Banjarmasin is the biggest city in South Kalimantan. The city population was 625,395 at the 2010 census. Average temperatures vary from 24ºC to 32ºC. The weather is mostly hot and it still has rain even if it is hot season.
The official founding date of the city is 24 September 1526, but its history is older than that. From the time of the ancient kingdom of Nan Serunai, to the Buddhist kingdom of Tanjungpuri and the Hindu kingdom Negara Dipa and its succesor Negara Daha, the rivers of Southern Kalimantan were always been the favorite spot of the Malay people. That’s why Banjarmasin old name was “Bandar Masih”, meaning the port of the Malay in Dayak Bukit dialect. In the chaotic time of civil war between the rightful heir of Negara Daha, Pangeran Samudera, and his uncle, Pangeran Samudera was forced to flee for his life. At this time, Bandar Masih received him warmly, stopped paying taxes to his uncle and support Pangeran Samudera’s fight to get his throne back. When his uncle finally surrendered, Pangeran Samudera decided to make Bandar Masih his new capital, converted to Islam, and begun his rule over the new Islamic Kingdom of Banjar. His day of victory was then celebrated as Banjarmasin’s birthday.
The name "Bandar Masih" slowly changed into "Banjarmasin" as the water tastes salty when in dry season (salty is "masin" in Banjarese language). The Kingdom flourished and back in its golden era, its power enveloped almost all of the area of what is now Indonesia’s part of Kalimantan. After the fierce Banjar War which produced a lot of highly-revered local heroes such as Pangeran Antasari, however, it was forced to surrender the colonial Dutch, following the total destruction of the palace ground and the capture of the last Banjarese Princess (Ratu Zaleha).
Banjarmasin continued to be the capital of Dutch Borneo throughout the colonial era. Even after the forming of the Indonesian Government, Banjarmasin was the capital of Kalimantan province until it was divided into 4 provinces (West, East, Central and South), then it became the capital of South Kalimantan. Little is left of its previous glory, but Banjarmasin silently kept her forgotten charm in unexpected places for the persistent travellers to find.
- 1 Syamsudin Noor International Airport (BDJ IATA) (26 km from the city, about half an hour drive). There are daily flights from major Indonesian cities including Jakarta and Surabaya, as well as flights from most other cities in Kalimantan, such as Pontianak and Balikpapan. To go to the city, you can take a taxi (with fixed rate of Rp120,000 as of March 2016) or better yet, tell your hotel to pick you up. Or, if you walk about 2 minutes to the street outside of the airport, you should be able to share a mini-van which costs Rp15,000 to go to kilometre 6 terminal.
The roads of Trans-Kalimantan are in bad condition, but if you’re patient and adventurous you can try to reach Banjarmasin from the neighbouring provinces of Central Kalimantan and East Kalimantan by car.
Another alternative to get to Banjarmasin is by ship from various places in Indonesia to Banjarmasin’s main harbour, Trisakti. Be forewarned that the condition of passenger ship transportation in Indonesia is poor, albeit cheap, and you might want to consider that before spending the night (at least 1 night if you come from Java). You best bet is Express Ferry where it’s available, 8 hours from Java, and 2 days + 2 nights of sea trip from Jakarta Tanjung Priuk Harbor Passenger Terminal. Plus, there are ferries from Semerang and Surabaya, both on Java. There's a ferry every 2 days between Surabaya and Banjarmasin.
The ferry between Surabaya and Banjarmasin is 21 hours. If you have a problem with cigarette smoke, this is not a good method of travel. Smoking is permitted in the sleeping area. There are no cabins. Women travelling alone will receive a considerable amount of male attention. The food is not good.
Alternatively, if you are coming from the neighbouring provinces of East Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, there are a lot of boat transportations through the rivers of Kalimantan. This could be an adventurous or boring ride depending on your taste. A range of boats are available, from slow moving boats to speedboats. It’s a great choice if you are extremely adaptable with the locals’ way of life.
Your best bet would be the metered taxi, insist the driver to use the meter if you have to. Alternatively, you can use “angkot” or “bamikro” or public shuttle microbuses (Rp5,000 per passenger), which are also called “taxi” by the locals. Also available is by "ojek" (motorcity taxi) and "becak" (tricycle rickshaw), that cost around USD2.00-2.50 or Rp15,000 - 20,000 for inner city trips. There are some really old orange-colored "bajaj' (auto rickshaw) on the city streets as well.
Another options is to hire a motor bike. Amelindo Bike Rent offers motorbikes from Rp75,000/day. And for a Rp40,000 service fee, they will bring the motorbike to or pick it from a given address.
With the arrival of "online taxi" transportation services like GoJek/GoCar, and Grab, visitors and locals alike can now get around the city at a much cheaper rate by downloading and using the associated mobile applications. A ride across town in a new car can be as cheap as Rp20,00-25,000. More traditional taxis are comparatively expensive in Banjarmasin (often charging a minimum fee of Rp50,000, even for a ride as short as crossing the street). Make sure you use Indonesian phone number! Good luck.
Banjarese, the name of South Kalimantan’s ethnicity, have a unique way of building their houses and other structures in harmony with nature. There are at least 12 types of traditional Banjarese houses, which have unfortunately lost their popularity in modern times. Still, you can see a few houses that were built with traditional techniques all over Banjarmasin if you really search for them. The palace ground was totally destroyed by the colonial Dutch, but you can still visit its remnants in Kampung Kraton, along Jalan Pangeran Samudera. There, you can see Masjid Sultan Suriansyah. Built during Pangeran Samudera’s rule, it is the first Mosque in South Kalimantan and contains the royal burial site.
- Museum Waja Sampai Ka Puting - this was an old and genuine Banjarese traditional house in "Bubungan Tinggi" style (one of the 12 styles and the most bona fide one) before it was transformed into a museum.
- Masjid Sultan Suriansyah - The oldest mosque in South Kalimantan, more than 300 years old.
- Masjid Raya Sabilal Muhtadin - a giant modern mosque completed in 1981, the second largest in Indonesia. The name was taken from a very popular Classical Islamic Jurisprudence Written by Syeikh Muhammad Arsyad Al-Banjary called “Kitab Sabilal Muhtadin” means “the right path”.
Banjarmasin is abundant with wide and mighty rivers. The rivers have always been a part of Banjarese way of life. Every morning there are floating markets in which farmers and traders bring their goods to trade on boats. It has always been a farmers’ market and it’s interesting to see the river-based way of life. The rivers are also the main venues for boat races and other festivities. The main attractions are the waterlogged suburbs traversed by canals; much of the city's commerce takes place on water.
- Floating markets - trading is from dawn until around 09:00. Get there early. Journey takes around 20 minutes by boat.
Actually, in South Kalimantan, there are three floating market.
- Canal trips
There are many destination or ways for canal trips, for example : kelayan river, kuin river, or other small rivers around Banjarmasin
- Pulau Kembang (lit. Flower Island) - visit the long-tailed macaques at the decrepit Chinese temple, 20 minutes by boat. You can buy nuts to feed them. The monkeys are quite aggressive if you have food and will try to steal it from you. There is an entrance fee of Rp 150,000 and on Sunday it is Rp 250,000 (prices correct as of January 2018).
- Pulau Kaget (lit. Surprised Island) - see the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus), the mascot fauna of South Kalimantan. No guarantee you will have a good look at them, though, as they are really shy.
- Pulau Bakut Island under the bridge, here there is also proboscis monkey. Rp 600,000, which can be haggled down (price correct as of January 2018). You don't go onto the island but you can see from the monkeys from the boat.
To reach these islands, you will need to employ a local to take you by boat. One recommendation is to contact a tour guide called Mukani, who has 20 years' experience. Telephone +62 813 511 94444. Alternatively, you can ask around and negotiate a price.
In Sunday mornings, people from Banjarmasin have a tradition of walking, running, jogging, cycling or go with whatever you want toward the suburbs that is called "Pal Tujuh". There, they would go to the "Pasar Ahad" or "Sunday Market" which opens only on Sundays. Enjoy local treats such as Ketupat Kandangan and Apam as your warm breakfast over there.
- 1 Waterboom Alfin, Jalan Tembus Mantui, Kelayan Selatan, Banjarmasin Selatan. Large outdoor swimming pool with some slides and other attractions.
2) You should visit the place called 'Siring Banjarmasin' ,there are a lot of seller that sell so many varieties of fruits and they are selling it on their boats. So it called "floating market" in banjarmasin. Happy travelling 😀(anonymous)
2. Siring Pierre Tendean. This place is nice to spend the family time, especially on weekend. People are coming from various places to enjoy the small, kind of replicaton of floating market, sellers, etc. What is more interesting is that people can try the motor boat (ketolok in Banjarmasin).
3.we can trace the river in banjarmasin by using "klotok" (small motor boat), the journey will start from siring to the port in front of the mayor's office then back to siring
4.Fishing in Martapura River is also one of the activites that Banjarese people or the tourist do. There are some fish you can get like Haruan, Papuyu, Sapat, Patin, Lele and many more. So,prepare your fishing equipment and join the local group to get local fish in Banjarmasin
5. Why don't you try going to Duta Mall in the center of town. You can find a lot of things to eat there.
Semi-precious gems and stones. Rattan products. You can buy original clothing from Banjarmasin, it calls "Sasirangan". Now, sasirangan fabric can be applied into other things like bags, shoes, viels, and so on.
You can also buy souvenirs like amplang, local labelled T-shirt, Accessories with Banjarmasin's logo/attributes.
Banjarese love their foods and even though they are most of the times very excited about other kinds of foods, they adore their own local specialties more than others. The ones in restaurants, malls, or foodcourts are fine for beginners, but to find the real taste of Banjarese food, you have to go to hidden places in small streets because there you’d find the ones that are famous among the locals. Foods that are available throughout the year and are very popular with the locals:
- Soto Banjar - "Soto" is a type of Indonesian soup. Soto Banjar is a uniquely Banjarese variant of Soto, popular in other places throughout in Indonesia. Don't miss the chance to try the real and genuine taste in its place of origin! Soto in Banjar meant that it is served with lontong, while Soup is served with rice, for the same meal.
- Apam - Although not specifically Banjarese, the Apam here has its own twist. Enjoy it sweet and warm, accompanied with tea.
- Bingka - A specialty of Banjarese, it came in many flavours. The pride of the Banjarese people, it's very sweet and creamy.
- Ketupat Kandangan - It's actually a specialty of Kandangan, but you can also find it in Banjarmasin. Known as a festive food, especially favored during Eid al Fitr.
- Klepon Buntut - Similar to Klepon, a palm sugar filled snacks coated with grated coconut found across Java, however this one has smoother texture and the flling is more liquidy.
- Nasi Kuning - it's Legit, can't get enough with this food, you guys must try it.
However, in the month of Ramadhan, the Banjarese went all out with their traditional delicacies. Heaps of wadai (traditional cakes) and other treats mostly unavailable throughout the year will suddenly appears in Ramadhan. Though most travel guides won't suggest you to travel during the month of Ramadhan in Indonesia, it's an amazing experience to see the emergence of many "Pasar Wadai" (Cakes Market) all over the city, with treats such as:
- Amparan Tatak - banana pudding. It's so sweet and creamy with coconut milk.
- Bingka Barandam - Although named "bingka", tasted nothing like it. It's somekind of a cupcake soaked in sweet syrup.
- Putu Mayang -
Apart from localities, there are 3 KFCs, 2 Pizza Huts, and a Dunkin Donuts. If local taste doesn't suits you, go to Duta Mall and you'll discover National as well as International renowned outlets.
One should try the Banjarese tea, which is somewhat different with the teas found elsewhere in Indonesia. It is a strongly Muslim area, so don't expect to find alcohol outside large hotels. if you have interest to find tropical fruit there's one new agrotourism area at banjarmasin its named Mek farm. there you can find and try some original tropical fruit its might be hard to find at other place. like durian, avocado, keledang, some kind of kalimantan local manggo and there is a restaurant too. the restaurant serve only Indonesian traditional food.
It's easy to find the farm. It's about 5 km from the airport and you can use taxi, car rent or local transportation service like angkot and becak.
- There are many hotels at Jl. Angkasa by the Banjarmasin airport, in walking distance to the airport.
- 1 Swiss Belhotel, Jl. Pangeran Antasari No.86A, ☏ . From USD67.
- Save Hotel
- Hotel SAS
- Hotel Istana Barito
- Hotel Arum
- Hotel Victoria
- Hotel Roditha, rates from USD35. Full air-con, free breakfast, slippers and cable TV.
- Hotel CitraRaya, rates from USD10. Full air-con, free breakfast for two.
- Diamond Homestay, Jl. Simpang Hasanuddin, ☏ . They have clean rooms but outside bathroom. Free internet. USD 5.
- Borneo Homestay.
- Losmen Permata, Jalan Kol Sugiono. Rp40,000 for a single room. Rp70,000 for a room for up to 4 people.