West Borneo - Kalimantan Barat

Lying directly on the equator and serving as the main gateway into the Provincial capital of Pontianak. Founded in 1771 by Syarif Abdul Rahman Al-Kadri of Saudi Arabia, the city is now a bustling economic hub as well as home to a sizeable university and a giant indoor sports stadium. Canals crisscross the city and one of Indonesia's longest rivers, the Kapuas (1143 km long), divides the town in two, providing an essential and historical communications link. Like Java and Sumatra, West Kalimantan was once an important cultural crossroads Hinduism reached West Kalimantan by about the year 400 and evidence of both early Hindu and Buddhist civilizations in the region have been discovered. Stone carvings and ceramics can be traced as far back as the 5th century, but it is the influence of Islam that has had the most impact on this region.

The advent of Islam in West Kalimantan occurred at about the same time as the rise of the first Islamic Kingdom in Aceh in the 15th century. Islam was rapidly embraced and various kingdoms grew in strength and power, particularly because of Kalimantan's strategic importance along trade routes to China and Philippines.

The advent of Islam in West Kalimantan occurred at about the same time as the rise of the first Islamic Kingdom in Aceh in the 15th century. Islam was rapidly embraced and various kingdoms grew in strength and power, particularly because of Kalimantan's strategic importance along trade routes to China and Philippines.

West Kalimantan covers an area of over 146.807 sq km, rich in a variety of minerals and precious stones, and remains largely unexplored. Coastal areas are mainly swamp lands with more than 100 rivers sculpting the flat plains. In the mountainous eastern parts of the province, away from the city and plains, there are many Dayak villages.The Dayaks have ancient traditions and beliefs which are expressed in various forms ; earlobes elongated by heavy earrings, tattoos, intricate paintings, designs and carvings and wonderful dances of respect, heroism, welcome and cure. A large Chinese population, Malays and other Indonesian ethnic groups account for the rest of the inhabitants of the province.

Central Borneo - Kalimantan Tengah

Central Kalimantan is the biggest province on the island, covering 153,800 square kilometers, most of which is jungle. The northern area is mountainous and difficult to reach. The central area is dense tropical forest. The southern area is swampy and has many rivers. The climate is hot and humid.
The three dayak sub-tribes who inhabit this province area the Ngaju, Ot Danum, and Ma'anyan Ot Siang. The Ngaju are nomadic, adhering to the old Kaharingan religion, which is a form of ancestor worship mixed with elements of animism . With approximately 6,000 people, the Ot Danum is the largest among the three sub-tribes. The Ot Danum live in long houses which sometimes have as many as 50 rooms. The women are know for their skill in plaiting rattan, palm leaves, and bamboo. Like other Dayak, the men are good hunters, using simple tools.

The art Central Kalimantan clearly bears the marks of the Kaharingan religion, which is the traditional belief of the Dayaks in the hinterland of Central Kalimantan. Building styles, statues and carvings have been influenced by the Hindus, Chinese, and Hindu - Javanese. Aside from their aesthetic properties, many objects are appreciated for their magic value.

South Borneo - Kalimantan Selatan

The Meratus mountains divide South Kalimantan into two distinct regions. The eastern part of the province is filled with mountains covered with dense tropical rain forests, home to the "Orang Gunung" or Mountain Peoples. Collectively called the Dayak, they form the minority of the region's population. The southern section of the province is much flatter with large rivers meandering through lowlands to vast mangrove swamps along the coast, helping to make South Kalimantan an exceptionally fertile land. Many villages and settlements have been built along these rivers, by the indigenous majority, the Banjar.

South Kalimantan is full of colorful and distinctive traditional arts and cultures which can be seen in its people's way of life, art, dance, music, ancestral dress, games and ceremonies. Exquisite traditional and commercial handicrafts are all made from local raw materials which include a variety of precious and semi precious stones, gold, silver, brass, iron and a wide variety of woods including bamboo and rattan. South Kalimantan, is one of the largest wood producers in Indonesia. Extensive forests with a wide variety of trees such as ironwood, meranti, pinus and rubber have helped to make the province a unique and rich natural resource.

The provincial capital, Banjarmasin, lies a short distance from the mouth of the Barito River at its confluence with the Martapura River. The rivers are literally the life blood of the city everything revolves around them. They are lined with tightly packed stilt houses. A lot of business is done on the waterways : floating markets flourish selling an enormous variety of goods including a tropical selection of fresh fruit such as Kesturi, a rare aromatic species of mango, durian, rambutan, butter fruit, pineapple, watermelon and banana.
South Kalimantan is well connected with cities all over the Indonesian Archipelago through Syamsuddin Noor airport, which is about 25 km from Banjarmasin. This busy airport handles DC-9's, allowing Merpati Nusantara, Bouraq and Sempati dan Dirgantara Air to service the province. South Kalimantan can also be reached by sea at Trisakti and Banjarmasin. For interior travel there are roads, but the waterways are the preferred form of travel.


East Borneo - Kalimantan Timur

As a major producer of oil and timber, East Kalimantan is at present the most industrially advanced province of the island and the second largest province in Indonesia. It is also the home of the original inhabitants of Kalimantan, the Orang Gunung or Mountain People. The tribes are collectively called Dayak, although this name is not embraced by many tribes-people themselves, who prefer to be known by separate tribal names such as Iban, Punan and Banuaq.
Local tribes traditionally live in communal long houses called Lamin or Umaq Daru. They are built on wooden piles, sometimes 3 meters high as protection against wild animals and flooding. The Punan people are nomadic hunter-gatherers, and only use the long house at the height of the rainy season.Steeped in tradition, the interior of the long house is typically divided into separate family quarters with a communal areas connecting each of the families. It is in these communal areas that village meetings are held and ceremonies performed, thereby reinforcing the strong tribal bonds in the face of rapidly advancing 20th century technology.

Guardian statues are normally placed in front of long house to protect them against evil's spirits who bring disease and bad fortune. The more remote and traditional tribes-people have pierced earlobes, which over the years have become stretched by the weight of heavy gold or brass rings, and beautifully elaborate tattoos. Local jewelry and designs are intricate and powerful, often giving messages to be passed down from generation to generation.

The most common starting points for many journeys and adventures on the island are Balikpapan and Samarinda, the provincial capital. Traveling along the extensive Mahakam river system is a fascinating adventure. River boats slide unobtrusively through heavily silt - laden waters, wild orchids drip off trees, Proboscis monkeys signal your arrival to the crocodiles and legendary hornbills. A 5,000acre Orchid Reservation close to the village of Kersil I cultivates 27 different species of orchid including the very rare Cologenia Pandurata or black orchid.

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Lesser Sunda Islands - Kepulauan Nusa Tenggara

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