Dumai is the main port city in Riau province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Typical of such cities, it is quite seedy and there is nothing really much to do once you have arrived except to get out as soon as you can. However, you may well find yourself arriving here as it is a major ferry port with connections to the Malaysian cities of Port Klang, Port Dickson and Malacca as well as other Indonesian cities like Bengkalis and Batam.
A few good Hotels are there to Check in e.g. Hotel Grand Zuri & Hotel Comfort. Grand Zuri is better. It is neat and clean and loctaed at Centre place. Foods and drinks are available in the Hotel. Limited Vegterian Dish is available.
Dumai is well connected by Road from Pekanbaru and Medan. It takes appx 5 Hrs to reach Dumai from Pekanbaru which is capital city of Riau Province. Mode of transport is either by Bus or by Travels (Shared Car Pool). The cost appx IDR 70,000/- per person by Travels and IDR 50,000/- per person by bus. If you book the full Car it is IDR 450,000/- appx from Pekanbaru. The roads are not good.
Also it is connected by Bus to Medan whick takes 10 hrs. The cost of travel wil be appx IDR 150,000/- to IDR 200,000/-per person depending upon the Bus.
There is a Airport in Dumai. Earlier there was a flight Service for Medan-Dumai-Medan weekly thrice. Now it is stopped. Also there is a flight service operated by Pertamina ( Oil Producing Company) for there internal employees weekly thrice from Jakarta. No other mode of direct Air Travel. From Jakarta one have to reach Pekanbaru by Air and after that by Taxi or Bus. Since 2013 Sky Aviation flew every week from Pekanbaru-Dumai VV.
At the ferry terminal you will be befriended by a friendly security guard. He will offer to help you with your onward journey and to avoid being "scammed" by putting you into a rickshaw and sending you to the "correct" bus station. The bus station you will be sent to will look like a shop front on the main road. This is NOT the bus station, the correct bus station is on the same road heading East 100m out of town and will look like a bus station, cannot be missed. The staff at the fake bus station will go to great lengths to keep you there, using and forgetting English as needed. Even the security guard from the ferry terminal came down to try and stop us from leaving, when all we waited was to go to town for food. Get your own rickshaw and ask for the bus station and ignore anyone trying to distract or redirect you as you make your way there.
Ferries operate from the following Malaysian cities:
Please note that since the 12th of September 2011, the Port Klang passenger terminal charges a departure tax of RM 20 wether you arrive from Dumai or depart from Port Klang, if you don't have the amount in Malaysian Ringgits you are allowed to pay in Indonesian Rupiah but the rate are quite bad.
From other parts of Indonesia
In Batam, ferries dock at Sekupang, next to the international ferry terminal where there are connecting ferries to Singapore. In Bintan, ferries arrive/depart from Tanjung Pinang harbour in the middle of town.
Nothing much to see if you don't have a transport. The town is quite small where you can walk around in half a day just like Kuah, Langkawi, Malaysia.
There is small shopping mall called Ramayana. Everything for normal consumption is available. There are also stores called Besta Jaya and Hari Hari.
Hari Hari is better organised for buying daily needs. For fruit and vegetables there is a daytime market (Pasar) open seven days a week. The Pasar is a traditional Market for daily fruit and vegetables, fish, other groceries and clothes.
The prices are very high as compared to other cities in Indonesia and is referred to as the Dollar City of Indonesia. There is no home production in Dumai except palm plantations.
It is recommended not to buy anything unless it is urgently required.
You can try Nasi Padang, cheap. Four persons' share costs less than RM20.
The famous Indonesian Food Restaurant (Nasi padang) is Pak Datuk. Even Jakarta people buy from this restaurant.
There are two or three nice and new hotels. Once you reach the jetty, do not allow any touts to bother you. Walk fast and get a trycycle to go to your hotel. Do not tell anybody how long you are going to stay. You can say you came for business meeting with your boss. Your boss is arriving later. You won't be bothered after that. Otherwise the van touts and tricycle touts will try to push prostitutes.
The local bus station is about 3 km out of Dumai where busses leave for the nextmost tourist destinations in Sumatra, Bukittinggi (ca. 8-9 hrs) or Lake Maninjau.