Teach English in Samarinda and enjoy life in a city known as the “jewel by the sea”. Samarinda is the capital of the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. Founded in 1668, the city has developed into an important trading hub over the last 350 years. It lies on the banks of the Mahakam River, about 50km upstream from the river’s mouth, ideally placed to ship goods throughout East Kalimantan.
“Samarenda” means “equal in height” in the local Bugis language, and refers to traditional river-houses built on rafts. The name was meant to encompass not only equality in building height but also in the status of the local people. No house, and subsequently no person, was higher than the other. Over time, through years of mispronunciation, the city became known as Samarinda. Many visitors use Samarinda as a springboard, from which to explore the surrounding Bornean jungle. Tours leave regularly from the city and head up the Mahakam river. Explore the wilderness and come into close contact with endemic Kalimantan wildlife such as orangutans and tapirs.
- Population: 850,000
- Public Transportation: Mini Buses (angkot), Taxis, Motorcycle Taxis (ojek), River Boats
- Language: Bahasa Indonesia, Banjarese, Kutai
- Climate: Tropical Rainforest. Average temperatures are between 20-34°C
What Makes Samarinda Unique
• Mesjid Raya Darussalam – One of the largest mosques in Southeast Asia can be found in Samarinda. Boasting four startlingly missile-like minarets, this house of worship enjoys the highest point in the city. Head to the top of the main tower for serene views of Samarinda and the surrounding Kalimantan jungle.
• Tanah Merah Waterfall – A small waterfall just a short drive away from the city. The surrounding lush greenery makes for a relaxing day trip with photo opportunities galore.
• Mahakam Bridge – Connecting the two sides of Samarinda, this bridge over the mighty Mahakam River is a sight to see.
• Amplang – This fish wafer snack, also known as kerupuk kuku macan, is Samarinda’s culinary claim to fame. The city started producing these savoury bite-size snacks in the 1970s, and it has been famous for them ever since.