things to do in pontianak

10 Interesting Things to Do in Pontianak, West Kalimantan

Pontianak is the capital city of West Kalimantan that has grown into a large trading port city. The city is much likely influenced by Chinese, following the two native inhabitants, Malay and Dayak. Before we’re getting to the list of things to do in Pontianak, let me tell you a bit of story.

Being a trading port city doesn’t stop Pontianak to expose itself to attract tourists, mainly because the city is the entrance to the famous destination, Singkawang, the city of thousand temples which is popular for its Cap Go Meh Festival.

Moreover travelers were tempted to do border crossing to Kuching, East Malaysia.

Legend about Pontianak

The name actually distracts me, believe or not, there’s a traditional myth about a pregnant woman who died and haunted men, women, even babies.

She has a beautiful look, often illustrated wearing white long dress and lives in banana tree. If you ask any Indonesian about “Kuntilanak”, everyone will recognize that name.

Then why the city was named after that horrifying creature? Legend said, there was a man named Abdurrahman Alkadrie and his group sailed along the river to find a new home for them.

Down to Kapuas River, country’s longest and largest river, they were disturbed by the ghost and haunted. Alkadrie asked his men to shoot the cannonball and the ghost vanished.

Since then, he settled down, inhabited that place, and became the first Sultan/King of Pontianak, which he named it after.

Well, that was a piece of story about the legend, or maybe history of the city.

Where to stay in Pontianak: 

  • Ibis Pontianak City Center
  • Golden Tulip Pontianak 
  • ASTON Pontianak Hotel and Convention

Interesting Things to Do in Pontianak

Here are some interesting things you can do while traveling to Pontianak:

1. The Equator Monument

The landmark of the city is Equator Monument, located 3 kms away from the downtown.

The monument was built to mark the exact position of the equator line.

The real monument was stored inside the museum and the one you saw towering high outside was constructed again as a landmark.

However, in 2005, they found a new location based on the latitude and longitude written on the monument which is 1.2 km away from the monument.

The phenomenon of solar culmination that occurs when the sun is exactly located over the equator during some days in March and September, as the result, no shadows on every standing objects on earth.

The phenomenon is the major attraction of the city.

Certificate of Equator Crossing Things to do in Pontianak
I’ve been here!

2. Kadriah Palace

Kadriah Palace, constructed in 1771 by Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman Alkadrie, the esteemed founder of the Pontianak Sultanate, stands as a testament to the rich heritage of the sultanate.

Distinguished by its distinctive architectural design, the palace prominently features vibrant yellow and green hues, serving as powerful symbols of religious significance and prosperity.

Beyond its striking aesthetics, Kadriah Palace also serves as a repository of invaluable historical and cultural treasures.

Within its walls, you can explore a diverse collection of artifacts, including precious heirlooms, ornate keris blades, exquisite jewelry, traditional garments, and a captivating array of photographs documenting the sultans’ lineage.

istana kadriah things to do in pontianak

istana kadriah things to do in pontianak

3. Kapuas River Cruising

I’m not sure whether cruising is the right word to describe this activity. Cruising sounds too fancy, whereas, it’s such a down to earth experience, doing what locals do.

For me this is the most interesting thing that I did in Pontianak.

They called it boat cafe, it’s like sitting in a wooden boat, all you have to do is just order something, very cheap.

Then, the engine starts, slowly leaving the dock and sail along the river for about 45 minutes.

I saw stilt houses on the both side of the river, I could see locals doing their normal activities, some canoes passing by, and when I took pictures of them, they would smile and waved their hands.

It was a bit smokey, and the orange red-ish sun, I wish the sky stayed clear, so we could watch a nice sunset.

The wind breeze, everything was so peaceful and relaxing. You may choose sitting on the first floor, or going up stair, open air area to enjoy everything.

 

cafe sungai kapuas things to do in pontianak

4. Cathedral of St. Joseph

This huge cathedral in the city center caught my attention. The cathedral was built over 100 years ago, precisely on 1909, one of the oldest cathedral in the city.

Undoubtedly it’s an important part of Catholic history in Pontianak.

Surprisingly the cathedral was designed by local architect from West Kalimantan, adapting Gothic and Byzantium style interpolated with Dayak culture.

I did observe the classic look of the building. Outside, there is a tremendous statue of St. Joseph.

On the other side of the building, two beautifully carved wooden poles with hornbill bird on top of it, as the symbol of Dayak and Kalimantan.

The outstanding interior design and the complexity, this cathedral surely is the city’s pride.

st joseph cathedral things to do in pontianak

5. Radakng House

Another landmark of the city is Radakng House. It is a traditional long house for Dayak Tribe in West Kalimantan.

The house spans with 138 meters for its length and 7 meters high, makes it the longest and biggest traditional long house in Indonesia.

The philosophy of long house comes from the habit and culture of Dayaknese who live in a big group, it’s about togetherness and tolerance.

6. Mujahidin Grand Mosque

Mujahidin Grand Mosque is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in West Kalimantan.

Covering approximately 12,000 square meters, it can accommodate up to 15,000 worshippers.

Its splendid and contemporary design includes a towering 63-meter-high minaret, symbolizing the year of Indonesian independence.

Beyond its architectural splendor, the Mujahidin Grand Mosque offers a range of educational, social, and healthcare facilities, these encompass schools, libraries, clinics, and orphanages, fostering a holistic approach to community welfare.

things to do in pontianak

7. Pontianak Malay Traditional House

This residence, dating back to 1771, was meticulously constructed under the supervision of Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman Alkadrie, serving as the official abode for the Sultan and his esteemed family.

Rooted in traditional Malay architecture, the house boasts a distinctive pyramid-shaped roof, wooden walls, and sturdy supporting pillars.

This house is also equipped with various ornaments and carvings that show the richness of Malay culture and often used as a place to hold various traditional, artistic and cultural events.

8. Digulis Monument

Every city has its iconic landmarks, and in the case of Pontianak, the Digulis Monument proudly stands as a historical and cultural emblem.

Situated on Jalan Ahmad Yani in Pontianak City, West Kalimantan, this monument carries a rich historical significance.

Its construction dates back to 1928 when it was commissioned by the Dutch East Indies Government as a solemn tribute to the valiant fighters who gave their lives during the Banjar-Pontianak War.

The monument takes on a rectangular form, soaring to a height of 12 meters and spanning 4 meters in width. At its pinnacle, a majestic lion statue stands tall, symbolizing courage and unwavering strength.

Adorning the base of the monument are intricate reliefs, which chronicle pivotal moments in the history of Pontianak.

These depict events such as the Dutch attack, the resolute resistance led by Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman Alkadrie, and the formation of the Pontianak Republic, offering a compelling narrative of the city’s enduring heritage.

9. Pontianak Waterfront

Waterfront Pontianak, nestled on the banks of the Kapuas River, Indonesia’s longest river, ranks among Pontianak City’s cherished Instagram-worthy tourist destinations in West Kalimantan.

This captivating locale offers visitors not only panoramic city and river views but also a plethora of entertainment and culinary delights.

Meandering along the immaculate and well-maintained sidewalks, you’ll find ample opportunities for memorable photos, featuring notable landmarks such as the seahorse statue and the equator monument.

Alternatively, you can embark on a scenic boat ride along the river’s gentle currents.

For those seeking a truly enchanting experience, Waterfront Pontianak boasts an elevated platform where you can witness the mesmerizing sunset or partake in cultural arts performances.

Surrounding the Pontianak Waterfront, a delightful array of restaurants, cafes, and stalls await, serving up a diverse menu of delectable dishes.

Whether you crave authentic Pontianak cuisine or international fare, you’re sure to find a culinary delight to satisfy your palate.

10. West Kalimantan Provincial Museum

Situated on Jalan Jenderal Achmad Yani in Pontianak City, the West Kalimantan Provincial Museum serves as a repository of historical treasures.

This museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts, including invaluable relics from the rich civilizations of various ethnic groups in West Kalimantan.

Among these groups are the Malay tribe, the Dayak tribe, and the Chinese community.

Inside, visitors can explore an Exhibition Room that is subdivided into three distinct areas: the Introduction Room, the West Kalimantan Culture Room, and the Ceramics Room.

Each of these sections offers a unique glimpse into the cultural and historical tapestry of this vibrant region.

Despite the creepy legend about the city, there are still some good sight-seeing objects around the city.

I was here for the Equatorial Carnaval, also one of must thing to see in Pontianak, hopefully it will be held annually.

For foodie, the city is famous for its Chinese food, seafood, and also aloevera which you should try.

Have you ever been to one of them? Or any suggested places to go again? Don’t hesitate to leave comments below.

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Comments

12 responses to “10 Interesting Things to Do in Pontianak, West Kalimantan”

  1. Fahmi (catperku.com) Avatar

    vel, you forget the important part! food and culinary :9 masak nggak masuk sih? xixixi

  2. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Hahhaa kita gak terlalu banyak coba makanan sih disana, kecuali seafoodnya sih ya

  3. Hendricus Widiantoro Avatar

    Keren Velysia,,,kapan bisa ke Lampung he he..

  4. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Pernah nyentuh Lampung tapi pas ke Krakatau doank hehe

  5. blog nelson Avatar
    blog nelson

    Hhmm.. saya sudah keliling ke banyak kota, ehhh pontianak malah belum.. jadi pengen ke sana nih gara2 postingannya..

  6. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Cobain ke Pontianak sama kota2 sekitar seperti Singkawang, menarik juga hehe.

  7. Rifqy Faiza Rahman Avatar

    Belum pernah ke Kalimantan sama sekali, apalagi ke Pontianak ini. Mungkin kelak saya akan melakukan hal yang sama sebagai awal jika mengunjungi kota ini 🙂

  8. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Hehehe..Bagus2, ditunggu ceritanya 🙂

  9. Vilify Avatar
    Vilify

    I'd suggest to stay away from the cathedral. The original dutch colonial style was demolished in favour of pseudo neo Byzantium architecture without any historical value.

    For the river cruise instead of taking one, you can walk alongside the river jetty

  10. alltempatwisata Avatar

    monumen equator pasti jadi favorit wisatawan yang baru ke pontianak, saya pun penasaran mau lihat pas bayangan gak ada. 😀

  11. tukangjalanjajandotcom dodon_jerry Avatar

    Ntar klo ke Pontianak boleh nih eksplore bareng kulinernya. Banyak makanan enak yang bakalan bikin nagih.

  12. tukangjalanjajandotcom dodon_jerry Avatar

    Ntar klo ke Pontianak boleh nih eksplore bareng kulinernya. Banyak makanan enak yang bakalan bikin nagih.

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