Holiday Stories to Pontianak: Watching the Equator Festival

It’s nice to be able vacation to Pontianak. The story is that I was invited to attend a festival called Equatorial Festival which has become one of the major events in Pontianak City.

So apart from enjoying the bustling cultural performances and traditional clothes at the Equator Festival carnival, I also visited tourist attractions in Pontianak and tried the culinary delights!

Pontianak City at a Glance

Pontianak is the capital city of West Kalimantan province. The city of Pontianak has developed into a fairly popular trading center.

This city is thick with various cultural influences. The original population consists of the Malays and the Dayaks. But the influence of the Chinese Tribe is also great.

Not only as a trading center, Pontianak is also in demand by travelers. One of the most popular celebrations is the Cap Go Meh Festival which is usually held every year in Singkawang.

In addition, its position is located near the border so that many are also interested in visiting the East Malaysia area, namely Kuching.

Dayak women in Kalimantan
lion dance in pontianak

The legend of the name Pontianak

When you hear the name Pontianak, what comes to your mind? Sounds like one of those ghost names, doesn’t it?

Believe it or not, there used to be a myth about a pregnant woman who died and her spirit haunted the local residents from adults to children.

Her face is famous for being beautiful, usually depicted wearing a white dress and living in a banana tree. Take a guess. Surely you know, who else if not “Kuntilanak”.

Why does the name of this city sound similar to this ghost? The legend is that there was a young man named Abdurrahman Alkadrie and his entourage sailing on the river in search of a stopover.

When they arrived at the end of the Kapuas River, they were disturbed by spirits. Alkadrie ordered his men to fire the cannon and the creature disappeared.

Finally they settled and Alkadrie became the first Sultan or King in the area and called him Pontianak. That’s a piece of a local legend, or maybe the history of the city of Pontianak.

Also read: Holiday experiences to Derawan, Maratua, Kakaban, and Sangalaki islands

Attractions in Pontianak

Due to the limited time, our group only had time to visit a few attractions in Pontianak, namely:

1. Equator Monument

One of the attractions of Pontianak City is the Equator Monument which is located about 3 km from the city center. This monument was built exactly at the position of the equator.

The original monument was actually kept in the museum, and what is visible now is the monument that was rebuilt as a sign.

But in 2005, a new location was found according to the latitude and longitude listed on the monument which is located 1.2 km from this monument.

pontianak holiday equator monument
Attractions of the Equator Monument

2. Kadriah Palace

The architecture of the Kadriah Palace combines three cultures at once, namely Malay, Dutch, and Middle Eastern. This palace is painted with yellow walls. Inside, there are historical relics of Sultan Abdurrahman Alkadrie and his family.

Kadriah Palace, a tourist spot in Pontianak
Kadriah Palace

3. Sailing on the Kapuas River

The local residents of Pontianak City love to take boats and cafes along the Kapuas River. Simply by ordering coffee or tea or other snacks, you can sail for 45 minutes. While looking at the houses on stilts around the river, or the children rowing their small boats, the atmosphere is cool and relaxed.

kapuas river pontianak tourism
Kapuas river

4. St Joseph’s Cathedral

The cathedral which is also the oldest cathedral in Pontianak was built in 1909. This cathedral has an important part in the history of the spread of Catholicism in Pontianak. What is interesting is that this cathedral was designed by a local architect from West Kalimantan.

pontianak cathedral
St. Cathedral Joseph Pontianak

5. Radakng’s House

The Radakng house is a traditional Dayak house on stilts. It is 138 meters long and 7 meters high, making it the largest and longest traditional house in Indonesia.

The value or philosophy of this longhouse comes from the living habits and culture of the Dayak people who live in large groups and the importance of togetherness and tolerance.

radakng's house
Radakng’s house

Experience cultural diversity at the Equator Festival

Just imagine, as one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, it’s almost impossible if you want to see all the tribes in a short time.

So the question is, is it possible to see various Indonesian tribes in one place without wasting a lot of time and money? The solution is to attend a carnival or festival.

One of the interesting festivals is the Carnival of the Equator which just took place in Pontianak, West Kalimantan Province.

Also read: Holiday tips and travel costs to Brunei Darussalam

attend the equator carnival in pontianak-min

The name of the carnival is taken from its own place, namely Pontianak, a city located almost directly above it. equator.

This one-day festival is divided into three main activities, namely a land parade, a water carnival, and a peak performance by well-known local musicians.

The hot weather did not stop us from waiting for the opening ceremony, starting with a dance from the local tribe, a brief welcome from the governor, then a marching band.

This is actually the first time I’ve seen an Indonesian marching band perform live, it’s quite impressive. Following the marching band, decorated vehicles lined up carrying entertainers dressed in different traditional attire.

Read also: Trekking to see the Hmong Tribe in Sapa, Vietnam

Papuan cultural performances

Well, those are 5 interesting things you can do while on vacation in Pontianak. Besides these places, don’t forget to also taste the typical food of Pontianak City and if you have time, also attend the Equator Festival!

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