Central Borneo , A Brief Story

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Cover StoryThis is the mythic Central Borneo, a place of the world's imagination, and it's all as wondrous as it sounds
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Mythical Borneo

Central Kalimantan

Central Kalimantan (Indonesian: Kalimantan Tengah often abbreviated to Kalteng) is a province of Indonesia, one of four in Kalimantan - the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its provincial capital is Palangka Raya. The province has a population of just over 2.2 million at the 2010 Census. The population grew 2.7% annually between 1990 and 2000, one of the highest provincial growth rates in Indonesia during that time; in the subsequent decade to 2010, the average annual growth rate was slightly over 2.0%. Far more than other province in the region, Central Kalimantan is dominated by the Dayaks, the indigenous inhabitants of Borneo.

Central Borneo's History

Since the eighteenth century, the central region of Kalimantan and its Dayak inhabitants were ruled by the Muslim Sultanate of Banjar. Following Indonesian independence after World War II, Dayak tribes demanded a province separate from South Kalimantan province. In 1957, South Kalimantan was thus divided to provide the Dayak population greater autonomy from the Muslim population in that province. It was approved by the Indonesian Government on 23 May 1957 under Presidential Law No. 10 Year 1957, which declared Central Kalimantan the seventeenth province of Indonesia. President Sukarno appointed the Dayak-born national hero Tjilik Riwut as the first Governor and Palangka Raya the provincial capital. The three major Dayak tribes in Central Kalimantan are the Ngaju, Ot Danum and Dusun Ma'anyan Ot Siang. The three major tribes extended into several branches of prominent Dayak tribes in Central Kalimantan such as Lawangan, Taboyan, Dusun Siang, Boyan, Bantian, Dohoi and Kadori. In addition to the indigenous Dayak tribes, the province also groups from other areas of Indonesia, including Javanese, Maduranese, Batak, Toraja, Ambonese, Bugis, Palembang, Minang, Banjarese, Makassar, Papuan, Balinese, Acehnese and also Chinese

Central Borneo's Geography

Central Kalimantan is the 3rd largest Indonesian province by area with a size of 153,800 km2, about 1.5 times the size of the island of Java. It is bordered by West and East Kalimantan provinces to the north, by the Java Sea to the south, by South and East Kalimantan provinces to the east, and by West Kalimantan province to west. The Schwaner Mountains stretch from the north-east of the province to the south-west, 80% of which is covered in dense forest, peatland swamps, mangroves, rivers, and traditional agriculture land. Highland areas in the north-east are remote and not easily accessible. Non-volcanic mounts are scattered in this area including Kengkabang, Samiajang, Liang Pahang and Ulu Gedang. The centre of the province is covered with tropical forest, which produces rattan, resin and valuable timber such as Ulin and Meranti. The southern lowlands are dominated by peatland swamps that intersect with many rivers. Sabangau National Park is a protected peatland area internationally acknowledged as sanctuary for the endangered Orangutan. Recently the peat swamp forests have been damaged by the Mega Rice Project, which unsuccessfully sought to turn large areas into rice paddies. The province's climate is wet weather equatorial zone with an eight-month rainy season, and 4 months of dry season. Rainfall or precipitation is 2,776 - 3,393 mm per year with an average of 145 rainy days annually

Social Community

Ethnic Group

dayakDayak tribe located in Central Kalimantan consist of Dayak Hulu and Dayak Hilir. Dayak Hulu comprising: Dayak Ot Danum, Dayak Siang, Dayak Murung, Dayak Taboyan, Dayak Lawangan, Dayak Dusun and Dayak Maanyan. While Dayak hilir (Rumpun Ngaju) consists of: Dayak Ngaju, Dayak Bakumpai, Dayak Katingan, and Dayak Sampit. The dominant tribe Dayak in Central Kalimantan is the Dayak Ngaju tribe , other tribes who lived on the coast is a Banjar beach Malays with 1/4 of Kalteng population. Besides, there are also Javanese, Madurese, Bugis and others. The combination of Dayak tribes (Ngaju, Sampit, Maanyan, Bakumpai) reached 37.90%.

Composition of Ethnic Group in Central Kalimantan

Ethnic Group Central Borneo 1930 (Including a small part of West Kalimantan) Kalteng 2000 2010
Total 393,282 - -
Rumpun Dayak 63,49% - -
Dayak Ngaju (Dayak) 18,02% -
Dayak Sampit (Dayak) 9,57% -
Dayak Bakumpai (Dayak) 7,51% -
Dayak Katingan (Dayak) 3,34% -
Dayak Maanyan (Dayak) 2,80% -
Melayu 26,64% (Melayu Banjar) -
Melayu Banjar 5,95% 24,20% -
Jawa 2,51% 18,06% -
Bugis 1,09% - -
Madura - 3,46% -
Another Ethnics 0,32% ...% -


According to the Department of Education and Culture of Central Kalimantan, the languages present in 11 Watershed (DAS) that include 9 dominant language and 13 minority languages, namely:

  • Dominant Language :
  1. Bahasa Melayu
  2. Bahasa Banjar
  3. Bahasa Ngaju
  4. Bahasa Manyan
  5. Bahasa Ot Danum
  6. Bahasa Katingan
  7. Bahasa Bakumpai
  8. Bahasa Tamuan
  9. Bahasa Sampit
  • Minority Language :
  1. Bahasa Mentaya
  2. Bahasa Pembuang
  3. Bahasa Dusun Kalahien
  4. Bahasa Balai
  5. Bahasa Bulik
  6. Bahasa Mendawai
  7. Bahasa Dusun Bayan
  8. Bahasa Dusun Tawoyan
  9. Bahasa Dusun Lawangan
  10. Bahasa Dayak Barean
  11. Bahasa Dayak Bara Injey
  12. Bahasa Kadoreh
  13. Bahasa Waringin
  14. Bahasa Kuhin (Local Dialect of Seruyan Hulu)

Mythical Borneo


Like other areas in Indonesia, Central Kalimantan province also have many different types of religions and beliefs that spread throughout the area, among others:
1. Moslem
2. Christian
3. Catholic
4. Hindu Bali
5. Buddhism
6. Hindu Kaharaingan
Kaharingan is the indigenous beliefs of Central Kalimantan, which can only be found in Borneo, so to be recognized as a religion it is incorporated in the Hindu religion. The adherents of Kaharingan scattered in Central Kalimantan mainly in the upper reaches of the river, such Kahayan river, Katingan river and others.


Education in Central Kalimantan is now growing rapidly. It is characterized by the emergence of various educational institutions as well as the existence of several Universities and Colleges in Central Kalimantan.

Palangkaraya State University and Untama State University are the main universities in Central Kalimantan, in addition, there is a Muhammadiyah University and several other high schools that contributing to improve the quality of education in Central Kalimantan, such as the Tambun Bungai School of Law and The School of Management Informatics and Computer Palangkaraya. There are also a variety of Universities and Colleges located in the District of Central Kalimantan.


Potential fishery in Central Kalimantan is very big, especially freshwater fisheries. That's because the vast area of fresh water such as rivers, lakes and swamps in Central Kalimantan.

Most of the people in the Katingan, especially the Middle District of Katingan derive their main income as farmers and miners. The results obtained from main quarry are gold and puya (zircon sand) .

Tjilik Riwut Airport of Palangka Raya has been serving the flight from and into Surabaya and Jakarta directly, using a wide-bodied jet types of Boeing 737-200, 737-300 and 737-400. These flights are served by four airlines, namely: Sriwijaya Air, Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air and Batavia Air.


Central Kalimantan is administratively divided into thirteen regencies (each headed by a regent) and one city - the latter being Palangka Raya (the provincial capital). These are as follows:

Name Capital Population
2000 Census
2005 estimate
2010 Census
Sukamara Regency Sukamara 29,561 33,455 44,838
Lamandau Regency Nanga Bulik 47,969 48,606 62,776
West Kotawaringin Regency
(Kotawaringin Barat)
Pankalan Bun 168,472 198,838 235,274
Seruyan Regency Kuala Pembuang 92,037 94,524 139,443
East Kotawaringin Regency
(Kotawaringin Timur)
Sampit 308,765 299,343 373,842
Katingan Regency Kasongan 121,047 130,271 141,350
Palangka Raya City Palangka Raya 158,770 170,761 220,223
Pulang Pisau Regency Pulang Pisau 111,488 115,200 119,630
Gunung Mas Regency Kuala Kurun 74,823 80,750 96,838
Kapuas Regency Kuala Kapuas 325,243 351,597 329,406
Murung Raya Regency Purukcahu 74,050 80,318 97,029
North Barito Regency
(Barito Utara)
Muara Teweh 109,273 115,261 120,879
East Barito Regency
(Barito Timur)
Tamiang Layang 71,907 77,124 97,080
South Barito Regency
(Barito Selatan)
Buntok 108,560 116,978 123,991
Totals 1,801,965 1,913,026 2,202,599

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