The Province of the Riau Islands, with Tanjung Pinang as its provincial capital, is blessed with beautiful beaches and cultural attractions. It is located at the crossroads of one of the world’s oldest and busiest maritime routes and is favored as the ideal stopover for trade and commerce in the region. The Riau Islands was once home to maritime gypsies who would seek sustenance from the area’s rich mangrove forests and waterways. Moreover, it was on this island that the Sultan of Malacca found refuge from the invading Portuguese army in the 16th century. The island of Bintan flourished to become the center of the powerful Johor Riau Sultanate.
Tanjung Pinang is a busy town on Bintan Island. It is the provincial capital of the Riau Islands. A museum on Jalan Katamso (Katamso Street) houses artefacts from the historical era of the Sultanate. A large section of the old part of the town was built over the water on stilts in traditional local fashion. Tanjung Pinang is located about 10 kilometers from the airport. This town has two ports; Sri Bintan Pura in Tanjung Pinang and Sri Bayintan in Kijang. Tanjung Pinang has regular flights to Pekanbaru and Natuna.
Catching Turtle in Jemur Island
Catching Turtle in Jemur Island
Jemur Island is one of the nine groups of small islands in Arwah Islands, Riau. Despite its small size, this island has beautiful scenery and natural beauty with its sandy white beach and blue sea. This group of islands is also a conservation of endangered fauna and home to green turtle breeding.
The Jemur Island zone is about 45 minutes from the capital city of Rokan Hilir Regency, Bagansiapiapi. Unfortunately, tourists who would like to come to this island and to see the turtle breeding will not have an easy journey to get to this place. Other than the fishermen’s boats, tourists can also use rental speedboat with 60 to 100 passengers according to the size of the speedboats. It takes about two hours to get to Jemur Island from Bagansiapiapi Sea Port.
Batam resort and Golf Course
Batam Island is an island strategically designated as a center of industry, tourism and trade. It lies close to Singapore. The Nongsa recreational area has international hotels, four golf courses, a marina sports facility and a forest reserve. Batam is a two–hour’s ferry ride away from Tanjung Pinang and about half an hour’s flight from Singapore.
Parasailing on a beach in Bintan
International investors have constructed many hotels, integrated worldclass resorts with luxurious spa facilities and international golf courses on the island of Bintan. Other developments include industrial parks, medical, commercial and banking facilities. The Riau Islands offer many unforgettable sights and experiences such as Pasar Ikan (Fish Market), where one can get excellent fresh seafood and vegetables at bargain prices. There are also the Akau or Night Market, Pelantar (Water Villages) and shops selling local handicrafts. For a memorable experience, why not try fishing on a kelong or wooden offshore platform.
Karimun Island is one of the chief islands in the Riau Islands due to its thriving economy and proximity to Singapore. Tanjungbalai Karimun is a medium-sized town, with a large ethnic Chinese population and shops selling a wide variety of imported items. The island is located in a shipping lane in the Malacca Strait. Karimun gateway can be reached by international ferry from Malaysia and Singapore.
And in Karimun island you will find Pongkar Waterfall and recreational park is an interesting place close to Mount Jantan. Located in preserved forest, it is accessible for taxi, bus or motorbike about 30 minutes from Tanjung Balai Karimun. Restaurant, recreational park and small swimming pool are available near the water fall. This recreational park and water fall is always visited by foreign and domestic tourists to have leisure time.
Natuna Archipelago is part of the vast province which embraces all of the islands off the Riau mainland. The main island clusters of the Natuna Archipelago are: Anambas, Natuna, South Natuna and Tambelan. Matak Island at present serves as a base for offshore oil exploration. Colorful corals and reef fish are found in the water surrounding these islands. South Natuna comprises the islands Serasan, Panjang and Subi. The surf is strong on these islands and the scenery impressive.
Cruise the waters between the many islands surrounding Senayang by boat for a thrilling water adventure. Excellent tour packages are available, which include cycling, bush walking, swimming, snorkeling and diving.
Pulau Penyengat (is meaning Stinging Island). When discovered for the first time, Penyengat Island was an island populated with hordes of stinging bees. It is six kilometers from Tanjung Pinang, and can be reached in 15 minutes by boat. This island is the seat of the powerful Bugis viceroys of Riau during the 18th century. Penyengatstill bears the traces of its illustrious past. Ruins, abandoned for almost 70 years, were recently restored. The old ruler’s palace and royal tombs are among the legacies left by the Riau Sultanate. Still in use is the old vice royal mosque, the Masjid Raya. There is also a newly built cultural center where Malay music and dance performances are staged.
Daik is a small town with many historical relics of the Riau Lingga Kingdom, such as those in Penyengat Island. This town can be reached by speedboat from Tanjung Pinang. Lingga Island is home to many species of flora and fish unique to this area. Another object of interest is the three-peaked Mount Daik.
Sea Gardens with beautiful corals and fish are found in the waters around the islands of Mapor, Abang, Pompong, Balang and Tanjung Berkait.
Batu Bedaun Beach
Batu Bedaun Beach in Dabo Singkep area is a popular hangout for teenagers. The beach is situated 20 kilometers from Dabo, with clean, white sands, blue waters and small waves.
Trikora Beach is about 40 kilometers south of Tanjung Pinang on the eastern side of the island. Good beaches are also found on the islands of Terkulai and Soreh, about an hour’s trip away by boat.
Melur Beach is located in Galang Island. It is just next to Jembatan V. This beach has been frequented by many visitors due to its white sand and limitless views, clean and clear sea water. On this beach many activities can be enjoyed for example, swimming and having fun with the sea water. Other than a place to relax, this Menur Beach is also a great place to do sport activities like beach volley and beach football.
Pongkar beach is a white sand beach located in Tebing Sub district. This beach is so potential to become marine tourism site where people can do fishing, sailing or water sports activities. This location can be reached in 30 minutes drive using local transports like taxi, bus, or motorbike from Tanjung Balai Karimun. Around the site stand a stage for art activities.
Sawang Beach is the longest beach in Riau Archipelago. Visitors can use taxi or motorbike to walk along the beach. From Tanjung Batu it takes around 30 minutes. Besides the beautiful beach, visitors can also go to the villages where they can directly experience the daily life of the locals with their fishing business and the making of typical Sawang salted egg.
Lubuk beach is in Kundur Sub district, Sawang village. It takes 60 minute-drive on car from Tanjung Batu city to reach this site. This beach has different natural characteristics from the other beaches found in Karimun District. There are big stones around which grow mangroves. The other attraction of this beach is the sacred tomb built by a Singaporean tourist.
Sultan Syarif Kasim Museum
The Sultan Syarif Kasim Museum preserves various valuable collections of the Siak Sulatanate among others are the golden throne of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate, miniature of Siak Sri Indrapura palace, royal umbrella of the Siak Sulatanate, symbols of the Siak Sultanate and cannon of Datuk Laksamana Raja Dilaut, along with gong and keris (a wavy-bladed ceremonial dagger). In this museum visitors can fi nd the sultanate family tree, the history book of Bengkalis, the book of Azanul Ambiak, the book of Sultan Syarif Kasim, royal insignia of Sultan Syarif Kasim, royal stamp and shoes of the sultan’s wife. This museum keeps as well various craft collections like potteries such as bowl to wash hands, curtains, batik, handwoven textiles with bright colors, old coin collection.
Sang Nila Utama Riau Regional Museum
As the other museum across the country, the architecture of this building also blends the local traditional with modern style. This museum comprises several buildings with 3,892.5 square meters wide totally on some 16,930 square meters. Negeri Riau Museum situated in Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Tangkerang, Pekanbaru was fi rst build in 1978 and was completed in 1999. It has 4,504 collection items comprising 1,593 ethnographic items, 516 historical items, 50 archeological artifacts, 24 replicas, 33 geology-related items, 725 ceramics, 243 biology-related items, 10 technological items, 170 philological items and 95 references and many more.
As the other parts of Malay world with exotic culinary wealth, this archipelago is no exception. One of the unique meals of this area is Mie Lendir (literally Phlegm Noodle) consisting of noodle, bean sprouts, boiled egg, with thick sauce on top and so it looks pretty much like phlegm. It appears weird but its deliciously pungent taste and yet not too spicy has made this food special and serves as the major meal in Batam. Mie Lendir with pungent taste can be enjoyed with slices of small green chili.
Another specialty from Bintan Island is the siput gonggong, an endemic kind of shellfish of the Bintan Island waters. This special kind of shell is then cooked by boiling it with salt and slices of ginger. Before being boiled the shells are washed and its hard shells are cleaned. The blend of salt and ginger will wash away the phlegm and fishy smell. When already cooked, this seashell is ready to be served.
To have the meat of gonggong shellfish, it is recommended to use tooth pick. Using the tooth pick, the meat inside the shell is pulled out. When pulling the meat, you should follow the shell shape because if it is not done in a right way you would not have the whole meat. This special shellfish is usually served either with spicy soy sauce or peanut sauce.