Visiting Pontianak, this equatorial city of Indonesia, can be one of the best decisions made by tourists who decide to explore the area of West Kalimantan, since it offers literally everything – from various sports and recreational activities in the natural environment all the way to urban lifestyle, cafes, nightlife and various cultural sights.
Charms of Kapuas
The city is located on the riverside of one of the largest rivers in the country, which is the river of Kapuas. This river’s beginning spot is in the Mueller mountains which are located in the area of Central Borneo, at Gunung Lawit and on its way to the South China Sea it passes more than 1.140 kilometers through a large number of the West Kalimantan’s districts (nine of fourteen). In the area where it confluences with the sea, it forms an impressive delta and that is where the city of Pontianak is established.
This river is one of the greatest treasures for the city of Pontianak since it is one of the most important transporting systems when it comes to reaching smaller towns in the inner part of the province. Boats navigating through this river can reach some of the most important towns in the inner area, such as Sintang and Putussibau. In addition to the important transporting role, this river is the source of the water supplies.
History of Pontianak
The story of Pontianak starts in the year of 1771 when Syarif Abdurrahkan Alkadrie established his Sultanate here. The gold rush that was the attraction of the area in the 1750s was a good reason for a large number of miners from China to come there and surround the gold terrains of Singkawang, Manador, and Montrado.
At that time, this area was well-known for its 18 to 21 karat gold so it had got pretty crowded, and because of that, most of its treasures were exploited in a relatively short period. However, collecting the gold by washing it away from the gravel in the area of Pontianak is still a pretty usual activity, since these traces of gold can be found in the area larger than 6 thousand hectares.
Nowadays, the city is an important trading port and a strategical spot for the economy of the province, since it is near the South China Sea. As the seat of the government of the province of West Kalimantan, Pontianak is a cosmopolitan city with diverse and tolerant ethnic groups and races inhabiting its areas.
People of Pontianak
In the early days of Chinese settlement in this area, women from China were prohibited to leave the country so Chinese men were marrying local girls with Dayak origins, which was the starting spot in the process of creation Pontianak’s modern multiethnic society. Today, the population of Pontianak is mostly made of Malays and Dayaks, but there are also Javanese, Chinese and Arabs people, as well as Minangkabaus, Bataks, and Bugies.
The Greatest Sights of Pontianak
Historical and cultural spots
If you are looking forward to getting to know more about the city’s past and culture, you will find a plenty of places that may offer you some interesting information or spectacular views. Below, we have selected some of them that you should not miss.
The Museum of Pontianak
The first place that should not be missed if you are having in mind getting to know more about this city is its museum – since it is listed as one of the TOP 5 museums of the entire country. It does not only offer diverse and interesting stories and information related to history and culture of the city and province, but also some stunning cultural and historical artifacts.
The Sultan’s Palace and The Mosque
When you visit Pontianak, you should go and explore the sultan’s palace, named Kadariah Sultanate, located in the East Pontianak, in the district of Dalam Bugis. The story of this palace is pretty interesting – when Syarif Abdurrahman Alakdri tried to make the evil female ghost go away, he fired a cannonball that fell in the place that become the location of the palace.