Balikpapan residents are composed mostly of Indonesian citizens coming from all over Indonesia. Indonesian people’s characters are usually friendly and helpful. You might also experience a few greetings on the streets, especially from local kids or people who are trying to make a conversation with you. If you think the locals laugh or smile alot during talking to you, don't take it wrongly, it is just part of their smiling culture.
Locals playing chest in Balikpapan, East
Local teenagers with their laptops in a shopping mall in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Local crowds in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Seeing skilled expatriates in town is also a common thing. Most of them come from Australia, France or United States and work for oil companies or the related industries.
Travelers are advised to dress appropriately in order to avoid unnecessary attention. See Clothing Matter in Tips Indonesia.
Should you like to develop and print your photos, there are many photo services in Balikpapan. Generally locals go to either Kodak or Fuji shops. They can be found in “Ruko Bandar” at Jalan Sudirman, close to “Taman Bekapai” (Bekapai Garden) area. Processing time depends on numbers of printing, but usually it takes around one hour or less for a set of photos, and it costs about Rp. 1,500 for one print.
Balikpapan Post Office
Location: Jl. Jenderal Sudirman No. 31
Balikpapan is a small city with low crime levels. Terminals, traditional markets and public parks are more sensitive areas and travelers are advised to be more cautious in those places, especially at night. Common crimes in big cities, like pickpocketing, are fortunately a rare problem.
Police in Indonesia (and Balikpapan itself) in general are changing towards better public service standards. Though changing the old habits (and public perception) is not easy and takes time, they have been taking lots of steps to improve public perception. For instance, renewing a driving license which in the past took a few hours and would make people end up paying a lot more, today can be done almost instantly without extra charges. The picture on the right shows Balikpapan's traffic police car.
More general information of Indonesia and tips on Indonesia.