West Kalimantan

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Kalimantan West Kalimantan



West Kalimantan is a province of Indonesia. It is one of five Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo. Its capital city is Pontianak. The province has an area of 147,307 km² with a recorded 2010 census population of 4,395,983. Ethnic groups include the Dayak, Malay, Chinese, Javanese, Bugis, and Madurese. The latest official estimate (as at January 2014) is 4,546,439. The borders of West Kalimantan roughly trace the mountain ranges surrounding the watershed of the Kapuas River, which drains most of the province. The province also bordered with Sarawak, Malaysia.




West Kalimantan Province is located in the western part of the island of Borneo, or in between the lines 2°08'N and 3°05'S and between 108°0'E and 114°10'E. The province is traversed by the Equator (latitude 0°), precisely through the city of Pontianak. West Kalimantan has a tropical climate, with often high temperatures accompanied by high humidity.

Other specific characteristics is that the West Kalimantan region including one of the provinces in Indonesia which is directly adjacent to another country on land, namely the State of Sarawak, East Malaysia. Even with this position, West Kalimantan is currently the only province in Indonesia that have officially had access road to get in and out of a neighboring country. West Kalimantan and Sarawak have open roads approximately 400 km long, spanning Pontianak-Entikong-Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysia) and can be reached about six to eight hours of travel. In the northern part of the province, there are four regencies that directly borders Malaysia, namely Sambas, Sanggau, Sintang and Kapuas Hulu, which stretch along the Kalingkang Mountains-Kapuas Hulu.

Most areas of West Kalimantan is a low-lying land with an area of 146 807 km2, or 7.53 percent of the total Indonesian or 1.13 times the size of the island of Java. This region stretches straight from north to south along more than 600 km and about 850 km from West to East. Judging from the size of the territory, West Kalimantan is Indonesia's third largest province by area, after Papua (421,891 km2) and Central Kalimantan (152,600 km2). The largest regency is Ketapang (35,809 km2) followed by Kapuas Hulu (29,842 km2), and Sintang (21,635 km), while the rest spread over 9 (nine) regencies.

In general, West Kalimantan land is low-lying and has hundreds of rivers are safe when navigable, slightly hilly which extend from west to east along the valley Kapuas and Natuna Sea / Strait Karimata. Most of the land area is swampy mix of peat and mangrove forests. The land area is flanked by two mountain ranges, namely, Kalingkang Mountains in the North and the Schwaner Mountains in the south along the border with the province of Central Kalimantan. Judging from the soil texture, the majority of West Kalimantan area consists of the soil type PMK (podsolet red-yellow), which covers an area of about 10.5 million hectares. Next, the ground OGH (orgosol, gley and humus) and the alluvial soil of about 2.0 million hectares.

Influenced by the vast lowlands, the heights of the mountains are relatively low as well as non-active. The highest mountain is Mount Baturaya in District Serawai, Sintang which has an altitude of 2,278 meteres above sea level, far lower than Mount Semeru (East Java, 3,676 metres) or Mount Kerinci (Jambi, 3,805 meteres). Mount Lawit located in Kapuas Hulu, district. Embaloh Hulu and more formerly known in West Kalimantan, only occupies the third highest because it has a high 1,767 metres, while the second highest is Mount Batusambung (Subdistrict Ambalau) with a height of up to 1,770 metres.

West Kalimantan is an area that could be called "The Thousand Rivers Province". The nickname is in line with the geographical conditions that have hundreds of large and small rivers, among others, can be and often are navigable. Several major rivers is still the lifeblood and main line to transport the countryside, although the road infrastructure has been able to reach most districts.

The main large rivers are the Kapuas River, which is also the longest river in Indonesia (1,086 kilometres), which along 942 kilometres are navigable. The great rivers are: Melawi, (navigable 471 kilometres), Pawan (197 kilometres), Kendawangan (128 kilometres), Jelai (135 kilometres), Sekadau (117 kilometres), Sambas (233 kilometres), and Landak (178 kilometres).

Although rivers have very prominent numbers in West Kalimantan, there are only two significant lakes in the province. Both lakes are Lake Sentarum and Lake Luar I that are in Kapuas Hulu. Lake Sentarum, has an area of 117,500 hectares, which sometimes is almost dry in the dry season, and Lake Luar I, which has an area of approximately 5,400 hectares. Both of these lakes have potential as a tourist attraction.




  • Pontianak - the capital city
  • Singkawang - the only city in Indonesia where the majority is of Chinese descent




  • Bengkayang - capital of Bengkayang Regency, with Mount Niut Rainforest
  • Ngabang - capital of Landak regency, with the oldest palace in West Kalimantan
  • Sambas - the seat of yet another former sultanate
  • Mempawah - the ex-capital of Mempawah Malay Kingdom.



Sights and Activities

  • Gunung Palung National Park
  • Karimata Islands
  • Temajo Island



Getting Around

By Car

Traffic in West-Kalimantan is much less dense and erratic than in Java and Bali. It is feasible to rent a self-drive car in Pontianak and head north to Singkawang, Sambas and - via the new bridge over Paloh River - on to Temajuk Village with its pristine beach. Or east to Mandor, Ngabang (Landak Regency) and onto the border with Malaysia.

By Bus

There are bus and 'travel' services between Pontianak, Singkawang and Sambas. A 'travel' is a minibus or station car picking up passengers at scheduled times.



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This is version 18. Last edited at 16:15 on Mar 13, 18 by theo1006. 7 articles link to this page.

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