Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesian province of West Borneo or West Kalimantan. It is a large trading port city on the island of Borneo. Pontianak occupies an area of 107.82 km² in the delta of the Kapuas River. It is located almost precisely on the equator, hence it is widely known as Kota Khatulistiwa (Equator City). The city center is actually less than 3 kilometres (2 mi) south.
The city was formerly the capital of the independent Sultanate of Pontianak and was founded in 23 October 1771 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 an appearance of Pontianak ghost at the place to be built for the palace, which he fought to save the people. The Japanese massacred much of the Malay elite of Pontianak and other Sultanate on Kalimantan in the Pontianak incidents.
The 2010 census enumerated Pontianak’s population at 554,764; the latest official estimate (at January 2014) is 573,751. Pontianak is a diverse and multicultural city. Its population includes the native inhabitants (Malay and Dayak), who live alongside other Indonesian ethnic groups who have migrated from other areas of the country. These groups include the Javanese, Bugis, Batak, Minang, Madurese, Sundanese, Balinese, Ambonese and Papuan. There is also a sizeable population (approximately 30%) of ethnic Chinese. In fact, the Chinese are placed as one of the largest ethnic minority groups in the city (alongside the Javanese and Madurese). Most Chinese are of either Teochew or Hakka extraction. Chinese people in Pontianak can trace their origins to the Chaoshan region in the Guangdong province of Southern China.
Citizens of Pontianak generally speak the national lingua franca of Bahasa Indonesia and have a distinct Pontianak Malay accent, which is somewhat similar to that used in Sarawak, Malaysia (as it is of a close proximity). The Teochew dialect of Min Nan is the lingua franca used amongst the Chinese population in Pontianak. This dialect is closely related to the Teochew language used by the Chinese in neighboring Singapore and Peninsular Malaysia.
The most popular form of transport are motorcycles. Public transport includes minivans (local: opelet) and human-powered becaks (three-wheel pedicabs). There are some city buses serving certain routes only. Inter city buses take passengers to other nearby cities (2, 3, to 10 or more hours of travel), even to Kuching, a city in Malaysia. Road transportation to Malaysia and Brunei is possible via the Trans-Kalimantan Highway (Jalan Lintas Kalimantan) to Tebedu in Sarawak.
Transportation to other parts of Indonesia is mainly via Supadio Airport. There are more than 10 flights every day connecting Pontianak and Jakarta. There are also flights from and to Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Batam, Kuching, and Singapore. Sea transports connect Pontianak to Jakarta, Semarang, Cirebon, and some other cities, including regional cities such as Ketapang in southern part of West Kalimantan.
Pontianak features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification(Af). The city sees a copious amount of rain throughout the year, averaging 3,210 mm (126 in) of precipitation annually. Only in the month of August does the average monthly precipitation fall below 200 mm (7⅞ inches). Temperatures are consistent throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) and average low temperatures of 23 °C (73 °F).