This is the capital of the newly-created province of Riau Islands in Indonesia. The city is fast growing with a population around 200,000. It is a trading, shipping, shopping and tourism "seafood" center in the region.
Tanjung Pinang's Raja Haji Fisabilillah Airport (IATA: TNJ, ICAO: WIDN) only caters to a limited number of flights, none of which are international. Sriwijaya Air, Garuda Indonesia, and Lion Air offers daily flights from Jakarta.
The easiest option to get from the airport to the city is to take a fixed price cab, which will cost around S$3-5 to central Tanjung Pinang. Fares elsewhere on the island will cost around twice as much.
The neighbouring island of Batam, which is accessible by ferry from Tanjung Pinang, has a larger airport, which is served by flights to more destinations, as well as a few international flights from Malaysia. For most international travellers though, the easiest way to get to Tanjung Pinang would be to fly to Singapore and take a ferry from there.
The Sri Bintan Pura ferry terminal at Tanjung Pinang at the southern end of Jalan Merdeka is the main passenger port of Bintan and is used by all domestic and international services from the city. It is a visa-free for most ASEAN citizens and a visa-on-arrival port; see Indonesia's Get in section for visa details.
Especially on weekends, it's advisable to reconfirm your ferry tickets out as soon as you arrive. If you're staying with a large resort, they can usually take of this for you, so enquire when booking... but if you're on your own, you cannot do this at the ferry terminal and instead need to find the appropriate travel agent, none of whom are located near the port! IndoFalcon's agent is next to the Laguna Hotel, while Penguin's agent can be found in the Bestari Mall.
Buses and taxis link Tanjung Pinang with the port of Tanjung Uban at the northwestern end of Bintan where the are speedboats to/from Telaga Punggur on Batam. The bus fare from Tanjung Uban to Tanjung Pinang bus terminal is about Rp. 10.000 (as of 2005, 3 hr). The bus terminal is 7 km east of town. Angkut (passenger vans) shuttle between the terminal and town. From the port of Kijang (where Pelni ships dock) over 20km to the east, there are bemos and taxis to Tanjung Pinang. 25 minutes to the fantastic Trikora beach on the east part on Bintan Island. Tanjung Pinang is about an hour and forty-five minutes south by car from Bintan Resorts on the northern part of Bintan.
Central Tanjung Pinang, including the old part of town which is built on stilts, is small enough for you to move around on foot. If you want to move further out, such as to Bintan Mall, Bestari Mall, Bintan Center, Trikora beach, open air "Akau" restaurant, Budhist " Kelenteng Senggarang" temple taxis are the easiest way for foreigners. Buses exist but are seldom easy to understand as stops are rarely marked, drivers do not speak English, and there is no information available for them on paper.
Only take taxis from the main road. 'City Taxis' charge $.3 if you request to leave the urban area. The taxis are affordable once you have sucessfuly bargained. Fix your price firmly before boarding the taxi to avoid any problems. A 40km trip to Trikora Beach should cost $.5.00
By Motorcycle Taxi (Ojek)
There are also the thousands of motorcycle taxis called ojek waiting to ferry you around, although consider this more of an "adventure" way to travel and is not necessarily safe.
Minibuses known as Angkutan Kota operate on fixed routes, they carry six to eight passengers and charges per person vary with the distance is another useful way to roam around. The fare is fixed at Rp. 3000 within the city. To stop at your destination, just shout "'pinggir' or 'kiri'" pak.
Regular boats to Penyengat Island cost Rp5,000/person, starts from small alley at Jalan Pos. But you have to wait a while to have the boat full. You can hire own boats for a much more expensive cost.
From Jalan Pelantar I you can go to Senggarang, cost about Rp5,000(1-way)per person for a small boat. You may need to wait for a while to have the boat full or you can hire own boats but need to bargain beforehand.
From Jalan Pelantar II you can go to Kampung Bugis.
Tanjung Pinang today is a sprawling Indonesian town, with mosquitoes and rats running under stilt houses on the coast at low tide and anonymous concrete blocks marching up the hills. However, the area around Jl. Pelantar II still retains the town's Chinese heritage, with densely packed shophouses hawking all manner of goods.
Take a walk down to the docks and find yourself a little boat to take you for a round trip around the harbour (10 Singapore Dollars or less). Tanjung Pinang is built into the water and being on the water is the best way to see it.
For a longer trip, rent a guide - who will arrange a boat or boats - at one of the piers (i.e., at the end of Jn Pelantar 1 or 2), and go and see Penyengat, Senggarang and Sungai Ular Temple in one go. Price is up to negotiation, may be around 30-40 SGD for two persons. Watch out to get only one person showing you around, and make it crystal clear in the beginning that price is all-inclusive.
Fishing Many Singaporeans often use Tanjung Pinang as a departure point for fishing trips. The vessels used are usually made of wood and are rarely equipped with GPS or any modern equipment. Yet they are often booked solid six months ahead.
Tanjung Pinang is famous for its wooden handicraft, and indonesian designed textile. Everything else is cheap with some products lower than 10% of the prices in Europe.
Fakes: Just like in most of South-East Asian countries, pirated goods are available openly. DVD and music CD are everywhere, often not more then one Singapore dollar for a DVD. Quality is "ok". You can test the quality before you buy.
Thousand Layer Cake: Tanjung Pinang is also famous for its Thousand Layer Cake, which is great for souvenir. One of the most popular bakeries in Tanjung Pinang is called "Mois Layer Cake House." The store sells the traditional layer cake but also offers the store's own rendition of the layer cake that breaks tradition. The store's specialty is Kue Lapis Keju (Cheese Thousand Layer Cake). The bakery is located at Jalan Wiratno, near Kaputra Hotel.
Tea & Coffee: The most popular brand for tea in Tanjung Pinang is called Teh Prendjak by PT.Panca Rasa Pratama. It has a very unique flavor that you can find in nowhere. Most tourists will buy them as gifts.
Also are the 'Kaya' ( a local bread spread) made from coconut and egg are a must try, some may find it too sweet for their liking.
Electronics: Very competitively priced in Tanjung Pinang. The shops carry many of what you may need. When buying electronic goods, remember that Singapore uses 240V voltage with a British-style three-pin plug.
Cameras & Watches: The main street from the Ferry Terminal has a selection of camera shops. Prices are significantly lower than in many other countries.
Clothes: The main street has lots of shops selling clothes, children's toys and electronics. Visit "Bengawan Solo", named after the song about a famous river in Indonesia, selling fashionable women wear, handbags and shoes.
Tanjung Pinang has many seafood restaurants, and prices are low by Singaporean (or even Western) standards, Try crab (ketam) and gong-gong, a local mollusk.
Padang restaurants, named after the town of Padang, can also be found throughout Tanjung Pinang. In a Padang-style restaurant, the table will quickly be set with dozens of small dishes filled with highly-flavored foods such as curried fish, fried tempeh, stewed greens, chili eggplant, curried beef liver, fried chicken, and of course, sambals, the spicy sauces ubiquitous at Indonesian tables. Customers take - and pay for - only what you eat from this array of dishes.
As for local delicacies you might want to try
"Bak Kut Teh" - The Chinese Pork Rib Soup (Pricing between Rp 30.000 - Rp 40.000) can be found at Jl. Potong Lembu or Around Jl. Pelantar II area.
"Otak-otak" (Costs mostly Rp. 1.500 (buy 10 get 2 free)) can be found at Jl. Pelantar II.
"Wet kway teow" - rice noodle(Pricing between Rp 12.000 - Rp 20.000) can be found at Jl. Pasar Ikan, Jl. Tambak, Jl. Potong Lembu.
Or, head to the local food court just across the street from the ferry terminal.
Other national delicacies such as Pempek, Sup Ayam Kampung, Gado-gado, Soto, Special BBQ of Chicken and Fish are also available in a comfortable modern coffee shop like " Sweet " located at Jalan Bakar Batu No.102 C so near that it takes only 5-10 minutes walk from the International Harbour.
For those who are vegetarian, there is a chinese vegetarian restaurant (Bumi Maitri) at 'Suka Berenang'. They open until 9pm everyday and the price is very reasonable.
Alcoholic drinks are available in most of the cafes and restaurants, nonetheless of being the country with the largest muslim population. Non-Muslim Indonesian drink alcohol only in social setting.
If you like to drink new things, try the local "Double Kiwi", which comes in clear (i.e. vodka-like) and amber (i.e. whisky-like) fashions, at only 15-20 degrees alcohol.
Avoid drinking while driving. While in the old time, you might be stopped for drink driving and could "settle" your way through with $10-$20, the policeman might now charge you with bribing attempt instead. As a consequence, you might be jailed for up to 3 months and the officer would get a stipend for US$1,000.
If you are stopped by police for any offence, just ask to write you up and pay the summon letter directly to the nearest bank. This would be a cheaper, faster and risk free settlement.
There are several Internet cafes called "warnet" in Tanjung Pinang. You can find one at Bintan Mall in downtown 200 meters from the Ferry Terminal. Another place is the everpopular Ramayana Shopping Mall in uptown. Some hotels have Internet connections, but be forewarned, their speed is slow. There are also a few Internet cafes located along 'Tambak', which is within downtown, costing between Rp5000 to Rp6000 an hour.
Tanjung Pinang is the best place to catch ferries to the other islands in the Riau and Lingga archipelagos, including Batam,Tanjung Balai karimun,Galang, Moro, Tanjung Batu, Lingga, Singkep, and the Natuna Islands. Tickets can typically be bought at the ferry terminal to these places and are typically only a few dollars for even long journeys. Beware that the notion of time is loose, cancellations can happen, and ferries may arrive at alternate ports during bad weather. Knowledge of some Malay or Indonesian (or even Mandarin) is recommended as there are few English speakers outside of Tanjung Pinang. However, the archipelago is extremely scenic and if you have the time to explore, it is highly recommended to see the thousands of uninhabited tropical islands in their natural beauty, which you will come across in any ferry travel through the region.