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South Kalimantan

The Meratus Mountains divided South Kalimantan into two distinct regions. The eastern part of the province is filled with the mountains covered with dense tropical rain forests, home to the “Orang Gunnung” or Mountain Peoples.

Collectively called the Dayak, they form the minority of the region’s population. The Southern section of the province is much flatter with large rivers, meandering through lowlands to vast mangrove swamps along the coast, helping to make South Kalimantan an exceptional fertile land. Many villages and settlements have been built along these rivers, particularly the Barito River, by the indigenous majority, the Banjar.

South Kalimantan is full colorful and distinctive traditional arts and cultures which can be seen in its people’s ways of life, art, dance, music, ancestral dress, games and ceremonies. Exquisite traditional and commercial hand-crafts are all made from local raw materials which include a variety of precious and semi-precious stones, gold, silver, brass, iron and a wide variety of trees such as ironwood, meranti, pinups and rubber have helped to make the province a unique and rich natural resource.

The provincial capital, Banjarmasin, lies a short distance from the mouth of the Barito River at its confluence with the Martapura River. The rivers are literally the lifeblood of the city and everything revolves around them. They are lined with tightly packed stilt houses. A lot of business is done on the water ways; floating markets flourish selling an enormous variety of goods including a tropical selection of fresh fruit such as Kesturi, a rare aromatic species of mango, durian, rambutan, butter fruit, pineapple, watermelon and banana.

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