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Home » Pontianak : City on the Equator

Pontianak : City on the Equator

 

Overview

Pontianak, Indonesia’s City on the Equator lies on the banks of the Kapuas, the country’s longest and largest river, and one of the longest rivers in the world. The Kapuas River has its source at Gunung Lawit, deep in the Mueller mountain range in Central Borneo where it rushes down, meandering 1,143 kilometers west, passing 9 of West Kalimantan’s 14 districts, until it finally r

Pontianak, Indonesia’s City on the Equator lies on the banks of the Kapuas, the country’s longest and largest river, and one of the longest rivers in the world. The Kapuas River has its source at Gunung Lawit, deep in the Mueller mountain range in Central Borneo where it rushes down, meandering 1,143 kilometers west, passing 9 of West Kalimantan’s 14 districts, until it finally reaches the South China Sea, forming a wide delta upon which Pontianak is built. 

It is no wonder, therefore, that the Kapuas River serves as the livelihood of the region, a major waterway to reach interior towns and its major water supply. Boats with a 3 meter draft can navigate upriver to the town of Sintang, some 465 km. inland from the mouth Kapuas. This is the gateway to the interior, home of the Dayaks. While boats with 2 meter draft can reach Putussibau, 902 km from Pontianak.  

Long known as a busy trading port facing the South China Sea, Pontianak is a cosmopolitan city where various races and ethnic groups live peacefully side by side. Malays and Dayaks are the major ethnic groups here with Bugis, Bataks, Minangkabaus, Javanese, Chinese and Arabs making up the city’s population.  Until today, Bugis Phinisi schooners can be seen tied at Pontianak’s docks, their crew busy loading and unloading goods.

In the mid 1700’s a gold rush attracted Chinese miners, who came and settled around the gold fields of Mandor, Montrado, and Singkawang, north of Pontianak. At the time, the West Borneo (now Kalimantan) gold fields were rich, producing 18 to 21 carat gold. Soon, however, yields diminished. Nonetheless, until today, gold panning is still rampant, covering an area of more than 6,600 hectares. As in those early days the Chinese Emperor forbade women from leaving the country, the Chinese men in West Borneo married the local Dayak girls, thus creating inter-marriages between the two groups.   

The town of Pontianak was built by Syarif Abdurrahkan Alkadrie in 1771 who established the Pontianak Sultanate here. Today Pontianak is the seat of the provincial government of West Kalimantan.

A monument marking the exact location of the Equator was built here by a Dutch geographer and explorer, while upriver along the Kapuas, Dayak tribes live in harmony with migrants, staging wonderful events each year, including the sun’s culmination celebrations during the spring and autumnal equinox.  Here, in Pontianak, you can find yourself standing on your own shadow, twice a year.

There are limitless sensational sceneries along the precious Kapuas River as you sit at the bow of the roaring speedboat. Floating empty canoes, stilt houses along the riversides, bathing mothers and their kids, hardworking fishermen, and colorful floating markets with old women sitting at the stern of noisy dinghies, are some of the picture-perfect visuals found along the bronzed-color water.

Chinese and Arabs are two of the migrant groups who developed this region. Shop houses are silent proof that Chinese traders have been there since centuries. The town of Singkawang, a city two-hours drive away from Pontianak, still has a large Chinese population. Singkawang is known for its excellent Chinese ceramics, which until today still produces “antique” style ceramics. Singkawang is also famous for its annual Cap Goh Meh celebrations, drawing descendents from around Indonesia.

Back in the city’s vicinity, at the edge of Kapuas River lies the Kadariah Sultanate with adjacent Masjid Jamie, the mosque that radiates the Islamic way of life. The magnificent history of the sultanate is an open book to welcome any traveler wishing to find out the stories of the city. 

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See on The Map

To Stay

Here are several hotels where you can stay during your travel to Pontianak.

Hotels with website are lister under: Find a Hotel on the right

1.Hotel Merpati
  Jl. Imam Bonjol No.111
  Phone: +62 561 745481, 766588
2.Hotel Kartika
  Jl. Rahadi Osman
  Phone: +62 561 734401
3.Hotel 2000
  Jl.Gajah Mada
  Phone: +62 561 735062
4.Hotel Surya
  Jl. Pahlawan
  Phone:










Here are several hotels where you can stay during your travel to Pontianak.

Hotels with website are lister under: Find a Hotel on the right

1.Hotel Merpati
  Jl. Imam Bonjol No.111
  Phone: +62 561 745481, 766588
2.Hotel Kartika
  Jl. Rahadi Osman
  Phone: +62 561 734401
3.Hotel 2000
  Jl.Gajah Mada
  Phone: +62 561 735062
4.Hotel Surya
  Jl. Pahlawan
  Phone: +62 561 734337, 761524
5.Hotel Sentral
  Jl.HOS Tjokroaminoto
  Phone: +62 561 737444
6.Hotel Wijaya Kusuma
  Jl. Kapten Marsan
  Phone: (0651) 732547, 732769
7.Hotel Orient
  Jl. Tanjung Pura
  Phone: +62 561 731535, 732650, 736162
8.Hotel Berlian
  Jl.Tanjung Pura
  Phone: (0651) 732092
9.Hotel Muslim
  Jl. Tanjung Pura
  Phone: +62 561 733461
10.Hotel Flamboyan
   Jl. Tanjung Pura / Gg.Hidayah
   Phone: +62 561 734945
11.Hotel Pondok Jaya
   Jl. 28 Oktober
   Phone: +62 561 884234
12.Hotel Benua Mas
   Jl. 28 Oktober
   Phone: +62 561 883210
13.Hotel Mini
   Jl. KH Wahid Hasyim
   Phone: +62 561 730520
14.Mahkota Hotel
   Jl. P. Diponegoro 1 , Singkawang 79123
   Tel.: +62562 31322, 31491

Guesthouses are:


1.Wisma Nusantara
  Jl. WR Soeprapt
  Phone: +62 561 766188, 736181
2.Wisma Kartika Puri
  Jl. A Yani
  Phone: +62 561 73470
3.Wisma Patria
  Jl. HOS Tjokroaminoto
  Phone: +62 561 736063
4.Wisma Korpri
  Jl. Veteran
  Phone: +62 561 765677, 765678

 

1.  Hotel Merpati

Jl. Imam Bonjol No.111

Phone: +62 561 745481, 766588

2.  Hotel Kartika

Jl. Rahadi Osman

Phone: +62 561 734401

3.  Hotel 2000

Jl.Gajah Mada

Phone: +62 561 735062

4.  Hotel Surya

Jl. Pahlawan

Phone: +62 561 734337, 761524

5.  Hotel Sentral

Jl.HOS Tjokroaminoto

Phone: +62 561 737444

6.  Hotel Wijaya Kusuma

Jl. Kapten Marsan

Phone: (0651) 732547, 732769

7.  Hotel Orient

Jl. Tanjung Pura

Phone: +62 561 731535, 732650, 736162

8.  Hotel Berlian

Jl.Tanjung Pura

Phone: (0651) 732092

9.  Hotel Muslim

Jl. Tanjung Pura

Phone: +62 561 733461

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Tips

Do not get dehydrated when travelling under the glaring Pontianak sun. Bring adequate drinking water with you in your travel gear.

 

Find list of travel agencies in Pontianak at: http://disparekraf.kalbarprov.go.id on TRAVELING tab

Do not get dehydrated when travelling under the glaring Pontianak sun. Bring adequate drinking water with you in your travel gear.

 

Find list of travel agencies in Pontianak at: http://disparekraf.kalbarprov.go.id on TRAVELING tab

Get There

Pontianak is accessible by air, sea, and land. Supadio Airport is the main airport connecting Pontianak with the rest of the cities in and outside Kalimantan. The existing airlines that mostly have direct flights to Jakarta are:

1.  Garuda Indonesia

2.  Sriwijaya Air

3.  Lion Air

The sea port is at Dwikora where PELNI boats and ferries serve commercial and other industries in th

Pontianak is accessible by air, sea, and land. Supadio Airport is the main airport connecting Pontianak with the rest of the cities in and outside Kalimantan. The existing airlines that mostly have direct flights to Jakarta are:

1.  Garuda Indonesia

2.  Sriwijaya Air

3.  Lion Air

The sea port is at Dwikora where PELNI boats and ferries serve commercial and other industries in the city.

For travelers coming overland from Brunei, Malaysian Sarawak and Sabah, the town of Entikong is the entry point. Most travelers leave from Kuching, Malaysia, and terminate at Pontianak. Buses are available each day. Comfortable, 30-seater DAMRI buses regularly ply the Pontianak-Entikong -Kuching - Brunei Darussalam route. Pontianak - Kuching takes around 8 hours, with 2 rest stops on the way, while pushing on to Brunei, the journey takes one day and night.  

In Pontianak, transportation is quite convenient to get. Taxis are found everywhere, although the angkot has outnumbered taxis, operated by 8 different companies. Today, many companies offer cars for rent. Usually these come in 7-seater minivans. The price depends on the type of car, ranging from IDR 500,000 to IDR 800,000 for half a day.

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To Eat

Restaurants are varied, some of them are:

1.Casa de Tapz
  Jalan Gajah Mada no. 158.
  Phone: +62 561 761 440 or 732 849.
2.Restoran Gajah Mada
  Jalan Gajah Mada no. 136.
  Phone: +62 561 766 526 or 766 580
3.Restoran Mutiara
  +62 561 765 881.
4.Restoran Caza Suki
  Jalan Nusa Indah III
  Phone: +62 561 733 420
5.Restoran Cita Rasa
  Jalan KH Agus Salim no. 108 &n













Restaurants are varied, some of them are:

1.Casa de Tapz
  Jalan Gajah Mada no. 158.
  Phone: +62 561 761 440 or 732 849.
2.Restoran Gajah Mada
  Jalan Gajah Mada no. 136.
  Phone: +62 561 766 526 or 766 580
3.Restoran Mutiara
  +62 561 765 881.
4.Restoran Caza Suki
  Jalan Nusa Indah III
  Phone: +62 561 733 420
5.Restoran Cita Rasa
  Jalan KH Agus Salim no. 108 – 112
  Phone: +62 561 736 355
6.Restoran Galaherang
  Jalan MT Haryono, complex GOR Pangsuma
  Phone: +62 561 734 801
7.Pondok Nelayan
  Jalan Ahmad Yani, Komplex Korem 121 PD VI Tanjungpura
  Phone: +62 561 747 045
8.Restoran Amerika
  Jalan H. Agus Salim
  Phone: +62 561 734 119
9.Sari Bento
  Jalan A Yani, complex Museum Kalbar
  Phone: 760 797
10.Restoran Sederhana Bintaro
   Jalan A Yani complex Ruko Mega Mall A-2/3
   Phone: +62 561 767 726
11.RM Al Madinah
   Jalan A Yani no. 63
   Phone: +62 561 710 534
12.Ayam goreng Mbok Berek
   Jalan KH Ahmad Dahlan no 73
   Phone: +62 561 733 685
13.Ayam Ulakan
   Jalan Uray Bawadi no. 7
   Phone: +62 561 761 991
14.Ayam Bakar Wong Solo
   Jalan Teuku Umar no. 12
   Phone: +62 561 751 8147
15.Bakmi Tebet
   Jalan A Yani no. 63 C
   Phone: +62 561 704 6581, 710 527
16.Restoran Ayam Sugeban
   Jalan Teuku Umar no. 59 B
   Phone: 741 863
17.Beringin
   Jalan Diponegoro no. 113
   Phone: +62 561 734 787
18.RM Rio
   Jalan Merdeka no. 542
19.RM Salido
   Jalan Sultan Abdurrahman no 58
   Phone: +62 561 736 436
20.Café de Splash
   Jalan Teuku Umar no. 39B
   Phone: +62 561 737 186
21.Guess Lounge and Club
   Jalan Sultan Abdurrahman no. 7-9 Gd. PCC 4th floor
   Phone: +62 561 733 999

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To Do

There are several points of interest in Pontianak and its vicinity. One of the city’s icons is the Equator Monument at Sintang. The monument was built in 1928 to mark the spot at zero degree on the Equator. Considering the technology available in that year, the effort was a remarkable feat. The Dutch explorer indicated the site with a simple pole and an arrow. Several renovations and improve

There are several points of interest in Pontianak and its vicinity. One of the city’s icons is the Equator Monument at Sintang. The monument was built in 1928 to mark the spot at zero degree on the Equator. Considering the technology available in that year, the effort was a remarkable feat. The Dutch explorer indicated the site with a simple pole and an arrow. Several renovations and improvements have taken place including the development of a dome in 1990 to protect the initial site. The monument today is five times larger than the original. Historical facts are presented within the monument and in the small museum.

Visit the Kadariah Sultanate in the Dalam Bugis District, East Pontianak. The sultanate appears like a huge house in old Malay style architecture. It has a gate as an entrance to a buffer zone filled with rows of houses prior to entering the main building. The sultan’s palace is an open house that receives everyone anytime in the year. An English speaking interpreter is available, who is a family member of the last Sultan.

Nearby, stands a mosque that was built in the same year as the sultan’s palace. Legend has it that Syarif Abdurrahman Alkadri once fired a cannonball to fight a disturbing female ghost, known here as “pontianak” – hence the name of the city.  The site where the cannonball landed became the location of the palace, with attached mosque for prayers. Today, the mosque still looks grand and beautiful especially when seen from a river cruise on the Kapuas.

The museum of Pontianak is also a good place to get to know the history of Pontianak. As one of the five best museums in Indonesia, the Pontianak Museum presents interesting historical and cultural facts.  Historical and cultural artifacts are well preserved, although interpreters here are limited.

A cruise on the Kapuas River is a must as you visit the waterfront in front of the Mayor’s Office on Taman Alun Kapuas or Jalan Rahadi Usman. Boats are available from here offering you a great cruise on the river. Take the cruise before sunset and it will show you the lively activities along the river. The captain will usually cross the equator line and tell you that you are about to move from the south of the globe to the north. Capture all the activities shown with your cameras.

Souvenirs are found at Pasar Souvenir or you may want to buy local products in local markets such as at Pasar Tengah, Pasar Sudirman, or Pasar Flamboyan. Most of the souvenirs are authentic as you see Dayakhandicrafts, Equator Monument key chains or replicas, and Pontianak shirts and accessories.

Also visit:

  1. Gajah Mada Street for a nighttime cullinary adventure.
  2. Rumah Panjang or Rumah Betang, is a traditional Dayak Iban longhouse that displays wonderful architectural features, including the stairs, carvings and ornaments.
  3. Pantai Pasir Panjang on the way to Singkawang is also worth visiting as you may want to see Chinese fishermen and their catch. Other beache are Pantai Kura-kura (Turtle Beach), Pantai Batu Payung, and Pantai Karang Gosong. Many say that these beaches are as beautiful as Kuta or Sanur Beach in Bali. Promotion being the only difference.
  4. Singkawang, a city north of Pontianak, was once filled with Chinese gold miners which at the time contributed a staggering one-seventh of the world’s total gold supply. It has unique Chinese shophouses and delicious food. It is nowbetter known for the  Chinese ceramics it still produces in their workshops. Also stop by the street of food sellers at Mempawah, a clean and quiet town where you will find a peaceful environment, a wonderfully colored Buddhist temple, and friendly people drinking at the street coffee corners especially in the afternoons.
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