Kalimantan is one of biggest island in the world. In this island, we will find million hectare of tropic jungle. While people start to cutting down the forest for settlement, many part of jungle still remain for its authenticity. Kalimantan forest is still being a home for thousand varieties of flora and fauna and still worth to explore it as a pearl in the equator and also famous as home for Dayak tribes that well-known for its beautiful authentic pattern of their own tattoo design.
I flied to Pontianak, the Capital of West Kalimantan by Lion Airlines through Jakarta. It’s the cheapest fare route that i can find compared with if you choose another route to go to Pontianak (flight from Yogyakarta, my hometown to Pontianak will costs around 120 USD). Trip from Jakarta to Pontianak will take about 1 hour 40 minutes and will cost you around 50 USD.
After the plane landed in Supadio Airport, i was greeted by hot air and shinny sun. Yes, Pontianak City is the only big city that lies in equator line in Indonesia hence it is widely known as Kota Khatulistiwa (Equator City). The city center is actually less than 3 kilometres (2 mi) south, so it is indeed among the closest of any substantial city in the world.
Pontianak was formerly the capital of the independent Sultanate of Pontianak and was founded in 23 October 1771 around an old trading station on the Borneo coast.No wonder that Pontianak City has several heritage building from the past. Mixed with modernization that held in all part of Indonesia, the city grown as a pulsar of economic center in Kalimantan.
Roads leading to another city in west Kalimantan have begun to be repaired and now it’s easy to go to another part of West Kalimantan. The City built on swampy ground that is subjected to regular flooding by Kapuas river, requiring buildings to be constructed on piles to keep them off the ground. It has its name due to the story that the founder had seen an appearance of Kuntilanak ghost at the place to be built for the palace, which he fought to save the people.
Transportation from the airport to downtown is still depend on the private cabs that will cost you quite expensive than another city in Indonesia. It will costs about 10 dollars to take you to downtown or 5-6 dollars when you request shorter distance)
Nowadays, the city has completed its public transport services with DAMRI, a state-owned transport company that has been serving the route to Sambas, a city 300 km north of Pontianak and also to Entikong, the border town with Sarawak, Malaysia. This company also has route from Pontianak to Bandar Seri Begawan (Capital of Brunei Darussalam country), quite expensive, about 75 USD, but worth for beautiful panorama along the way.
In this trip, I choose Pontianak – Sambas because between this two city, it lies several nice town such Mempawah, Singkawang and Galing where i can interact with people better than if i choose hinterland route through Entikong and of course i will see several beautiful beach during my trip. From Pontianak to Sambas, it will cost about 7 USD and will take 6 hours trip through small dusty road. But, believe me, it’s amazing! I saw extraordinary panorama along the way
Pontianak itself dominated with chinese and dayak culture as indigenous tribe in west Kalimantan. Houses and buildings there adorned by ornaments Dayak, and the shape is typical with pillars at the four corner of the house to keep the building from water tide from the river.
For stranger maybe it will face quite difficulties to find accommodation in Pontianak, especially the transportation in the city eventhough some public transportation available there.
Mie or noodles is the best food there for me. Mie Tiauw or flat noodles, appear like fettucine is typical from chinese culture influence, easy to find everywhere. Mie Tiauw (or people also called Kwe Tiauw) has been adapted as local food there. Served with beansprout and lime, i nominated it as my favourite food in Pontianak.
As an equator city, Pontianak has an equator obelisk to mark the 0 degrees earth latitudes, they called it Tugu Kathulistiwa. It will find in Kathulistiwa street just 3 kilometers from downtown.
It’s free of charge to see this monument and we can see the sea shore also near this monument.