Getting Around

Kalimantan is both immense and relatively undeveloped. River travel is as common as road travel, and transport options can form a complex picture. To assess the ever-changing transport options it is often easiest to visit a local travel agency.

Road Highways between major cities are improving rapidly, and range from excellent to pockmarked and unsealed. Buses are fairly ubiquitous, except in East and North Kalimantan. Most major routes offer air-con for an extra cost. A Kijang (4WD minivan) or 'travel' (shared taxi) often operates between towns and cities and can be chartered for five times the single-seat fare. Intracity travel usually involves a minibus known as an angkot or opelet that charges a flat fee per trip. To really go native, take an ojek (motorcycle taxi). Ride-sharing apps such as Gojek and Grab are increasingly popular in cities and are often the cheapest and most efficient way to get around – leading to the ongoing demise of becaks (bicycle taxis) and even angkots.

Air Regional flights operated by Garuda, Lion Air/Wings, Swirijaya and Citilink, among others, are an efficient (and reasonably cheap) means of getting from one hub to another, while smaller prop planes may be your only option for some remote locations. Domestic flights between distant major centres such as Pontianak and Pangkalan Bun or Balikpapan may be routed through Jakarta.

River A variety of craft ply the rivers, including the kapal biasa (large two-storey ferry), the klotok (smaller boat with covered deck space or cabins), speedboats and motorised canoes, including the ces (the local long-tail). Bring your earplugs.