Singkawang City, West Kalimantan – Travel Back in Time

Submitted by mumunmumun on 16 April 2014   •  Itinerary

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Traveled to Singkawang in November 2012 

Not many people would travel to Singkawang outside of the Cap Go Meh celebration, which is the party of the year in this town. Yet, we did. We visited Singkawang just to say hi to the locals and see the city in daylight (some might say). The city was slow; the people were fair skinned with small eyes. It felt like traveling to old Hong Kong or somewhere similar, unlike most of the cities in Indonesia. It was a surprising ambience, though we didn’t have any expectations.

Hi, Singkawang!

 Singkawang City - the Tridharma Bumi Raya temple at night

Activities in Singkawang

Walk the city

Within this small sleepy town, it seems there’s not much to do. However maybe, just maybe, sleepy cities are where you can do more exploring. You can take the pace down a notch, talk to people, and explore a venue a lot deeper. We saw houses dating back to 100 years, talked to barbers, and learned that flowers are not the only way to send your greetings.

Here’s what we saw after a whole day of exploring Singkawang. Link.

 Singkawang City - even the locals walk the city

Have coffee at a coffee shop

The west coast of Kalimantan turned out to have a coffee habit, Singkawang included. The people have a tradition to hang out at coffee shops and have a cuppa before, in between, and sometimes after work. We popped in a local coffee shop just to see what this tradition was all about, and well, to have a better breakfast than the one from the hotel.

For more of the coffee shop we had in Singkawang, head to the link here.

Singkawang City - Coffee from the market



Singkawang Chum!


It is said that Singkawang is known for its ‘kwetiau’ or rice cake strips. We did try to look for a good place to eat but eventually just settle with a mediocre tasting dish from a street food stall. Well, it was enough to keep Vira happy and away from attempts to do criminal acts.

Most of the time kwetiau is served fried, complete with veggies and pieces of meat. A portion cost about IDR 10,000.

 Singkawang City - fried kwetiau


Another thing you can feast on in Singkawang is durian. During our visit, apparently Singkawang was flooding with it. Vira had durians in her eyes as apposed to stars, because she is a durian fan. And by fan I mean those huge fans that people use to create storms in movies. Big fan!

Many of my friends know that I’m a buzz kill when it comes to durian because I don’t like it, but that didn’t stop Vira in making me watch her eat a fruit on her own at the market. Ick! A fruit cost IDR 5,000 at that time.

Singkawang City - eating durian at the market

Ironically, I’m a big fan of durian ‘lempok’, which is a product of durian and no, it’s not ‘dodol’. I could eat myself silly when it comes to ‘lempok’. And so, I bought some for a fix at a random durian store on a corner store. They were really good!

I think it cost IDR 75,000 / pack, at the time.

Singkawang City - durian stall in a corner

Street snacks

Don’t forget to try some street food. While most of them look pretty similar, some might be different than the others. Found this snack of black sticky rice within a dough and fried to crisp. After 1.5 years, I can still taste it. I can’t recall it to be expensive, maybe about IDR 2,000 for 3 pieces. Heavenly!

 Singkawang City - street snacks


This is actually something from Pontianak but we found it during our trip back from Singkawang. It’s sticky rice with mini shrimps inside. It’s wrapped in banana leaf to then be tied to small bamboo sticks and grilled.

I think Vira had a go, as I can’t remember what it tasted like. However, she too had forget what it tasted like. What don’t have a go and tell us instead? 😀



Where To Sleep In Singkawang

Hotel Prapatan, Singkawang 

Hotel Prapatan is located in the middle of town. It’s a pretty standard hotel with the usual hotel basics, such as AC, bathroom and TV. The location was quite awesome being in the middle of the city and we could walk around the city central. Arriving in the city one day ahead of me, it was Vira who picked this hotel. It was one of the budget hotels that the driver recommended to her, concerning better reputation than some others and the strategic location.

Two things I remember about it were the room was lime green, uncommon color for a hotel room, and it had a huge window, which I like. Rooms are about IDR 220,000 – IDR 450,000 / night.

Prapatan Hotel, Singkawang

Hotel Prapatan

Jl. Sejatera No 1, Singkawang

Telephone: (0562) 636888, 631067


Getting There and Around Singkawang

To travel to Singkawang, one can travel with a public taxi service from Pontianak, which uses private cars, and is called ‘travel’. These services are spread around Pontianak to various destinations such as Singkawang and Putussibau. Travel time to Singkawang is about 3 hours with resting time after about 2 hours at a restaurant picked by the driver. You’ll have time to stretch.

Travel cost about IDR 100,000 / pax/

We took a travel from recommended by the Gardenia Hotel from Pontianak.

As for getting around, we walked 🙂


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1 year ago

Hey hi, can i ask if there are any peranakan communities in Singkawang? If yes, which part of town would it be?

1 year ago

Hi, would you know of any peranakan communities/town in singkawang? Is there a particular area of cluster?

1 year ago
Reply to  mumun

Thanks a lot for response!