There is so much more to Tanjung Pinang than the port area – fascinating and busy as it is.. This time we walked more (our first visit was in 2015) and also hired a car and driver for a day, visiting some beautiful spots.
When walking along the seafront we were delighted with the newly planted gardens that extend a long way from the end of the “business” part of town to the new tourist information building formed in the shape of a Gong-Gong the local shellfish (and a great delicacy.)
Inside there is a deliciously cool air conditioned gift shop. The young ladies serving in the shop were very thrilled to see us (I don’t think they’d had many visitors that day) and dressed the guys in traditional Indonesian headwear (belangkon)
Our friend Windy, who we met in the supermarket where she is marketing manager, suggested some places to head for if we were hiring a car. This was fortunate as we hadn’t done much research on Bintan Island (on which Tanjung Penang sits).
We went round to the tourist office where the friendly and efficient staff – particularly Edy who we first met in 2015 and who remembered us – helped organise a car.
Our driver had good English and was also extremely helpful – finding a laundry near to his home so he could bring our clean washing back for us and deliver it to the tourist office.
We mentioned a few of the suggestions that Windi had given us and he then took us to a number of other places along the way.
One of these was the Vihara Avalokitesvara Graha (Guan Yin temple) – which boasts the largest sitting Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) in South East Asia. The statue is made of brass coated with 22 carat gold.
There is a sweeping driveway up to the temple through a large dragon fruit plantation. The main shrine is magnificent with many statues of Buddha in various poses.
During the day we visited Lagoi and Trikora beaches, had lunch at a restaurant in a ramshackle “resort” built entirely on stilts in the water and went to a freshwater lake (Lake Lagoi) where the gardens were beautifully manicured.
It was such a lovely day and we all felt happy to know that there was much more to Tanjung Pinang than meets the eye.