Putussibau is the district capital of Kapuas Hulu. With approximately 23.000 inhabitants it is also the largest city of Kapuas Hulu. The inhabitants of Putussibau are primarily Dayak, Melayu and Chinese. The city is located at the upper Kapuas River, about 600 km east of Pontianak, the province capital of West Kalimantan. Putussibau owes its name from the Sibau River, which is beside the Kapuas one of the main rivers of the Kapuas watershed system. The Sibau flows into the Kapuas in Putussibau, then continues in a meandering bow and eventually flows back into the Kapuas. From a bird’s eye-view it looks like as if the Sibau cuts the Kapuas. The Indonesian word for “cut” is “putus”; hence PutusSibau.
Until now Putussibau kept its own charm and is less busy than other district capitals in West Kalimantan, not least due to its quite remote location. The city is constantly growing though. However, it does not offer much entertainment, but is a fairly good place for a stay before exploring the remote regions and national parks in Kapuas Hulu.
“Old” Putussibau stretches along the Kapuas River, mainly on the north side of the river. Here is the traditional food market located and just a few meters away from market is the bus terminal. Unfortunately a major part of the old traditional market has been destroyed by a fire in June 2010. Close to the bridge on the same side of the river is the boat station situated, from where most of the public boats start. The newer urban parts of Putussibau extend along the main road. Here at the main road you can find most of the shops, warungs or restaurants. In the north-east of the city about 2 km away from the river are the administrative and government buildings located.