Singkawang, The City of Thousands Chinese Temples

Singkawang is the capital of West Kalimantan and the second largest city in the province that bordering the State of Sarawak, Malaysia. Unlike other towns in Indonesia, Singkawang has a distinct oriental atmosphere with hundreds of Chinese temples found around almost every corner of town. This is because over 70 percent of Singkawang’s population is of Chinese descent, predominantly of the Hakka tribe with some Teochew.

Others are Malays, Dayaks and other Indonesian ethnic groups. One of the oldest temples here is the Tri Dharma Bumi Raya temple that established in 1878 dedicated to the God of the forest, or Tua Peh Kong. Normally a quiet city, Singkawang comes alive each Chinese New Year, reaching its climax at Capgome, or the fifteenth day of Chinese New Year, closing the celebrations.

Singkawang is also famous for its Chinese ceramics, still produced in the old style with “antique” designs. Besides visiting the many temples, especially the main temple at Tri Dharma Bumi Raya, Singkawang is famous for its food centres which come alive at night. Most popular is the Pasar Hongkong, where you can find a large variety of food, including porridge, nasi lemak, Rujak Ju Hie (hot fruit salad with dried squid) a specialty of Singawang, and tofu Singkawang. The city also has many coffee shops known as Kopi Tiam.

For recreation, you can visit Pasir Panjang Beach (Long Beach) about 17 km from the center of the city. Besides enjoying the beautiful tranquil scenery, the beach also offers beach activities including boat rental, water bikes, go-karts, souvenir shops and plenty of food stalls.

Get There

Since Singkawang has no airport, you must first fly to Pontianak then continue to Singkawang by private car, taxi or public bus.

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