The best time to go to Kalimantan

Kalimantan means ‘burning weather island’ and with temperatures that rarely drop below the high 20°Cs, you get where they’re coming from.
The temperature in Kalimantan hovers in the high 20°Cs and low 30°Cs throughout the year – a tropical climate that sees plenty of rain, though less than many other areas of Indonesia. The interior sees the most rain, while it is typically driest in the south. It is usually wettest between November and January, with a shorter, lighter rainy season between March and May as well. The best time of year to visit Kalimantan is during the dry season that runs between June and September, as this is when orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park tend to be most active and therefore visible. April to October is the best time for diving in the Derawan Archipelago off Kalimantan’s east coast, when you can expect clear visibility.

Derawan archipelago Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
24
28
228
FEB
23
29
202
MAR
24
30
229
APR
24
31
251
MAY
24
32
269
JUN
24
32
253
JUL
24
32
241
AUG
24
32
255
SEP
24
32
238
OCT
24
31
260
NOV
24
30
290
DEC
24
29
275

Things to do in Kalimantan

Things to do in Kalimantan…

Kalimantan, specifically the sanctuary at Samboja Lestari, is the perfect place to get hands-on with conservation. There are ‘forest schools’ here, set up to teach orangutans the skills they need to survive before they are returned to the wild, and manmade islands where those too sick or injured to ever return can live out their lives in peace. Volunteer conservation holidays see you involved with every aspect of the centre’s work: enrichment tasks such as teaching the apes to hunt for food by hiding it; reforestation; construction and maintenance work. Stays at the eco-lodge in Samboja Lestari, during which you can also see rescued sun bears, can be combined with diving in the Derawan Archipelago off the east coast of Kalimantan. The islands are surrounded by colourful coral reefs and nutrient-rich waters that support an immense diversity of marine life, from sea turtles to rays and sharks. You’ll travel between island resorts, with multiple day trips to what are widely regarded as some of the best diving sites in Borneo – if not the continent. You can also easily combine Kalimantan with other islands such as Java, Bali or Komodo. Indonesia highlights tours will allow you to appreciate the differing wildlife, culture and scenery of each island, and leave plenty of time to see some of the key locations on each. After all, if you’re travelling a long way to reach Kalimantan, then it makes financial sense to see and do as much as possible while you’re in the region. These tend to be tailormade trips too, allowing you greater freedom to shape the itineraries according to your interests.

Things not  to do in Kalimantan…

It would be a mistake to underestimate the weather when planning a trip to Kalimantan. The climate here is very warm, rarely dipping below the high 20°Cs, and in the forested interior you can expect to encounter rain throughout the year, though mostly between November and January. The dry season is typically the best time to visit if you want to trek in the rainforest, as it can get quite swampy underfoot when wet, and you’re likely to pick up the occasional leech as well. Maybe pack a small packet of salt! Relatively under-explored when compared to Sabah and Sarawak, which make up the rest of Borneo, Kalimantan’s big appeal to the visitor is of course its wildlife, particularly the orangutans that are found in the national parks. But don’t neglect the cultural aspect of Kalimantan – traditional tribal ways of life are just as fascinating and equally under threat by the deforestation that plagues Borneo. You can stay in longhouses with Dayak families, learn how to tap a rubber tree and which forest plants will heal you or poison you, and watch as rattan vines are skillfully woven into handicrafts. When you get home, don’t forget to tell your friends. Kalimantan is little-known and while we hope that as tourism here grows it will be sustainably managed, the plain fact is that it has enormous value when it comes to conservation. Such is the rate of deforestation on Kalimantan for palm oil production – much of it illegal – that tourism is vital in persuading government officials and local communities that trees are worth something standing upright.

Our top Kalimantan Holiday

Kutai National Park orangutan holiday, Borneo

Kutai National Park orangutan holiday, Borneo

Orangutan & wildlife adventure in East Borneo

From AU $2390 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2019: 6 Dec
2020: 10 Jan, 14 Feb, 20 Mar
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Kalimantan or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: attiarndt] [Intro: Wakx] [Things to do in Kalimantan: pxhere]
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