by Rivaldi Ihsan, Ethnomusicologist and Lecturer in Music at Sumbawa University of Technology (Instagram: rivaldiihsan, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Riau Islands Province is well known among local and foreign tourists as a tourist spot that has the charm of marine natural beauty. No wonder many people come in droves to enjoy marine tourism, namely the natural beauty of small islands and the natural beauty of the seabed, through snorkeling, diving, and so on.
Apart from being known as a marine tourism destination, Riau Islands is also known as a culture, heritage and culinary tourism destination. The three types of tourism are found on one of the islands called Belakang island or familiarly called Penawar Rindu island by the local Riau Islands community.
It is said that the lips of the local community, if local, national and international tourists have visited Belakang Padang island, usually it is not uncommon for that person to miss and then come back for a trip. That is why the name is the island of longing that is full of culture, heritage, and culinary.
In culture tourism, for example, on Belakang Padang island there are arts and culture that still survive today, namely traditional joget dangkong music, kompang music, traditional hereditary games namely gasing, and decorative flower crafts made from fish scales.
Meanwhile, on heritage tourism on Belakang Padang Island, such as the Sambu Island naval post building dating back to the Dutch colonial period, since 1954 the building has functioned as a naval post.
The building is four stories high, serving as the Navy headquarters in Belakang Padang. The architecture looks minimalist with bold lines without white roof tiles. It now serves as the office of the Hang Tuah Foundation of Batam, the representative board of Belakang Padang.
There is also the sub-district office of Belakang Padang, which functioned during the 1959-1983 era. This office is on a plateau next to the immigration office. Its position is uphill towards the hill. The Belakang Padang sub-district office complex has a history closely related to the island of Batam. This area used to be beautiful because it was located on the top of a hill overlooking Belakang Padang harbor. Likewise, the front yard of the office has a clear view of Sambu Island and Singapora.
The Immigration Office Class II Belakang Padang was established in 1951, with an area of 174 m2 equipped with one official house for the head of the office and eight clerk houses. Its working area covers eight sub-districts, namely, Batam sub-district, Siantan sub-district, Jemaja sub-district, Midai sub-district, West Bunguran sub-district, East Bunguran sub-district, Serasan sub-district and Tembelan sub-district.
The Belakang Padang police station was established in 1930 with an area of approximately 6000 M2. This building has existed since the Dutch era. The classic colonial construction and architecture is reflected in the Catur Sakti Building and Border Police Dormitory which still stand intact today.
When traveling to Belakang Padang Island, it is incomplete if you have not tasted the culinary delights of cendol, kopi ameng, teh tarik, roti kirai, prata, mucus noodles, sea food gonggong and squid. If you want to enjoy all the culinary delights there, you can visit Hang Tuah street or the market in Belakang Padang.
Route to reach Belakang Padang island
For traveling friends if you want to travel to Belakang Padang island there are two routes. Can use your own expenses without travel services. If you come from outside the city, you can go through Hang Nadim airport using public transportation services taxi, Busway, and other public transportation services, the cost varies between IDR 22,000-Rp 150,000.
Then, arrive at Sekupang harbor to the pompong or boat to Belakang Padang. One pompong departure costs IDR 15,000. The duration of the trip using pompong to get to Belakang Padang Island is approximately fifteen minutes to twenty minutes, while the most used public transportation service while on Belakang Padang Island is bicycle rickshaw.
In addition, there is also a tour package service ‘one day tour back to the past Belakang Padang’ with an adult price of IDR 200,000, while children IDR 150,000. This tour provides T-shirt facilities, guide, pompong / boat, rickshaw, breakfast, lunch, and home stay at a cost of IDR 50,000-150,000 per night. This tour package is managed by local sons and daughters.