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Pelalawan is a Regency of the Riau Province, currently one of the richest provinces in Indonesia due to its abundance of natural resources, making it the economic hub of the island of Sumatra. It covers an area of nearly 14,000 square kilometers, most of which is located on the Sumatran mainland, but also includes a group of offshore islands. Pelalawan’s larger islands are Mendul, Serapung, Lebuh and Muda, while the smaller ones include Ketam, Tugau and Labu. Pelalawan Regency is well-known as a producer of fiber plantations, natural rubber and palm oil.
Pelalawan spans a variety of geographical conditions: dense forests, expansive plantations, peat bog plains and alluvial rivers. Simply the natural beauty of the region is enough to attract tourists, but especially catches the eye of the adventurer. With vast and diverse stretches of both terrestrial and marine charm, from the Kampar River to the Straits of Malacca, Pelalawan’s great outdoors are just waiting to be discovered.
The history of Pelalawan began in 1726, when a royal descendant by the name of Pelalawan stood on the banks of the River Kampar. A Kingdom was later established under the reign of Sultan Syed Abdurrahman Fachrudin, who ruled from 1811-1822. The Pelalawan Kingdom existed until the Independence of Indonesia in 1945, when the kingdom joined the Republic. The regency is inhabited by various indigenous peoples of various ethnicities, including Malays, Minang, Batak, Acehnese, Javanese, Sundanese, Banjar and Bugis. Though differences exist among these ethnic groups, harmony thrives in this fertile land. Also living in the region is the ancient Mamak tribe, who dwell in the forests, as well as the Bajau sea tribes.
Pelalawan has a generally hilly topography, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes.
If you are interested in surfing the Kampar River, don’t forget to bring enough food, beverages, medicine and clothes.
To get to Pelalawan, one must first fly to Pekanbaru, Riau. The SSK II International airport serves international flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, local flights from Dumai, Rengat and Tanjung Pinang, and domestically, from Jakarta, Padang, Medan and Batam.
From Pekanbaru, you can hire a car to take you to Pangkalan Kerinci, the Capital of Pelalawan. It is approximately 70 km away, or 1.5 hours’ drive.