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City of Balikpapan
Kota Balikpapan
2018-12-04 Balikpapan cropped.jpg
2017-11-14 Batakan.jpg
Gedung DPRD Balikpapan.jpg
E-Walk Balikpapan.JPG
Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman International Airport.jpg
2018-06-13 Balikpapan Islamic Center.jpg
Kantor Kepolisian Daerah Kalimantan Timur.jpg
Clockwise from top: Central business district, Balikpapan Regional People's Representative Council, Sepinggan International Airport, East Kalimantan Regional Police, Balikpapan Islamic Center, E-Walk shopping mall, and Batakan Stadium
Coat of arms of Balikpapan.svg
Etymology: id: Balik (Behind) and Papan (Plank)
id: Balikpapan Kota Beriman (Balikpapan, City of Believers)
bjn: Gawi Manuntung Waja Sampai Kaputing (Hard Work until Finish)
Anthem: Hymne Balikpapan"
Lokasi Kalimantan Timur Kota Balikpapan.svg
Location within East Kalimantan
Interactive Map of Balikpapan
Indonesia Kalimantan location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Kalimantan and Indonesia
Indonesia location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Balikpapan (Indonesia)
Coordinates: 1°16′36.5″S116°49′39.8″E / 1.276806°S 116.827722°E / -1.276806; 116.827722 Coordinates: 1°16′36.5″S116°49′39.8″E / 1.276806°S 116.827722°E / -1.276806; 116.827722
CountryFlag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia
Region Kalimantan
Province Coat of arms of East Kalimantan.svg East Kalimantan
Established10 February 1897
  BodyCity of Balikpapan Government
  MayorRahmad Mas'ud
  Vice MayorVacant
  Total503.3 km2 (194.3 sq mi)
  Water160.1 km2 (61.8 sq mi)
52 m (171 ft)
 (2020 Census)
  Density1,400/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
  Ethnic groups
  Religion [1] Islam 89.50%
Protestanism 7.51%
Catholic 1.78%
Buddhism 0.95%
Hinduism 0.12%
Confucianism 0.01%
Others 0.01%
Time zone UTC+8 (WITA)
Postal Code
  • 76111, 76112, 76113, 76114, 76115, 76116, 76117, 76118, 76119, 76121, 76122, 76123, 76124, 76125, 76126, 76127, 76128, 76129, 76131, 76132, 76133, 76134, 76136 [2]
Area code(s) (+62) 542
Vehicle registration KT
HDI (2019)Increase2.svg 0.801 (Very High) [3]
AirportSultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan International Airport

Balikpapan is a seaport city in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Located on the east coast of the island of Borneo (Kalimantan), the city is the financial center of Kalimantan and the main gateway to the new capital of Indonesia. [4] [5] [6] Balikpapan is the city with the largest economy in Kalimantan with an estimated 2016 GDP at Rp 73.18 trillion. [7] The city has both the busiest airport and seaport in Kalimantan, namely Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Sepinggan Airport and Port of Semayang. With a population of 688,318 as at the 2020 Census, Balikpapan is the second most populous city in East Kalimantan, after Samarinda. [8] Balikpapan has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Indonesia. [9] [10]


Balikpapan was originally a fishing village built by Buginese people in the 19th century. The first oil drilling began in Balikpapan on 10 February 1897, which was later set as the anniversary of the city. In 1899, the Dutch East Indies colonial administration granted a township status to Balikpapan. In 1907, Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij (BPM) made the city as its headquarters and imported skilled laborers, engineers, and managers from overseas. Subsequently, numerous multi-national companies came to Balikpapan to invest in the oil industry. This resulted in the economic boom of Balikpapan and attracted many migrants and expatriates. [11]

During World War II, the Empire of Japan occupied the city in 1942, as part of the occupation of Indonesia, and it was bombed by the Allies in first Balikpapan Battle in 1942 and second battle in 1945. The battles impacted critical infrastructure, including the oil refinery stations and seaport which were completely burned to the ground. Upon Indonesia's independence, BPM extended its activities in Balikpapan until 1965 when Pertamina, the Indonesian state-owned oil company, took control over the ownership of BPM and its oil exploration activities. [11]

Etymology and nicknames

There are several popular stories and legends explaining the origin of Balikpapan: [12] [13]

The city has had several nicknames throughout its history such as the Oil City, City of Believers (Kota Beriman), which uniquely "BERIMAN" word is acronym from: BERsih (clean), Indah (magnificent), dan nyaMAN (comfortable). [15]


Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij oil refinery, 1910s COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Gezicht over de Baai van Balikpapan met olietanks en steigers van de Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij (BPM) TMnr 60018714.jpg
Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij oil refinery, 1910s

Before the oil boom of the early 1900s, Balikpapan was an isolated Bugis fishing village. Balikpapan's toponym (balik = "behind" and papan = "plank") is from a folk story in which a local king threw his newborn daughter into the sea to protect her from his enemies. The baby was tied beneath some planks that were discovered by a fisherman. An alternative story is that, at the time of the Kutai sultanate, Sultan Muhammad Idris sent 1000 planks to aid the Paser Kingdom to build a new palace. The planks were shipped from Kutai to Paser along the Borneo shoreline by roping all the planks together. 10 out of the 1000 planks that were originally shipped resurfaced in a place currently called Balikpapan.

Oil Development

On 10 February 1897, [16] a small refinery company, Mathilda, began the first oil drilling. [17] Building of roads, wharves, warehouses, offices, barracks, and bungalows started when the Dutch oil company Bataafsche Petroleum Maatschappij (BPM) arrived in the area.

Second World War

Battle of Balikpapan (1945) RAAF B-25s attack Balikpapan 1945.jpg
Battle of Balikpapan (1945)

On 24 January 1942, a Japanese invasion convoy arrived at Balikpapan and was attacked by four United States Navy destroyers that sank three Japanese transports. [18] The Japanese army landed and met with no opposition by the Dutch troops, which had been ordered to evacuate after destroying the oil installations. [19] In responds to this, the Japanese massacred 78 Dutch POWs and civilians. [20]

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) intelligence determined that half of all lubricating oils used by the Japanese military and 60 percent of all their aviation fuel came from refineries in Balikpapan, and it was therefore an extremely important target. The American 380th Bombardment Group under the command of the RAAF, including the famous B-24 Liberator Shady Lady, attacked the oil refineries in August 1943 from Darwin, Australia. Amazingly, there were no aircraft losses, despite the crash landing and subsequent repair of the Shady Lady.

In September and October 1944, the 5th and 13th Air Forces under the command of General George Kenney launched a series of five raids from Noemfoor Island. [21] [22] Kenney was a strong advocate for using the powerful B-29 Superfortress for this raid but was forced to use the B-24 Liberator instead. Unbeknownst to the Allied forces, the Japanese Air Force had conserved many of its dwindling numbers of fighters to protect the important oil refineries. The first two raids did not have fighter cover and suffered severe losses.

The 1945 Battle of Balikpapan concluded the Borneo campaign and Allied forces took control of Borneo island. Extensive wartime damage curtailed almost all oil production in the area until Royal Dutch Shell completed major repairs in 1950.

CIA Air Raid

In 1958, the CIA attacked Balikpapan and stopped oil exports. The US was running a CIA covert mission to undermine President Sukarno's government by supporting right-wing rebels in Indonesia. The CIA, Taiwan and the Philippines had provided the Permesta rebels in North Sulawesi with an insurgent air force, the Angkatan Udara Revolusioner (AUREV). On 28 April 1958, a CIA pilot, William H. Beale, flying a B-26 Invader bomber aircraft that was painted black and showing no markings, [23] dropped 500 pounds (230 kilograms) of four bombs on Balikpapan. The first damaged the runway at Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport, the second set the British oil tanker SS San Flaviano on fire and sank her [24] [25] [26] and the third bounced off the British tanker MV Daronia without exploding. [27] Beale's fourth bomb set on fire and sank the Indonesian Navy Bathurst-classcorvette KRI Hang Tuah, killing 18 crew and wounding 28. [27] Before attacking Hang Tuah, Beale also machine-gunned the oil pipes to Shell's wharf. [27]

The CIA had orders to attack unarmed foreign merchant ships in order to drive foreign trade away from Indonesia and weaken its economy, with the intention of undermining Sukarno's government. [27] The day before attacking Balikpapan, Beale had also damaged a Shell complex at Ambon, Maluku. [28] His Balikpapan raid succeeded in persuading Shell to suspend tanker services from Balikpapan and withdraw shore-based wives and families to Singapore. [25] However, on 18 May Indonesian naval and air forces off Ambon Island shot down an AUREV B-26 and captured its CIA pilot, Allen Pope. [29] [30] The US immediately withdrew support for Permesta, whose rebellion rapidly diminished thereafter.

Subsequent History

Shell continued operating in the area until Indonesian state-owned Pertamina took it over in 1965. [17] Lacking technology, skilled manpower, and capital to explore the petroleum region, Pertamina sublet petroleum concession contracts to multinational companies in the 1970s.[ citation needed ]

With the only oil refinery site in the region, Balikpapan emerged as a revitalized center of petroleum production. Pertamina opened its East Borneo headquarters in the city, followed by branch offices established by other international oil companies. Hundreds of laborers from Indonesia, along with skilled expatriates who served as managers and engineers, flocked into the city.[ citation needed ]



Topography of Balikpapan is generally hilly (85%), with only small areas of flat land (15%), mostly along the coast and surrounding the hilly areas. The hills are less than 100 meters (330 feet) higher than the adjacent valleys. The altitude of Balikpapan ranges from 0 to 80 meters (260 feet) above sea level. The city proper itself is located on eastern side of Bay of Balikpapan.

Most of the soil in Balikpapan contains yellow-reddish podsolic soil and alluvial and quartz sand, making it extremely prone to erosion. [31]


Balikpapan features a tropical rainforest climate (Af) as there is no real dry season in Balikpapan. The city sees an average of 2,400 millimeters (94 inches) of rain per year. Balikpapan generally shows little variation in weather throughout the course of the year. The city does not have significantly wetter and drier periods of the year and average temperatures are nearly identical throughout the course of the year, averaging about 26 to 27 degrees Celsius (79–81 degrees Fahrenheit) throughout the year. [32]

Climate data for Balikpapan, elevation: 7 meters or 23 feet, extremes 1974–1980
Record high °C (°F)33.3
Average high °C (°F)29.9
Daily mean °C (°F)26.5
Average low °C (°F)23.1
Record low °C (°F)21.1
Average precipitation mm (inches)187
Average precipitation days151518171717171415151419193
Average relative humidity (%)74727274767575727071737073
Mean daily sunshine hours
Percent possible sunshine 33425058585858675858584253
Source 1: (average temperature) [33] and Worldwide Bioclimatic Classification System (extreme temperature) [34] [35]
Source 2: Danish Meteorological Institute (precipitation and humidity) [36] Weather Atlas (sunshine data) [37]
Climate data for Balikpapan
Average sea temperature °C (°F)29.0
Mean daily daylight hours12.
Average Ultraviolet index 11+11+11+11+11+111111+11+11+11+11+11
Source: Weather Atlas [37]


Sun bear is an endangered animal and official mascot of Balikpapan Sun Bear 7.jpg
Sun bear is an endangered animal and official mascot of Balikpapan

In Wain River Protection Forest, which is the main water catchment area and habitat for endangered species of Borneo, the community begins to encroach on how to burn it so that during the dry season some areas become barren and damage 40%. [38] The area of Wain River forest reaches 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres), slowly but surely continues to decrease, leaving 9,000 hectares (22,000 acres) with forest conditions that are still good at only 63 percents. [39] Residents around looked for wood to cook in the forest even though the surrounding area had been lined with wire. [39] Previously between 2000 and 2001, illegal logging occurred in 10 to 15 points in the Wain River forest, [40] and in 2009 this forest was hit by a fire along with the Manggar River forest which made 15 hectares (37 acres) of forest area engulfed in fire. [39] The threat of coal mining from the surrounding area which provides mining permits such as Paser and Kutai Kartanegara also disrupts the border ecosystem of Wain River forest. [40]

The urban forest in Telagasari, which was inaugurated in 1996 with an area of 29.4 hectares (73 acres), has now shrunk to just around 8 hectares (20 acres). [41] The forest in the middle of this city has been surrounded by residential areas. [41] The protected forest of the Manggar River also suffered considerable damage, which is around 60%. [42] The reservoirs in this forest are also threatened because coal mining fields and brick mills were set up so close that there was siltation of reservoir water. [43] The majority of those who founded it were even known to be immigrant communities. [43] In addition, the construction of the Samarinda-Balikpapan toll road planned by the East Kalimantan government which divides the forest for 8 kilometers across the reservoir [44] could damage the quality of the clean water reserve in Balikpapan. [45]

Forest damage resulted in Balikpapan being easily hit by floods and landslides when it was hit by heavy rains. [46] Clean water supply is also decreasing [46] because water absorption is narrowing, [46] erosion is easily to occur [45] and sediment from mining sites that flow into the river worsens [47] and lowers reservoirs, [43] coupled with Balikpapan conditions has few rivers [47] and less fertile land. [48] The population of the Balikpapan's mascot, the sun bear is fewer and only 50 are left. [49] This is due to coal mining which narrows the habitat of sun bears, so its are reluctant to reproduce. [50] In addition to sun bears, other Balikpapan animals that are declared endangered are proboscis monkeys, borneo gibbon, bornean orangutans, pangolin and otter civet. [51] Whereas extinct animals in Balikpapan are Bornean Banteng (Bos javanicus lowi). [51]

Administrative divisions

Balikpapan is bordered by Kutai Kartanegara Regency to the North, by the Makassar Strait to the South and East, and by Penajam North Paser Regency to the West. The city is divided into 6 districts (kecamatan) and 34 subdistricts (kelurahan) tabulated below with their 2010 [52] and 2020 Census population. [53]

Map of Balikpapan Balikpapan Administration Division Districts.jpg
Map of Balikpapan


Urban villages




1 East Balikpapan

(Balikpapan Timur)

Manggar Baru3,836
2West Balikpapan

(Balikpapan Barat)

Baru Ilir83,41294,1230,589
Baru Tengah0,570
Baru Ulu0,955
3North Balikpapan

(Balikpapan Utara)

Gunung Samarinda123,214169,1592,703
Gunung Samarinda Baru3,035
Muara Rapak3,527
Batu Ampar10,553
Karang Joang93,090
Graha Indah19,254
4Central Balikpapan

(Balikpapan Tengah)

Gunung Sari Ilir98,552106,9521,141
Gunung Sari Ulu1,825
Mekar Sari1,287
Karang Rejo1,205
Sumber Rejo2,205
Karang Jati3,411
5South Balikpapan

(Balikpapan Selatan)

Gunung Bahagia191,737145,0073,735
Damai Baru2,149
Damai Bahagia3,708
Sepinggan Raya6,588
Sepinggan Baru10,618
Sungai Nangka3,204
6Balikpapan Town

(Balikpapan Kota)

in figure
for South
Telaga Sari2,538
Klandasan Ulu0,890
Klandasan Ilir1,435


During the Suharto dictatorship Balikpapan achieved unprecedented economic growth by attracting foreign investments, particularly in the exploitation of natural and mineral resources. The policy was heavily criticized for uncontrolled environmental damage and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians, but it significantly boosted urban development in resource-rich cities. In the 1970s Balikpapan experienced 7% population growth annually, while exports of timber and petroleum increased dramatically. [17]

The indigenous tribe of Balikpapan is the Balik ethnic group which is a minority. [54] Based on its origin, migrants come from neighbouring islands such as Java, Madura and Sulawesi. Residents mainly from ethnic migrants who have long settled in Balikpapan, namely from the ethnic Banjar, Bugis, Makassar, and Javanese. Other migrants including ethnic Minahasan, Gorontaloan, Madurese, and Sundanese. [55] At the beginning of June 2014, the population reached 684,339 people with the number of arrivals during 2012 of 21,486 people, the highest number in the past three years. [56] The number of migrants was able to exceed the number of newcomers who entered in Singapore in the same year which was as many as 20,693 inhabitants. The highest number of arrivals came from Java, which was 30%, then followed by Banjar and Bugis each by 20%, Toraja by 11%, Madura by 8%, Buton by 7% and Betawi by 4%. [57]

Indonesian Most Liveable City

Based on Indonesian Most Liveable City Index which measured 27 indicators in every 2 years, Balikpapan is the best city for living in 2013 and toppled Yogyakarta as the best in 2011 and 2009. Balikpapan mainly maintained city management aspects and environment wellbeing. [58] As part of the Earth Hour City Challenge, the city of Balikpapan, Indonesia was recognized as the Most Loveable City for 2015. In 2016, Balikpapan was nominated for the second time as the most lovable and sustainable city, pending final judgement.


Balikpapan oil refinery in 1988 COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Luchtfoto olieraffinaderij TMnr 20017995.jpg
Balikpapan oil refinery in 1988

Some multinational corporations operate in East Borneo. Companies including Baker Hughes (US), ChevronTexaco (US), Halliburton (US), Pertamina (Indonesia), Schlumberger (France), Thiess (Australia), Total S.A. (France) and Weatherford International (US) use Balikpapan as their base of operations in the region. Governmental public services including Bank Indonesia, the Finance Department, Angkasa Pura 1, [59] the Port of Semayang, and several others also attract many people to work in this area.

Balikpapan has been chosen as the site of some important governmental agencies such as Komando Daerah Militer VI Tanjungpura and Kepolisian Daerah Kaltim. [60]

Balikpapan oil refinery is on the shore of Balikpapan Bay and covers an area of 2.5 square kilometers (0.97 square miles). Founded in 1922, it is the oldest refinery in the area. The Allies destroyed it in the Second World War and Shell re-built it in 1950. The refinery has two subunits, Balikpapan I and Balikpapan II.

Balikpapan I has two raw oil refinery units that produce naphtha, kerosene, gasoline, diesel fuel, and residue and one high-vacuum unit that produces 100 metric tons (110 short tons) of paraffin oil distillate (POD), used as raw material for wax factories. The wax itself has various grades and is sold domestically and internationally.

Opened on 1 November 1983, Balikpapan II has a hydro-skimming and hydro-cracking refinery and produces petrol, LPG, naphtha, kerosene, and diesel fuel.

Indonesian government and their Pertamina planning as for 2017 expanding the oil refinery including the area of Persiba Balikpapan FC (old) stadium and Pertamina residents near the refinery. Balikpapan's former mayor Rizal Effendi ask for primarily using Balikpapan peoples as worker that Pertamina needed up to 20.000 new employers.


As a coastal city, Balikpapan has many beaches, including Manggar Beach, Segara Beach, Monument Beach, Kemala Beach, and Brigade Mobile Beach near the police academy. Melawai Beach is the most popular for local citizens. [61]

Balikpapan is a departure point for nature tourism. Wain River Protected Forest, a Balikpapan natural reserve covering 10,000 hectares and also the habitat to a number of endangered animals, like the Beruang Madu (honey bear) which are sun bears endemic to the area, Orangutans and Proboscis monkeys or Bekantan. Wain river reserve, moreover, houses a number of endangered plants. Near Balikpapan is also a crocodile farm called Teritip, in Lamaru. [62]

There is also a well-known forest site which has been developed for visitors at Bukit Bangkirai rainforest, about 45 minutes by car from Balikpapan. [63]

A mangrove forest at Kariangau is a worthwhile tourist attraction at Balikpapan. There are still some Japanese artillery sites from World War II, and there is a military monument at Kampung Baru. [64]

2018-09-08 Balikpapan Kemala Beach Panorama.jpg
Panorama of Kemala Beach.

Balikpapan Botanical Garden

It is the first Botanical Garden in Kalimantan as a part of Hutan Lindung Sungai Wain (Wain River Conservation Forest) with total area 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) and still has orangutan, sunbear, deer, and some endemic species of Kalimantan birds. [65] Balikpapan Botanical Garden, which is located at kilometer 15 on Jalan Soekarno Hatta, was officially opened on 20 August 2014. It has 1,200 types of lowland hardwood trees, covers 309.22 hectares (764.1 acres) and is known as the "green open space" of the city. [66] At the opening ceremony, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan expressed the hope that the Botanical Garden would rival Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. [67]


As one of the fastest developing cities in the nation, Balikpapan has been supported by the rise of shopping centers. There are six major shopping malls in town which are Plaza Balikpapan, Balikpapan Superblock, Pentacity Mall Balikpapan, Balcony City, Mall Fantasy in Balikpapan Baru, and Plaza Kebun Sayur. [68]



Sepinggan Airport, one of the busiest airports in Indonesia Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman International Airport.jpg
Sepinggan Airport, one of the busiest airports in Indonesia

Balikpapan is served by Sultan Aji Muhammad Sulaiman Airport, which was previously known as Sepinggan airport. The airport has capacity to serve 10 million passengers per year, as well as hospitality (immigration, passenger convenience, company reps offices, restaurants, shopping, lodging, and many others). The airport is equipped with 11 aerobridges, a transit hotel, and four-level parking garages. [69] [70]


There are several public and private sea ports located at Balikpapan Bay. Semayang seaport serves commercial boats to many destinations to Indonesia including Jakarta, Makassar, Manado, Pare Pare and Surabaya. In the 1990s maritime transport was very popular. Today, due to more affordable and efficient airplane travel, more people choose to fly. Taking the ferry is a main choice for traveling to Penajam. Kariangau Seaport was built to serve containers and all other industrial needs. It is located in km.13, as part of Kariangau Industrial Estate. [71] The large coal loading port of Tanjung Bara (TBCT) lies about 180 kilometers (110 miles) to the north of Balikpapan. [72]

Public transports

There are various kinds of local transport, including angkot, ojek, taxicabs and shuttle bus service. Go-Jek, Grab, Maxim and inDriver are also available.

Terminal bus

There is main bus terminal is Terminal Batu Ampar (located in Batu Ampar, Balikpapan Utara) and one of major destination rute is Samarinda.

Samarinda-Balikpapan Expressway

Balikpapan is connected by Trans-Kalimantan Highway Southern Route. From Balikpapan to Samarinda, the highway runs in parallel with the first controlled-access expressway in Borneo, the Samarinda-Balikpapan Expressway was operational by the beginning of 2020 in section 2-4, and opened in section 1 and 5 on May 2021. [73]


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