Built around a huge petroleum complex, Balikpapan is Kalimantan’s wealthiest city, its residents enjoying a high standard of living thanks to massive oil reserves offshore, which shed a dim orange glow on the surrounding waters at night. For the traveller, Balikpapan is the transit point en route to Samarinda, Banjarmasin or the Mahakam River. The intersection of the main roads Jalan Ahmed Yani and Jalan Sudirman serves as the city’s core, where you’ll find hotels, restaurants and the best shops but, as almost everything is imported from Java or Sumatra, prices are generally much higher here than in the rest of Kalimantan.

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