Kijang is a small but expanding town situated in the south-east coast of Bintan island, less than 30 km east of Tanjung Pinang, the capital of the Kepulauan Riau (Kepri) province. The town is famous for its bauxite mining, dating back to the Dutch colonial era when the mine was first established and undertaken by the Nederland Indonesia Bauxite Exploitatie Maskapai (NIBEM) which was later taken over by a state-owned mining company, Aneka Tambang (Antam) after Indonesia became independent. Antam remained as the sole operator until the end of Suharto's Orde Baru era in late nineties after which private sectors were allowed to mine in line with the autonomous decentralisation campaign in the Reform Era. Antam abandoned its operation all together in late 2010 but is held responsible for replanting of the open areas left treeless. A monument to reminisce its presence in Kijang was built by Antam and has recently inaugurated by the Governor, whilst the private operators stay put. (RR)
Driving a hired car at Rp250,000 (US$28) per day from Tanjung Pinang is far more convenient than by a so-called taxi as local people call it. It is not a taxi in general sense but more like a public transport in the form of old sedans shared with other passengers totaling seven including the driver at a very cheap fare Rp20,000 (slightly more than US$2). There is no highway but the two-way road is fairly smooth with just a few motorcycles and cars even in daytime. Raja Haji Fisabilillah airport (formerly well-known simply as Kijang airport) is located in between, 12 km from Tanjung Pinang where more comfortable metered taxis are available but may charge you up to Rp150,000 (US$18) per trip.
There is no such a thing as public transport like taxi let alone bus. Since the distance from one place to the other across the town is relatively close not even exceed five kilometers, the most common, fast and cheap means of transporation is motorcycles or popularly dubbed by locals as 'ojek'. But safety is the main concern with this type of transport not because of the driver in front of you, but with the other motorcyclists at breakneck speed especially teenage riders. Fatal accidents among young cyclists are regarded as everyday run-of-the-mill news. To make things worse, they do not really care about riding the two-wheeled vehicles of faulty headlamp at night where the collision invariably occurs.
There is no tourist attractions as such in this deserted mining town. An expensive and more-getting popular resort island is located off the coast eastwards but the trip has to be arranged through a package tour from Singapore in group instead of individual. From Tanjung Pinang, once the visitors arrive in Barek Motor (fisherman landing jetty), they will need to board on a wooden boat that takes them to the island. See www.pangkil.com for more details. Sea food lovers may want to visit Sungai Nam to enjoy their favorite cuisine on wooden platforms above sea water in a windy atmosphere so relaxed especially in the afternoon. This fishing village is famous for its affordable guests from Singapore as an alternative to the similar sea food eateries spatter around Tanjung Pinang. This place is quiet far from Kijang down town though, so cars are more comfortable than 'ojek' which is not suitable for such a distance. There are a number of alfresco restaurants, famously knows as "akau". But they are not the kind of outdoor eateries similar to those in Europe or even Singapore. Akau which is only open from late afternoon until midnight, is equipped with a stage for life music or mostly by cd player complete with jumbo size loud speakers and a large screen tv. The most popular is the one at the town lake. Even if you can enjoy local food and drink, the music is so noisy that you are hardly able to hear conversation with friends at the table. At times the tv screen shows a programme of a certain political party holding a mass gathering or rally with its supporters.