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Banjarmasin Guidebook

Say hi to my 9th month living in Banjarmasin.

So far, there are many new things I find here. Some are exciting, some are kind of exhausting. But overall, this city has been pretty nice to me. If you happen to visit this city for a months of project, few hours or days to stop by, here are few things you may want to know about the city.

This is far a travel guide. This is more into… a living or staying guide.

Clear sky is up above your head

The sky is just like this…

Once I woke up at 6 in the morning, opened my room door, and the cool wind was breezing through my face. That was one lovely morning I could really remember. Blue sky is a view you could definitely enjoy every morning (6-8am) and afternoon (4-6.30pm) here. For me, afternoon to evening sky is the best. Sometimes it shows the mix or orange, black, and yellow, with bunch of clouds covering the sky, which is so breathtaking.

Pretty ladies in hijab

Among few cities in Indonesia I ever visited, Banjarmasin is populated with numbers of nice and young ladies and hijab who look naturally pretty in their Muslim updating and stylish clothes. Seeing them strangely brings me a kind of peaceful feeling inside.

Big “spender”

Among all sides of the island (south, west, east, central, north), South Kalimantan is the city with third highest minimum wage (around Rp 2,6 millions) in Kalimantan. If this figure affects people’s lifestyle, then I say people here is quite a spender (compared to West Kalimantan, at least). Almost all restaurants in the shopping mall (only 2) are full of guests, on weekend, from the family type, fast food kind, bbq, food court, all are full. Ah, and so does the cinema which is always full of audience.

This kind of lifestyle is reflected also in people’s preference of property, or vehicles. Expensive cars (you named it) are easily found in the city. Big houses are a lot, and even spread across from central way to suburbs. By big, I mean really BIG. One house is laying on top of over 10 thousand meters square land, built in European style. The owner literally “brings” European castle to this house as what we can captured from the street. It’s yet to be finished. I’ll post you a picture if it’s done. I think, just this house could alone be used as an amusement park or a museum.

Speaking of a big spender, most of them, are working on this similar industry shared in the coming point…

Land of coal 

Hundred of kms from the central city, there are many major coal mining sites spread all over the places. The company belongs to even bigger companies which names you perhaps heard prior to our last election campaign. My saying to this goes without any intention for any other issues comes from this mining activity. But, as sad as how you know it impacts the environment, mining is just really huge here.

Transformer is real

I referred to all big trucks and heavy vehicles. Few years ago, in accordance to previous point, I went visiting one mining site, about 4 hours trip from the city. All I remembered from that visit was how I saw, for the first time in my life, one big big dry areas, used as the look-alike Transformer vehicles parking lot and service center. We took pictures and the height for only the front part of the trucks was around 3-5 times my brother’s height (180 cms). That was memorable. Unfortunately, there was no Instagram back then so the picture was scattered somewhere in my hard disk.

Be careful when driving

Due to the industry, trucks are also all around the city. I haven’t checked if there’s any rule of trucks presence in major street in Banjarmasin. Yet as far as I noticed, I’ve met trucks in any size almost in every hour, passing by the main city road. Given this, the truck drivers drive as they are driving sedan (I’m serious). They could ride in left and right, anywhere they want, anytime they want, in high or low speed. Some of course drive irresponsibly. So, if you’re driving here, always be careful.

Premium fuel is gold

Premium is the lowest price of gas sold in Indonesia, at around Rp 6.450,-. On top of this type, there Petralite, Pertamax, Pertamax Plus  with a price 20% or higher than Premium. I don’t know what’s the issue in this city, but buying a Premium is quite a challenge here. By this time I wrote this, I’m in line for 30 minutes (behind 9+ cars), after stopping by 4 others gas stations saying that “we’re running out of premium”. This issue is not new. It happened 8 months ago when I first came and even few years ago. This makes me feel like I’m in the easternmost or westernmost part of Indonesia where news say fuel are very limited or expensive (although they said Pertamina has addressed this issue well). But, with the level of this economy growth, I don’t think that this city should have this problem if everything’s on track. I really wish I could get a better explanation on this matter one day, and that the authority who knows what happens, take care of this issue responsibly.

(I finally got my lind and filled up gas, after 42 minutes queueing).


So, to finish all sharing, all I may say for you who plan to come here is that you’re so welcome in this city. If ever you think that you have no more things that pleases you here, you perhaps forget one least yet mighty ‘thing’ you could freely get in this city.

Put your head up high, look up, and yes, the sky. How does that look?

6.37 am
5.10 pm
6.02 pm
6.37 pm (do you see the moon?)
6.44 pm


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