Journey back to the reign of Kings and Queens who once ruled the islands of the Riau Kingdom
Journey back to the reign of Kings and Queens who once ruled the islands of the Riau Kingdom. Pulau Penyengat, an offshore island from Tanjung Pinang, is known as the royal abode of the kings. It was also the central seat of power during the final phase of the Malay kingdom.
Begin your journey back to the past as you board a pompong (water taxi) at the pier from Tanjung Pinang to Penyengat Island. It will be easy to spot the jewel of the island—Masjid Raya Sultan Riau (Sultan of Riau’s Grand Mosque) in striking royal yellow.
Upon arrival, hire a becak (motorised trishaw) to visit the various historical sites or simply take a breezy walk around the island mostly sheltered with greenery. Pulau Penyengat came into the historical spotlight when Sultan Mahmud III (1761-1812) gifted the island to his new wife, Engku Puteri Raja Hamidah in a political move to strengthen ties between Malays and the Bugis.
A becak tour begins at Raja Hamidah’s tomb where her family members and an entourage of servants surround her. Their headstones all draped with the royal colour of yellow. The queen’s revered father, Raja Haji Fisabilillah, has a separate tomb located on the island. He was awarded National Hero of Indonesia for his resistance efforts against the Dutch; Tanjung Pinang’s domestic airport is named after him.
Other mausoleums of the royal bloodline are also situated on the island along with noteworthy buildings such as the Istana Kantor (Office Palace) of Raja Ali Haji. A prominent figure who was also honoured as National Hero like his grandfather, Raja Ali Haji was a scholar who was recognised as the first authoritative lexicographer of the Malay language. His other great works include the Gurindam Dua Belas and Tuhfat al-Nafis.
The Custom Hall is a building modelled after a typical Malay stilt house where some fixtures of a traditional Malay wedding setup can be found inside. The structure which also serves as a venue for islanders to host special events and festivals. Look out for the small souvenirs stalls selling hand-made crafts located beside the different sites including the Custom Hall.
A short climb up will lead you to Fort Bukit Kursi, usually the last stop before you leave the island. Equipped with multiple rusty canons overlooking the vast South China Sea, the site was built to defend the kingdom against Dutch invaders and was deemed as one of the best fortresses during its days. Take a moment here to revel in the picturesque views and illustrious past of the island. With such fascinating memorabilia left on Pulau Penyengat, there is little wonder that the island has been awarded the ‘Certificate of Excellence’ by TripAdvisor and along with all its attractions, pending listing as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Step back to the present and enjoy a seafood lunch in Tanjung Pinang. Before you return to your resort, head to Bintan Indah Mall and Tanjung Pinang City Center for a shopping spree.
- 09:00am - Pick-up from hotel, drive past Gunung Bintan and transfer to Penyengat island by water taxi
- 10:30am - Arrive Penyengat island and tour around by becak (moto bike rickshaw)
- 12:00am - Transfer to Tanjung Pinang for shopping time at Bintan Mall
- 01:00pm - Local Seafood Lunch at Tanjung Pinang
- 02:00pm - Tour around Tanjung Pinang, fruit market, shopping time at Tanjung Pinang City Centre Mall
- 03:30pm - Transfer back to the Hotel
- 05:00pm - Arrive at Hotel
Local Seafood Lunch Menu (subject to changes):
- Tofu & Vegetables Soup
- Sweet & Sour Fish
- Garlic Chicken
- Flower Crab
- Steamed Rice
- Seasonal Fruits
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