The Riau Islands, an Indonesian province located in the South China Sea, consist of over 3,000 islands. This archipelago is renowned for its pristine beaches, marine life, and cultural heritage. With a mix of bustling urban centers and tranquil, remote islands, the Riau Islands offer a diverse range of experiences for travelers.

Destinations: BatamBintanNatuna IslandsPulau LinggaPulau PenubaPulau Singkep

The best known of the Riau Islands are Bintan, Batam and Kaimun. Bintan is the largest island, full of upscale accommodation, while Batam has an international airport. To the west of Batam, Karimun is famous for its beautiful beaches and granite mine. Other well-known islands include Kundur, Moro, Natuna and Anambas.

Beach bunnies will find a number of fantastic white sand beaches scattered around the Riau Islands. There are plenty of places to practice water sports as well, with surfing, scuba diving and snorkeling proving to be particularly popular.

Those who are searching for wild evening entertainment should find what they’re looking for on the islands of Bintan and Batam as there are plenty of beach bars and discos here where visitors can dance until dawn. On the smaller islands, watching the sun set and walking along the shore are the main evening activities although there are still plenty of modest places to sip cocktails throughout the Riau Islands.

The Riau Islands are situated off the southeastern coast of Sumatra, near the Malay Peninsula. The climate is tropical, with warm temperatures averaging between 26°C to 30°C (79°F to 86°F) year-round. The region experiences a wet season from November to March and a dry season from April to October, making the dry season the best time to visit.


Highlights

  • Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple: (Batam) - One of Southeast Asia’s largest Buddhist temples, known for its serene atmosphere and beautiful architecture.
  • Trikora Beach: (Bintan) - A beautiful stretch of white sand and clear waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Penyengat Island: (Bintan) - A small island with historical landmarks including the Sultan Riau Grand Mosque and old fortifications.
  • Pulau Bawah: (Anambas Islands) - A stunning eco-resort island with crystal-clear lagoons, vibrant coral reefs, and lush greenery.
  • Barelang Bridge: (Batam) - A series of impressive bridges connecting Batam to other islands, offering stunning scenic views.
  • Tarempa Town: (Anambas Islands) - The main town offering a glimpse into local life and a gateway to exploring the surrounding islands.
  • Pongkar Beach: (Karimun Island) - A picturesque beach perfect for relaxation and enjoying the coastal scenery.
  • Penyengat Island Cultural Sites: (Bintan) - Historical sites reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the Riau-Lingga Sultanate.

Top Cities

  • Batam: The largest city in the Riau Islands, known for its bustling commercial activity and proximity to Singapore.
  • Tanjung Pinang: (Bintan) - The capital city of the Riau Islands, offering access to Penyengat Island.
  • Tarempa: (Anambas Islands) - A charming town known for its picturesque setting and as a gateway to the beautiful Anambas archipelago.
  • Karimun: A key port town with a mix of cultural sites and serene coastal beaches, central to the island’s trade and industry.
  • Nagoya: (Batam) - Famous for its shopping malls, entertainment centers, and diverse dining options.
  • Sekupang: (Batam) - A quieter area in Batam known for its ferry terminal connecting to Singapore and natural beauty spots.
  • Kijang: (Bintan) - An industrial town on Bintan Island known for its bauxite mining history and nearby natural attractions.
  • Lagoi: (Bintan) - A resort area with luxury accommodations, golf courses, and pristine beaches, popular among tourists.

Beaches

  • Trikora Beach: (Bintan) - A long stretch of white sand and clear waters, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
  • Nongsa Beach: (Batam) - A serene beach with soft sands and beautiful views, perfect for a relaxing getaway.
  • Lagoi Beach: (Bintan) - A picturesque beach within the Lagoi resort area, known for its luxurious surroundings and pristine environment.
  • Melur Beach: (Galang Island, Batam) - A tranquil beach with calm waters and scenic landscapes, ideal for relaxation.
  • Jalan Hang Lekir Beach: (Batam) - A popular spot for locals and tourists alike, offering a vibrant atmosphere and stunning sunsets.
  • Pongkar Beach: (Karimun Island) - A scenic beach perfect for relaxation and enjoying the coastal scenery.
  • Desaru Beach: (near Bintan) - Located on the eastern coast, this beach is known for its clear waters, great for a peaceful retreat.
  • Telunas Beach: (Sugi Island) - A beautiful and secluded beach, accessible via a short boat ride from Batam, offering tranquility and clear waters.

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The best time to visit the Riau Islands is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. During this period, you can expect warm temperatures, ranging from 26°C to 30°C (79°F to 86°F), and lower humidity levels, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as beach outings, snorkeling, diving, and island hopping.

Wet Season: (November to March) - While the wet season brings heavier rainfall and higher humidity, it is still possible to visit the Riau Islands. Rain typically comes in short, heavy bursts, often followed by sunshine. However, some outdoor activities might be limited, and there is a higher chance of encountering rough seas.

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Access is via Batam’s Hnag Nadim Airport, which has regular flights from places such as Singapore (40 minutes) and Johor Bahru, Malaysia (1 hour). It is also possible to catch a ferry to Batam from Singapore or Malaysia, while ferries also connect most of the Riau Islands.

Flights

To Batam: Hang Nadim International Airport (BTH) The main airport on Batam Island, with frequent domestic flights from Jakarta, Surabaya, and other major Indonesian cities, as well as international flights from Singapore and Malaysia. To Bintan

To Bintan: Raja Haji Fisabilillah Airport (TNJ) Located in Tanjung Pinang on Bintan Island, with domestic flights from Jakarta and other Indonesian cities.

Ferry

  • From Singapore

    • Ferry to Batam: Regular ferry services from Singapore’s HarbourFront Centre to Batam’s Batam Centre, Sekupang, or Nongsa terminals. The journey takes about 45-70 minutes.
    • Ferry to Bintan: Ferries operate from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Bintan’s Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal. The trip takes around 60 minutes.
  • From Malaysia

    • Ferry from Johor Bahru to Batam: Ferries are available from Stulang Laut Ferry Terminal in Johor Bahru to Batam’s Batam Centre. The travel time is approximately 90 minutes.
    • Ferry from Johor Bahru to Bintan: Ferries also operate from Johor Bahru to Tanjung Pinang on Bintan Island.
  • From Indonesia

    • Ferry from Jakarta: Overnight ferries are available from Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok Port to Tanjung Pinang on Bintan Island, taking approximately 24 hours.
    • Ferry from Sumatra: Ferries run from Dumai and Pekanbaru in Sumatra to Batam and Bintan, offering an alternative route for travelers within Indonesia.

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