Putussibau is the capital of Kapuas Hulu within approximately 800 km from Pontianak, West Kalimantan provincial capital. The town is inhabited by approximately 23,000 inhabitants and become the largest city in Kapuas Hulu. The town also becomes the gateway to the two major eco-tourism destination in the heart of Borneo, namely Sentarum National Park and Betung Kerihun National Park.
Besides its location that is not far from Sentarum National Park or Betung Kerihun National Park, Putussibau save another charm as a city that is near the longest river in Indonesia. For the people in Putussibau, the existence of the river is the center of their lives. Most of the people, especially the Dayak tribe lived in long houses once inhabited by dozens of family and standing near the river. The river itself is the place to make a living (food) and a source of water for daily life. Besides, the river also serves as a transportation hub that would connect them to the outside world.
Arriving at Putussibau, walk around Kapuas river bank and Embaloh River upstream. Not only the natural beauty of green that you can enjoy but also you can directly know the life of Dayak community. On the banks of Kapuas River, standing betang Kapuas River (long house) which is the Dayak settlements. Named as longhouse, because the house is truly long house and reach hundreds of meters in length, consists of many booths or rooms. Made of high-quality solid ironwood, the long houses once inhabited by dozens of families. No wonder if a house can have more than 50 booths to accommodate all family members. As the home of many families, the house became the center of another life. In addition as a residence, the house also used for daily activities of the Dayak community, meetings, rituals, ceremonies, cultural performances, and others.
The room called as Ruai or pandopo is the space that is not blocked by board walls. This space is a public space or yard together to play, mingle, meetings, discussions, or hold traditional ceremonies. Another room is for each head of a family that has limited with wall board.
The daily activities that are commonly seen in a long house is where the woman was busy weaving, braiding or making bracelets and necklaces that will be sold as souvenirs. Meanwhile, the men busy carving the wood, sap incise, hunting fish, and others.
Beside in Kapuas River and River Embaloh, the long houses can also be found around Uluk Palin River. It is about 30 minutes from the center of Putussibau town, there longhouses inhabited by sub tribe of Dayak Taman.
Betang home Uluk River Palin is one of the oldest houses Betang in Kapuas Hulu. Betang house built 65 years ago has 54 separate rooms with 286 meters length. The poles made from ironwood stilts above 50 centimeters diameter and has eight meters height. Interior of the building is relatively pure, in design or building materials. This house is use a cane to tie the roof wood. Wooden pegs are used as an extension of the pillars foundation. Located near Putussibau town, Betang house in Uluk Palin has visited by many tourists. You will be greeted friendly, and charges are not collected. You just need to fill the guest book.
If you comes at certain times, you might be able to watch the traditional ceremony, Gawai Dayak. This ceremony is an expression of gratitude to Jubata (God) as they get bountiful harvest, as well as request that the next harvest will prosper. The procession of the ceremony is interesting because it involves many people and include numbers of unique traditional rituals.
You can stay at betang house for a few days. The experience staying at the house can be an unforgettable experience when you feeling Dayak traditional way of life that is worth to trying. Food will be provided by the host and will certainly become the wonderful culinary experience.
If you want to enjoy the rivers close to Putussibau, you can hire a tour fringe of the river using a boat or a motorboat. Boat tours can take you to the fringe of the Kapuas River, Aur gulf, even toward Sentarum Lake and Empangau Lake. Along the river path, you will be able to see the riverside villages, betang antique houses, see the fishing activity, even enjoy the wealth of flora and fauna around the riverbanks.
However, it is important to know that this boat tour takes many hours. For that, you need to plan the trip and ask your guides boat or boat tenant to explain the detail journey. You may also input your one night in river cottage to your itinerary. In Empangau, there are accommodation facilities for those tourist who want to stay in the area. And please note that in Empanagau lake, you can swim.