West Kalimantan occupies the southwest part of Borneo and is for the most part a little-explored province by tourists. The capital is Pontianak, a gateway town that sits on the equator and has plenty of buzz.

West Kalimantan has much diversity, from the buzzing center of Pontianak to the rainforest-clad interior, the stunning coast of Pasar Panjang and islands and Indonesia’s longest river. Pontianak, with its canals, monuments, positioning on the equator and lively nightlife, is a natural tourist magnet and was founded in 1771.

Other cities worth visiting besides Pontianak include Mempawah, center of the old Malay Kingdom; Chinese-orientated Singkawang; and Sambas. Pasir Panjang is a coastal area is 120kms northwest of Pontianak and comes with several charming beaches and nearby islands.

The Betang Longhouse is just outside Pontianak and shows off traditional Dayak building skills. These abodes are super-long and house numerous families under one roof. Heading northwest of Pontianak is the Pasar Panjang coast featuring the best beaches in the province. North of here is the Chinese town of Singkawang while to the south is the stunning Gunung Palung National Park, famed for its forests and orang-utans.

From West Kalimantan you can also make trips to Kuching, the capital of Sarawak and just over from the West Kalimantan border. Kuching makes a good base for exploring this East Malaysian state.

The best time to visit West Kalimantan is between April and October but if you arrive in March you may catch the buzzing biannual festival known as Bumi Khatulistiwa Culture Festival in Pontianak, a celebration of the city’s location on the equator.

Pontianak-Supadio Airport is the main entry point to West Kalimantan and you can get flights in from Jakarta as well as several other major Southeast Asian cities. Jakarta is about 90 minutes away by plane and 8 hours by boat. Buses also serve West Kalimantan from Kuching, Sarawak and Central Kalimantan cities.

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