The Exotic City of Oil
Balikpapan is located on the south eastern coast of East Kalimantan facing the deep Makassar Straits. Like its counterpart city of Pekanbaru in Riau on Sumatra, is known for its oil mining. Oil and other mining industries are the reasons why nearly all domestic airlines fly to Balikpapan rather than to the provincial capital of Samarinda.
Balikpapan’s Sepinggan airport is also the main transit point inland to Tanjungredep airport in Berau, the hopping off point to the wonderful Derawan Dive Islands. Besides it's oil silos and refineries, which are a must to see, Balikpapan has quite a number of tourist attractions in and around the city. Three most popular beaches here are the Kemala beach, the Manggar beach and the Segara Sari beach.
To see wildlife, there is the Wain River Protected Forest which cover about 10,000 hectares and the habitat to a number of endangered animals, like the Beruang Madu (honey bear) which are sun bears endemic to the area, Orang Utans and Proboscis monkeys or Bekantan. Wain river reserve, moreover, houses a number of endangered plants. Near Balikpapan is also a crocodile farm called Teritip, which is interesting to visit.
Balikpapan is easily reached from all major cities in Indonesia. Most airlines have flights to Balikpapan, including from Jakarta, Surabaya, and Makassar. Besides Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air, other domestic low-cost carriers to Balikpapan are Sriwijaya Air, Citilink, Indonesia Air Asia. Internationally, SilkAir flies direct to Balikpapan from Singapore.