The Barito River cascades down from the Meratus Mountain highlands and is a central river highway channel between the coast and the deep interior of South Kalimantan
The delta area has characteristic vast swamps and lowlands. During high tide, the sea water floods the area, and the Barito river water becomes salty. In the dry season, when the river water decreases, the wells, and ponds are filled with sea water, and also become salty. The Barito river environment, however, gives an appeal on its own. Rivers are since the Dutch Colonial period the busiest trading centers as Pasar Baru, Kuripan Market and some modern markets such as the Antasari Shopping Center. The Floating Market of Banjarmasin is a traditional market at the estuary of the Kuin River, a tributary of the Barito.
As the day proceeds, the atmosphere becomes more cheerful. The number of buyers increase and more boats gather. At a little past noon, the market quietens down. The now empty boats leave. The number of customers dwindles, and finally, everything is quiet again on the river. The best time to see the market in action is in the early morning, between 6 a.m and 7 a.m.
The Barito River is the longest river in South Kalimantan with its length of 600 kilometers, and it’s three kilometers wide give an impression to see. The water of Barito River is muddy as it carries silt and rubbish from the hinterland. Flotsam is everywhere along the lower reaches of the river. Beyond Marabahan village, the Barito river splits into two branches one is a tributary coming from Negara community, Amuntai and Tanjung. The other branch originates from the west and has its headwaters near the Central Kalimantan border.
This Upper River is potential for Tourism development, as the forests have a lot of wildlife including wild orangutans, beside the black orchids and carnivorous pitcher plant species. The lakes and side rivers are romantic places with opportunities for bird watching.
Buntok can be caught by car from Palangka Raya and Banjarmasin.The orangutan is probably the magnet for tourism to visit the area, while still almost unknown as it is not exposed and developed yet. Orangutans can be found in the Madara, Sungai Puning, and Pedang area. Near the Orangutans, Puning is famous for its Blackwater eco-system as the only one at Borneo Island, the Sanggu forest is good for it’s flora with species of wild orchids, and pitcher plants, last but not least the area also has limestone caves and waterfalls.