A. Brief Information

Kembang Island is a 60 Ha delta that locates on the middle of the Barito River, and is inhabited by monkeys and several different types of birds. It was established as a tourism destination in 1976 by the decree of Agricultural Minister No, 788/Kptsum12/1976.

A story tells that the island was originally a British ship which was smashed by the Bianju people in 1750‘s under the command of Sultan Banjar. Trees grew on and around the ruins of the ship as time went by, and it later turned into an island where a group of monkey inhabited. The people who live around believe that those monkeys are ghosts in disguise of monkeys. The monkeys are led by a very big monkey known as Anggur. The belief makes the island as a place where people come to make vows. Many people come to this place bringing offerings such as bananas, eggs, nasi ketan (sticky rice), mayang-pinang, and different kinds of flowers. Because of the many people who hold ceremonies and spread flowers around it, the island is later on known as Kembang Island (kembang literally means flower).

There is an altar in this site to put the offerings for the “guardians” of Kembang which is symbolized by a white statue in a form of a monkey (Hanoman). The altar notes that the visitors come there not merely to see those monkeys but also to pray, especially Chinese people.

The monkeys in this area are hundreds and even thousands, and are friendly to the visitors (though some of them are beasts). The monkeys usually gather in groups at the harbor as they see the tourist coming to the area, waiting the people to feed them with bananas, nuts, and other foods.

However, here are some suggestions to notice for anyone intends to visit this site since not all of the monkeys are friendly to people:
Prepare snacks such as nuts, bananas, and other foods to give to the monkeys beforehand. Put your things such as bags in a safe and hidden place because the monkeys sometimes would grab things from people and take them away. Be careful when putting things (bags, etc) in the klotok for the monkeys are able to jump into the boat and destroy things in it.

It is suggested for the visitors to prepare small changes (coins) to give to the many beggars around the area.

B. Distinctive Features

Kembang Island is inhabited by hundreds and even thousands of monkeys and also some various birds. People can have the chance to see one of the monkeys which are the mascot of the beasts of South Kalimantan if they are lucky, Bekantans (Nasalis Larvatus). These monkeys are shy, having reddish brown hair, and long noses. People can also see the monkeys swimming there. The visitors can also interact with them by feeding them with nuts and enjoy the feeling of being crawled by them.

There is a temple in the island where people put their offerings or say their vows. People relate the island to many mystical kingdoms. Many visitors confess to have mystical experiences such as seeing a bridge that connects Kembang Island with a land, seeing a prince in white riding a horse crossing the bridge, etc.

C. Location

Kembang Island locates on the middle of the Barito River, Alalak sub-district, in the district of Kuala, South Kalimantan province.

D. Access

Kembang Island which is 60 Ha wide is 1, 5 km from Banjarmasin and can be reached by taking klotok, available for rent that costs around Rp. 200. 000 per hour (people can bargain for cheaper amount). It takes around 10 minutes from Banjarmasin to reach the location.

E. Ticket Price

The entrance ticket to Kembang costs Rp 2. 500 per person

F. Accommodations and other Facilities

There are many peddlers selling drinks and snacks around the area.

Source : Wisata Melayu

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