Singkawang

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Kalimantan West Kalimantan Singkawang

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Introduction

Singkawang is a city located in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Singkawang is also known as China in Indonesia as the majority of its 200,000 inhabitants, 70%, is of Chinese descent. The name Singkawang is an Indonesianization of Chinese San Khew Jong, which can be interpreted as 'the town between hills, the sea and an estuary'.

History

When the Dutch, after the defeat of Napoleon in Europe, tried to establish their authority in West Borneo (now West Kalimantan) they found an independent Chinese community already established there. There is evidence that some Chinese lived here as early as the 13th century. But their numbers increased significantly in the middle of the 18th century. At that time the sultan of Sambas recruited Chinese to mine gold, because they were better at it than the indigenous Dayak. Of course the sultan wanted a share of the gold and tried to subject the Chinese to all kinds of restrictions. But he was so weak in maintaining his authority that soon the Chinese ruled themselves and did not pay any taxes. (Source: Mary Somers Heidhues, Golddiggers, Farmers, and Traders in the "Chinese Districts" of West Kalimantan). The main location of the gold rush was near Monterado, about 50 kilometres inland from Singkawang. When you look up Monterado on Google maps you will discover a moonscape that perhaps you had not expected in Kalimantan.

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Sights and Activities

Former Tading Office

Former Tading Office

© theo1006

  • Rumah Marga Tjhia - or the Xie Family House is not Singkawangs oldest heritage house, but certainly the most interesting. Actually it is a family compound, built by Tjhia Siu Si (Xie Shou Shi), an immigrant from Fujian. He received the land on the bank of Singkawang River from the Dutch government after having been successful in agriculture and shipping. The two central buildings served as trading office and reception room. Nowadays these stand empty and serve as klenteng respectively. The living quarters are arranged in U-shape around the central buildings, a garden and covered walkways. To each of his seven sons Thjia Siu Si bequeathed "two doors". His descendants still live there in harmony. The age of the Thjia houses is unclear, but they are already shown on a map dated 1887. They were built of ironwood (kayu belian) and still in good shape. The family has set up a foundation to help finance their preservation, they are not that rich any more. Address: Jalan Budi Utomo 36, Condong, Singkawang Tengah (a short walk from the Great Mosque).
  • Pasir Panjang Beach - Is located 17 kilometres from Singkawang City Center. You can swim in the clear blue sea, sunbath, play beach volleyball, and watch beautiful sunset here. Beside that, there is some other attraction too, like seeing fisherman village located next to the beach. Accomodation also available in the Pasir Panjang Beach Park.
  • City of Thousand Temples

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Events and Festivals

  • Cap Go Meh Festival - Also called as Tatung, celebrated in the 15th day in the Chinese Lunar Year. A priest called back some departed spirit to enter the body of some men called Tatung. Then, Tatung whose been possessed by the departed spirit will started to do some insane thing like walking in a blade, stabbing his mouth, and eating live animal. The Cap Go Meh Festival celebrated across the street of Singkawang.
  • Singkawang Anniversary - In October every year, Singkawang celebrates it's anniversary by holding some sport and cultural contest or festival. Some of the contest and show is Singkawang Marathon and Takbir Festival.

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Getting There

By Plane

The nearest airport is located in Pontianak, 145 kilometres from Singkawang, Supadio International Airport (PNK). Twelve cities in Indonesia & South East Asia are connected to Pontianak by plane. There are about 10 flights to and from Jakarta everyday.

By Bus

Take a bus from Pontianak to Singkawang. The trip takes about three hours or 150 kilometres and cost around IDR 20,000.

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Eat

Some of the famous dishes are: Chicken Rice, Curry Rice, Chicken Noddles, Fried Rice Noodle, various cakes and sweets. Not forgetting the local tropical fruits.

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Sleep

  • Hotel Sentosa, Jalan Kom Yos Soedarso No 27, ☎ +62 562 639131. Set back from road from 168,000 promo.
  • Hotel Restu, Jalan Stasiun no 77 singkawang, ☎ +62 562-636904. Rp. 145,000.

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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.

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Contributors

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This is version 13. Last edited at 21:48 on Mar 15, 19 by theo1006. 5 articles link to this page.

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