Halau Halau, the Highest Mountain of South Kalimantan

Climbers pose for photos after reaching the summit of Mount Halau Halau, in the province of South Kalimantan. | Photo credit: Vebri Adrian.

MOUNT Halau Halau is situated on the border of three districts: Hulu Sungai Tengah, Hulu Sungai Selatan and Tanah Bumbu.

The peak of Mount Halau Halau is (only) 1,901 meters above sea level. No other mountain in the province of South Kalimantan has a higher altitude.

To get there, mountaineers come from outside of Kalimantan Island would have to start the journey from Banjarmasin, the capital of South Kalimantan, or Banjarbaru, the city where the province's main airport is located.

From one of the cities, they can continue their journey to Barabai of Hulu Sungai Tengah regency using public, land transportation, with a travel time of between four to five hours.

Apart from online taxis, there is only one much-cheaper type of transport servicing route of Banjarmasin/Banjarbaru to Barabai and the surrounding districts. 

It is the Mitsubishi L-300 minibus seats seven to nine persons. The car, with no air conditioning, has set price between Rp 50,000 to Rp 70,000 per-passenger.

Once you arrive in Barabai, you can choose whether to stay overnight or to continue the trip.

There are a number of low-priced hotels near the heart of the "apam (traditional wet cake) town", nickname of Barabai.

If you decide to spend the night there, you will have a chance to seek additional information relates to your plan to go to Mount Halau Halau. 

The following day you can carry on with the travel to Birayang village, some 10 kilometers to the north east of Barabai, again, using a public transport.

Batu Kambar village, roughly 30 kilometers from Birayang village, will be the next stopover. Ask locals to find transport connecting the two far apart villages.

From Batu Kambar onwards, mountaineers are suggested to hire mountain guides. Not only in Halau Halau, hiring locals as guides will also be a must for other wild nature adventures in Kalimantan Island. 

Not only do they know the terrain like the palm of their hands, but they also know how the weather behaves. They know how to read the conditions and anticipate danger, and make the proper decisions when there is a risk.

Regardless of your training and expertise, and even if you have done safety training courses before, a mountain guide is still key in ensuring your well-being.

Residents as guides can also help you take care of logistics, which is especially important when travelling to remote location like Mount Halau Halau, and when you don't speak the local language (Kalimantan's Banjarese and Dayaknese).

Guides may organize transport, and communicate with the local community to help you find what you are looking for.

Altogether, climbing Mount Halau Halau should take about two or three days. This includes arriving at Banjarmasin or Banjarbaru, transferring to Barabai and several subsequent villages, preparation, and making the final ascent.

Expect to spend at least Rp 1.5 million (more or less 100 USD) per-person when heading out for a Mount Halau Halau climbing expedition. 

However, depending on the guide and what's included, trips may cost up to Rp 2 million or more.[sahrudin]

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