Nunukan is also the name of the largest town on Nunukan island. There are not many tourist attractions here, most travelers just pass Nunukan on their way from or to Malaysia, as Nunukan has a immigration office and there is a small airport here.
Nunukan island is located in the north eastern corner of Indonesian Borneo, only some meters away from the Indonesian border to Malaysia, and there are regular ferry connections to the Malaysian city of Tawau in Sabah province.
Traveling to Nunukan
Nunukan has an airport with connections to some Indonesian cities and there is a harbor with regular passenger boat connections to many islands around Indonesia.
Pelni ships stop in Nunukan, connecting the island with Sulawesi and go as far as Surabaya on Java island. However, such a trip takes several days. For example, a trip on the Pelni ship “Umsini” from Parepare on southern Sulawesi island to Nunukan will take about 40 hours, and costs 260,000 IDR for “Ekonomi” class and 555,000 IDR for 3rd class, that is you get a bed in a six beds cabin.
Traveling in Nunukan
The town is not large and walking is a good way to get around. Like everywhere in Indonesia, there are many bemo busses (small busses for some ten people) and a large number of motorbike taxis available, and since there are very few foreigners coming here, people may even ask you if they can give you a ride.
Hotels in Nunukan
There are number of budget hotels around town, with a handful very close to the port. When exiting the harbour area, just walk straight down the street, when walking through the harbor gate you will be able to see two of the hotels a bit further down the road.
- Yus Hotel, Jl Pelabuhan Baru RT.16, ☎ +62.556.21245, fan double IDR 50,000,fan double IDR 70,000, A/C double IDR 110,000, A/C double IDR 160,000, acceptable and cheap rooms close to the harbor, the two more expensive options come with TV in the room.
- Gita Hotel, Jl Pelabuhan Baru, fan single IDR 55,000, some 20 meters from the harbor gate. Shared bathroom. No beds, just mattresses on the floor. Relatively clean. Good for a night while waiting for a boat. More expensive rooms are IDR 120,000 with beds and bathroom in the rooms.
- Hotel Marami, Jl Radio No.10, ☎ +62.556.23335, web http://www.hotelmarami.com, fan single IDR 120,000, new and clean, with tiled bathroom, free WiFi in lobby and in some rooms, in the town center next to a police station.
- Hotel Melati Indah, Jl Pelabuhan Baru, looks like it is in the IDR 150,000 price range, some 50 meters from the harbor.
- Laura Hotel, Jl Ahmad Yani No.3, ☎ +62.556.22295, A/C double IDR 350,000, expensive and good hotel with a good restaurant that is not too expensive.
Nunukan tourist attractions
Not many tourist attractions in Nunukan.
There is a large water village in the north of the town close to the airport. The water village has a large mosque, a huge vegetables and meat market and many small and large houses built on stilts in the water.
Hundreds of little shops selling things to the locals, motorbikes driving on the wooden roads, kids playing and even a billiard bar on stilts is in the village. If you look foreign, most of the locals will try to talk with you, even though they might not speak any English.