Banjarmasin is not the largest city in Kalimantan, but it is the busiest and the most vital on the island. Besides being an important city for business, Banjarmasin also has plenty of attractions. The city has many rivers flowing pass it.
Most of them are used by local people for many purpose including transportation, source of water, point of attractions, and the most unique thing, floating market. The concept of floating market in Banjarmasin was already discussed on the previous article. Now, we would talk about other tourism attractions that you can explore in Banjarmasin.
The Remains of Sultan Suriansyah
The history of Banjarmasin city is rooted to Sultan Suriansyah, a king who built Banjar Empire on the estuary of Kuin River and Barito River in 1526. This is the beginning of structured society in Banjarmasin. The existence of the empire was the reason how the idea of floating market emerged. But besides that, there are other remains of Sultan Suriansyah that you can explore in the city as historical tourism.
Banjar Empire was an Islamic empire. So since Sultan Suriansyah started ruling the city, a mosque was built to accommodate the people to pray together. Sultan Suriansyah Mosque was estimated to be built around 1526 – 1550. It is now the oldest mosque in Banjarmasin. It also has unique architectural style so it is really worth visiting.
The mosque is located at the side of Kuin River, not very far from the venue of Muara Kuin Floating Market. Most boats for rent at floating market usually come in package with a visit to this historical mosque.
Other remain of Sultan Suriansyah is the Cemetery Complex of Sultan Suriansyah. Located still on Kuin regency, this is the complex where you can find the tomb of Sultan Suriansyah along with other royals from Banjar Empire. To reach this place, you only need to walk for about 200 meters away from Sultan Suriansyah Mosque.
Not very far from the area of Muara Kuin Floating River, there is other tourism destination to visit called Kembang Island. The island is the delta of Barito River. To reach this place, you can use the traditional boat you use on floating market. Some boat owners like to include Kembang Island on the tourism package along with the visit to the floating river.
Kembang Island consists of wild jungle that is a natural habitat for long tailed monkey that is locally known as “bekantan”. Unique thing is you can’t find bekantan on other places in Banjarmasin or around. They only live at this delta island. There are about thousands of bekantan in the island.
They are very active sometimes tourists got surprised by their aggressive moves. The Chinese ethnicity people in Banjarmasin believe that those monkeys are actually gods that change their physical form. That is why sometimes these people come to the island and perform sacred rituals or prayers upon the monkeys. At the entrance, you could also see the statues of hanoman that people believe as the guardians of the island.
Kembang Island is also habitat for several unique species of birds. To explore the island, you only need to go through a track that has been provided. This track will take you to the jungle deep and circle back to the front area. During the track, you will encounter plenty monkeys that are wishing for snack treats from you. Be careful when handing out the snacks as they like to snatch it very quickly.
Martapura River is one of the most vital rivers in Banjarmasin. You already know this river as the location of Lok Baintan Floating Market. But other than that, you could also find several other tourism objects around the river. Siring Martapura Park is a public park on the riverside of Martapura.
On lazy afternoon, both local people and tourists would come around to sit back and relax, enjoying the breeze ad the view of Martapura River. At the area of this park, there is a new object that could add up the attraction of Martapura River. It is an observatory tower. From this four-stories building, tourists can easily enjoy the view of the river and Banjarmasin city from above.
On the Jalan Pos, still at the riverside of Martapura River, you can find a Martapura River Culinary Center. About 52 kiosks of foods and beverages are lining up at the street, making a long line of about 300 meters. At this place, you could taste various Banjar culinary while enjoying the beauty of Martapura River. Some of the most popular Banjar culinary are Soto Banjar, Laksa, Nasi Kuning (Yellow Rice), and Lupis. Besides Banjar culinary, you could also find several other cuisines from all over Indonesia.
Martapura and Diamond
On the other side of Martapura River, there is a district with the same name. This district is famous worldwide for being a large source of diamond. On the district, there are several diamond mining businesses, from the traditional ones with simple equipment to the large ones with advanced technology.
The most traditional diamond mining can be found on Pumpung Village. It is very interesting to see how local villagers are soaking on the muds to mine the diamond seed. They don’t even wear safety equipment. There is heavy machinery used on the village. There is only a big mechanical tool that the locals built themselves using bamboos and woods.
After observing the mining process, it is time to do some shopping for diamonds. To do this, you can visit Cahaya Bumi Selamat Diamond Market. This market is where the diamond producers usually sell their products. Many kinds of diamond in any colors and any shapes are available for sale. The prices are ranging as well, depending on the quality and size of the products. Besides diamond, you could also find other unique items to buy as souvenirs, including Sasirangan (traditional cloth of Banjar).
Sasirangan is a traditional cloth of Banjar culture. It is a little bit similar to Batik. The cloth has dynamic pattern and playful colors. Traditionally, the cloth was intended only for sacred events such as rituals or ceremony. But as time went by, the functions of it became more and more general. Now, people could casually use it for any events or purpose.
Just like Batik, Sasirangan cloth also has unique process of making. To see this, you can visit Sasirangan Village on Jalan Seberang Masjid. There you can also buy sasirangan cloth in any motives and colors. You could also buy several products made with sasirangan cloths such as bags, shirts, bed covers, and much more. Sasirangan cloths are also available at any floating markets or souvenir markets in Banjarmasin.
The rivers in Banjarmasin are like vessels of blood that make life possible for Banjarmasin and other city surrounding it. But besides all the attractive things about the rivers, this busy city also has plenty other attractions to offer. This makes Banjarmasin to be another interesting city to visit in Indonesia.