Bangkirai Hill is a tourism object located in Samboja District, Kutai Kartanegara Regency, East Kalimantan. The area of Bangkirai Hill is reaching 1,500 hectare which is the area of conservation forest. This area is important for developing the rainforest and media for nature education. This tourism object offers beautiful and natural tropical rainforest with fresh air, lush greens, and the twitters of birds which are the characteristics of a rainforest.
Bangkirai Hill is located around 150 km from the city of Tenggarong or Samarinda. Meanwhile, from the direction of Balikpapan City, this object is 58 km, and 20 km from the downtown of Samboja District. For visiting this natural site, tourists could use land transportation both personal and public vehicles.
This natural tourism object was named Bangkirai Hill because the dominance of Bangkirai (Shorea) trees grown in the area of this conservation forest. Bangkirai tree is then used for the mascot of this popular tourism object. Some of the Bangkirai trees in this area are even older than 150 years with height reaching 40 – 50 meters and diameter reaching of 2 – 3 meters. This tree has big and firm butreess roots which are so unique and beautiful.
The purpose of developing this tourism forest area is to increase the natural excursion potential, support scientific study, and improve society’s awareness to forest and environment. The inauguration of this excursion forest area was hold at 14th of March 1998. This 510 hectare area was officially introduced as a tourism object by the Minister of Forestry, Djamalludin Suryohadikusumo, as a concrete effort to develop the potential of natural tourism object for improving environmental awareness especially for flora and fauna.
Bangkirai Hill area is in category of stable primary lowland “Dipterocarp forest”, so this place has been becoming invasion area of birds from Soeharto Hill Excursion Forest area located approximately 30 km from there. According to the study done here, there are around 113 kinds of birds living in the area of Bangkirai Hill.
Besides that, kinds of animals living in Bangkirai Hill are Müller’s Bornean Gibbon (Hylobates muelleri), Southern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina), Maroon Leaf Monkey (Presbytus rubicunda), Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Boar (Susvittatus), Squirrel, and Banggai Crow (Corvus unicolor) which is all bred.
Besides faunas, Bangkirai Hill area is also rich with species of natural orchids which grow naturally on the living trees or dead trees. At least there are 45 kinds of orchids grow in this tropical rainforest area. One of the kinds is Black Orchid (Coelegyne pandurata) which is very famous and become mascot of East Kalimantan Province. Besides orchid cultivation, orchid intercrossing is also done resulting Kala Orchid, Apple Blossom Orchid, and Vanda Orchid. Not just that, this excursion area is also completed with orchards sizing approximately 4 hectare.
As a tourism object, the facilities and infrastructures of this area are complete enough. For instance, there are some cottages with fine restaurant and hall accommodating up to 100 people. Besides cottages there are also jungle cabins, a cottage without electricity so the tourists could feel the real atmosphere of a real jungle.
For outdoor activity, it is suggested to try walking through the canopy bridge which is set connecting 5 tall Bangkirai trees. From this bridge you could enjoy amazing panorama of this excursion area from top. This hanging bridge has 30 meter height so you can feel the fresh wind. Sometimes, due to the height of this bridge, the wind could be so strong and shake the bridge. However, you do not need to worry because this bridge is guaranteed safe. As long as you obey the rules, you will cross this bridge happily. Besides that, from the aspect of safety this canopy bridge could be guaranteed because the construction was done by a trusted company in United States. The total length of canopy bridge in Bangkirai Hill is 64 meters which connects 5 Bangkirai trees. For trying the canopy bridge, tourists must climb one of two towers which are built around the Bangkirai trees. This canopy bridge is the first in Indonesia, the second in Asia, and the eighth in the world.
In order to preserve the existence of Bangkirai tree which has become the mascot of this area, the maintainer of Bangkirai Hill offers tree adoption program to the sponsors or donators. In this program, these people are expected to be the “foster parents” for the Bangkirai trees. If you are a nature lover, an outdoor activities enthusiast, or an environmentalist, you must visit Bangkirai Hill. In this place you could enjoy recreation and adventure while preserving and studying nature.