Pulau Rangsang Travel Guide

  • Waterfront area of Selatpanjang town, Indonesia
    Waterfront area of Selatpanjang town,...
    by victorwkf
  • Scene from Selatpanjang, Indonesia
    Scene from Selatpanjang, Indonesia
    by victorwkf
  • Wanton noodle at Selatpanjang, Indonesia
    Wanton noodle at Selatpanjang, Indonesia
    by victorwkf

Pulau Rangsang Things to Do

  • Bird's Nest

    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...

  • Lotus Pond

    While you are heading towards the town centre of Selatpanjang from the ferry terminal, you will come across a lotus pond by the roadside. I was told that years ago when the fresh water supply was lacking, the locals actually get some of their fresh water from this pond.

  • The town centre

    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...

  • Journey to Selatpanjang

    While you are travelling to Selatpanjang by ferry, do go to the top deck (if possible) and experience the beautiful scenery of the sea, river and surrounding mangrove swamps as you approach the town.

  • Market place

    As you head into Selatpanjang town from the ferry terminal, you will pass by a busy market area with lots of locals going about their daily life. It is worth to stop by and experience the atmosphere, but do be careful of your belongings.

  • Where is Selatpanjang?

    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...


Pulau Rangsang Restaurants

  • Avocardo juice and coconut drink

    The avocardo juice at Selatpanjang is famous and is a must try as it is different and more tasty than other places e.g. Singapore. Also, the coconut drink here is very refreshing especially on a hot and humid day.

  • Mud lobster

    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...

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Pulau Rangsang Transportation

  • Local transport

    As there are virtual no cars in Selatpanjang, the best way to travel around (besides walking) is on motorcycle, bicycle or on a trishaw. Most of the locals ride motorcycles, and you need one of these if you want to explore the rural areas.

  • Ferries to Selatpanjang

    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...

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Pulau Rangsang Warnings and Dangers

  • victorwkf's Profile Photo

    by victorwkf Written Apr 17, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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.

    Town of Selatpanjang, Indonesia
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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Pulau Rangsang Off The Beaten Path

  • The bridge

    There is a relatively new and simple bridge in the rural areas outside Selatpanjang which offers a very good view of a river with surrounding mangrove swamps. The locals use this bridge very often to go outside of the town.

  • Rural areas

    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.

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Pulau Rangsang Favorites

  • Local food

    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.

  • Streetside food vendors

    Like in many other parts of Indonesia, you will see many streetside food vendors selling local food while you are walking along the streets of Selatpanjang.

  • Chinese temples

    Although Selatpanjang is predominantly Malays who are Muslims, there are many Chinese staying here and you can see a few nice Chinese temples such as the ones shown in the photographs.


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