The Jakarta Post
The Great Mosque of An Nur in Pekanbaru, Riau. (Shutterstock/antoshkaphoto)
If you are a history buff and looking for somewhere to go, Pekanbaru in Sumatra could be your best bet.
With a number of historic places right in the heart of town, the following list includes places recommended by Tempo:
1. Kampung Bandar Harbor
Situated by the Siak River, it is a perfect place for taking pictures.
Every few hours, a tongkang comes to unload from the Panjang strait or Tanjung Pinang. Tongkang is a wooden boat commonly used in the early 19th century to carry goods.
When a bridge connecting Pekanbaru and Rumbai was yet to be built, tongkang carried everyday necessities, such as cooking oil, building materials and groceries.
The harbor is located around 300 meters from point zero of Pekanbaru.
2. Tuan Kadi Halfway House
A traditional halfway house by the name of Tuan Kadi is considered a trademark of Riau. It is located right beside the Siak River, and has been a silent witness of traders coming to and from Riau in the 1800s.
The house used to be a halfway house for the sultan of Siak, frequently visited during his visit from the Inderapura kingdom to the Great Mosque, or Nur Alam Mosque.
Shaped like a typical Malay house on stilts, the building has been through minor changes. On the back side lies the Siak III bridge that connects Riau and Rumbai.
Tuan Kadi Halfway House is located 500 m from Pekanbaru’s point zero.
3. Kampung Bandar House of Weave
Situated around 50 m from the harbor, here you can shop for woven fabric. Inside, you can witness how the weavers work with their simple tools.
There are a number of patterns to choose from. All depict highly regarded Malay values, such as siku keluang, which represents a responsible person.
4. Kim Teng Coffee
The oldest coffee shop in Pekanbaru, it is located on Jl. Senapelan. It also has branches in the town’s shopping malls.
The shop’s trademark is the Hokkien-style coffee. The owner, Kim Teng, was of Chinese descent. He was rumored to have had a role in helping Indonesians fight in wars by smuggling weapons from Singapore.
To visit Pekanbaru from Jakarta, you can fly from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport or Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport. There are a number of options with flight tickets starting from Rp 500,000. (wng)