The capital of Riau province, on the island of Sumatra, Pekanbaru rests on the banks of the Siak River. Pekanbaru was named the Adipura or “cleanest city” in 2011 for the seventh consecutive time. Up till today, Pekanbaru remains a beautiful and clean city. Pekanbaru is also a populous city, being an attractive stop for the citizens who are used to migration or “merantau” as they say in Bahasa Indonesia. Today, Pekanbaru is a highly urbanized city that sees a lot of activity. The city also houses citizens of many religions and each of these religions is represented by a place of worship with exquisite architecture. Here are the best things to do in Pekanbaru!
1. Great Mosque
Also known as Masjid Raya Senapelan and a must-visit for lovers of Malay history and culture, the Grand Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Riau, dating back to the 18th-century and housing the tombs of the fourth and fifth princes of the Siak Sri Indrapura Kingdom. Although the mosque has been renovated, it still retains six columns from the original structure. It is located nearby other attractions; namely the Siak River and Pasar Bawah.
Address: Jln. Masjid | Kampung Bandar, Senapelan, Pekanbaru 28153, Indonesia
2. An-Nur Grand Mosque
Boasting beautiful jade-green domes, the An-Nur Grand Mosque is one of the most beautiful mosques in Indonesia. It is also known as the Taj Mahal of Indonesia. Located on sprawling grounds, the sheer size of this mosque is enough to draw fascination and is definitely the central focus of the town. The praying areas can hold 4,500 worshippers at any one time.
An-Nur Grand Mosque
Address: Jln. Hang Tuah, Pekanbaru 28281, Indonesia
3. Muara Takus
Although Riau has a rich Islamic history, Buddhist civilizations existed as well. Muara Takus, a temple complex, is proof of a once thriving Buddhist civilization in Riau. Built during the Srivijaya Empire, not much else is known about the origins of the temple except that it was built with the villagers and was constructed with ingenuity. Locals, however, believe that it was constructed at the request of a princess that came from India as a condition for her migration to Riau. As such, it is said that the temple bears some resemblance to the Asoka Temple in India.
Address: Kampar Regency, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
4. Museum Sang Nila Utama
The Sang Nila Utama Museum, otherwise known as Museum Negiri Riau, is a heritage museum that showcases artifacts of Riau-Malay heritage. This includes traditional Malay wedding costumes and musical instruments. Right next to the museum is the Riau Cultural Park where art and cultural performances are held. Many schools have their school trips here and if you’re lucky, there might even be traditional wedding processions taking place.
Museum Sang Nila Utama
Address: Tangkerang Pekanbaru Jl. Jenderal Sudirman No.194, Tengkerang Tengah, Marpoyan Damai, Pekanbaru City, Riau 28282, Indonesia
5. Mall Ciputra Seraya
One of the most crowded malls in Pekanbaru, Ciputra Siraya Mall may not be as big as other malls in Pekanbaru, but it certainly has many outlets and shops that many locals and travelers frequent. One of the reasons why it is immensely popular is also because it has a great cinema, one of the few in Pekanbaru. If you are there, make sure to try the churros and the fried bananas!
Mall Ciputra Seraya
Address: Jl. Riau no. 58, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
6. Minas Elephant Training Center
Take this once in a lifetime opportunity to ride Sumatran elephants! Visitors to this training centre have gladly reported that the elephants are treated well and their handlers were very equipped to deal with both elephants and guests simultaneously. Visitors can either ride with a saddle or bareback and can join the elephants for their wash. Be warned, do bring an extra pair of shoes and a change of clothing if you wish to join the elephants for their wash.
Minas Elephant Training Center
Address: 28464, Minas Jaya, Minas, Kabupaten Siak, Riau 28464, Indonesia
7. Mall Ska Pekanbaru
The biggest mall in Pekanbaru, this mall is the go-to place for the youths who love to shop. On the weekend, the mall can be quite crowded but it is still navigable and comfortable to be at. There is a whole range of shops from electronics to textiles. The mall also hosts many foreign brands and eateries such as Bakerzin and Pepper Lunch.
Mall Ska Pekanbaru
Address: Jalan Sukarno Hatta, Pekanbaru, Indonesia
8. Air Mertua Waterfall
The track to this waterfall can be a little tough for the beginner but for avid climbers, this is quite an adventurous hike. But once you get to the waterfall, you’ll be left in awe. Locals who frequent the waterfall often have their lunch breaks while taking time to swim at the site before continuing their hike.
Air Mertua Waterfall (Air Terjun Aek Martua)
Address: Desa Tangun, Kecamatan Bangun Purba, Kabupaten Rokan Hulu, Propinsi Riau, Indonesia
9. Wisata Alam Mayang Pekanbaru Park
Wisata Alam Mayang Pekanbaru is a park in a soothing green landscape with lots of activities in a natural environment. Step out of the rush of the city and picnic. There are small cafes dotted around that sell food and drinks. If you’d like to catch some fish, go ahead. Species like tilapia and siam can be caught and released, or taken home for your meal. Shops that supply fishing equipment are in the park. There’s much more to do. From rowing boats to water bikes, banana boats and movies, there’s something for everyone.
Wisata Alam Mayang Pekanbaru
Address: JL. H. Imam Munandar, Taman Alam Mayang, Tengkerang Tim., Tenayan Raya, Kota Pekanbaru, Riau 28131
10. Dine at Pondok Patin H.M. Yunus for authentic Indonesian food
Experience traditional Indonesian food at a popular restaurant. Pondok Patin H.M. Yunus opens from 7 am in the morning and serves meals through to 10 pm. The prawn dishes are delicious and the authentic Patin curry is a must-try. Fish is the main menu item, but you can try the mango dessert, Laksamana Mengamuk, for something really different. How about the Patin fish with hot and sour soup? If you don’t enjoy fish, they also offer some delicious chicken dishes. There’s parking so that’s not a worry. But if you’re at the airport, it’s only a 15-minute walk away.
Pondok Patin H.M. Yunus
Address: Jl. Kaharudin Nasution no. 1, Pekanbaru 28284, Indonesia
Website: Pondok Patin H.M. Yunus
Riau's beautiful capital
It is best to visit Pekanbaru during the dry season, between April and October. And like many Indonesian cities, Pekanbaru offers many diverse activities to keep you occupied and wanting for more! Enjoy all these activities in this clean city in both rain or shine.
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