Floating Market, or “Pasar Terapung” in Indonesian is located in Banjarmasin, exactly at the junction of Barito and Kuin River. Floating market in Banjarmasin is a reflection of Banjar culture that has been going on long time ago.
Banjarmasin City is well-known as the thousands of river that become the important transportation route until now, like this unique floating market of Muara Kuin Banjarmasin. The Martapura River divides the city and provides for water transportation, trade and tourism. Banjarmasin is nicknamed Kota Air or Water City since it lies a few centimeters below sea level.
“Pasar Terapung” is very much part of the city’s history. In 1526 Sultan Suriansyah built a kingdom on the edge of Kuin and Barito Rivers that later became Banjarmasin city. A traditional trade center gradually developed along these rivers and Banjarmasin then became home into two: the pasar terapung in Muara Kuin and the other in Lok Baintan on the Martapura River — the latter being less popular due its far location from the city.
Muara Kuin Floating Market is a typical traditional market in the outfall of Barito River. It offers a fascinating panorama for many local and foreign visitors where one can witness both sellers and buyers in intense negotiations on jukung or traditional boats. If you want to be part of the market, you must be there before sunrise. Since most of the sellers are Moslems, they will begin their trading activities after they perform morning prayers (Subuh) and by 7 am they will be done. It is a beautiful scene to catch the sunrise between the jukung while sellers offer fresh vegetables from the surrounding agricultural areas along the Barito River and its watercourses. Many visitors enjoy seeing other commodities on display here such as various fresh fruit, fish and household items.
The atmosphere at Floating Market is unique and visitors can see big and small jukungs jostle each other looking for buyers while the waves come and go. Floating Market has no organization like traditional markets on land, so there is no record of the number of sellers or buyers. Barter is also an old tradition that continues here, a form of acceptable trade between sellers or locals that is termed bapanduk. The next time a visit to Banjarmasin is in the cards, a side trip to Floating Market is not to be missed.