Teaching English in Banjarmasin in Indonesia offers the intrepid adventurer the chance to experience one of Indonesia’s lesser known capitals. Banjarmasin is the largest city in the Indonesian-ruled portion of the island of Borneo, AKA Kalimantan.
This quiet capital of South Kalimantan state has a colourful history. It has been ruled over by Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic dynasties and was colonised by the Netherlands and Japan (during WWII). During colonial times it was the capital of Dutch Borneo.
While teaching English in Banjarmasin, you will be sure to enjoy visiting the city’s famous waterways, floating markets and its unique architecture. When you arrive, one of the first distinct features that sets the city apart is its buildings. Many have been constructed on stilts, in order to account for periodic flooding along the riverbanks.
The city has developed a peaceful and serene reputation, with most activity ceasing after nightfall. While there are modern malls and western chains in the city centre, visitors can escape to one of Banjarmasin’s many waterways and enjoy a slower, more traditional pace of life. Adventurous travellers who explore outside the city limits can enjoy jungle trekking and search for Borneo’s most famous resident, the orangutan.
- Population: 625,395
- Transportation: 1 international airport, a rich variety of public transport ranging from taxis, buses, becaks (pedicabs) to ojeks (motorbikes)
- Language: Banjarese, Malay, Bahasa Indonesia
- Climate: Tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons
- EF Banjarmasin Flagship school: Jl. Gatot Subroto opened in 2014
What Makes Banjarmasin Unique?
- Sabilal Muhtadin Great Mosque, home to several thousand worshippers during prayer times
- Banjarmasin is famous for its floating markets, where vendors hawk their wares from small boats, strategically placed along the city’s many waterways. The largest, Lok Baintain Floating Market is famed for the diverse array of colourful produce on offer. Make sure to wake up early, as markets open at sunrise and close by 0900.
- Spectacular vistas await trekkers in nearby Meratus Mountains
- Sultan Suriansyah Mosque was built over 300 years ago, it is the oldest mosque in South Kalimantan and is a fantastic example of pre-Islamic, traditional Banjarese architecture.
- Try the local speciality Soto Banjar, a clear chicken soup spiced with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. Banjarese Tea is also a must-try, it makes for a tasty accompaniment to the street food delicacies readily available throughout the city
- Visit the Cempaka Diamond Fields and learn about Kalimantan’s extensive history of gem trading