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Jakarta Expatriate Guide with Covid-19 Travel Report

Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital and largest city, with about 10 million inhabitants, and totally 30 million in Greater Jakarta on the Java island. Dubbed The Big Durian, an equivalent to New York’s Big Apple, its concrete jungle, traffic frenzy, and hot polluted air may tempt you to skip the city as fast as possible, but […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Jakarta is Indonesia’s capital and largest city, with about 10 million inhabitants, and totally 30 million in Greater Jakarta on the Java island. Dubbed The Big Durian, an equivalent to New York’s Big Apple, its concrete jungle, traffic frenzy, and hot polluted air may tempt you to skip the city as fast as possible, but what awaits inside will change your perspective! One of the most bustling and cosmopolitan cities in Asia, the J-Town has cheerful nightlife, vibrant shopping malls, a variety of foods, refreshing greenery, cultural diversity and a rich history, that caters to all levels of budget and how much fun you want to have.

Jakarta Districts

Administratively, Jakarta is a province called the Jakarta Special Capital Region (Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta). It is administratively divided into 5 municipalities and 1 regency (the Thousand Islands in the Jakarta Bay):

 

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Districts of Jakarta

 

Central Jakarta (Jakarta Pusat)
The heart of Jakarta’s administration, government and finance, an aptly named district and the site of Jakarta’s symbol, the soaring Monas (Monumen Nasional) and also the world’s largest city square “Lapangan Merdeka”. The city is a part of the old Jakarta (Batavia), recognizable by the president’s palace and the National Museum of Indonesia, both built in the 19th century. Now filled with modern high rises for office buildings, hotels, and shopping centers, this is where most of Jakarta’s attractions are, such as the malls, the Tanah Abang garment complex, the Istiqlal mosque, the Cathedral, and the Bung Karno Sports Stadium.
West Jakarta (Jakarta Barat)
This site is also part of the Old Batavia. It is home to the Glodok area (Jakarta’s Chinatown) which is rich in street hawker food, Chinese restaurants, and temple complexes, and contains Jakarta’s electronic promenade. West Jakarta is also a major tourism destination for shopping, as it is home to a lane of upscale malls at S. Parman and cheap shopping lanes at Mangga Dua. This area is also home to Jakarta’s biggest nightlife entertainment and red light district “Mangga Besar”.
South Jakarta (Jakarta Selatan)
Jakarta’s middle/upper class residential area, and part of Jakarta’s business center. Here you can find upscale shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, bustling nightlife and entertainment, Blok M, Senayan sports complex, and affluent residential areas. The Kemang area is very popular among expats and locals for its nightlife and entertainment.
East Jakarta (Jakarta Timur)
The city’s industrial quarter and the most populous city within Jakarta. The location of Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (where you can see parts of Indonesia’s multiethnic community in one big park), some golf courses, Cibubur camping ground, and Jakarta’s second airport, Halim Perdanakusuma Airport.
North Jakarta (Jakarta Utara)
Jakarta’s main harbor area and the real home of the old Batavia. A small area consisting of Dutch buildings and harbor, its streets are thronged with hawker food, crafted goods, street performers, artists and Jakartan youths hanging around. This is also the location of Ancol Bayfront City, Asia’s largest integrated tourism area. The beautiful Thousand Islands (Kepulauan Seribu), accessible by boat from North Jakarta’s dock, is an instant escape from the hectic city with its beautiful beaches, marine parks, and world-class resorts.

Satellite cities: The Jakarta megalopolis of 30 million inhabitants includes Jakarta and the following satellite cities:

  • Bogor – One of the primary destinations to escape from Jakarta, with well-kept natural habitats, world class botany garden, resorts, and multiple golf courses
  • Tangerang – The airport, many large commercial centres and clustered homes
  • Bekasi – Mostly industrial parks
  • Depok – Home to the University of Indonesia

A common abbreviation to describe the megalopolitan area is Jabodetabek (Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi).

Orientation

Finding places in Jakarta, especially smaller buildings not on the main arteries, is easier said than done. Sometimes, the same name is used for different streets in different parts of the city, and it’s often difficult to find the correct street or address without the post/zip code/region. A sign with a street name facing you indicates the name of the street you are about to enter, not that of the cross street. Alleys off a main road are often simply notated by Roman numerals, hence a street address like “Jl. Mangga Besar VIII/21” means house number 21 on alley number 8 (VIII) off the main road of Jl. Mangga Besar.

Fortunately, there is a logic to the name of the street. Outside of the corridors of high rise offices, you basically can find out on what branch of the street you’re on by looking at the name of the streets without the Roman numerals. Most often the name of the area is the same as the name of the street, especially if it also bears the phrase Jalan Raya or avenues. Knowing this almost takes you there, but the exception is the recently built gated clusters of houses which have their own main road that does not follow the convention, even though it is a branch of a specific street. In that case, knowing the name of the housing cluster would be the best option in addition to the above rules. Conveniently, most navigation apps such as Google Maps or Waze are useful for finding addresses and places throughout Jakarta due to regular updates from users.

If you don’t want to waste time, ask for the description/name of nearby landmarks or buildings, billboards, color of the building or fence, or the post/zip code. If you still cannot find the address, start asking people on the street, especially ojek (motorcycle taxi drivers).

Understand

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Jakarta Skyline

Jakarta’s nickname among expats is the Big Durian, and like the fruit itself, it’s a shock at first sight (and smell): a sweltering, steaming, heaving mass of some 30 million people packed into a vast urban sprawl. The metropolitan area is a charm and melting pot for Indonesians, both as a business and a government center, and the most developed city in the country. But all of this comes at a cost: the city has been struggling very hard to keep up with the urban growth. Major roads are packed up during rush hours and weekends (sometimes all day during rainy season due to motorcyclists sheltering under the fly-over or the tunnel when it’s raining heavily, thus causing additional congestion), while the public transportation system has been unable to alleviate that much traffic. Housing the population has been a problem too and adding to that, the numerous people’s mentality are yet to make the city a great place to live in, as dreamed of.

All that said, while initially a bit overwhelming, if you can withstand the pollution and can afford to indulge in Jakarta’s charms, you can discover what is also one of Asia’s most exciting, most lively global cities. There is plenty to do in Jakarta, from green parks and historical centers, to cosmopolitan shopping, diverse gourmet choices, and some of the hippest nightlife in Southeast Asia!

To cite a couple of figures that further clarify the position of Jakarta relative to the rest of the world, the city’s Human Development Index is categorized as High Human Development with a value of 0.694, whereas the category of Very High Human Development starts at 0.800 and would apply to the USA, Japan and most European countries. Jakarta’s Human Development Index number is higher than or on par with Turkey and most Balkan countries.

History of Jakarta

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The colonial building that is now the Jakarta History Museum, in West Jakarta.

The port of Sunda Kelapa dates to the 12th century, when it served the Sundanese kingdom of Pajajaran near present-day Bogor. The first Europeans to arrive were the Portuguese, who were given permission by the Hindu Kingdom of Pakuan Pajajaran to erect a godown (warehouse) in 1522. Control was still firmly in local hands, and in 1527 the city was conquered by Prince Fatahillah, a Muslim prince from Cirebon, who changed the name to Jayakarta.

By the early 17th century, however, the Dutch had pretty much taken over the port city, and the razing of a competing English fort in 1619 secured their hold on the island. Under the name Batavia, the new Dutch town became the capital of the Dutch East Indies and was known as the Queen of the East.

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Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu.

Indonesia

Tomohon Expatriate Guide with Covid-19 Travel Report

Tomohon is a city in Northern Sulawesi. It is the fourth-largest city in the province of North Sulawesi after Manado, Bitung, and Kotamobagu. Tomohon is south of Manado. Tomohon Districts Eruption of the Lokon-Empung volcano (2020) photographed from Tomohon North – Tinoor, Kinilow, Kakaskasen, Wailan, and Kayawu. The first region to be discovered in Tomohon […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Tomohon is a city in Northern Sulawesi. It is the fourth-largest city in the province of North Sulawesi after Manado, Bitung, and Kotamobagu. Tomohon is south of Manado.

Tomohon Districts

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    Eruption of the Lokon-Empung volcano (2020) photographed from Tomohon

    North – Tinoor, Kinilow, Kakaskasen, Wailan, and Kayawu. The first region to be discovered in Tomohon from Manado. There is mat production, fruit and flowers vendors in several parts such as in Tinoor for fruits and Kakaskasen for flowers.

  • Central – Talete, Kamasi, Kolongan, and Matani. Downtown of Tomohon, center of public activities, hospitals, and Mayor office and city hall.
  • West – Woloan and Tara-Tara. Traditional House (knockdown type) production, Woloan Ancient Park where Waruga, the ancient tombs are collected in one area, in the same area are 9 springs.
  • East – Paslaten, Rurukan, Kumelembuai. Vegetable Farms on the slope of Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Masarang, and the famous Tomohon Traditional Market.
  • South – Walian, Sarongsong, Pinaras, Lahendong. Hotspring areas, the outstanding Lake Linow is located in Lahendong.

Understand

Tomohon is an important town in Northern Sulawesi. It is young but holds an important role in tourism of the province. The panorama and nature of Tomohon are attractions for those who travel this far. It lies between two volcanoes, Mt. Mahawu and Mt. Lokon. The town is shaped like a starfish, with long tentacles visible from higher ground. Because of its position on the highland, Tomohon has a very mild climate, for which it is famous. The friendliness of its people is also well known in the region.

Most people in Tomohon are Christian. Christianity plays an important role in all aspects of life. The Christians are diligent churchgoers. Mostly are Calvinist Protestants, members of Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa (abbreviated as GMIM). Instead, the synod of the churches that spread over the Minahasa region is in Tomohon. Christianity has been developing in the area ever since the time of Dutch colonization. Every village in Tomohon has a church from this denomination. The oldest one is GMIM Pniel Kakaskasen 2.

Besides the Calvinists, there is also a Catholic congregation, which is the second biggest in Tomohon. Several parishes exist in Tomohon. The big ones are St. Fransiskus Xaverius in Kakaskasen and St. Joseph. In Kakaskasen, there is a Monastery called Biara Bukit Karmel or Karmel Monastery. There are also other congregations from other denominations such as Pentecostal, Adventist, and several minor denominations. Every village from north to south and east to west has luxurious churches (or at least luxe for its congregation). And also, one village would normally have more than one building according to the number of the denominations. That is one reason you will see a church every several hundred meters.

Holidays

  • Christian

During holiday times, the people will decorate their houses, the lanes, the streets and so on with special themes. For example, during Christmas and New Year Christmas ornaments can be easily found anywhere in town. In several corners and intersections or in front of the church, a big white candle would stand up illuminating the lightless surrounding or a big decorated Christmas tree. Christmas musics starts playing as soon as September. They normally say “the months end in ‘-ber’ are Christmas.” During 1st – 24th December, the smell of Christmas cookies usually fill the air. The standard Christmas cookies in Tomohon such as nastar, kastengels, rambutan, biji-biji, sultana, snow white, kacang koek, corn flakes, and so on. The names of Christmas cookies are varied too. Christmas season would normally end with together with New Year on January 31st. During December, there would always be celebration they called it pre-christmas. In one month, a person could attend more than 10 pre-Christmas celebrations, for example pre-Christmas of the office, of the church, of the neighborhood, the school, the relative, family, youth organization, woman organization, from NGO, Sunday schools and so on. All the celebrations will end in a certain day called “kuncikan”, literally means closing day.

  • Chinese’s Holiday

The Chinese in Tomohon also still maintain their tradition of celebrating Chinese New Year and the biggest festival is on the 15th day after New Year, called Cap Go Meh. There will be a procession of calling the spirits of the Chinese Gods or Goddesses to possess mortal human bodies and they will be carried on sedan chairs from the temple around downtown to bestow their blessings on its believers. In this procession, the possessed mortal will perform magical things such as piercing his own cheek with some solid and sharp stick without from one to the other side without any bleeding out, a sword carrier will hit his own back with a very sharp sword without injuring himself, the other will cut his own tongue without injuring himself as well. This procession usually attracts attention of the whole town.

  • Islamic Holiday

Islam believers, although, a few, but they still have number in Tomohon. There is a special community in Southern Tomohon, they lived in a village called Kampung Jawa, literally means Javanese Village. Idul Fitri and the Month of Ramadhan are also celebrated here. However, there is not special procession for the holidays like at the other cities in Indonesia but praying in the open field on the day of Idul Fitri.

Culture

Tomohon is one of Minahasa Tribe region. Therefore, the Tomohoners are Minahasans. However, Minahasa Tribe is divided into several sub tribes, Tomohon belongs to a sub tribe called Tombulu. Pakasaan Tombulu spreads from Tombuluan in the east of Pineleng and Tombariri in the west and from Tomohon in the south to Manado in the north. Pakasaan Tombulu speaks Tombulu Language, Manado Malay, and Bahasa Indonesia. It is believed that Tomohon is the center of Pakasaan Tombulu. Pakasaan Tombulu in Tomohon, especially those who live in the region of Kakaskasen have special customs that are still maintained up until today.

  • Bakerah Tradition

This is a tradition of steam bath to a woman in several weeks after giving birth to a child. This is a traditional body cleansing process. The process of bakerah will be started by a special woman who has ability to arrange the process. She will boil a pail of water and while in the process, she will also put several special herbs such as leaves of agati tree (sesbania grandiflora) or leaves of hummingbird tree, lemon grass (cymbopogon nardus), kajuputih oil, and several other herbs into the boiling water. After the water boils, she will prepare a bucket or pail and pour the water and the herbs inside the container. The new mother will be asked to sit on a special chair that the bucket is placed under. She will be sitting and having a steam bath for around one hour. She will repeat the process for 7 days in a row.

  • Mapalus

This is a tradition of working together on the farm. A long time ago when modern technology for cultivation was still a dream, people in the highlands of Minahasa, especially in Tomohon, created a system of working the land together, called mapalus. Mapalus is a group of male and female farmers who are associated in a system, bound on their own or by village regulations to cultivate their farm lands. The farmers usually were divided into a timer and the workers. The timer’s function is to watch the time while working, carry the drum and hit the drum or another instrument called a tetengkoren. The process starts at dawn, around 04:30, with the sound of the drum. As the timer hits the drums in a special pattern, the other members of the group come at the appointed time to a house of one member, the intersection, street corner or any other place where they are meeting. Then, guided by the drum carrier, they go to one member’s farm. They work as the sun rises. While working, the workers usually sing songs, either together or responsorily.

  • Kumawus

This is a first or second Sunday of mourn after funeral. Kumawus derives from kawus means finish. I kawus ola, means just finish it, which means the mourn shall be finished. Kumawus means an activity to finish the mourning and all things or issues regarding to the late person. The other point also is that the left family will not have any more customs debt of those who have gone. Also with kumawus, the family was relieved, comforted and strengthened through meetings, fellowship with even more devotions.

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Indonesia

Pontianak Expatriate Guide with Covid-19 Travel Report

Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, and bisected by the Equator. The city is mostly populated by ethnic Chinese, Dayaks and Malays, as well as significant numbers of minorities such as Bugis and Javanese. Understand History of Pontianak The word pontianak — probably from bunting […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Pontianak is the capital of the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, and bisected by the Equator. The city is mostly populated by ethnic Chinese, Dayaks and Malays, as well as significant numbers of minorities such as Bugis and Javanese.

Understand

History of Pontianak

The word pontianak — probably from bunting anak, “pregnant with child” — means the undead vampire of a woman who died while during childbirth. Disguised as a beautiful woman, the pontianak goes around murdering unwary men, harming pregnant woman and eating babies, but they can be controlled by plunging a nail into a hole in the back of their neck.

According to legend, when Abdurrahman Alqadrie’s group arrived in the uninhabited area of Pontianak, it was haunted by pontianaks/kuntilanaks, which deterred many of his companions by their scary voices at night. To sweep these ghosts away, Alqadrie ordered his men to fire their cannons to the forest which was believed to be their base. Afterwards, no more pontianak’s voice was ever heard.

In 1771, Abdurrahman Alqadrie cut down the forest which was at the crossing between Kapuas and Landak river, then settled there. He was awarded the title Sultan. Under his leadership, he succeeded in attracting many traders, most of them ethnic Malays, and some Dayaks from the upstream parts of the Kapuas River.

Following the civil war and widespread poverty in China at the end of the 19th century, many Chinese migrated to Indonesia, and some settled in Pontianak due to its strategic location for trading. This later added Chinese culture to the history of Pontianak. Chinese in Pontianak are mainly of Teochew, Hakka, and Cantonese descent.

In the early part of the 19th century, the Dutch occupied Pontianak and the rest of West Kalimantan’s cities as part of its colonial campaign. Pontianak was occupied to become a trading post in order to gain rich natural resources, mainly rubber and wood, from upstream Kapuas River. Resistance by both ethnic Malays and Dayaks continued sporadically and this forced the Dutch colonial armed forces to frequently request reinforcements from Batavia/Jakarta.

Dutch occupation ended in 1941 during World War II when Japanese Imperial forces overran Dutch bases from the north. These bases were not able to deploy sufficient numbers of soldiers in order to defend the strategic island of Java. During the Japanese occupation, tens of thousands of civilians and intellectuals were massacred, mainly those who refused to recognise the emperor of Japan.

When the Japanese retreated, the Dutch under the Allied Forces umbrella re-entered West Kalimantan. Their colonial government over Pontianak ended a few years later after a series of diplomatic missions and local resistance which also freed the other Indonesian territories at the same time.

People

You may find that Pontianakians of each ethnicity tend to live homogeneously. For example, areas along Jalan Gajahmada are overwhelmingly Chinese whereas Sungai Jawi in the suburb are settled mostly by ethnic Malays. Intermarriage is not common, especially between ethnic Chinese and the indigenous people (Dayaks, Malays, Javanese, Madurese, etc.) But that’s not to say these people like to fight against each other. Visit a restaurant somewhere in the middle of Pontianak and you might find both Chinese and Dayaks chatting hilariously with each other.

The locals of Pontianakians are mostly easygoing, at least compared to those of other metropolitan cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya. Their tone of speaking may not as soft as the Jogjanese, but if you try to blend yourself with them you will almost definitely be reciprocated.

Get in

By bus

Bus trip to Pontianak can be arranged from Kuching in neighboring Malaysia. A trip from Kuching to Pontianak or vice versa will last at least 8 hours which will pass the border area of Entikong. Some of the bus providers serving this route are Damri, SJS and Biaramas Express (www.mybus.com.my). The fares for the trip ranges from RM45 to RM75. Click Pontianak to Kuching for travel itinerary on this route. A bus trip to Brunei is also available. There is also a bus available from Pangkalan Bun. It takes around 14 hours and costs ~450,000 (2018/01).

By plane

  • x-0.150556109.4038891 Supadio Airport. There are very frequent flights from Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport operated by all major Indonesian airlines. In addition, there are flights from many other major Indonesian cities, including Bandung, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Batam, and the larger cities of Kalimantan such as Balikpapan and Banjarmasin. XpressAir operates international flights to Kuching, and AirAsia to Kuala Lumpur.

To get to or from the airport, DAMRI runs hourly bus service to the city centre for IDR35,000. The easiest spot to catch the bus in the city is at the DAMRI office at Jl. Pahlawan 232, Pontianak (phone +62 561 744859). For taxis, coupons at a fixed price of Rp70,000 are sold.

There are Damri Bus from Supadio Airport to Singkawang and Sambas for Rp 100,000/person.

By boat

While being the cheapest inter-island transportation mean, it is recommended only for travellers to board on a ship to Pontianak. Tourists would do better to fly instead. The tide in Java Sea is unstable, which may make you feel sick on board, if you are not used to high tide. A trip will spend 12-18 hours to/from Jakarta. Contact nearest travel agent to conduct your trip.

By car

Pontianak can be reached by car from Kuching in 6-8 hours, although the road is not in very good shape. See Pontianak to Kuching for a detailed itinerary.

Get around

The most convenient way to explore Pontianak is either by taxi or rented car. The entire Pontianak is integrated by road link, parts of which are not well maintained. There are also plenty of cheap (Rp2,000) public buses but sometimes it can be kind of adventure to use them since the buses are not well marked, drivers and most of the locals do not speak English and the orientation is difficult. Also there are boats crossing the river and this is in general the most convenient and the cheapest (Rp1,000) way to get in to the other side.

See

  • Kebun Binatang Pontianak (Pontianak Zoo), Jl. Adi Sucipto, a reconditioned zoo with a reasonable variety of animals from the jungles of Borneo and from some parts of Indonesia. Some of the collection, including some orangutans, were said to had been freed from illegal ownership by an Italian lumber mill owner.
  • Tugu Khatulistiwa (Equatorial Obelisk), built directly under the 0 degrees equator line. It is 11 km from the city centre and is comparably easily and quickly reachable by public buses (Rp2,000). There you can learn lots of interesting facts about the equator and to see how unique is Pontianak, one of the few cities in the world situated exactly on the equator line. There are friendly English-speaking staff and a sоuvenir shop, actually maybe the only one in Pontianak.

Do

  • Sungai Kapuas (Kapuas River) divides Pontianak into two different sides. Get a boat ride along the river about five or six o’clock local time and you will see amazing views along this river. The locals who live along this river taking a bath in this river during these hours throughout the year. A unique tradition that should not be missed.
  • During the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, there is a Meriam Karbit festival that is well worth visiting.

Buy

Equatorial souvenirs from the Equatorial Obelisk sоuvenir shop, as well as, cheap textile and many craftwork items as everywhere in Indonesia.

Eat

Pontianak is quite popular among domestic tourists due to its wide range of food with strong cultural touch, most notably the Chinese. There are plenty of eating options for the culinary adventurers, from street hawker food to local restaurant culinary to internationally franchised fast food.

  • Street hawker food, where you can taste the local delicacy such as Beef Rice Noodle & Beehoon (fried, with soup, dried), Seafood Noodle (with soup & dried), Nasi Goreng (fried rice with chicken, beef), Nasi Uduk, Kwe Kia Theng (Teochew phrase, rice noodle in soya sauce soup with pork and intestines (optional), Bakso (fish or beef ball soup), Sate (chicken or beef satay), Kari Peng (Teochew phrase meaning curry rice), Koi Peng (Teochew phrase literary “chicken rice”, but content also include pork, cucumber, etc. also known as “Nasi Campur” or mixed rice), Martabak, Kue Terang Bulan, Otak-otak, Pempek, Tui Jiu He (Teochew phrase literary “beaten cuttlefish”, dried cuttlefish are beaten until tender and flossy, woodfired until cooked, then served with belacan sauce, best to have it with friends and beer), Sio Bi (also known as Siomay, made of pork served in soya sauce with the options of chilli and mustard), Siomay Bandung (fish cake, beancurd, potato, vegetable, egg served in peanut sauce, with the option of chilli and tomato), He Mue/Bubur Ikan (fish porridge), and many more. These street hawkers are usually found from dusk until 10PM – midnight, depending or business, but some operated from dawn to dusk or midnight. They are usually clustered around busy commercial streets such as the CBD: Jalan (Jl.) Gajahmada, Jl. Hijas, Jl. Setia Budi, Jl. Agus Salim, Jl. Diponegoro, Jl. Patimura, Jl. Nusa Indah 1, Jl. Tanjung Pura, Jl Siam or around the suburban such as Jawi (Jl. Merdeka, Jl. Hassanudin, Jl. Wahid Hasyim), Kotabaru (Jl. St. Abdurrahman), Purnama, Siantan, Sungai Raya Dalam and Sungai Raya. Price per meal ranging from Rp5000 to about Rp25,000.
  • Satria Wangi Dining, Jl. Nusa Indah II No. 62. They have great local menu at very affordable price and average-English-speaking staff. The restaurant is centrally located. Its signature dishes such Ikan Gurame Terbang, Gulai Kepala Ikan, Ikan Jelawat Kukus, and have been featured and reviewed by many national TVs cooking show. 
  • Restoran Star, Jl. GajahMada. Pontianak cuisine 
  • Restoran Gajahmada, Jl. Gajahmada. Pontianak cuisine 
  • Restoran Hawaii, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. Pontianak cuisine 
  • Dangau, Jl. Arteri Supadio. Malay cuisine 
  • Italian Steak House, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. 
  • Sari Bento at Museum, Jl. Ahmad Yani. Japanese food 
  • Papyrus Restaurant at Gardenia Resort and Spa, Jl. A Yani (5 minutes from the airport). offers all-day dining with a selection of Asian, Western, and authentic Indonesian favourites. At open deck area, you can enjoy the views of the landscaped gardens while enjoying the chef’s specialities. 

Talk

Nearly all Pontians, regardless of their ethnicities, speak Bahasa Indonesia, albeit it is slightly mixed with Malay accent close to that of neighbouring Malaysia. Most ethnic Chinese people at the southern bank of Kapuas river speak Teochew, and those at the northern bank speak mostly Hakka (called Khek by locals). Mandarin is spoken mostly by those aged 30 years old or above, but don’t be surprised if they mix it with Hakka or Teochew dialect as it is not very commonly spoken in town. English is mostly spoken by also the young locals, but is usually not mastered beyond some basic knowledge despite many English courses, so it would be wise to know some phrases of Bahasa Indonesia. Hiring an English-speaking guide could smooth your travel a lot.

Stay safe in Pontianak

Pickpockets and motorcycle thefts are quite common in town. Exercise necessary caution even when being in a shopping mall. Be careful when travelling in a public bus (called oplet) as somebody could threaten you with a knife to hand over your valuables. (This safety note is from March 2009 and might be outdated)

Drink

Where to stay in Pontianak

If you arrive by Pelni ferry late at night then it’s better option to sleep aboard until morning as there is usually a long layover at Pontianak.

Budget

  • Hotel Wisma Patri, Pontianak. No air, no fan, no window and fairly mosquito-ridden with no insect spray available. Rp70,000. 
  • -0.0359109.334191 Ateng Guest House, Jl. Gajah Mada No. 201, Pontianak. Located in the centre of the city. All rooms are air conditioned and fairly clean. Breakfast included. Published rate is Rp130,000 single but compare price with Agoda. Travel agent is at the same location. Rp120,000 single. (updated Oct 2016)

Mid-range

  • Hotel Sentral, Jl H.O.S. Cokroaminoto no 232 (Ten minutes walk from drop off point for most Kuching buses, turn right at traffic light.). Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Faded rooms. Staff friendly enough. All have AC and attached bathrooms. On a busy junction between two streets so window rooms will be slightly noisy, (but non window rooms are a bit musty). Travellers have reported overpricing and demands for security deposit from the staff here From Rp160,000. 

Splurge

  • Gardenia Resort and Spa, Jl. A Yani II. 
  • Hotel Sentral, Jl. H.O.S. Cokroaminoto 232. Commercial Hotel 
  • Hotel Gajahmada, Jl. Gajahmada. 
  • Hotel Grand Mahkota. 
  • Hotel Peony, Jl. Gajahmada. 
  • Hotel Kapuas Palace, Jl. Imam Bonjol. 
  • Hotel Kini, Jl. Nusa Indah 3. Double from Rp400,000. 
  • Hotel Mercure, Jl. A. Yani. 
  • Hotel Orchardz, Jl. Gajahmada. 
  • Hotel Santika, Jl. Diponegoro. National Chain Hotel 
  • Star Hotel, Jl. Gajah Mada 189. 

Telecommunications in Pontianak

Phone call

Most national GSM and CDMA operators have their signal towers spread throughout the entirety of Pontianak, meaning that there should not be too many problems communicating around the town and the tariffs are also reasonable, at least for tourists coming from the West. Shops selling SIM cards and their top-ups are also in abundance, even in the outskirts of town, just like in other cities in Indonesia. Fixed line phones are also available everywhere. There are also few phone stalls (Warung Telkom) offering you phone call with a reasonable fare.

Internet access

Internet cafe businesses are flourishing, but you’ll only find a few without distracting gamers like you might find in typical East Asian internet cafes. Don’t worry about the billing (that’s how the locals say). An hour of internet access will cost you Rp3,000-6,000. But don’t expect a speed-of-light one out of it, though. Many locals have internet access varying from snaily dial-up to ISDN (most notably Telkom Speedy) installed in their houses. GPRS and 3G access from your cellphone exists, but you will not necessarily find GPRS signal everywhere even in the middle of the city.

Consulates in Pontianak

  • Malaysia Malaysia Consulate, Jl. Sutan Syahrir No. 21.  

Go next

Pontianak is the gateway for travellers wishing to travel deeper inland. Singkawang, another one of the most Chinese-influenced town is reachable by taxi. Kuching, which lies in the Malaysian part of the island, offers some modernity you wouldn’t find in the Indonesian part.

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Tentena Expatriate Guide with Covid-19 Travel Report

Tentena is a town in Central Sulawesi. Understand Beach at Lake Poso, near Tentena. Tentena sits on the road between Ampana and Rantepao, on the northern shore of Lake Poso. The town itself could be easily overlooked if it were not for the number of guides and locals recommending it as a better option than […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Tentena is a town in Central Sulawesi.

Understand

Image of Destination Guide

Beach at Lake Poso, near Tentena.

Tentena sits on the road between Ampana and Rantepao, on the northern shore of Lake Poso. The town itself could be easily overlooked if it were not for the number of guides and locals recommending it as a better option than Poso for an overnight stop. The main street might be a little underwhelming, however the various warungs and homes build over the clear lake waters, and the surrounding rice fields give this charming little town a surpsising appeal. The community exists on two sides of the lake, connected by a busy concrete traffic bridge and a quieter, wooden foot bridge. The main side of the lake is the more commercial area, while the opposite site has a noticeably quieter and more homely feel.

Tentena is in North Pamona district in the regency of Poso, about 50 km south of regency capital Poso. The headquarters of the Central Sulawesi Christian Church are in Tentena.

Get in

The arrival point is the Bus Terminal – a simple drop-off point on the side of the road. From here its a 4km walk into the main areas of guesthouses and shops. A better option is to flag down a local Ojek (motorbike taxi) to take you and your luggage in for IDR 5,000.

If you are arriving from Rantepao, ‘tourist guides’ will be on hand to suggest accommodation options. They are likely to charge you double the normal rate for an ojek (motorbike taxi) ride; however the late arrival of the bus from Rantepao (anywhere between 8pm and 11pm depending on road conditions) IDR 15,000 – IDR 20,000 (as of Sep 2018).

Get around

  • Ojeks (motorbikes) can take you to most local spots for around IDR 5,000
  • Bemos (a minivan, Kijang [old model Toyota SUV], or minibus] can bring you around.

See

  • Poso Lake: The major tourist attraction within Tentena, which has beautiful clear water, adjacent warungs (and some home-stays under construction) and a peaceful vibe. 2 parallel bridges exist to bring you back and forth. Its worth exploring the opposite side of the lake for guesthouses, homestays, and warungs (kiosk / eatery).
  • Pamona Cave: Near the city center, on the West side, near the new bridge, off to a small road. You would need to squat down and crawl through. Remember to bring mosquito repellent.
  • Saluopa Waterfall: By all accounts the Saluopa Waterfall -while a little tough to reach, about 12km- is one of the best available; notable for the lack of other tourists and businesses. There are approximately 10 drops, each of which you can bathe in. A nice relief from the heat of Sulawesi, and worth if considering if you have time.
  • Lore Lindu National Park: Easier to be accessed from Poso, but it is possible to arranged a trip from Victory Hotel for IDR 2,000,000 (as of Sep 2018)

Eat

Try ‘Sigoli’, a freshwater eel from Lake Poso.

Where to stay in Tentena

  • Victory Hotel a bit old, but has good, clean rooms in both budget (IDR 150,000 per person) and Deluxe (IDR 250,000 with TV and hot shower). All prices include breakfast. A good option for a single night. The hotel is excellent at booking trips and transportation for you (Email: victorytentena@yahoo.com).
  • Tropicana
  • Online Rock Cafe (under construction)

If you’re in town for a few nights, the opposite side (West side) is worth exploring for the peaceful atmosphere (away from the traffic and ‘bussle’) superior views of the lake and nearby farmlands, and good range of warungs (kiosk / eatery).

Telecommunications in Tentena

Go next

All connections in Tentena are made from the Bus Terminal, 4km out of town. Ojeks (motorbike taxi) are easily chartered to take you and your luggage to the Terminal for Rp 5,000.

To Rantepao: Bus connection (10-12 hours, Rp 170,000) (as of Sep 2018).

To Ampana: You need to take Ojeks (motorbike taxi) or Bemos to Tentena Bus Terminal to Poso (2 hours, IDR 40,000), and then transfer to Bus to Ampana (a further 4 hours from Poso, IDR 70,000) or another Bemos (IDR 80,000 – IDR 100,000) (as of Sep 2018). Taxis and private vehicles will hover by the Poso Bus station trying to convince you that the Bus is not available. Predictably, once it is apparent you intend to wait for the bus, the price of Taxis and Private vehicles will become more competitive (sometimes the same price as a bus seat). Private care can be arranged for IDR 800,000 – IDR 1,200,000 (as of Sep 2018).

 

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