Comfortable and spacious, rooms in the Favehotel come without many extras but are well maintained and ultimately represent great value.
Balikpapan, on the east coast of Borneo, is considered to be Indonesia’s “most liveable city”. An oil boom early in the 20th century led to an influx of European businessmen, who brought with them the money to transform Balikpapan into the only real cosmopolitan centre in the East Kalimantan province. Still today, it is much cleaner than your average Indonesian city, and generally easier on the eye. It boasts some incredible, picturesque beaches, azure blue skies, and a convivial atmosphere that has attracted many expat families to settle here.
For those more accustomed to the frenetic pace of life in some of Indonesia’s ever-expanding roster of megacities, Balikpapan may come as something as a shock: the climate is tolerable all year round and things seem to happen more slowly. The city is still vibrant – a haven for local commerce – but less daunting. Nestled in a remote corner of Borneo – the world’s third largest island – Balikpapan has its fair share of green spaces and natural attractions a short drive away.
Balikpapan provides the perfect base for tourists to discover the wealth of beauty found elsewhere in the Kalimantan region. The city is home to the only truly international airport in this part of Borneo, so most regional excursions start here. A three-day trip down the “mighty” Mahakam River on a houseboat, for instance, will set you back around US$1,000, but stopping off at traditional settlements along the way will give you a snapshot of the rural life millions of Bornean people live every day. There are plenty of organised treks and diving trips too, to take you away from the metropolis, into the beautiful wilderness.
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What to doView all
Visit some national parksNature
Visit the beachBeaches
Hang out at Ruko Bandar
An evening stroll, a bite to eat, and a nightcap along the quaint riverside strip at Ruko Bandar is one of the most pleasurable ex...Family
Visit the local landmarks
Before the discovery of oil, Balikpapan was a primitive fishing village. The city has been carved into a cavity formed in the rain...Family
Where to stayView all
A quick jaunt from the airport and within walking distance of the entertainment district, Novotel seems situated for anyone hoping to take in the city on foot.
Often referred to as a “classic” hotel, the Grand Senyiur has undergone a recent renovation of its rooms, many of which boast a postcard view of the sea.
Where to eatView all
Well known among expats for its western fare, the Beach House stays true to its name by providing diners with a panoramic view of the seashore.
Lush and green and with plenty of art to set the atmosphere, the Open House is a great place to watch the sun set.
Reasonably priced seafood with a warm and welcoming atmosphere can be found at the RM Torani, where many locals eat in Balikpapan.