Our elected President, Mr. Djoko Widodo or Jokowi, has just announced the transfer of our capital from Jakarta to the Province of East Kalimantan. It is planned that the location shall be placed between the border of two districts, namely District of Kutai Kertanegara and District of Penajam Paser Utara at the Province of East Kalimantan. However, pros and cons among Indonesian citizens are still on going and become one of hot topics that being discussed in various social media. Nevertheless, it is interested to explore East Kalimantan tourism. Therefore, this article is going to describe briefly some beautiful destinations as a reference for your next holidays.
The Transfer of Indonesian Capital
Historically, the planning to transfer the capital of Indonesia currently is not the first time that has happened. In 1946, the capital of Indonesia was transferred to Yogyakarta. After two year, in 1948, it was removed again to Bukittinggi, West Sumatra. Only in one year, the Government decided to move it back to Jakarta in 1949 until now.
Pioneers of Civilization in Indonesia
Kalimantan Island is one of the rich islands in Indonesia, abundant with natural resources especially coal mining, petroleum, and others. Perhaps one of the reasons for the Government to choose East Kalimantan is because of its glory, which has been famous for centuries. History mentions that East Kalimantan is a pioneer of civilization in Indonesia. Historical evidence, such as ones found in the karst region of Sangkulirang – Mangkahalit, records that this Island had been inhabited by humans since the Ice Age. Firstly, it was inhabited by Old Malay/Proto Malay Tribes in 300 BC. Then in 500 BC, the second migrant came from the Deutro Malay until the entry of the Austronesian Nation.
The Kutai Kingdom: the Glory of East Kalimantan
Around 5 AD, a Hindu Kingdom named Kutai was founded at Muara Kaman, East Kalimantan. The Kutai Kingdom is the oldest kingdom in the Archipelago. It was established by Kudungga, a dignity from Campa or Cambodian Kingdom. However, it reached its glorious during the Dynasty of Mulawarman, Kudungga’s grandson. Later, he changed the kingdom name as Kutai Martadipura.
Hundred of years underway, a new kingdom was born, named Kutai Kertanegara, which has close relationship with Majapahit Kingdom at Java Island. Then, the Kingdom of Kutai Kertanegara conquered the Kutai Martadipura in the Year 1365. And the King established a new kingdom called Kutai Kertanegara ing Martadipura.
During the 16th Century, the influence of Islam entered Indonesia including East Kalimantan which subsequently transformed royal system into an empire. The golden period took place during the leadership of Sultan Muhammad Salihuddin in 1782 – 1850. Unfortunately, the glory of the empire ended when the VOC or Dutch Government expanded Indonesia including East Kalimantan in 1844. After gaining Indonesian Independence, the Province of East Kalimantan officially became an administrative territory through Law No. 25 of 1956. Today, the Province consists of 7 districts and 3 cities.
Explore East Kalimantan: the Trade Center
East Kalimantan is mostly tropical rain forests. This area is famous as a wood warehouse and mining. This province has always played a strategic role in the civilization of Southeast Asia and beyond. The Mahakam River was the channel for India – China Trade to enter Indonesia market in the past. History also notes that the Sultan of Makassar from the Sulawesi Island ever borrowed East Kalimantan as a trading place.
Explore East Kalimantan: the Wealth of Marine Tourism
For travelers who love marine adventure, East Kalimantan can be a destination of choice. This province has marvelous marine tourism with some of it as follow:
Firstly, we start to explore East Kalimantan tourism by explaining about Mahakam River. Mahakam River is the largest river in East Kalimantan. Its lengths reaches 920 Km and 149,000 km square area. Enjoying the afternoon with a panorama of sunset at Mahakam River can be the best choice during the holiday. If lucky, visitors could see Pesut Mahakam, a dolphin species whose habitat is only in the Mahakama River. Every weekend, you could join open trip to explore Mahakam River using a tourist boat which shall cross the two majestic bridges that ranging through the river.
In addition, visitors could visit a small island in the middle of the river called Kumala Island. At the Island, visitors could see Lamin, a traditional house of Dayak Tribe. There are also Hindu Temple called Pasak Pulau Temple, a Sky Tower with a height of 75 meters, a cable car, a Pesut Mahakam Aquarium, and many others.
Secondly, to explore East Kalimantan Tourism, you should not miss to visit Derawan Islands. The Derawan Islands are undoubtedly beautiful. It is a group of 31 small islands located in Berau District. Many resorts have been built in this area. The beaches and the wealth of marine life are the main attraction of these islands. In Taliyasan for example, visitors could swim with whales along the 9-10 meters. While Labuan Cermin is a lake that is famous for its water clarity. Moreover, there is Sangalaki Island which is a habitat for green turtles and stingrays. While Kakaban Island is a favorite spot for swimming or snorkeling with jellyfish. Not to forget, Maratua Island with its diverse marine life. Maratua is often referred to as Indonesia’s Maldives.
Tanjung Jumlai Beach
Thirdly, you could explore East Kalimantan Tourism by visiting Tanjung Jumlai Beach. Tanjung Jumlai Beach is at District of Penajam Paser Utara. The beach is usually a favorite choice of local people to organize a variety of activities. For example music festivals, kite festivals, and other performances. In addition, visitors could rent a boat from local fishermen to explore the coastal area. Or if you like fishing, you could bring the boat to the middle of the sea. Moreover, there is also water activities such as banana boat. And at the beach pier, you could see activities of local fishermen and seaweed farmers.
Sipakario Beach/Nipah-Nipah Beach
Fourthly, Sipakario Beach as the nearest destination to explore East Kalimantan from the new capital location. Sipakario Beach has very strategic location since it is only about 8 km from the location of the new capital. Access to this beach is very good. Moreover, there are many instagramable spots for visitors.
Fifthly, to explore East Kalimantan, you could enjoy Semayang Lake. Semayang Lake is the largest lake in Kutai Kertanegara District, covering in area of 13,000 Ha. In this lake, we could see the freshwater dolphins, Pesut Mahakam. In addition, visitors could experience of how to catch fishes traditionally with local fishermen. This is one of the favorite destinations for international travelers.
Explore East Kalimantan: Richness of Culture
Not only marine tourism, but when you explore East Kalimantan, you could also learn its interesting history and richness of its culture. Among other you could visit Mulawarman Museum or visit a village of Dayak Tribe. In addition, it also has Kutai National Park which has thousand collections of tropical floras, borneo birds, primata orang utan, and many others.