Pekanbaru is another of the cities to have emerged quickly in the aftermath of Indonesia’s oil boom. In the early twentieth century, it was a bustling stop-off point for traders taking their wares onto the Malacca Straits. Nowadays, it is the country’s eighth city and the third largest on Sumatra and is viewed differently from its neighbours Medan and Palembang. Pekanbaru is a cleaner town, with a slower pace of life.
Previously no more than a hub for Singaporean businesspeople and tourists who wished to venture further into the Sumatran heartland, the tide is very slowly turning. While its tourism sector is still nascent in comparison to other Indonesian cities, numbers are rising and there are a few sights worth seeing in the Riau Province’s capital. Most visitors leave with these words about the locals: the people of Pekanbaru are considered to be among the warmest on the entire archipelago.
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