Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tour of Indonesia 1 : Sumatera - Part 05

An easy ride to Pekanbaru..

Breakfast is on the house. 
The Cottage where we spent the night is an all-inclusive resort.
I was told by the receptionist that they were fully booked on Saturday.
They've provided a truck to transport our gear to the entrance and by the time we had everything set-up, it was good to go!

The driver helping us to load the bikes

The only hotel in Minas

A shorter distance
In the last stage of our ride, the roads weren't too hilly.
It was undulating and as we cycled past the small villages along the route, people were saying: "Hello Mister.."
You will experience this all the way from Dumai to Pekanbaru.
One of my observation was the fact that Sumatera is so densely populated, you won't have any issues filling up your water bottles are there are villages and settlements every five kilometers along the route.
Sundry shops are everywhere and these came with fridge offering cold isotonic drinks at IDR4,000 (RM1) each.
We made plenty of stops along the way to hydrate.

Indonesian primary school kids

The road to Pekanbaru
Entering Riau's capital and administrative centre..

We did about an hour's ride to reach the Siak bridge, linking Minas to Pekanbaru.
It was a breezy ride and the first landmark I noticed was a junction with a lot of busted-up trucks. The way the Indonesians drive, it's not surprising to see so many road accidents.
But for foreign tourists like us, the drivers were pretty courteous. They honk to indicate that they were approaching.
During a climb from Duri to Minas, a truck actually slowed down to allow me to move up the hill, then, the driver honked and overtook me.
All the way, the drivers kept their distance.
With two "Bules" (the word is for caucasians, as there are no words to describe foreigners) on the road with their strange little bikes, the drivers maintained caution.
By 10:30am, we were already in the outskirts of Pekanbaru. This is a huge town!

Crossing the Siak bridge

Pekanbaru Mall

Our accommodation for two nights
After we made the crossing on the Siak bridge, we found a convenience store to get our bearings.
I noticed that a piece of bungee strap was missing from my Thule Pack & Ride touring rack.
Then, an elderly man walked past, he asked about our ride.
The man said he was from Bengkalis and that his wife is a judge in Pekanbaru.
He recommended some places to visit during our stay.
So far, we haven't come across anyone who tried to rip us off.
Radzi rode to the direction of the city and pointed at Tune Hotel.
They had a branch in Pekanbaru and it's his choice of a place to stay.
A room is IDR 299,000 (RM79) a night without breakfast.
Pak Mazwir Anuar, our mutual friend also shared about a good makan place called Pondok Saiyo near the hotel, we checked it out and it was really excellent! 

Pekanbaru in a nutshell

Rootbeer float to cool off..

Malaysian trade interest in Indonesia
The White Elephant bus terminal
Pondok Saiyo Nasi Padang, one of the better makan places

A good selection of dishes

Dinner is served!
 Getting there and back...

There's much to do in Pekanbaru.
Our order of the day was to get transport back to Dumai.
We took a cab to the town's bus station located in the outskirts.
This is roughly about 11km away and is actually a waste of time.
Ticket touts approached us to offer seats, Mohd Radzi was cautious and proceeded to ask for a ride to Dumai.
There are no express buses or VIP coach to our point of origin.
We were told that those were meant for trips from Jakarta to Medan.
Our only choice were shared mini vans.
At the terminal, we found a charter service. They wanted IDR540,000 (RM144)  for the "Dropping" service.
We agreed with an IDR 50,000 (RM13.35) deposit and went back to our hotel.
Later in the day, I took a walk along the busy streets of Pekanbaru to savour the lifestyle there.
There were a lot of people, plenty of goldsmiths at the Ramayana Mall.
Here, I noticed that people eat their KFC fried chicken with rice.
I went into a bicycle shop in the area and asked about spare inner tubes. Seems that 20" tubes with Presta valves are not popular. 
At night, we tried Pak Mazwir's recommendation at Pondok Saiyo and it was really good.
After a good fill, we re-stocked on our drinking water from Alfa Mart, a local chain of convenience stores and called it a day.

No comments: