As one of the main attractions around Bintan Island and Riau Islands Province, Penyengat Island has successfully drawn many travelers with its serenity and well-preserved heritage. To help you know Penyengat Island better, here are some of the facts that you need to know about Penyengat Island before you decide to visit and experience this culture-rich island yourself.
Located near the city of Tanjung Pinang
Penyengat Island is a small island located approximately 6 km offshore of Tanjung Pinang and 35 km from Batam which is a relatively short trip from Singapore. You can reach it by riding a traditional motorized boat or better known as pompong for about 15 to 20 minutes from the Tanjung Pinang Pier. The Island measures approximately 2000 meters x 850 meters.
The location of Raja Ali Haji's tomb
On this island lies the tomb of Raja Ali Haji, a 19th-century Islamic historian, scholar, and a National Hero of Indonesia. He was born in Selangor, British Malay (Malaysia) in 1808 and is said to be dead in 1872 at Penyengat Island.
He is known as the first person to make a written record of the Malay basics grammar through the book titled Pedoman Bahasa, the book that has become the standard in the Malay language, which is also the foundation of Bahasa Indonesia. He is also the author of the famous old Malay poem, Gurindam Dua Belas. The Indonesian government elevated his status to the National Hero of Indonesia in 2004 due to his achievements and contributions.
Sultan Riau Great Mosque
Sultan Riau Great Mosque (Masjid Raya Sultan Riau) is one of the most famous historic spots located on the island. The mosque was built by Sultan Mahmud in 1803 and was initially intended as the residence for his wife, Raja Hamidah. It is rumored that a large part of the mosque was made of egg-whites since it is considered a strong bonding agent.
The striking yellow paint of the mosque makes it stands out and visible long before you arrive at the Island. Sultan Riau Great Mosque has numerous historical stories attached to it, but the most valuable relics in this mosque are in the two cupboards in the front room of the mosque. These cupboards contain hundreds of books and tomes collected by Raja Muhammad Yusuf Al Ahmadi. The mosque is still in use today as the center of religious activities by the locals.
The paradise for cultural-experience
There are more historical spots that lie on Penyengat Island aside from Sultan Riau Great Mosque. By joining the cycling tour of the island, the guide will take you through most of the iconic place and buildings on Penyengat Island including the old government infrastructures, the Royal Cemetery, and Bukit Kursi. Each place has its own stories to tell, and the guide will help you by explaining and answering your questions.
You also have the chance to participate in other cultural experiences like making Tanjak (traditional Malay male headgear) and try on traditional Malay attire. Because of these reasons, Penyengat island is the perfect destination to be visited to enjoy the Malay cultural heritage.
Established as a fort as part of the Sultanate of Johor-Riau by the Bugis
During the Dutch colonization period, the island was used as a fortress forefront in confronting the Dutch attack by the Sultanate of Johor-Riau. The trace of the war can be seen at the hill known as Bukit Kursi. There are several old cannons on the hill placed strategically facing the sea, possibly to fend-off the Dutch's marine forces during the war. Since you can get a clear view of the sea from the hill, this is possibly the best spot for you shutterbugs.
That's some of the facts about Penyengat Island that you need to know. To get an authentic experience, book the Penyengat Island Tour Package from Bintan Resorts Tour and enhance your holiday in Bintan.