Like other parts of the Riau Islands e.g. Bengkalis and Karimun Island, bird's nest is big business at Selatpanjang. The bird's nest is actually made from the hardened saliva of the swallow birds and it is an expensive delicacy of the Chinese. The swallows actually build their nests inside the houses, and many locals design the top floors of their...more
The town centre area of Selatpanjang is located next to the river leading to the sea, and there are full of activities during the day time. There are many shops and markets here, and the streets are full of people, motorcycles, bicycles etc. Very crowded and exciting atmosphere, but do be careful of your belongings. More photographs of the street...more
Selatpanjang is actually located on Tebingtinggi Island, which is very close to the Sumatra mainland. This island is next to another island called Rangsang Island, as well as Bengkalis Island (see my VT Bengkalis page), all which are located along the famous Straits of Melaka. All these islands belong to the Riau province of Indonesia, and the map...more
One of the dishes you must try at Selatpanjang is the mud lobster, which is very difficult to find in other places even around the region. The mud lobster is usually steamed, and it tastes somewhere between a crab and lobster. These mud lobsters can actually be found in the surrounding mangrove swamps where they stay hidden in the mud and digging...more
There are regular ferry services from nearby islands such as Bengkalis, Karimun Island and Batam Island to Selatpanjang. You can either start from Singapore and make your way to Batam Island followed by Selatpanjang or from Pekanbaru (capital city of Riau province) to Bengkalis to Selatpanjang. If you are in Malaysia, you can take a ferry from Muar...more
Fresh water supply can sometimes be lacking at Selatpanjang, especially during the dry season so be prepared. Also, there are occasional power failure here. Since there are many swallow birds around town due to the booming birds nest harvesting, it can be quite noisy around town from morning till early evening. Lastly, Selatpanjang is a simple town so there will not be much luxury here. The town is relatively save and the locals are generally friendly, but most do not speak English unfortunately.
If possible, you should visit the rural areas outside Selatpanjang, especially on a motorcycle as all the locals travel outside of town by this way. Once outside town, you will be able to experience the tranquil and beautiful rural scenery which is typical of Indonesia. More photographs are at the travelogue section of this VT page.more
One of my fondest memories of Selatpanjang is the cheap, tasty and unique local food such as the wanton noodles (see photo, which are somewhat different from other places), seafood including the mud lobsters and some fishes which are seldom found eslewhere, tasty avocardo juices etc.more