Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesia province of West Kalimantan. It is a medium-size industrial city on the island of Borneo. It occupies an area of 107.82 km² in the delta of the Kapuas River, at approximately 1143 km, the longest river in Indonesia and the 133rd-longest river in the World by length. It is located precisely on the equator, hence widely known as Kota Khatulistiwa (Equator City).


The city was formerly the capital of the independent Sultanate of Pontianak and was founded in 1772 around an old trading station on the Borneo coast. It is built on swampy ground that is subjected to regular flooding by the 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 appearance of pontianak ghost at the place to be built for the palace, which he fought to save the people.

Kapuas Bridge

Pontianak is renowned for its food and regional produce. The main industries are shipbuilding and the production of rubber, palm oil, sugar, pepper, rice and tobacco. It was formerly Borneo’s main centre for gold extraction. Pontianak is also recognised for being a trade hub between overseas cities and other cities in West Kalimantan province. It has also strong trade link with the city of Kuching, Malaysia. Trading activities are centered along the Kapuas River, which range from easternmost part of West Kalimantan province to South China Sea.


There are college and university operated by both state institutions as well as private and religious institutions. The University of Tanjung Pura, a state university, was established in Pontianak in 1963. In addition to this, there are other universities maintained by private institutions. Muhammadiyah University, University of Widya Dharma, University of Panca Bhakti, STMIK (Sekolah tinggi Manajemen Informatika dan Komputer), University of Panca Bhakti, State Islamic collage (STAIN), POLNEP (Politeknik Negeri Pontianak), etc.


The 2000 census put Pontianak’s population at about 472,220., with an intercensal estimate in 2006 of 509,804. Pontianak is a multicultural city. It has a large population of Chinese alongside the native Malay and Dayak local ethnic groups, living along side Javanese, Bugis, Batak, Minang, Madurese, Sundanese, Balinese, Ambonese and Papuan migrating from all over the country. In fact, Chinese form the largest single ethnic group in the city. Most Chinese are of either Teochew or Hakka extraction. Teochew is the main lingua franca used among the Chinese, and Teochew are the dominant ethnic Chinese group in Pontianak. Native Indonesians are mainly Malay and Dayak people. Madurese and Javanese are also significant minorities. Most citizens of Pontianak use Malay accent of Indonesian, which is somewhat similar to that used in Malaysia.


Most populated are motorcycles as personal transport mean. Public transport includes minivan (local: opelet), human-powered becak (three wheel), while city bus is a rarity. Inter city bus takes passengers to other nearby cities (2, 3, to 10 or more hours of travel), even to Kuching, a city in Malaysia.

Transportation to other part of Indonesia is mainly via airport. There are more than 10 flights every day from Pontianak to Jakarta and vice versa. There is also sea transport connecting Pontianak to Jakarta, Semarang, Cirebon and some other cities, including regional cities such as Ketapang in southern part of West Kalimantan.


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