Pontianak, Indonesia’s City on the Equator lies on the banks of the Kapuas, the country’s longest and largest river, and one of the longest rivers in the World. The Kapuas River has its source at Gunung Lawit, deep in the Mueller mountain range in Central Borneo where it rushes down, meandering 1,143 kilometers west, passing 9 of West Kalimantan’s 14 districts, until it finally reaches the South China Sea, forming a wide delta upon which Pontianak is built.
It is no wonder, therefore, that the Kapuas River serves as the livelihood of the region, a major waterway to reach interior towns and its major water supply. Boats with a 3 meter draft can navigate upriver to the town of Sintang, some 465 km. inland from the mouth Kapuas. This is the gateway to the interior, home of the Dayaks. While boats with 2 meter draft can reach Putussibau, 902 km from Pontianak.
Long known as a busy trading port facing the South China Sea, Pontianak is a cosmopolitan city where various races and ethnic groups live peacefully side by side. Malays and Dayaks are the major ethnic groups here with Bugis, Bataks, Minangkabaus, Javanese, Chinese and Arabs making up the city’s population. Until today, Bugis Phinisi schooners can be seen tied at Pontianak’s docks, their crew busy loading and unloading goods.