Its waters are the backyard of native seafaring
nomads who fish and trade for a living. Their traditional wooden
sailing craft, called 'pinisi' still do the forested channels of
these islands, along with other indigenous craft, fishing vessels
and cargo ships which call at the archipelago's main town and Tanjung
Pinang port. Tanjung Pinang lies on the largest island of Bintan
archipelago. Once known as Riau, it was the heart of an ancient
Malay kingdom. Today, Bintan is the latest hot spot of development
in Indonesia's surging economy.
A master plan is underway to turn
it into a major tourist destination. Barely an hour away from Singapore
by ferry, tourist accommodation has begun to appear to take advantage
of its gateway from it all appeal. It consists of Riau Archipelago,
Natuna Islands and Anambas Archipelago. Originally part of Riau
Province, Riau Archipelago was split off as a separate Province
in July 2004 with Tanjung Pinang as its capital. Anambas Archipelago,
located between mainland Malaysia and Borneo were attached to the
new province. By population, the most important Riau islands are
Bintan, Batam and Karimun. Size wise, however, the sparsely populated
Natuna Islands are larger.
Riau Archipelago with its thousands of island has
plenty of scenic beaches and diving spots, among them Trikora on
Bintan and Pasir Panjang on Rupat Island. The first is about 50
kilometers south of Tanjung Pinang on the eastern side of the island.
Pasir Panjang, on the northern side of Rupat facing to Malacca Strait,
is stretched out natural beaches are also found on Terkulai and
Soreh islands, about an hour's distance by boat from Tanjung Pinang.
One of the most popular beaches is Nongsa on Batam Island. From
here one can see the Singapore skyline.
for others information about Riau Archipelago