Balikpapan is the biggest city in the island of Kalimantan. It has significantly grown to become metropolitan city. Oil and other mining resources have attracted other ethnicities in Indonesia to come here to make a living. For a long time it’s the oil that has made Balikpapan worth fighting over; even the Allied Forces and the Japanese army did that during the Pacific war.
For the similar reason, this city has cultural, religious and customary diversity. There is not a single ethnic group that is dominant in this city. The natives Dayak and Banjar live in harmony along with other ethnicgroups coming from Java, Sulawesi, Sumatera etc. Diverse multinational mining companies open their office braches in this city and that has made Balikpapan the most developed city in East Kalimantan. Balikpapan has sufficient facilities, ranging from shopping centre, hotels to restaurants. This hilly city is surrounded by forest and this allows this city to have diverse attractive agro-tourism destinations as well as natural tourism. You can see the habitat of orang utans or exploring the mangrove forest and after that you can have seafood in the outskirt of Balikpapan.
Balikpapan in the past year has become one of MICE destinations in Indonesia. Besides having international hotel chain with huge ballroom, this city also boasts a dome-shape construction called Balikpapan Sport and Convention Centre. This is an indoor sport arena and exhibition venue of 33,000 square meters wide. This building has vast park which is also used the city government as public space.
The Sepinggan International Airport is Balikpapan’s gate linking this city to other cities in Indonesia. This airport also offers direct flights to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Balikpapan has Semayang Sea Port which is used to unload containers as well as for ship passengers.
In the city area, taxi is not easy to find. Taxi only serves the route from airport to certain destination. Public transportations are the city transports and buses for Samarinda and Bontang.
Diverse ethnicities in Indonesia, particularly the natives of Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Javanese have continually been coming to Balikpapan to make a living. The ethnic groups come bringing all their traditions and religions. The Balikpapan residents in general use the Indonesian language, both in school, home or work place and in social interaction. What is typical in this city is that there is no dominance of certain ethnicity both from the side of the natives Kalimantan or the side of the newcomers.
This condition is the result of great cultural acculturation so that people can connect harmoniously generation to generation. Balikpapan is a strategic and conducive city and the people can maintain this great condition by being so warm to each other despite their differences in culture and tradition. Each ethnicity still holds strongly on their belief but they are so tolerant at the same time.
Despite the plurality of the people they prove able to live in harmony. They accept modern values but maintain their moral values. They have such a great spirit to live in the diversity that often creates problems in other places. This diversity in culture, religion and ethnicity has created such an interesting cultural acculturation.
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