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zaktim Pekanbaru - A travel report by Tim
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Pekanbaru,  Indonesia - flag Indonesia -  Riau
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zaktim's travel reports

Pekanbaru: the masochist's gateway to Indonesia.

  6 votes

Pekanbaru is a dirty industrial city in the steamy lowlands of eastern Sumatra. It is widely held as dangerous, unpleasant and without attraction. I only saw it at midnight, but that seemed a fair summary. However, it is an important part of the water and land route from Singapore to Indonesia. You could fly from here to somewhere better, or really push your personal limits and get on a bus. Bring earplugs.

Favourite spots:
On the island-hopping route from Singapore you need several ferries and several taxis. These become progressively less salubrious as you get further into Indonesian territory. The last of the ferries is a ripper, taking 13 hours, it takes you up a major river (I forget which one - there are lots in this part of the world), inland about 200km or so to Pekanbaru. Your ticket awards you a patch of wooden shelf about 6 feet long by 1.5 feet wide, separated from the adjacent patches by removable wooden dividers. You'll meet the occasional English-speaking person, but it's a more rewarding experience if you speak Indonesian.

What's really great:
That i managed to get a bus out of the city a mere 6 hours after I arrived in it.

Sights:
the smog pretty much curbs this faculty.

Accommodations:
There'll be plenty of backpacker-type hostels (called 'losmen') in town. If you need to find one, stop someone and ask permisi, ada losmen dimana? (literally, excuse me, there is a losmen where?)

Other recommendations:
Head west into the mountains where indonesia is infinitely more rewarding.

Published on Sunday January 26th, 2003


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