Siak Sri Indrapura City, Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia.

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 28, 2010

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Where I stayed
Grand Zuri Pekanbaru Hotel

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Had an early breakfast at 7am and the driver arrived at 8am sharp as agreed the previous night. Firstly, we had to pass a bridge which was built by the Japanese during their occupation in Indonesia. I was informed that the structure is expiring in 2011 and the Pekanbaru government is currently building another concrete bridge by the side of it. The original structure is made of steel and then would be preserved as a historical monument. The bridge is used to cross the Siak River. 

  Then drove through Rumbai town. This is also known as Chevron (Caltex) town as it is the base for oil excavation in Sumatra. From this town, all the way right up to Siak Port you would be able to see steel pipes carrying the crude oil to the local port there for export.  The other towns which we had passed were Rindu Sempadan, Perawang and Penyeberangan Feri Perawang. This is another point of the Siak River where there is no bridge built yet hence we had to wait for a ferry to transport the vehicles and pedestrians over the river. The wait was almost 40 minutes but the ride across was only 10 minutes. You would be able to see a lot of shops built on both sides of the road at this stop over junction, mostly restaurants. There would also be a lot of locals selling food on hand carried bags knocking your car windows to sell something to you.

After the ferry crossing, the road was excellent. Before that, the entire journey was like a roller coaster ride with pot holes everywhere. You can hardly engage the 4th and 5th gear of your vehicle. Then it is 2 lanes all the way from Zamrud junction. Then you would come to the iconic Siak 2 bridge which has a lift that carries you up to the cafe located on the top floor of the bridge. 

We arrived at Siak Palace at 12 noon. Walked around the palace then visited the Siak Mosque and the Royal Mausoleum where the grave of the last Siak Sultan and his family is. 
Then had lunch in a local restaurant in Siak town called Restoran Triarga, which served authentic Padang food. Actually, it is not a real restaurant. It is just like a shack, but if you dont mind it, the food and the price is great. Great food with lobsters cost me only around IDR 170,000 (and this is for four people).  

We left Siak at 1.45 pm and drove the way back to Pekanbaru and arrived here at 5pm.
Below is a short write up on the Palace courtesy of Indonesian Tourism Commission:
Siak Sri Indrapura was the centre of an Islamic Malayan Kingdom, which enjoyed its golden age from 18th through 20th century. Sultan Abdul Jalil Rakhmad Syah founded the kingdom in 1725. He was the first in a family tree of 12 Sultans who would reign until 1945. In November 1945, the last Sultan, Sultan Syarif Kasyim II, sent a cable to the President of Indonesia stating his loyalty to the Republic and he contributed his properties to the struggle for independence. 
The old Palace of Siak Sri Indrapura is definitely worth a visit. It is located 125 KM northeast of Pekanbaru and can best be reached from Pekanbaru over land. It was built in 1889 by Sultan Abdul Jalil Syarifuddin, the 11th of 12 Sultans who ruled Siak from 1725 to 1945. The arches and minarets give the Palace a strong Indian and Moghal  look representative of stills during colonial times. The Palace was refurbished in 1989 by the Indonesian Government.
The palace stores a collection of properties of the last Sultans. In the reception area, life size figures of the Sultan and his Courtiers welcome the visitor. Inside the Palace, one can admire the gold plated Royal Throne and a duplicate of the Royal Crown. The original of the Gold Crown has been brought to the National Museum in Jakarta, Indonesia. Large photographs of the Sultans decorate the Palace walls. 

The last Sultans formed a part of the Dutch establishment. Much of the decor in the Palace is European. A big attraction is Komet, a German music player, whose perforated metal discs tinkle tunes of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss, brought by the Sultan from a visit to Europe in 1896. It is said that there only two of this kind in the world.  

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