BORNEO — West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Borneo is where Christina was born and raised. The vast majority of Borneo’s inhabitants are Dayak. Christina is part of a large Dayak tribe named Bidayuh. Her ancestors lived along the Kapuas and Sekayam river system. The smaller northern part of Borneo is Sarwalk, part of Malaysia and the tiny oil-rich country of Brunei. The largest portion belongs to Indonesia.

Borneo is a huge island—about the same size as New Guinea—making them the 2nd and 3rd largest in the world after Greenland.  The largest portion of Borneo belongs to Indonesia and consists of 5 Regencies (states); West Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan and South Kalimantan. The smaller northern part of Borneo is Sarwalk, part of Malaysia and the tiny oil-rich country of Brunei. A natural divide forms the border between the two.

The area of Borneo we visited is just across the Malaysian border. It’s hilly, jungle and lush. The people are kind and layed back. The cost of living is very low and it is poor by most standards.

Kuching Malaysia on the other hand is a modern port city. Dayaks living in Malaysian are more prosperous and gravitate to large cities. Dayaks across the border in Indonesia live in smaller groups and spread out along the vast river system.

I love this part of Indonesia. We will someday move here and make Balai Karangan or Kuala Dua our home. This part of Borneo is a gateway to more remote parts yet only 2.5 hours from the South China sea and an international airport.

Where Lomon property and the Sekayam River meet.

Christina’s family owns land near Kuala Dua on the Sekayam so we’ll probably build a house on a hill overlooking the River. At first, Bali was going to be home, then it was Salatiga. but now we’ve decided on Borneo. This is our final answer. I am really excited about exploring the area. Some villages are still more easily reached by boat and we intend to canoe our way to them. (Edited: This is still the plan, but later. It’s still Jakarta for at least a couple more years.)

The trip from Jakarta was quite reasonable. $35.00 each way to Pontianak and a $35.00 cab ride to Balai Karangan. We stayed with Christina’s brother Christo and wife, Bintang. They were truly wonderful hosts. Make sure you look at the pictures of their amazing house below. It is typical Indonesian construction but the decorating style is that of Java.

This is Lomon property in Kuala Dua. below, Next to Christana is a rubber tree. A cup is attached at the bottom to catch sap. Right: Nature’s barbed wire from a palm plant.


So, we’re walking in the jungle and find this 20-year-old poster of Christina. She ran for what we in the US call congress. She lost but came close—the other candidate out-spent her 10 to 1.
Left to right, Christina’s sister Susan, my beautiful wife, Brad Pitt, Susan’s husband, Isme.
We took time to visit the graves of Christina’s mother and father.
Dayak men work in the field in the morning and gather afterward and socialize as a tradition.
This house on stilts is Panca house. Spiritual ceremonies are carried out here. It is an important part of Dayak culture. The ceremony we took part in was to pass along the strengths of brave enemies killed in battle. Dayak were headhunters in the past, but now are Christian. This was an honor.

Food is prepared and served to the spirits of the fallen and those taking part in the ceremony. After the ceremony, we drank a type of wine made from rice, similar to saki.

Some nice property to make a home. The views here are stunning.
Christo’s mansion in Balai Karangan. This was a great place to stay.



3 Replies to “BORNEO — West Kalimantan, Indonesia

  1. Glad that you finally decided to settle at Balai Karangan, KalBar where Christina has her family roots there. She returned back to where she once belong… hope that will be a perfect home for you & Christina. May God bless you both🙏🙏🙏

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