Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Kalimantan West Kalimantan Pontianak



Pontianak is the capital city of West Kalimantan, Indonesia, situated close to the equator on the left bank of Indonesia's largest river, Sungai Kapuas. Therefore Pontianak is nicknamed Kota Khatulistiwa, or Equator City. A big monument in Khatulistiwa Park on the right bank of Sungai Kapuas marks the exact spot where the road passes the equator. The name Pontianak needs explanation, after all a pontianak in Indonesian mythology is a kind of vampire ghost, said to be the spirit of a woman who died in child-birth. The story has it that the sultan who founded the city was haunted by a pontianak.
West Kalimantan counts three major ethnic groups, Dayak, Chinese and Malay, in roughly equal numbers. The Chinese and the indigenous Dayak share a history of resistance against the exigencies of the muslim Malay rulers. For one thing both Dayak and Chinese love pork. So, when democratization after the demise of dictator Soeharto gave people the right to choose their own mayor, Chinese and Dayak cooperated in electing a Dayak roman-catholic as mayor. On his initiative the existing church has been replaced by Indonesia's largest cathedral. Another must-see in Pontianak is the Longhouse (Rumah Betang), a traditional Dayak dwelling.



Sights and Activities

  • Sungai Kapuas is the longest river in Indonesia. A bridge spans the river, but there are also boat owners who can take you on a river crossing ride.
Equator Monument

Equator Monument

© theo1006

  • Equator Monument - In 1928 an international expedition chose this site – 109 degrees 20 minutes eastern longitude – to mark the equator, on what at the time was a marshy river bank. Slightly more to the west and it would have been in the middle of Kapuas river, and more to the east in inaccessable tropical forest. Now you can reach it from Pontianak centre on the left river bank by taking the ferry to the right bank and heading north three kilometres, or by making a long detour across two bridges. Originally the monument stood in the open air. In 1990 it was enclosed in a building, with a copy of the monument on top. More of those copies can be found all over town. As a foreign tourist visiting the monument, you are entitled to a free certificate issued by the mayor of Pontianak and printed in the spot, much like in the early days of flying the stewardess gave you one when the plane crossed the equator.
  • Museum Kebudayaan Dayak (Dayak Culture Museum) – isn also referred to as Rumah Betang because its building is a replica of the traditional Dayak Long House. Not many of the latter survive, so it is worthwhile to visit the replica. The totems and the stairs cut from a tree trunk are original. Address: Jalan Sutoyo (close to West Kalimantan Museum and the Tourist Office).
  • Museum Kalimantan Barat - Like the Cathedral, West Kalimantan Museum has also been rebuilt in 2014. The displays on the prehistory of the world one can find elsewhere, but specific Dayak ones, like tools for tattooing, and the replica of a kitchen in a long house, are reason for a visit. Do not forget the back yard with interesting items that do not fit inside the building. Among these miniatures of the Perahu Lancang Kuning, the sultan's golden yacht and of a ceramics baking oven looking like a snake of brick. Ovens like that are still operational in Singkawang! Open daily except on Mondays 8:00am to 3:00pm. Admission: domestic IDR3,000, foreign IDR 10,000. Address: Jalan A. Yani (the main thoroughfare to the airport).
Saint Joseph's Cathedral

Saint Joseph's Cathedral

© theo1006

  • Cathedral - Pontianak’s Cathedral has always counted as a landmark, but by the mayor's order it has been rebuilt to become the largest in Indonesia. The new cathedral was consecrated on Christmas Eve 2014. Go inside to admire the stained glass effigies of the apostles and the paintings of biblical scenes in the cupola, like Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise and the Tower of Babel. Location: At the northern end of Gajah Mada Street.
  • Monumen Bambu Runcing (Sharp Bamboo Monument) - a monument located inside Untan roundabout consists of 5 big sharp types of bamboo.
  • Kebun Binatang Pontianak (Pontianak Zoo), Jl. Adi Sucipto, a reconditioned zoo with a reasonable variety of animals from the jungles of Borneo and from some parts of Indonesia. Some of the collection, including some orangutans, were said to had been freed from illegal ownership by an Italian lumber mill owner.



Events and Festivals

Festival Meriam Karbit (Carbide Cannon Festival)

  • What: Lots of Carbide Cannon (made from bamboo trees) are placed on opposing sides of the Kapuas River. On the festival day, there is a cannon fight between the two sides. Noisy!
  • When: Every year, weeks before Id Mubarak (tentative).
  • Where: Two sides of Kapuas River.




Pontianak features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification (Af) with no distinct seasons at all. The city experiences a large amount of rainfall throughout the year, averaging 3,210 mm of precipitation annually. Only in the month of August does the average monthly precipitation fall below 200 mm. Temperatures are consistent throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures of 30 °C and average low temperatures of 23 °C.

Avg Max32.4 °C32.7 °C32.9 °C33.2 °C33 °C33.2 °C32.9 °C33.4 °C32.6 °C32.6 °C32.2 °C32 °C
Avg Min22.7 °C22.6 °C23 °C23.2 °C23.4 °C23.1 °C22.5 °C22.3 °C22.6 °C22.8 °C22.6 °C22.4 °C
Rainfall260 mm215 mm254 mm292 mm256 mm212 mm201 mm180 mm295 mm329 mm400 mm302 mm
Rain Days151321222018162514272522



Getting There

By Plane

Supadio International Airport (PNK) serves as the main gateway to Pontianak and also West Kalimantan. There are about 10 airlines connecting Pontianak with ten domestic cities, including capital city Jakarta and two international cities. There are about ten flights everyday from Jakarta to Pontianak.

Domestic Flights

International Flights

By Car

The only road connecting the Indonesian and Malaysian part of Borneo is the road from Pontianak to Kuching.

By Bus

Bus trip to Pontianak can be arranged from Kuching in neighboring Malaysia. A trip from Kuching to Pontianak or vice versa will last at least 8 hours which will pass the border area of Entikong. Some of the bus providers serving this route are Damri, SJS and Biaramas Express. The fares for the trip ranges from RM45 to RM75. Click Pontianak to Kuching for travel itinerary on this route. A bus trip to Brunei is also available. There is also a bus available from Pangkalan Bun. It takes around 14 hours and costs 450,000.

By Boat

While being the cheapest inter-island transportation mean, it is recommended only for travellers to board on a ship to Pontianak. Tourists would do better to fly instead. The tide in Java Sea is unstable, which may make you feel sick on board, if you are not used to high tide. A trip will spend 12-18 hours to/from Jakarta. Contact nearest travel agent to conduct your trip.



Getting Around

By Car

Pontianak's main road spans from the city centre to Supadio International Airport. Some government buildings, shopping malls, and museums are located along the main road.

Taxis can be found easily at shopping malls and other public places. Taxis in Pontianak use a variety of car type. Many of them are sedan or city car and small number of them are small SUV/MPV.

By Public Transport

There are only two main public transport options in Pontianak, city minibus and manual pedicab. A manual pedicab can fit about two adult people and two small children (based on local people size).

By Foot

Getting around by foot is not recommended as Pontianak can be quite hot. It is better to take a pedicab first to the city center and get around from shop to shop by foot.




Pontianak is quite popular among domestic tourists due to its wide range of food with strong cultural touch, most notably the Chinese. There are plenty of eating options for the culinary adventurers, from street hawker food to local restaurant culinary to internationally franchised fast food.

  • Street hawker food, where you can taste the local delicacy such as Beef Rice Noodle & Beehoon (fried, with soup, dried), Seafood Noodle (with soup & dried), Nasi Goreng (fried rice with chicken, beef), Nasi Uduk, Kwe Kia Theng (Teochew phrase, rice noodle in soya sauce soup with pork and intestines (optional), Bakso (fish or beef ball soup), Sate (chicken or beef satay), Kari Peng (Teochew phrase meaning curry rice), Koi Peng (Teochew phrase literary "chicken rice", but content also include pork, cucumber, etc. also known as "Nasi Campur" or mixed rice), Martabak, Kue Terang Bulan, Otak-otak, Pempek, Tui Jiu He (Teochew phrase literary "beaten cuttlefish", dried cuttlefish are beaten until tender and flossy, woodfired until cooked, then served with belacan sauce, best to have it with friends and beer), Sio Bi (also known as Siomay, made of pork served in soya sauce with the options of chilli and mustard), Siomay Bandung (fish cake, beancurd, potato, vegetable, egg served in peanut sauce, with the option of chilli and tomato), He Mue/Bubur Ikan (fish porridge), and many more. These street hawkers are usually found from dusk until 10PM - midnight, depending or business, but some operated from dawn to dusk or midnight. They are usually clustered around busy commercial streets such as the CBD: Jalan (Jl.) Gajahmada, Jl. Hijas, Jl. Setia Budi, Jl. Agus Salim, Jl. Diponegoro, Jl. Patimura, Jl. Nusa Indah 1, Jl. Tanjung Pura, Jl Siam or around the suburban such as Jawi (Jl. Merdeka, Jl. Hassanudin, Jl. Wahid Hasyim), Kotabaru (Jl. St. Abdurrahman), Purnama, Siantan, Sungai Raya Dalam and Sungai Raya. Price per meal ranging from Rp5000 to about Rp25,000.
  • Satria Wangi Dining, Jl. Nusa Indah II No. 62. They have great local menu at very affordable price and average-English-speaking staff. The restaurant is centrally located. Its signature dishes such Ikan Gurame Terbang, Gulai Kepala Ikan, Ikan Jelawat Kukus, and have been featured and reviewed by many national TVs cooking show.
  • Restoran Star, Jl. GajahMada. Pontianak cuisine
  • Restoran Gajahmada, Jl. Gajahmada. Pontianak cuisine
  • Restoran Hawaii, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. Pontianak cuisine
  • Dangau, Jl. Arteri Supadio. Malay cuisine
  • Italian Steak House, Jl. Nusa Indah 3.
  • Sari Bento at Museum, Jl. Ahmad Yani. Japanese food
  • Papyrus Restaurant at Gardenia Resort and Spa, Jl. A Yani (5 minutes from the airport). offers all-day dining with a selection of Asian, Western, and authentic Indonesian favourites. At open deck area, you can enjoy the views of the landscaped gardens while enjoying the chef's specialities.




  • Hotel Wisma Patri. No aircon, no fan, no window and fairly mosquito-ridden with no insect spray available. Rp70,000.
  • Ateng Guest House, Jl. Gajah Mada No. 201, Pontianak, ☎ +62 561 732683. Located in the centre of the city. All rooms are air conditioned and fairly clean. Breakfast included. Published rate is Rp130,000 single but compare price with Agoda. Travel agent is at the same location. Rp120,000 single.
  • Hotel Sentral, Jl H.O.S. Cokroaminoto no 232 (Ten minutes walk from drop off point for most Kuching buses, turn right at traffic light.), ☎ +62 561 744910. Check-in: 2:00pm, check-out: noon. Faded rooms. Staff friendly enough. All have AC and attached bathrooms. On a busy junction between two streets so window rooms will be slightly noisy, (but non window rooms are a bit musty). Travellers have reported overpricing and demands for security deposit from the staff here From Rp160,000.
  • Gardenia Resort and Spa, Jl. A Yani II.
  • Hotel Gajahmada, Jl. Gajahmada.
  • Hotel Grand Mahkota.
  • Hotel Peony, Jl. Gajahmada.
  • Hotel Kapuas Palace, Jl. Imam Bonjol.
  • Hotel Kini, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. Double from Rp400,000.
  • Hotel Mercure, Jl. A. Yani.
  • Hotel Orchardz, Jl. Gajahmada.
  • Hotel Santika, Jl. Diponegoro. National Chain Hotel.
  • Star Hotel, Jl. Gajah Mada 189.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)





Universitas Tanjungpura is the main university in Pontianak. It's owned by the state and located around Monumen Bambu Runcing (Sharp Bamboo Monument).



Keep Connected


Internet is becoming more widely used in Indonesia, and warung Internet (warnet) - Internet cafés - are emerging everywhere. A lot of restaurants and cafés in big cities normally have wireless internet available for free. Internet connection speed in Indonesia varies between ISP and location. Prices vary considerably, and as usual you tend to get what you pay for, but you'll usually be looking at around Rp3,000 to Rp5,000 per hour with faster access than from your own mobile phone. In large cities, there are free WiFi hotspots in many shopping malls, McDonald restaurants, Starbucks cafes, 7 Eleven convenience stores, and in some restaurants and bars. Some hotels provide free hotspots in the lobby and/or in their restaurants and even in your rooms.


See also: International Telephone Calls

You can use 112 as an emergency number through mobile phones. Other numbers include 110 (police), 113 (fire) and 118 (ambulance).
The international phone code is 62.

If you have GSM cellular phone, ask your local provider about "roaming agreement/facility" with local GSM operators in Indonesia (i.e.: PT Indosat, PT Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata). The cheapest way is buying a local SIM card, which would be much cheaper to call and especially use internet compared to your own cell phone's sim card.

The Indonesian mobile phone market is heavily competitive and prices are low: you can pick up a prepaid SIM card for less than Rp 10,000 and calls may cost as little as Rp 300 a minute to some other countries using certain carriers (subject to the usual host of restrictions). SMS (text message) service is generally very cheap, with local SMS as low as Rp129-165, and international SMS for Rp400-600. Indonesia is also the world's largest market for used phones, and basic models start from Rp 150,000, with used ones being even cheaper.


Pos Indonesia provides the postal service in Indonesia. Pos Indonesia is government-owned and offers services ranging from sending letters and packages to money transfers (usually to remote areas which have no bank branch/ATM nearby) and selling postcards and stamps. Sending a postcards, letter or parcel is relatively expensive, but fairly reliable. It takes several days at least to send it within Indonesia, at least a week internationally. It is recommended to send letters from a Pos Indonesia branch, not by putting it inside orange mailbox (called Bis Surat) in the roadside, because some of the mailboxes are in very bad condition and aren't checked regularly by Pos Indonesia. Opening times of post offices usually tend to follow general business hours: Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (sometimes shorter hours on Fridays), Saturdays from 8:00am to 1:00pm, closed on Sundays. Bigger cities, tourist areas and central post offices tend to keep longer hours, into the evenings.

Private postal services based in Indonesia include CV Titipan Kilat (CV TIKI), Jalur Nugraha Ekaputra (JNE), Caraka, and RPX. There are also foreign postal services that have branches in Indonesia, including DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx.


Accommodation in Pontianak

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Pontianak searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


as well as dr.pepper (7%), Vinegarmy (1%)

Pontianak Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Pontianak

This is version 32. Last edited at 21:03 on Mar 3, 18 by Utrecht. 13 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License