4 reasons to visit Samarinda, Indonesia

You might not have heard of it, but Samarinda is the largest city on the island of Borneo in Indonesia. Here are 4 reasons to pack your bags and visit this hidden gem. 


Being the capital of the East Kalimantan province, Samarinda has a population of more than 500.000 inhabitans. Do you love Indonesia, but haven’t yet explored this part of the country? Or do you plan to visit a new part of Asia? Then this destination is for you! There are lots of things to do and see – here are 4 of the highlights.

Explore the Mahakam River

It’s an absolute necessity to explore the Mahakam River and the local tribes, who live on the banks of the river. If you’re a fan of adventure travel, you’ll be blown away by the dance performances that usually take place here when tourists arrive. The river is exceptionally beautiful at sunrise or sunset, so try to plan your trip around early morning or late afternoon/early evening. There are a couple of hotels in the area, but head to Melka if you have the time. It’s a long journey to get there (30 hours by boat!), but you’ll find a spectacular orchid reserve and breathtaking nature.


Photo credit: vivaborneo.com

Visit the port town

Samarinda is well-known for its timber production, but it also houses an important port town. The port has become increasingly popular since the 1970s due to the timber production, and even though it’s not particularly attractive, it serves as the gateway to more remote regions of the province (which are great to explore if you’re a backpacker and on a budget!)
There are several hotels in Samarinda, for example the four star Aston Samarinda, which is located in the heart of the city. Aston Samarinda is also linked to a shopping mall and a cinema. Best room to stay in. 


Photo credit: flickr.com

See the waterfall Tanah Merah

This beautiful waterfall is located about 14 km from Samarinda. It provides a bathhouse, shelter and pavilions to rest in, which makes it the perfect day trip destination. Remember to bring your camera and swim wear! It’s possible to reach Tanah Merah by car or public transportation.


Photo credit: indonesia-tourism.com

Relax in the Green Valley Recreation Park

A peaceful park displaying the natural forest of Borneo, different timber species and rattan plants, approximately 15 km from Samarinda. It’s a great place to meditate or simply indulge in the lush green nature of Indonesia. There’s also a cafeteria and a fishing pond, and guests who wish to stay for one or two nights, can use the camping ground connected to the park. It’s the perfect surroundings to relax and unwind!

green park

Photo credit: anekatempatwisata.com

Facts about Samarinda:

  • The capital of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo
  • Was first occupied by the Dutch and then the Japanese
  • The main religions are Buddhism, Islam and Confucianism
  • Traditional food is amplang (fish cracker snack)
  • The region is well-known for its traditional cloth, Sarung Samarinda – a patterned cloth in bright colors.


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