Visiting Siak River, Pekanbaru

Conversation in Javanese language (with taxibike driver) at that time gave me a fact that Most Pekanbaru resident are Minang descent. It is strengthens my mindset that Minang descent has a very strong migratory culture.

It only took 10 minutes for taxibike driver to explain everything about Pekanbaru until we both stop precisely in front of Sri Indrayani Hotel lobby.

Putting my backpack and eating 4 slices of toast made me ready in first minute inside Pekanbaru exploration.

“Hi Donny, you have to walk to north if you want to enjoy Siak river”, I murmured.

When I hear a word….”Pekanbaru”….my mind is always think about Siak river. How come? This river ever known as the deepest river in Indonesia, which in its heyday is usually traversed by tankers and container ships.

Hot weather in Pekanbaru burned my skin and crowded streets in downtown accompanied my steps to get closer to Siak river. And finally, I asked to a policeman to show me the fastest road towards Siak bridge 1.

Based on information which I got, Siak river has 4 bridges which become Pekanbaru’s landmarks. After sweating a lot, I finally arrived at side of Siak river. Precisely under Siak bridge 1.

Well-known as Leighton bridge which was built by PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia

Can’t wait to see river stretch with beautiful architecture of entire bridge which built above this legendary river, I immediately rushed to top of Siak bridge 1.

I was in middle of pedestrian path on Siak bridge 1, which was 42 years old

Once on bridge, I could enjoy river width more freely … Yes, I believe that tanker ships could sail on it in the past.

Looking far ahead, another bridge stretchs were looked also. Yellow arches that become a characteristic of Siak bridge 3 and construction of Siak bridge 4 which at that time hadn’t yet been finished but had already appeared its design. (Based on information in newspaper, this bridge had been opened in February 2019).

That is Siak bridge 3 and in the distance is Siak bridge 4

Didn’t want to leave Siak river immediately, I tried to see residents activities around it. I slowly walked to Siak bridge 3. Passing one side of river, and I found culinary stalls which hadn’t been partially opened.

Culinary stalls along Siak river.

Then I sat in a park to take shelter from hot sun while seeing Pekanbaru residents activities. I noticed a young couple who was busy playing in the park with their first child. I also diligently saw some residents catch fish under Siak bridge 1. Sometimes, Riau Water Police Patrol boat back and forth distracted my attention when I was looking at those activities.

Park on banks of river, near the Siak bridge 1

15 minutes later, I walked along river bank until I arrived precisely under the Siak Bridge 3. The yellow bridge which looked more artistic.

Area below the bridge is very well maintained by existence of a wider park. And under the other side of bridge is a tourist destination also i.e “Rumah Tuan Kadi”.

Riverside park precisely under Siak bridge 3
Rumah Tuan Kadi

And across river is clearly visible the water police headquarters with activity inside a patrol boat that was so busy.

Riau Police Water Headquarter

After feeling satisfied enough to visited Siak river and I saw my watch on 11:15, I finally left this river to find another tourist attraction in Pekanbaru.

Bus INTRA from Pematang Siantar to Pekanbaru

I left Lake Toba by a taxi (in Jakarta, it may be called “omprengan”.…(using minibus to transport passengers) for USD 3 with 1 hour 50 minutes travel time. It finally led me to visit a new city … yes, Pematang Siantar. The city that I never think to visit it.

The taxi dropped me off in Parluasan area, an area which famous as hoodlums producer in Indonesia. Horrific, but for me this was an extraordinary mental experience.

The driver drove me right across INTRA bus office on Sisingamangaraja street. A INTRA bus parked to upload passengers makes it was easy for me to make sure that I didn’t get it wrong.

INTRA office

Hurrying up and heading to ticket sales counter then paid for my ticket which was ordered by phone call a day before. Fearing if my order didn’t recorded and I could miss Pekanbaru in next day.

Buy a ticket here !….You better order at least a day before departing

Thank to God, my name was in list and I gave USD 17,5 to exchange with a sheet of ticket to Pekanbaru … Yes, welcome Pekanbaru.

Sitting in a waiting room, my gaze was fixed on my watch and INTRA office yard … Never seen when He arrived, from right end of bus office yard He shouted for me. Happy, meet old friend.

His name is Andy Erwin, we met on Hop On Hop Off (HoHo) bus in Kuala Lumpur in 2013. Since it, we have been friend and I never thought that I could stop by to his home….an umpteenth surprise on my journey.

waiting room at INTRA bus office

Waiting for four hours wasn’t a pleasant thing, it would be nice to go around city. Incidentally, Erwin was ready to take me around by his motorbike. I won’t discuss what I got for 4 hours journey in the city, I’d better tell it in another article.

After returning from my exploration in city which famous for its “war veteran bentor” (bentor is public transportation in Pematang Siantar which using old Harley Davidson) , I went back to INTRA bus office and was ready for departing to Pekanbaru. Thanks Erwin for brought me to sightseeing Pematang Siantar.

Slowly I started to get in INTRA Bus. It is embedded in my mindset that I must ready to ride this land roller coaster all night. There is a lot of info which I have gotten in internet that this “running box” will run very fast through roads towards Riau. Indeed, drivers from Sumatra are very well known for their high adrenaline in driving cars or buses. I’ll also tell you later when I couldn’t sleep when riding ANNANTA travel from Pekanbaru to Bukittinggi which is just as crazy in its speed.

That soft seats that I will occupy for 14 hours to travel about 600 km towards Pekanbaru.

I said that this bus is very comfortable, as comfortable as Jakarta to Solo buses (Jakarta is capital city of Indonesia, Solo is my hometown in Central Java) that I often ride when going to my hometown.…Well, you just know my origin.

It will become perfect if a socket under my seat is functioning, so I can just write on laptop or just charge my camera which is low battery. Unfortunately, all socket on all seats didn’t work.

Of course, I can’t enjoy night views out there because condition was really dark. I can only enjoy speed of bus in preceding every vehicle in front of it. This driver is amazing.

On next day, I could see real views from suburb of Trans Sumatra Highway.

Gardens belonging to residents

Or economic growth was seen from appearance of these shop houses.

Only 1 or 2 traffic jams which I encountered along the way because there was a road renovation, so all vehicles had to queue with other side to get through half of road.

Entering Pekanbaru city, bus began to slow down because urban traffic would certainly be more dense.

It wasn’t a terminal like I imagined where I will be taken down. But it was only a non-permanent building which is the final destination of INTRA bus:


A restaurant with a row of clean toilets.

After cleaning my body then I was exiting the building, I was offered by motorbike and taxi drivers to head to downtown. But to avoided a high price, I prefered to use online transportation services to go to Hotel.

I put my backpack and started exploring “Madani City” (madani city is another name of Pekanbaru city)