Jakarta. After a successful forum on digital transformation in Lombok, the third pre-summit of Y20 Indonesia will take place in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, later this month.
On May 21-22, the seaport city of Balikpapan will witness the youths’ zeal for a sustainable and livable planet. Youths from Indonesia and abroad —be it in person or virtually— will gather to discuss how the young generation can take part in tackling planetary problems.
Balikpapan sits on the southeastern coast of East Kalimantan island. A 2020 census reported that Balikpapan’s population had reached 688,318 people. The National Statistics Agency (BPS) data also showed that Balikpapan spans 503.3 square kilometers.
According to the Education and Culture Ministry website, there are multiple versions of the city name’s origins.
One of the legends dates back to 1739. Legend has it that Kutai Sultanate then-ruler Aji Muhammad Idris ordered the people across the Balikpapan Bay to donate building materials to construct a new palace in Kutai Lama.
The villagers gave 1,000 pieces of boards, which they later tied into a raft that sailed to Kutai Lama. Ten of the planks were washed away during the journey and resurfaced in what is known today as Jenebora.
The locals called this incident “Baliklah papan itu” in the Kutai language, or the return of the boards that did not want to be donated.
Balikpapan is known for its oil silos and refineries. So it is no surprise that many call Balikpapan an “oil city.” The drilling of the Mathilda Well on Feb. 10, 1897, marked a historic milestone for the city, as it was the first oil drilling in Balikpapan. The city even picked this date as its anniversary.
For tourists, Balikpapan is a sight to see. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city by visiting Kemala beach and Manggar beach. Watch the sunset at Segara Sari beach, about 20 kilometers away from downtown.
Sun bear is the city’s official mascot. If you wish to learn more about this adorable creature, visit the Sun Bear Education & Conservation Center. This sun bear facility is located 23 kilometers north of Balikpapan, according to Tripadvisor.
The Bangkirai Hill, about an hour's drive from Balikpapan, is also a popular tourist attraction. Enjoy the view of Bangkirai trees from a canopy bridge 30 meters above the ground. Walking on this bridge will undoubtedly give you an adrenaline rush.