25 hour RORO ferry trip. Departs daily at 1100. However this is subject to wide variation.
Basic fare is for BYO bed. Passengers roll out their bedding pretty much anywhere.
For around IDR 250,000 you can upgrade to a four-bunk cabin. If you want a private cabin you must pay for all four bunks.
Loading and unloading is mayhem.
130 km, 2 1/2 hours
Get an early start from Balikpapan otherwise the traffic lingers for about 20 km beyond the city.
Many stretches of decent road, some of it quite pretty. A lot of road works where only one lane at a time is allowed to pass. This can be used as an opportunity to leapfrog slow-moving trucks and buses.
A lot of old-fashioned overtaking where where plenty of kW are a good thing.
Signposting approaching Samarinda is erratic but roads are good.
At least two Pertamina stations with Pertamax on the main road.
150 km 5 hours, stopping at Equator for 1/2 hour
Pretty hard slog. Lots of overtaking required.
Pertamax available at Bontang, otherwise bypass Bontang to save time.
Equator is about 25 km before Bontang. There is a sign heading South but none heading north. Look for a car park about 100 m off the highway, with stairs and a walkway leading to a monument.
See the separate post for crossing the equator.
3 hours 100 km
Roads in this area are receiving a lot of upgrade work and some parts are newly sealed.
Other parts are still dirt or mainly dirt with patches of tarmac.
There is a small hotel at Wahau.
There are not many foreigners who pass through Benelong. Folks waiting for the petrol station to open were very curious about us.
5 hours 190 km
Roads have improved dramatically since I was here three years ago.
Pertamina station with Pertamax a fair way after Wahau.
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.
4:15, 285 km
I don’t recall seeing any Pertamina, so fill up in the Malaysian side with premium 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 half 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 – centimetres of clearance.
Lucky this mud is not the slippery greasy kind, but there’s no way to know until you are on it.
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.