Pontianak to Kuching

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This article is an itinerary.



Traveling from Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province in Indonesia to Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, or vice-versa, in a day can be easily done by flying, driving, or by catching buses. Of course, the level of comfort, and how much you end up spending, will depend on what mode you choose.

Contents

Understand

Getting from Pontianak to Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, can be seen as one leg of the "Extended Borneo Overland Trail" which can be covered continuously between Tawau at the southeastern tip of Sabah, and Pontianak at the western end of Borneo. Sabah and Sarawak are both part of Malaysian Borneo, while West Kalimantan is an Indonesian province but the trail also require you to pass through the expansive sultanate of Brunei which lies more or less in between the two states of Malaysia.

The stretch covered by this leg can be both challenging and fascinating; challenging because it involves travelling through some of the more remote corners of West Kalimantan and Sarawak where the roads may not be at their best. The trip can also be fascinating because you will get to see the contrasting differences between the Indonesian and Malaysian side of Borneo.

This itinerary basically just shows you the way to get from Pontianak to Kuching and does not leave you much time for any diversions.

Prepare

There isn't really that much to prepare for as the route goes through many small towns where you will be able to get food and drinks -- and accommodation if you get stranded -- without any problems, although the accommodation in the Indonesian side (except in Pontianak where 3-4 stars hotels and international chain restaurants such as Pizza Hut and KFC are available) of the travel tends to be very basic. If you are driving, just make sure that your car is in good condition as there are many stretches where you'll have to wait for a while before you can thumb a lift to the nearest mechanic.

As the route brings you across state and international borders, make sure you satisfy the necessary immigration requirements.

Get in

Go

There are several ways in which you can make the journey between Pontianak and Kuching.

By plane

The fastest and most comfortable, but also the most expensive is through Batavia Airlines [1] which operates four flights weekly and Kalstar Aviation which operates daily flight between Pontianak and Kuching. The flight takes about 40 minutes. There is also talk about Air Asia and MAS Wings potentially servicing this route.

By car

Even with your own car, the journey from Pontianak to Kuching by road is taxing, taking anything between eight and ten hours. The road condition is partly sealed, with much of the roads in extremely poor condition requiring you to slow down to a crawl or complete stop to navigate potholes.

The journey is described in stages from Pontianak to Kuching. If you are traveling the other direction, just take the stages in reverse:

For your information, Kuching city lacks vital signboards, especially the one leading to Petra Jaya, Santubong, and other suburban areas. Always have your maps handy to avoid being lost in the city as Kuching is a considerably large city.

By VAN

KUCHING TO TEBEDU RM15 DIRECT NO SERIAN

By CAB

ENTIKONG TO PONTIANAK RM35 SHORTER THAN BUS

By bus

There are plenty of bus companies between Pontianak and Kuching. The cost of a return economy class ticket is about IDR250,000 (USD26, 40-50 seats per bus), IDR140,000 for one-way (At some places it is also possible to pay in MYR since most of the companies are malaysian). While a more comfortable Super Executive class is IDR300,000 (USD32) for return trip (larger size 20-25 seats per bus). There is no regional bus terminal in Pontianak; buses are based at their own company offices. Most of the bus companies' offices are at Jl. Sisingamangaraja No.155-159 and this is maybe the major point. (The office of one of the major Malaysian companies - SJS, is there. Tel. (0561) 734626,739544,765651.) Also you may check for info at Biaramas (other major Malaysian company) web page [2] after registration. There are buses in the morning and in the evening. In evenings the journey from Pontianak usually starts around 9.00 PM WIB (Waktu Indonesia Barat - Western Indonesian Time) with all buses traveling in convoy, the journey is comfortable as drivers are driving moderately. Reaching the border check-points between 4.00 - 6.00 AM WIB (with one or two rest stops in between) just as the checkpoints open their gate. The journey from checkpoints to Kuching is another 2 hours at moderate driving, reaching Kuching regional bus terminal at 7.00 - 9.00 AM Malaysian Standard Time (1 hour ahead of Western Indonesian Time).

Buses from Kuching regional bus terminal to Pontianak leave on two schedules, Economy class leaves at 7.00 AM and 1 PM Malaysian Standard Time, while Super Executive class leaves at 11.00 AM Malaysian Standard Time.

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