Located in the province of the same name, with more than 1.200.000 inhabitants and around 3.000 incredible islands and islets, the Riau Islands are listed among the main tourist attractions of Indonesia not only because of their stunning nature but also because of their rich culture.
Breath-taking beaches, incredible jungles, ancient temples as the marks of the different religions, and amazing hotel accommodation are only some parts of the diverse tourist offer of Riau Islands.
Introduction to Riau Islands
The main part of Riau population consists of people with Malay or Javanese origins. Most of them are Muslims, and you can hear them speak Indonesian, Chinese, or Malay language.
Tanjung Pinang – The Center of Archipelago
The wonderful city of Tanjung Pinang is located in the southern area of Bintan. For a long time through the history, it was considered as a nice peaceful town but nowadays it is the busy capital of the Riau archipelago and the commercial port that doesn’t only connect the islands of this archipelago, but also represents an important connection with Singapur.
Having in mind that one of the main economic activities in this area is fishing, there is no wonder that Tanjung Pinang is also an important spot of gathering for numerous cargo ships bringing fish from the islands of this archipelago.
In addition to its important economic role, this beautiful area is a home for more than 200.000 people and it gathers a large number of tourists coming from all over the world to enjoy not only the incredible temples and various ancient monuments, but also, some of the most spectacular seafood meals, with the vivid food stands all around the city. Chilli crabs, spicy sauces, oysters, grilled fish? It’s up to you!
The Most Popular Islands of Riau Archipelago
The island of Batam is well-known as the island which is the home to the city of the same name, that represents the largest city in the entire archipelago. In addition to that, it is probably one of the most important industrial centers of the archipelago, located in between the islands of Bintan, Galang, Rempang and Bulan.
What to do in Batam?
First of all, don’t miss the chance to visit Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya, which is one of the most famous Buddhist temples, popular for the numerous laughing Buddha statues that beautifully surround the enormous complex that nowadays includes a vegetarian restaurant, numerous food stalls, and an orphanage.
Another interesting spot on the island is the Barelang Bridge, the bridge complex that includes seven bridges and is usually visited by the tourists who want to experience the lifestyle of the native people who live on the other side of the bridge, and enjoy the cheap local seafood restaurants.
One more reason for visiting this charming island is the perfect opportunity of enjoying various water sports, trekking and cycling activities, as well as playing golf on some of the most spectacular courses in the world.
Being the largest island of the archipelago and home of Tanjung Pinang, the capital of the archipelago, the island of Bintan has an amazing tourist offer of places to visit and things to do. We’ve mentioned Tanjung Pinang, but that’s not all.
What not to miss in Bintan?
Besides the incredible beaches, crystal clear waters splashing the coasts, and vivid nightlife, Bintan is famous for:
- The extraordinary world-class hotels
Hotels in the area of Bintan, especially the ones that belong to Bintan Resorts, located in the area of the north coast of the island, are said to be the most spectacular in the entire Asia. Offering the incredible accommodation and a wide variety of complementary services and activities such as luxurious spas, beautiful private beaches and, of course, stunning golf courses, Bintan is definitely a great place to stay and have complete pleasure.
- The island of Penyengat
Even though it’s a pretty small island, Penyengat, which is a 15-minute boat ride away from the capital, is a historically significant spot of the island of Bintan, for various reasons. First of all, it is the place where the Malay language appeared and gave the basis for the development of Indonesian language; and it also was the center of the Queen of the Johor-Riau kingdom, among its various other important roles, so it definitely offers a wide variety of places to discoverB and things to learn.
- The island of Nikoi
The island of Nikoi is another island that can be considered as an obligatory part of the tourist route for the visitors of Bintan since it is located only half-an-hour boat ride from Bintan. Representing a resort island, this paradise island is an exquisite option for the lovers of nature and peaceful vacations. You’ll be able to enjoy birds singing and to admire the huge banyan trees while feeling the splashes of water from the Chinese sea and sunbathing on the beautiful white-sanded beach. Surf during the day and listen to live jazz performances in the evening hours. Doesn’t it sound just amazing?
If you are looking for fun on the beaches, and not any beaches, but the best ones, then you are looking for the island of Great Karimun, located only 50 kilometers away from Batam island, whose capital is Tanjung Balai Karimun. So, let’s check out the best beaches in Great Karimun!
- Sawang Beach, located half-an-hour drive from the city of Tanjung Batu, provides you a really nice experience since it doesn’t only offer a wonderful sandy coast, but also experiencing the local lifestyle through the interaction with the local people fishing in this area.
- Palawan Beach offers a really nice ambience – white sand and pretty restaurants. It is a great option for a weekend escape from the city since it is only 30 minutes away from Tanjung Balai.
The Pongkar waterfall
It definitely is not a beach, but it surely promises a spectacular experience, hidden near Palawan Beach, with a recreation park. Climbing on the top of this waterfall and jumping into its pool, getting in touch with the intact nature, hiking and trekking are only some of the amusing activities you can enjoy while visiting this incredible waterfall.
Kundur Island – The Diamond of Karimun
If you are visiting the islands that are included in Karimun archipelago, then you should not miss Kundur Island, which represents a really nice destination, offering some really great beaches in the western and southern areas of the island, as well as some historical and mythological spots, and the ancient parts of the city, such as Tanjung Berlian, Prayun, and many others. It is also a pretty nice place to be if you are a lover of exotic fruits, such as rambutan, durian, and kundur, which is, obviously, a trademark of the island, so don’t miss the chance to taste all of them!
Providing not only the great scenery and amazing landscapes, but also the extraordinary restaurants and accommodation places, as well as the historically important and interesting monuments and locations, and a large number of different sports and recreation activities, the Riau islands could be an ideal vacation choice, especially for people who enjoy spending time in nature and exploring the historical places. What place in the Riau archipelago would you visit first?