The booming oil town of PEKANBARU is a major gateway into Indonesia from Singapore, via Pulau Batam and Pulau Bintan. Most travellers head straight through but it's worth considering a journey break here – it's six hours west to Bukittinggi and another nine or ten hours east to Singapore. Pekanbaru's main street is Jalan Sudirman, which runs north–south from the river through the centre of town to the airport. Most hotels, restaurants and shops are within easy reach of this thoroughfare.
The tourist information office is inconveniently sited at Jl Diponegoro 24 (Mon–Thurs 8am–2pm, Fri 8–11am, Sat 8am–12.30pm; tel 0761/31562).
The one must-see in town is Yayasan Sepena Riau, Jl Sumatera 7 (Mon–Sat 10am–4pm), a small private museum and souvenir shop. It's an absolute treasure trove of artefacts collected by one family over many years, including items connected with traditional Riau weddings. The markets are fun too: Pasar Pusat is the food and household-goods market, and Pasar Bawah and Pasar Tengeh in the port area have an excellent range of Chinese goods, including ceramics and carpets.