If you have an adventurous spirit and high sense of the great love for nature, Bukit Bangkirai is the right choice for travelling. Bukit Bangkirai is an area of natural tropical forest where you can still clearly hear the sounds of birds and other forest wildlife. Because of its naturalness, this forest area is developed into a monument of wet tropical forest in Indonesia, with plants of Dypterocarpaceae family dominating the 1,500 ha area.
This tourism region was named Bukit Bangkirai (Bangkirai Hill) because most of the trees that grow in the protected forest are Bangkirai, a very old typical plant of Kalimantan, mostly more than 150 years old; they are very big in size and can reach the heights of 40 - 50 m with a diameter of 2.3 m. The growth of their strong and huge buttress roots has caused Bukit Bangkirai to have about 45 kinds of orchids that grow there, including the famous Black Orchid (coelegyne pandurata) which is typical of East Kalimantan. In addition to the cultivation of natural orchids, hybrid orchids such as Kala, Apple Blossom, and Vanda orchids are also grown.
The other uniqueness of the area is due to Bukit Bangkirai’s geographic location as a stable "dipterocarp forest" primary lowland; thus, it is the destination of the invasion of birds from Bukit Soeharto Forest Park (approximately 30 km) and the surrounding areas affected by forest fires. It is said that in this region there are 113 bird species. Other types of fauna that also live in the area of Bukit Bangkirai are Gibbons (Hylobates muelleri), Beruk (Macaca nemestrina), Red Lutung Monkey (Presbytus rubicunda), Long-Tailed Monkey (Macaca fascicularis), Warthog (Susvittatus), Flying Squirrel (Squiler) and Sambar Deer (Corvus unicolor) that have been bred.
Bukit Bangkirai is one of the few tropical forests in Indonesia that are located near urban areas. Just imagine, within more or less 30-45 minutes journey overland from the city of Balikpapan, as the main entrance to East Kalimantan, or about 58 km, we can enjoy the naturalness of the protected tropical forests. From the capital of East Kalimantan Province, Samarinda, Bukit Bangkirai, which is located at Km. 38 Balikpapan – Samarinda Soekarno – Hatta Highway, at the district of Samboja, Kutai Regency, it is approximately 150 km, and it can be reached in more or less 90 minutes by land transportation through the central office of Wanariset Samboja towards the location of HTI (Industrial Plant Forest). For those who want to feel the different atmosphere, sea transport, i.e. speedboat, can be used, leaving from the port of Kampung Baru Ujung Balikpapan in approximately 45 minutes.
One thing that you should not miss when visiting Bukit Bangkirai is the walk through the canopy bridge, a suspended bridge that connects five big Bangkirai trees 30 meters from the ground, with a span of 64 m long. For those with high sense of adventure and who have no problem with heights, walking through the canopy bridge is a pleasant experience because from the bridge we can enjoy the whole panorama of the tropical forest of Bukit Bangkirai and observe closely the formation of the canopy stand "Dipteropcarpaceae" that characterizes the tropical rain forest forming the intertwining upper stratum.
To reach the canopy bridge, there are two towers of ironwood which were erected around the tree trunk of Bangkirai. Those who have successfully crossed this canopy bridge may find it rewarding because this is the first canopy bridge in Indonesia.
Bukit Bangkirai is also fully equipped with accommodation facilities with a natural style, i.e. 5 (five) cottages built of Bangkirai wood, a campsite, and a large Lamin house, a traditional house of Dayak tribe.
The entrance ticket and other expenses in the area of Bukit Bangkirai are very cheap; details can be seen below:
1. Entrance Ticket :
Adult : Rp. 2000,-
Child : Rp. 1000,-
2. Parking Fees :
Motorcycle : Rp. 2000,-
Car : Rp. 5000,-
Bus : Rp. 10.000,-
3. Canopy Bridge Ticket :
Domestic Tourist : Rp. 15.000,-
Non-Domestic Tourist : Rp. 30.000,-
4. Cottage :
6 Persons Capacity : Rp. 350.000,-
8 Persons Capacity : Rp. 450.000,-