Category Archives: Routes

Sampit to Banjarmasin

Sampit to Palangka Raya 4:00, 219 km
Palangka Raya to Banjarmasin 3:30, 195 km

The first leg is quite a decent road in most parts, but of course there are the usual patches of dirt and loose gravel.

I filled up with petrol out of bottles just outside of Sampit, then passed a Pertamina station with Pertamax in 5 km. D’oh! In fact there are plenty of stations along the way.

Signposts at PR are useless. Go straight through in the first roundabout, then right in the second one, then left after about 500m. From here on it is fairly obvious, but anyway there is a sigh post of 3.5 km, then most of the way has signs.

The second leg has similar road conditions but s lot of buses. I saw one bud literally run an oncoming car off the road while overtaking. That bus and another consistently ran scooters off onto the shoulder when overtaking.

A very dangerous stretch of road.

The Bario bridge, about 30 minutes out from Banjarmasin, spans a vast river (one of several in the area and dozens in Borneo). I was stunned to see that one lane had been occupied by street vendors!

At the western city limits, the streets branch out in every direction and there is no obvious main road. This is in contrast to my earlier trip where I approached from the east, and the main road goes right past the ferry terminal.


Nagyar Tayap to Sampit

1:00, 47 km to border of West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan, but we detoured through village of Tanjung Assam to meet friends.

Then 8:30, 399 km to Sampit

Almost immediately after the border, the dreadful bridges are obvious. I saw two that had a truck upside down in the river below. They are not motorcycle friendly, especially the transition onto the bridge.

However, every one of them had a work crew building a nee bridge. So in six months this will be a much easier ride.

The route is not very easy to follow, with many intersections lacking signs. There are many deep holes and unexpected dirt latches in otherwise good roads, so ride with caution.

Border crossing at Entikong

We were given only cursory attention on the Malaysian side and our passports were not even stamped.

Nor was anything done with the carnet

A hundred meters further on at Entikong, all of the usual international protocol applies.

We were directed to take the bike off to tone side, after which I expected we’d proceed past one of the booths and get our documents stamped. After 15 minutes of waiting, it became clear that wasn’t going to happen.

Wed actually just been told to park the bike, but it was away from the normal entry.

1. Go to visa payment window on the right. Pay in RM, IDR or USD.

2. Proceed to customs window. They sent us into a separate processing room, where we were given the immigration form and sent back out to complete it.

3. Submit completed form, get visa.

4. Put hand luggage / backpacks through scanner.

4. Reverse bike back out into main route and wheel it through to police checkpoint. Answer questions about destination and purpose.

5. Wheel the bike a short distance to army checkpoint, more questions.

6. Army asked us about carnet, then we had to produce bike documents and to back into customs to get them processed. This was complicated because the carnet had not been completed properly at previous border crossing.

7. Back to army checkpoint with completed documents, then finished.

Total time: 1 hour. It could be done in half that time if I’d known what to do.

Tayam to Nagyar Tayap

4:00, 189 km

This may the best road I have ridden in Borneo. No mud, no holes, no unexpected gravel as you round a corner. And hardly any trucks. Actually not much traffic of any kind.

Just follow the white line.

The hardest part is figuring out where to go after you get off the ferry. It’s. Turn left, 100 m, then turn right, then follow the white lines all the way.

Pontianak to Tayam

1:50, 108 km

Most of this route is backtracking out of Pontianak to the Tayam turn.

The only route at Tayam is to put the bike on a very small ferry. Refer to the GPS track ad the entrance to the ferry is not obvious. You have ride down a narrow bike-only path between houses.

Refer to separate post about the ferry.

Entikong to Pontianak

4:15, 285 km

I don’t recall seeming any Pertamina, so fill up in the Malaysian side with prmium fuel.

This route is effectively signposted and is pretty easy. Turn left at Sosok, and right before Tayam.

Road from the Tayam turn is mostly OK and has some fun curves towards Pontianak. However the first Hal has some nasty patches of mud.

I saw three trucks bogged up to the axles.

I was bordering on panic at the first bog hole because all the oncoming trucks had left only enough space for a scooter to pass. This is common. An Adv bike with luggage is a lot wider than a scooter! And this on mud – centimeters of clearance.

Lucky this mud is not the slippery greasy kind.

Traffic crossing the bridge at Pontianak is very heavy. And don’t think you can weasel through it – every centimeter has already been occupied by a scooter.

If possible travel into the city in the afternoon and out in the morning, it will make a big difference. But watch out for impatient 4WDs and trucks trying to drive in the wrong side.

Berau to Malinau

This consists of one leg 2 1/2 hours 109 km to the outskirts of Tanjung Selor, and Tanjung Selor to Malinau 200 km.

It’s an additional 40 minutes return into Tanjung Selor if you need a petrol station.

The first leg is quite good.

The second leg is dreadful. Parts of it are little more than a jeep track. It has long rough sections, lots of loose slippery gravel, dust, mud, ruts and holes. Something for everybody.

This was the hardest leg in Kalimantan and very hard work two-up on a heavy bike.

There are no Pertamina stations along the way.

The last intersection about 5 km out of town is not sign posted – take the left turn.