Enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside of Bintan Island and catch a glimpse of the local village folk as you make your way down to the vibrant bustle of Tanjung Pinang – the capital of Bintan Island. Mingle with the locals and take time to explore the vast number of tiny local shops, with assortments of clothes, knick-knacks, gems, dried seafood and the colourful varieties of crackers and snacks.
Shopping at Tanjung Pinang is pleasantly affordable, with its colourful variety of goods and value-for-money bargains. Shophouses offer a diverse range of dried foodstuff, electronic goods, antique and “antique” ceramics and handicrafts, but the best buys are probably from the street peddlers.
With their display of jewelled stones, handcrafted toys, local artefacts, handmade Javanese batik cloths and sarongs (light cotton wraps) dyed in vibrant hues, the roadside traders are ever willing to explain their wares should you want to know more.
Roadside stalls with fresh produce are another common sight at Tanjung Pinang. Featuring an amazing variety of fish, giant prawns, dried shrimps, crunchy crackers, savoury ikan bilis (anchovies), and all kinds of sweet, sour or salty tidbits, fresh green vegetables, and local tropical fruits all stacked high on wooden carts, the rock-bottom prices are still open to negotiation.
Do note that most peddlers deal in the local Indonesian Rupiah, so it’s best to have the currency in hand before you head down south.