An industrial town of some 750 000 inhabitants, Pekanbaru is a melting pot of Indonesians from all over, including Acenese, Minangkabau, Batak and so on.
With the majority being Muslims, there are also Christians, Buddhists and Hindu influences from ancient dynasties. With its proximity to China, Sumatra, and thus Pekanbaru, is home to many Chinese businesses and influences. Add to that expats from Malaysia, Singapore and some Westerners and you have Pekanbaru.
The name Pekanbaru means New Market and indeed it is a modern town and yet traditional in the way that Indonesian bureaucratic system works. Nevertheless, it is one of the fastest growing metropolis in the province.
But what you may ask does it hold for the expatriates who may be posted here? The majority of expat life exists around Rumbai, outside of the main town and this is where most expats live. There is a steady stream of expatriates of many nationalities who both stay here for some years and indeed some who make their home here.
For families with children, Rumbai is a great posting, communities exist around schools, mosques and churches and through company initiatives.
Teachers, parents and employees together to provide activities beyond school curriculum and outside life, healthy living and exercise are all very evident here.
What can you do?
Movies are shown at the local theatre
Localized shopping malls
Off road motor biking
Due to its terrain, the state of Riau offers fantastic biking
Fotsal (a local football game)
Who is it suitable for?
People who are interested in traveling and seeing the region - due to its proximity to Malaysia, China and basically all of Asia, this location is perfect to use as a base for travel, whether by air or water.
Get up and go people - the community infrastructure is established, people are enthusiastic, any activity is encouraged.
Families with children - seeing monkeys in their natural habitat, elephants and general wildlife is an amazing opportunity.
Who is it not suitable for?
People who are looking for a rich cultural scene, it is a modern business environment which still lacks theatres, museums and culture to date.
People who need organized activities - this is very much a place where you choose to get involved, it is not forced upon you.