The majority of the population in South Kalimantan are ethnic Banjar which consists of three groups, namely Banjar Kuala, Banjar Pahuluan and Banjar Batang Banyu. As one of the largest ethnics in Indonesia, the Banjar tribe has cultural characteristics. The culture in South Kalimantan is a product of adaptation, assimilation and acculturation from the basic culture of indigenous Banjar tribes with Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic cultures.
There are also ethnic Javanese, Madurese and Sundanese who came as migrants. In coastal areas Tanah Bumbu and Kotabaru also dwells ethnic Bugis (Bugis Pagatan) and Mandar originating from Sulawesi. Dayak in South Kalimantan region occupies around the Meratus mountains (Dayak Bukit) and at the bank of the Barito River (Dayak Bakumpai). Other ethnic groups in South Kalimantan, namely the ethnic Arab descent contained in Banjarmasin and Martapura. There are also ethnic Chinese origin who inhabit the area of Chinatown in the city of Banjarmasin and Sungai Parit in Pelaihari (Cina Parit).
The language used in everyday life by Banjarese as a mother tongue and as a lingua franca for the people of South Kalimantan generally is the Banjar language which has two major dialects, namely Banjar Kuala dialects and Banjar Hulu dialect. The Dayak tribes who inhabit the southern region of the Meratus mountains spoke the Dayak Meratus language.