In and Around Banjarmasin: Where many rivers meet
Banjarmasin is the capital and the pulsating heart of the province of South Kalimantan. The largest and most beguiling city of Kalimantan - the Indonesian territory on Borneo – it rests gingerly over a labyrinth of canals thus giving it its illustrious nickname as the city of a thousand rivers. Located on a delta near the junction of the Barito and Martapura rivers, Banjarmasin, together with its neighboring city, Banjarbaru, form the center of the ninth largest metropolitan city in Indonesia, named Banjar Bakula, which together comprise the area covering the Banjar Regency, the Barito Kuala Regency, and Tanah Laut Regency.
Banjarmasin has an abundance of wide and mighty rivers, which have always played a significant role in the Banjarese’ (the indigenous ethnic group of Banjarmasin) way of life. To this very day, every morning there are floating markets where farmers and merchants ply their goods on boats to trade. Floating markets such as at Muara Kuin and Lok Baintan in nearby Banjarbaru have always been a farmers’ market and it is interesting to see the genuine river-based way of life.
Just a short drive away east of the capital, one will find Martapura, a sparkling little city literally filled with diamonds and all the precious rocks delved from inside Borneo’s earth. The city is well-known as the center of the diamond industry as well as the main diamond cutting and polishing venue in Kalimantan, in addition to being producers of top quality jewelry. If one wishes to see how these precious gems are unearthed, the go visit the Cempaka Diamond Fields, in nearby Banjarbaru.