During high tide, the sea water floods the surrounding marshes, and the Barito river water becomes salty. In the dry season, when the river water decrease, the wells and ponds are filled with sea water, and also become salty. The Barito river environment, however, gives this old town an appeal that is all its own. Rivers surround it and bring life to the town. The busiest trading centers are found in the center of the town, such as at 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 buyers dwindles, and finally everything is quiet again on the river. The best time to see market in action is in the early morning, between 6 a.m and 7 a.m.
The Barito is the longest river in South Kalimantan. Its length is 600 kilometers. at several places near the estuary, the river is three kilometers wide and 10 to 30 meters deep, The water of Barito River is muddy because 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 village, Amuntai and Tanjung. The other branch comes from the west, and has its head waters near the Central Kalimantan border.