Although not as populous as the capital Samarinda, Balikpapan is Kalimantan's only truly cosmopolitan metropolis thanks to a long history of oil money. It's still seen largely as a stepping stone to Samarinda, Derawan or Banjarmasin, but a night in Balikpapan's club scene will give you a whole new perspective on Borneo.

For the most part the city is vibrant, with several enormous shopping plazas and some decent beaches. Midrange to high-end hotels with reasonable rates abound, and a social scene exists in the form of restaurants, hotel bars, live-music venues and the odd nightclub.

Overall the city makes a fine weekend break and a great place to begin or end more adventurous travels.

Explore Balikpapan


Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Balikpapan.

Top experiences

Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Balikpapan.