Pontianak Travel Guide

The West Kalimantan capital of Pontianak straddles the Kapuas River and is primarily populated by ethnic Chinese, Malay and Dayak people.

The river splits Pontianak in two and a boat ride late in the afternoon will often reveal locals bathing. Besides the nearby rainforest and beaches, Pontianak is good to spend some time in, especially if you have been on a long trekking tour and are in need of some normality and pampering. There are many hotels, hawker stalls, shops and bars.

One distinction of Pontianak is that it sits on the equator and the Equatorial Obelisk (Tugu Khatulistiwa) represents this. The monument is a few kilometers outside town and has plenty of information about the zero degree point along with food stalls and souvenir shops. Pontianak Zoo (Kebun Binatang Pontianak) is also worth a look.

The zoo is situated on Jalan Adi Sucipto and features a decent range of animals from all over Indonesia. It is a fun gateway town to the interior of West Kalimantan and its nearby beaches, and has many bars and shops.

Getting There & Away

Pontianak-Supadio Airport is the gateway to West Kalimantan and the capital city, receiving flights from Jakarta as well as other major Indonesian and Malaysian cities. Taxis run to town. The trip in from neighboring Kuching in Sarawak by bus is about 10 hours, while ferries cross the Java Sea from Surabaya and Jakarta (20 to 36 hours).

Things to Do

Pontianak Attractions

Downtown Pontianak

The west kalimantan capital city has many hotels and guesthouses, along with some decent shopping, eating and nightlife.

Equatorial Obelisk

Tugu khatulistiwa is 11 km outside town and sits right on the equator.

Side trips from Pontianak

Pasar Panjang

Lying a few hours by road up the coast from pontianak, the pasar panjang coast features many miles of beaches and some pretty islands.


Bumi Khatulistiwa Culture Festival

Celebrating pontianak’s position on the equator, this festival is staged twice yearly and puts on traditional sports and arts.