Bukit Bangkirai (Bangkirai hill) is nature tourism located at Kecamatan Samboja, Kabupaten Kutai Kartanegara, Kalimantan Timur. This hill can be reached in 1,5 hours from Balikpapan city. If you are looking for nature, this place is really for you. You can enjoy the beauty of natural tropical forest. There are also facilities like restaurant, pool, cottage, jungle cabin, etc.
There is a 64 m canopy bridge which connect 5 Bangkirai trees in 30 m. This is the first canopy bridge in Indonesia (2nd in Asia – 8th in the world). It was inaugurated as a tourism area in 1998 and is currently managed by state-owned forestry company PT Inhutani I.
It takes around one-and-a-half hours to get to this area from Balikpapan if you are using a private car. The first hour is a smooth ride, but the next half hour before actually entering the forest area calls for extra patience as the road conditions are substandard; potholes and all. Try to distract yourself by enjoying the wild surroundings. The 1,500 hectares of tropical rainforest offer fresh air and the lively sounds of birds as well as other forest animals.
The Bangkirai tree, which can be as old as 150 years, as tall as 50 meters and as wide as 2.3 meters in diameter, dominates the forest. The tree is often used as material for bridges, wooden boats and for other construction needs. Here you can find 45 species of orchids, with one of them being the stunning black orchid, as well as a variety of forest animals including over 113 species of birds, long tailed monkey wild boars, müller’s bornean gibbons, pig-tailed macaques, flying squirrels and sambar deers.
Bukit Bangkirai is also rich in natural orchids that grow naturally on trees. At least 45 species of orchids are found this region, one of which is the black orchid that has become a special mascot of East Kalimantan. Even more unique, the manager of the Mount Bangkirai offer tree adoption programs to sponsors or donors who want to become “foster parents” for the Bangkirai trees desired. It aims to preserve the integrity and sustainability of this forest.
Bangkirai Hill’s most memorable built feature is its canopy bridge, stretching 64 meters at the height of 30 meters above the ground, connecting five bangkirai trees. The materials of the bridge, which was built in 1998 and finished in the United States, include wood, nylon mesh, cables and stainless steel. It is the first in Indonesia.
Getting on the bridge requires another uphill effort climbing up the stairs to the tower and the whole affair is not suggested for those with an acute fear of heights. Those whose fear of heights merely involves a slight fluttering of the heart, however, can overcome the tingling feeling by taking it easy once they are at the top of the tower. Inhale the fresh air deeply, soak up the scenery and try to spot the forest’s inhabitants, who might be hanging around, literally.
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