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Places of interest in West Kalimantan

|Bandung|Balairung |Batu Kundur |Batu Payung Beach |Beautiful Traditional Handicrafts |Bekati |Bengkayang |A Brief History |Baning Recreation Forest |Buddha |Bugis Dalam |Chinese Tradition|Dange, a Kayan Feast|Dara Juanti Museum|Diamonds|Equator Monument |Eria Park |Juang Mandor Cemetery|Karimata Island|Ketapang|Khek |Lake Sebedang |Lanting|Lemukutan Island |Kijing Island |Maya Karimata |Maya Island|Mosque Of The Sanggau Kingdom|Mount Poteng|Mujahiddin Mosque |Museum Of Pontianak |Nanga Sepuak |Negeribaru |Palace Of Khadariyah|Palace Of Mempawah Kingdom |Paloh Beach |Panembahan Saunan |Pasir Panjang Beach |Patria Jaya Heroes Cemetery |Pawan River |Pemangkat |Penibungan Island |Putussibau |Pontianak, City On The Equator |Sambas|Samboja Recreation Park|Sanggau|Sanggau Ledo|Segetar Alam Cannon |Sepogot And Sekaruh|Serutu Island |Simoanglida River|Sintang |Sintete|Sompu Waterfall |Tampenan Village|Tanjung Batu, Pemangkat |Tanjung Pura|Tebas |Temajo Island|Tirtayasa Recreation Park |Toh Peh Kong|


The Enchanting Kapuas And The Equator

The Enchanting Kapuas and the Equator

West Kalimantan is an important and very attractive province. It is rich in history, culture and places of interest for the tourist.

The province borders on Sarawak, East Malaysia, to its west are the South China Sea and the Karimata Strait. To the east is the province of Central Kalimantan and to the south the province of South Kalimantan and the Java Sea.

West Kalimantan is a big province with total area of 146,807 square kilometers, or about one-fifth of total land surface of Kalimantan Island, or about equal that of Java plus the island of Madura. Most of West Kalimantan is mountainous.

There is the well-known Muller mountain range in the east and the Schwaner mountains in the southeast. Various valuable minerals are found on and around those mountains, such as gold, mercury, manganese, bauxite, gypsum and kaolin.

The lowland areas are found around Sambas, Pontianak and Ketapang, the most important towns. Around these towns are the wide lowlands and swamps.

West Kalimantan has a number of important rivers for the transportation of goods and people. However, there are rivers that can be navigated only during the rainy season, when the water is high. During the dry season, these rivers run empty and cannot sailed.

The most important rivers are the Kapuas, Sambas, Sekayam, Landak, Melawi and Pawan.


Rivers are very important in West Kalimantan, because they are often part of the people's daily lives. There are floating houses called bandung on those rivers. Bandung are not only houses, but also important transportation means for the people. In it, they move from place to place, sailing up and down the river, stopping at villages to trade.

Such trip can take a long time. From Pontianak to Putussibau, for instance the distance is 814 kilometers over Kapuas river. A journey by bandung between the two points takes several months.

During the rainy season, transportation runs more smoothly than in the dry season. During the rainy season, however, fishing in the rivers is interrupted due to floods. Also, the rains prevent the people from tapping rubber, which is an important source of income in the province.

Like most other regions in Indonesia, the province of West Kalimantan has a tropical climate. The highest daytime temperature recorded is about 29 degree centigrade, and lowest 20 degree C.

In the mountains, the rainfall is higher than in the coastal regions. Rain falls from October until April. The dry season occurs between May and September.

The hinterland of West Kalimantan is covered with jungle, and still not much trodden by human beings. In the past decades, however, loggers have come to exploit the province's timber resources. The West Kalimantan jungle is rich in tropical hardwoods, rattan, candlenut trees, and various raw materials for industrial and popular needs.

The province of West Kalimantan has one city, six regencies and one township - to name, the city of Pontianak, the regencies Pontianak, Sambas, Ketapang, Sangau, Sintang, Kapuas Hulu, and the township Singkawang.

The province has a population of about four million, consisting of two main groups, Indonesian citizens and aliens, the latter consisting mostly of Chinese, who live in the Pontianak and Sambas regencies.

The Dayaks and Malays make up the majority of the population, with the Chinese as an important minority.

 A Brief History

Very little is known of West Kalimantan's earliest history. From archaeological finds, however, it is known that a prehistoric civilization must have existed in this area at around 1,500 B.C.

The finding of what appears to have been salt pits in Nanga Balang and Nanga Sepuak, also led to the belief that a human settlement existed in that area between 6,000 and 4,000 B. C. when the sea was not so far away.

Over evidence indicating the presence of the human civilization in the past was provided by the finding of stone caves in the hinterland of Kapuas Hulu, around Putussibau.

Much later, the Hindu civilization reached the area. In Nanga Balang, for instance, a lingga or phallus symbol which is the symbol of Shiva, was found. And in Sintang, the ruins of what was probably an old palace were found. It is known as the kundur stone among the local people.

Nanga Sepuak

A stone object called the Kalbut stone was found in Nanga Sepuak, Kalbut being the headdress commonly won by local Moslems. The stone is also called the Ekamuka Shiva Lingga stone because one of the reliefs represents Shiva.

A statue of Shiva was also found in the village of Temiang Ampakan, in the upstream region of Sepuak river, Sintang regency.

Hinduism presumably first came to the area in about 977. At that time, traders coming to West Kalimantan brought the religion as well as merchandise to the area.

The prevalence of Buddhism in West Kalimantan is indicated by the finding of the curved stone, stone monument bearing inscriptions in the ancient Pallawa script, near the village Pakit, Nanga Mahap district, Sanggau regency dating from fifth century.

Other finds seem to support the theory of the existence of an early Hindu civilization in the area.

The Chinese influence was established early in West Kalimantan, as proven by ceramics found in the province. In the sixth century, Admiral Cheng Ho arrived in the area to establish relations.

Relics in the form of ceramics found several areas show that the Chinese influence prevailed in West Kalimantan quite a number of centuries ago.

The advent of Islam in West Kalimantan occurred in about the 15th century, at about the same time as the rise of the first Islamic kingdom in Aceh.

Islam arrived in West Kalimantan from the region of Palembang, South Sumatra, and via North Kalimantan especially Brunei. Several small kingdoms which at the first embraced the Hindu faith, soon adopted the new religion.

Tanjung Pura

Various Islamic kingdoms arose in West Kalimantan, among them Tanjung Pura, which according to the available records was ruled by a descendant of the Kings of Majapahit in Java. Before the advent of Islam, the kingdom of Tanjung Pura was known to have had close relations with Majapahit under the government of Premier Gajah Mada. After the rise of Islam and the fall of Majapahit, the Tanjung Pura became a big Islamic kingdom.

The rapid spread of Islam in this kingdom was due Sukadana, Simpang, Mempawah, Sambas, Landak, Tayan, Neliau, Sanggau, Sekadau, Sintang, Kubu and Pontianak.

The spread of the European influence in Kalimantan started with the arrival of the Dutch in the 17th century. Among the items that interested those early Dutch traders was the Kobi diamond, an exceptionally fine stone that belonged to the Landak kingdom, but was in the keeping of Tanjung Pura, due to the good relations between the two kingdoms.

Later, however, the Dutch came not only to trade, but to assert their influence in West Kalimantan. The result was a spreading hostility towards the Dutch in the whole territory of West Kalimantan.

Several revolts can be mentioned: the Sintang War; the Tebidah War of 1890 under the leadership of Nata, Apang Labring, Abang Daung, Apang Rabat; the Melawi Wars and others.

The British East India Company in the 17th century established a trading post in the region of Matan, Tanjung Pura kingdom. The British, however, never managed to gain a strong foothold in West Kalimantan.

The Japanese occupation at the beginning of World War II ended the Dutch rule in West Kalimantan. However, it also spelled the end of the great influence of the kingdom.

Conflicts between the occupying forces and the rulers could not be avoided, and some of them were killed in skirmishes with the Japanese.

Still remembered in West Kalimantan is the Mandor Affair of 1944. In an armed clash in the Mandor area, about 70 kilometers north of Pontianak, many people were killed.

The Japanese occupation ended with the proclamation of Indonesia's independence in 1945, when West Kalimantan became a province of the Indonesian Republic.

Pontianak, City On The Equator

With a population of about 300,000 Pontianak, West Kalimantan's provincial capital, known as the city on the Equator, is a bustling economic hub as well as the center of administration in the province.

Pontianak was initially the center of the Pontianak sultanate the last kingdom in West Kalimantan, which was established at the same time as that of the Dutch administration in the second half of the 18th century.

The founder of the sultanate was Syarif Abdurrahman. As the seat of the kingdom, Pontianak was founded on October 23, 1771 on a spot covered by jungle at the mouth of the Kapuas Kecil and Landak rivers.

Pontianak has since, served as a kind of cultural gateway through which influences from the outside reached the population of the hinterland.

People from the hinterland also come to the city and mixed with Malays, Javanese, Chinese, Bugis and other peoples.

For the Japanese, Pontianak has a special significance because the first battle occurred in this city.

Pontianak lies on the Kapuas river where many houses are built over the water and are connected with each other by wooden bridges. Small boats sail up and down the river to transport people and goods from one place to another.

Pontianak is known as a producer of oranges, although the fruits are actually grown in the Tebas district, 300 kilometers north of the city. Pontianak has some attractive tourism objects.

The city is located on the equator, at the north of the rivers Kapuas and Landak.

The Kapuas is 1,143 kilometers long. It is the most important river in the area, and can be navigated by small boats weighing up to 1.000 tons up to Putussibau, the capital of the Kapuas Hulu regency, 814 kilometers from Pontianak.

A small motorboat can even go further upstream.

Pontianak's links with various other cities inside the province and outside are smooth. Air transportation is available to and from Jakarta (381 miles), Balikpapan (456 miles), Singapore (344 miles) and Kuching (Malaysia -118 miles).

From Pontianak planes fly to various small towns throughout West Kalimantan where airstrips exist.

Mujahiddin Mosque

The Mujahiddin Mosque in Pontianak is the pride of the city and the province. Officially inaugurated in 1978, it is the biggest mosque in the province.

Bugis Dalam

In the village of Bugis Dalam, is the Jami' Mosque of Sultan Abdurrahman Al-Qodri. The historical mosque was built in 1771 by Sultan Syarif Abdurrahman. It is 40 by 35 meters large, and 20 meters high, and has a multi-tiered roof, like that of a Balinese temple. It has six pillars, made of giant belian trunks.

Palace Of Khadariyah

The Palace of the Sultan of Pontianak lies nearby and is also called the Palace of Khadariyah. It is two stories and is built entirely of belian wood. A sturdy main entrance in the shape of Portuguese gate is found at the front of the palace. In former times, a fortress protected the palace against possible enemy attacks, and a cannon was installed. A monument of the Pontianak Kingdom is found near it.

There is a historical cathedral in this city. A clock stands on the top of the church.

Equator Monument

To the north, three kilometers away from the city, towards the Pinyuh river, there is the well-known Equator Monument, standing on the exact spot, passed by the equator.

Museum Of Pontianak

The Museum of Pontianak is two kilometers outside the city. It is a beautiful building in modern design, with the ornamental characteristics of West Kalimantan. The museum's collections include relics from the time of the arrival of Islam in this region.

Patria Jaya Heroes Cemetery

The Patria Jaya Heroes Cemetery, 12 kilometers from the city towards the Soepadio airport, is where those who died in the cause of independence are buried.

Juang Mandor Cemetery

The Juang Mandor Cemetery is a cemetery for those killed in the fight against the Japanese. About 21,037 bodies lie buried in ten mass graves.

Palace Of Mempawah Kingdom

The Palace of Mempawah Kingdom is 80 kilometers away from Pontianak. It was built in 1780 by Panembahan Adiwijaya of stone wood. The palace is smaller than that of Khadariyah.

Mempawah is the capital of the Pontianak regency. It lies at the side of the river and is a busy town. The cannons of Kyai Sumi and Ratu Destari are found near Munggu village.

Penibungan Island

Penibungan Island lies four kilometers from Mempawah and is reachable by motorboat. Its beaches are beautiful and are much-favored holiday resort.

Temajo Island

Temajo Island is close to Mempawah, and 78 kilometers from Pontianak. The grave of Fatimah Jemaje is found on this island, in Tanjung Mutus. Fatimah was a queen of Siak who died in a battle between the kingdoms of Sambas and Siak.

The beach is clean and white, and the sea suitable for surfing. Cloves and kruing grow on the island.

Kijing Island

Kijing Island is nearer to the shore, about 20 minutes sailing from Temajo Island. It is a popular holiday resort and only 10 kilometers from Mempawah.

Singkawang and Sambas

There are many attractive tourist objects in the Sambas area. The road from Mempawah to Singkawang, 108 kilometers away, follows the west coast.

In about the middle of the 17th century, the Sambas kingdom bloomed. The first king was Raden Sulaiman, titled Sultan Muhammad Syaefuddin (1652 - 1668).

He was succeeded by Raden Bima, who ruled under the name Muhammad Tajuddin until 1683.

Lemukutan Island

The fort was once built on Lemukutan Island, north of Temajo Island, to repel pirates roaming the waters. Nowdays Sambas is quite a modern place.

The population consists mainly of three ethnic groups, Dayaks, Malays and Chinese, who co-exist in perfect harmony and in the past often stood together in fighting the enemies of the kingdom.


The Chinese presence in the Sambas region started in the 14th century, when groups began coming from China to set up a diamond mining company. The mining regions were found in the regions of Bengkayang, Lumar, Batu Mountains, the Ambawang river, Darit, the Landak and Ayak rivers, the Cempedak Tayan delta, the Tayan river, Kembayan, Timur Senaning and upstream regions of the Kapuas river around Putussibau.


The sites for panning diamonds are found along the Landak river, from Ngabang to the highlands, and around Sanggau. During the Dutch colonial period, the mining was done by a Dutch company, Erdman & Sieleken, near Landak. As a result of those efforts, the diamond reserves have been almost depleted.

Since the old days, panning was also carried out by the people. During the long dry seasons, when the river is shallow, the local people still pan for the mineral along the area.

Besides diamond, kaolin, mica, iron, gold, mercury, copper, silver, manganese, lead, zinc, salt and other minerals are also found in West Kalimantan in general, the Sambas region in particular.

Singkawang, the capital of the Sambas regency, is located on the west coast, 145 kilometers from Pontianak. It is often also referred to as the Hongkong of West Kalimantan, probably because the Chinese are the majority in this town. The dominance of the Chinese cultural tradition can be seen in the various aspects of daily life in the town.

There are Chinese temples everywhere. The houses are Chinese. The daily language is Chinese. Several tourist objects which can be visited in Singkawang city are:

Eria Park

Eria Park, five kilometers away from the center of city. The park is located in a cool mountain resort area with a refreshing climate and very beautiful scenery.

Pasir Panjang Beach

Pasir Panjang Beach is only 12 kilometers from the town. Cottages and various facilities for recreation are available.

Mount Poteng

There is a clear and cool natural pool on top of Mount Poteng, about 20 kilometers from Singkawang. There is also a resthouse that is open on holidays.

Batu Payung Beach

Batu Payung Beach is five kilometers away from Mount Poteng. It has boats for rent, playgrounds and cottages for spending the night.


Pemangkat, 32 kilometers from Singkawang, is a busy port town at the mouth of the Sambas Besar river. The river can be navigated by boats with a weight 500 tons, as far as the town Sambas.


Sintete is a small port town 13 kilometers from Pemangkat that is considerable economic significance to the Sambas regency.

Sintete is located six miles from the mouth of the Sambas river. The opening of the Sintete harbor, has caused the villages around Pemangkat to grow, especially roads have been built linking the port with hinterland.

Tanjung Batu, Pemangkat

In Tanjung Batu, Pemangkat, is a small mountain, about a hundred meters high with monkeys and other animals living in the wild.

One can also visit the Chinese temples of Bumi Raya and Tri Darma Bukit Raya on Pemangkat Hill.

Tirtayasa Recreation Park

Tirtayasa Park, 50 kilometers from Singkawang, is popular recreation park. The forest and small rivers in the surroundings add to the park's allure.


Sambas is neat clean town divided by Sambas Kecil river onto two parts. Boats dock at the riverside to load and unload goods and passengers.


Lanting are the houseboats that are found in Sambas and many other places where people depend on the rivers. In the past, there were no roads, and living in houses that could also serve as a means of transportation seemed a logical solution to the problems of daily life.

Beautiful Traditional handicrafts

Many beautiful traditional handicraft products can be found in Sambas. There are also some historical remains such as the palace of the Sambas kingdom, which was built by the first ruler Sultan Muhammad Syaefuddin.

There is also the cemetery of the Sambas kingdom, consisting of two separated complexes. Sultan Abubakar and Sultan Muhammad Syaefuddin are buried there. Their graves are considered sacred by the local people and are much visited by people from the surrounding areas.

Lake Sebedang

Lake Sebedang is 16 kilometres from the town. Surrounded by beautiful green hills, the lake has a maximum depth of 10 meters. Lodgings and facilities for recreation are available.

Sanggau Ledo

There is also the waterfall of Sanggau Ledo, better known as the Berasap waterfall, seven meters high and quite impressive.

Tampenan Village

Stones in curious shapes are found at Tampenan village and are the subject of many legends. Among them is one in the shape of a house, with guests sitting on the floor, and all turned into stone.


The Tebas district is known for its oranges and gardens can be seen all along the road leading to Sambas. In this region the sweet "Pontianak oranges" are grown.

Dozens of hectares with several thousands of orange trees line the road from Pemangkat to Sambas.

Paloh beach

Paloh Beach is as attractive as any others in West Kalimantan. The beach lies in the Paloh district, 206 kilometers from Pontianak. It is a popular tourist resort. During low tide, the beach is about 20 meters wide. During high tide, one can touch the water with one's foot while sitting at the edge of the beach. Many turtles lay their eggs there, living along the shore.

Kijang Island is one of those islands which also has a turtle beach. Kijang Island is separated from the Kalimantan mainland by the Api strait.

Bengkayang is a small but strategically located town in the Bengkayang district, Sambas regency, about 20 kilometers northeast of Pontianak.


Bengkayang connects various small cities in the Sambas regency with the West Kalimantan hinterland. And the route into Sarawak, East Malaysia begins in Bengkayang.

Bengkayang's proximity to Singkawang, only about 70 kilometers away, has caused Bengkawang to grow rather rapidly in the past years.

To travel to the border between West Kalimantan and Sarawak, one usually starts from Singkawang, then proceeds towards Bengkayang over a distance of 70 kilometers. The trip continues towards the north, to the small town of Ledo, at a distance of the 40 kilometers. Then the trip continues again to Sanggauledo 20 kilometers away, and to Seluas. The distance between Sanggauledo and Seluas is 31 kilometers. Entekong is the last stop on the Indonesian side of the border. There is an immigration post here. From Entekong, walk for another 20 minutes before entering Malaysian territory.

People have crossed the border for many generations over this road, despite the absence of legal provisions. The local people are given a special passport by the provincial government of West Kalimantan, to enter Sarawak and to trade on a small scale and buy their daily needs.

After walking for about 20 minutes from Entekong, one comes to the first check point in the Malaysian territory. There is a terminal for taxis that can take the traveler to Kuching and other place in Serawak.

Meeting the Bekati in Bengkayang


From Bengkayang, one can travel into the hinterland and meet the Bekati people, one of the Dayak sub-tribes living in West Kalimantan.

Sepogot And Sekaruh

At one point, one must leave the main road and walk for about one kilometer to Sepogot and Sekaruh, where about 600 Bekati people live.

The Bekati live in the mountains, around the Teriak river. Linguistically, they belong to the Kendayan Dayaks, but they dislike being called Kendayans.

The Bekati chiefs consider themselves as having come from the region around Sambas, finally to settle around Bengkayang as they moved from place to place, practicing shifting agriculture. The Bekati live in comparative isolation. Besides tilling dry fields, they also tap rubber. They are also known as depth hunters.

The traditions of the Bekati people are still largely preserved, although the penetration of outside influences has already begun. Bekati longhouses differ from those of other Dayaks in Kalimantan. The Bekati longhouses has no pillars, but rests on the ground. It functions as a place for the holding of ceremonies, meetings, and as kind of hostel for travelers.

Many Bekati people are illiterate and faithful adherents of the old ancestral beliefs. Many wooden ancestor statues are found around Bekati villages. These wooden statues are more than one meter tall and have no arms.


Sanggau lies at the mouth of the Sekayam and Kapuas rivers. The town can be reached over the Kapuas river, past a few villages, such as Limbung, Tayang and Meliau. A road also exists.

The Sekayam river can be navigated by small motorboats up to Balaikarangan, not far from the border between West Kalimantan and Sarawak.

Sanggau is the capital of the Sanggau regency, and has a population of about 350,000.

The palace of the old Sanggau kingdom still stands here on its tall wooden pillars.


Segetar Alam Cannon

The Balairung was the hall where the king receive his subjects in audience. Nowdays, a big cannon is kept in this hall called the Segetar Alam Cannon, it was a gift from Pontianak kingdom.

Mosque Of The Sanggau Kingdom

The mosque of the Sanggau kingdom is a long building on short pillars, with a double-tiered roof. The top is sharp, like the spire of a church. All parts are made of wood.

Samboja Recreation Park

The Samboja Recreation Park is about four kilometers from Sanggau. It is a mountain resort very impressive natural setting.

Sompu Waterfall

The Sompu Waterfall is not less attractive. It is three meters high and is surrounded by dramatic scenery. It can be reached either over land or over the Kapuas river.

An inscribed stone is found in the Nangmahap district, near Pahit, on the Tekaret river. It is believed to date from the fifth century and bears the relief of the phallus symbol as well as inscriptions in Palawa script, proclaiming some of the tenets of Buddhism. The stone is rather huge. The highest part is 9.90 meters tall. It is 5.10 meters wide and the circumference is 15 meters.


Welcome to Sintang

Sintang is the capital of the Sintang regency, and is reachable from Pontianak over land, or by river or air.

Sintang is connected by roads with Pontianak, Sungai Pinyuh, Sidas Ngabang, Sanggau, Semunati and Sekadau.

The name Sintang comes from the word "senetang", which in the local Dayak language means a place near a river and its tributary.

The founder of Sintang was a certain, Demang Irawan, alias Jubairi, the eleventh descendant of Aji Melayu, a very wise and brave king in the Sepauk region.


Aji Melayu was also very wealthy . Among the remains of Aji Melayu's kingdom are Batu Pujaan (sacred stone), the Batu Kabut (misty stone), both of which bear an image of the Buddha. All these, as well as Aji Melayu's grave, can be seen in Nanga Sepuak.

Sintang has a few sites of historical interest. Among them are the Sintang Museum which is the former palace of Sintang kingdom, built in 1937 by Panembahan Raden Abdul Bahri Danu Perdana. The kingdom's symbol, in the shape of an eagle, is preserved in the museum together with seven cannons.

Batu Kundur

Besides the museum, there is Batu Kundur or Lingga, a monument from Hindu period.

A bronze statue or Putung Kempat (Gusar) is found in Pari Empahan, 64 kilometers from Nanga Sepuak.

Dara Juanti Museum

A museum is found at the north side of the town, called the Dara Juanti Museum. Dara Juanti or Dewi Juanti is the name of a woman descendant of the Raja Sintang Dayak tribe who founded the kingdom and moved the capital from Sepuak to Sintang. She took control of the kingdom after her elder brother, Demang Nutup, titled Sultan Jubair II, was captured and imprisoned on a trip to Majapahit, named Patih Logender. The remainders of the kingdom, including a kris from Majapahit, a sheet of cindai cloth called Gerising Wayang, and the statue of an eagle, are preserved in this museum.

Baning Recreation Forest

Another site of touristic interest is the recreation forest of Baning.


Putussibau is the capital of the Kapuas Hulu regency, 816 kilometers from Pontianak. It is can be reached by boat over Kapuas river.

The river between Pontianak and Putussibau can be navigated by boats weighing up to 1,000 tons. Small motorboats or canoes can sail as far as Sibau village, further upstream. Cane races are occasionally held by the Dayak people.

Near the villages Nanga Bunut and Nanga Embaluh, lakes are found, such as Sriang, Luar, Sentarum, Bekuan, Geneli, Tang, Merekas and Kemeryan.

The mountains Betung, Uluselua, Harung and Piabung are also found in this region.

A Dayak longhouse is found at Melapi village, and stone axes from prehistoric times can be seen in Naga Belang.


Pawan River

Ketapang is the capital of the Ketapang regency, on the south coast of West Kalimantan, 478 kilometers from Pontianak. The Pawan river has its mouth in this town.

Simoanglida River

The road leads from Pontianak towards Rasau, 24 kilometers from the city. At Rasau, ferries are available to cross the river to Telukbatang, at the mouth of the Simoanglida river, 150 kilometers away.

From Telukbatang, the road passes through the southern coastal region via the villages Sukadana, Seduk, Sungaitulak, Tempurukan and Ketapang. The distance between Telukbatang and Ketapang is 132 kilometers. From Ketapang, the road continues towards Kendawangan, an attractive little town at the mouth of the rivers Kendawangan and Membuluh. The former royal residence of the Mantan Kingdom stands in Ketapang.

Panembahan Saunan

The kingdom's best known king was Panembahan Saunan, who is said to be descended from rulers of Majapahit.

An ancient cannon and some sacred graves can be found in this old palace. The cemetery contains seven graves. Verses from the Qur'an are inscribed on the headstone. At the foot end are inscriptions in old Javanese script.


In Negeribaru village, one can join the many pilgrims visiting the nine sacred graves. In addition, Ketapang has a beautiful beach at Tanjungbatu.

Maya Karimata

Good beaches are found in the Maya karimata district, on the Karimata-Strait which separates Kalimantan from Belitung Island, in South Sumatra.

The Maya Karimata district is part of the Ketapang regency, and consists of 54 islands with nine villages.

Maya Island

Maya Island is nearest to the Kalimantan mainland and is the biggest island of the group. Tanjungsatai, with a population of approximately 5,000 people, mostly fishermen, is the biggest and most important village on the island. Each of the smaller villages in its surroundings has a population of several hundred people only.

Serutu Island

Serutu Island is the farthest away, about 14 hours sailing from Ketapang in good wind. All the inhabitants are fishermen and their families, who move from one place to another, depending on the season.

Karimata Island

Karimata Island lies to the northeast of Serutu Island, in the middle of the Karimata Strait. It is inhabited by fishermen and has a lighthouse. The islands in its surroundings are Meladang, Buwan, Penebangan, Pelapis and other, smaller islands, totaling 54.

South of Ketapang, reachable from Kendawang, are two islands with beautiful beaches Bawal and Gelam. Although still rarely visited and little known, these islands hold great potential for the future.

Dange, a Kayan feast

Dange is a traditional feast held by the Kayan Dayaks of West Kalimantan as an expression of thanksgiving. The ceremony is centered at house of worship, constructed together.

The dange lasts for 10 days and 10 nights.

Chinese Tradition

The Chinese Tradition in West Kalimnatan

The Chinese came to West Kalimnatan because they were attracted by the gold and diamond mines of this region.


The first Chinese came between 1740 and 1745, and were mostly Khek and Hakka, followed by Teochiu.

However, long before, in 1293, a chinese expedition force sailed to Java to attack Singosari, whose ruler had insulted the Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan. They were repelled to West Kalimantan, where they built a settlement.

After 1745, the Khek people started coming in groups, working at the gold mines. Some of them grew pepper, rubber trees and tobacco, others went to Bangka and Belitung, because their gardens were taken by the Dutch. The Chinese population, however, kept increasing as ruler such as Panembahan Mempawah and the Sultan of Sambas recruited labor from China to work in the area.

In the middle of the 19th century, the Chinese established companies, such as the Thai Kong and Tho Kiu. They also took over lands, gardens and mines. The number of Chinese temples and the various traditions associated with them attest to the significance of the Chinese influence in West Kalimantan. Some of those temples are many centuries old.

Today, the Chinese account to approximately one-eight of the province's total population of 2.5 million. By comparison, the Dayaks make up 41 %, the Malay 39 %, the Bugis 5 % and Javanese 2 % of that total.

In several areas, such as Pontianak, the percentage of the Chinese population is seen bigger. In Pontianak, for example, they make up about 25 % of the total. The same is true the Sambas regency.

Toh Peh Kong

The Chinese in West Kalimantan worship Toh Peh Kong, as their god and protector, as part of their ancestral traditions, brought over from China.

The ancestral doctrine is that of Sam Kao, or the three doctrines, a mixture of Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian tenets. There are fused with the Toh Peh Kong cult, which in fact is unknown in China.

The central place of worship of the Toh Peh Kong cult is the Chinese temple of Tri Darma Budi, in Singkawang.

The Toh Peh Kong cult exists only in West Kalimantan, and is in fact clarification of the pioneers of the Chinese in West Kalimantan.

Those pioneers consisted of seven Chinese commanders, who served under Ike Mese and Shi Bi, the armada commanders who came to attack Singasari in 1293. In their homeward voyage, Ike Mese ordered seven of his officers and 250 men to stay in West Kalimantan.

Toh Peh kong here is also known in Java, but there he is the personification of Admiral Cheng Ho, the Moslem Chinese seafarer who once visited Java.

In West Kalimantan, Toh Peh Kong is not identified with any mortal of the past.

Toh Peh Kong here is worshipped in the shape of a grandfather statue although there are also couples of statue representing the deity.

Toh Peh Kong couples can be seen in the Chinese temple of Tri Darma Bumi, in Pasar Tengah, Singkawang. There is also one in the Chinese temple in Sebangkau village. Along the road between Pontianak and Sambas, a Chinese temple is found in almost every village, dedicated to the worship of Toh Peh kong.



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