk from the Bukit Bangkirai parking lot

Once you’ve reached the Bukit Bangkirai parking lot, go to the large, open-aired building (# 2 on the above map) and purchase your tickets (there are separate tickets for parking, entrance fee and then the canopy walk with prices apparently varying depending upon your nationality status).

Bukit Bangkirai ticket area and entrance to rain forest

If you ask for a map (“peta”), you may receive a photocopied, hand-drawn rendition of the park that serves as an amusing souvenir if nothing else.

Once you’ve purchased your tickets, proceed out the back of the ticket building and take the path to the left that leads to the canopy bridge (# 17 on the map), following the sign shown below.  The walk is quite pleasant, with towering trees shading most of the way.  Bug spray to ward of mosquitoes is definitely recommended.

Path entrance for canopy walk at Bukit Bangkirai

How to reach Bukit Bangkirai

Private car, taxi or tour bus remain the current options to reach this rather remote destination.  On the bright side, taxis in Balikpapan are pretty cheap, and most hotels can help arrange for transport should you wish to make a day trip.  Depending on whether or not it has recently rained, you may need to ensure a four wheel drive, or, at the very least, an SUV as the roads get pretty rough about an hour outside of town.  Also? The trip there is w-i-n-d-y (as in, curvy, not breezy).  So, if you get motion sick like I do, take some ginger ahead of time!

Nasi Goreng with sambal (hot sauce). Yum!

Bukit Bangkirai Travel Tip

At the back of the parking lot, there is a restaurant on stilts and then beside that, a small office/souvenir shop attached to an open-air food stall area.  The fried rice at the food stall is super cheap and delicious.  Highly recommended!

Bukit Bangkirai Logistics

Entrance Fee: About 5 USD per person. Cash only.  (But bring extra as the prices seem to fluctuate.)

What to bring: Hiking shoes, bug spray, SPF, water (you can buy bottles at the food stall), a hat, cash and … a camera of course!

Location: Jl. Balikpapan-Samarinda, KM 32 (20 KM on the highway towards Penajam and then 7 KM off road), Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Phone: (+62) 542 36066

Sign at Bukit Bangkirai: Don't kill anything but time. Don't take anything but pictures. Don't leave anything but footprints.

3 thoughts on “Thirty Meters High at Bukit Bangkirai (Balikpapan’s Canopy Bridge)”

  1. Once my stomach recovered from taking a nose dive at seeing the height of the canopy bridges, I really enjoyed the photo captions! Funny.

    1. Hi Carola,

      We did not stay overnight, so I’m not sure how to contact them. I did find additional phone numbers online that are supposed to be for Bukit Bangkirai’s office, but I don’t know if they are active or not. Here they are just in case: 62 542 440 535 or +62 542 736066. Good luck!

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