Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Riau Islands' businesspeople and provincial administration have been told to stop criticizing the government's new visa-on-arrival tariff, and to drop their demands for special treatment in the matter.
Visitors applying for visas on arrival have to pay US$25 which allows them to stay for 30 days, with the possibility of a 30-day extension for another $25.
This new single tariff policy has been in effect since Jan. 26, and applies to visitors from 64 designated countries
Businesspeople at the Riau Islands, especially those in Batam, Bintan and Karimun - known as the BBK economic zone - claim the new policy was forcing them to pay unnecessary extra costs and demanded that either the tariff revert to the old system, in which they could pay $10 for the first seven days, or incorporate a daily charge.
I Gede Widiharta, head of the provincial Justice and Human Rights office, said the new tariff was part of the central government's prerogatives in foreign policy.
He added the central government could not easily revert to the $10 tarrif.
"The new policy prevails in every part of the Indonesian territory. Do not interpret regional autonomy disproportionately," Widiharta told The Jakarta Post, over the weekend.
However, Governor Ismeth said the Justice and Human Rights Minister had given BBK a green light to implement the old tariff.
Speaking to the media during the officiation of a swimming event on Friday, Ismeth said that the possible reversion had been conveyed by the minister on the sidelines of a meeting between governors from across the country and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Cipanas Palace on Tuesday.
"The minister has approved the implementation of the old tariff in Batam, Bintan and Karimun, which is $10 for a week stay and not $25 for a month stay," he said, adding this only applied to the Riau Islands.
Riau businesspeople argue the new policy has badly affected their businesses, predicting a potential loss of Rp 500 billion a year due to possible decrease both in the tourism industry and business sectors.
Widiharta, however, said based on the data at his office, which also oversees the immigration affairs in the province, there had not been a significant drop of foreign tourist visits following the implementation of the new tariff in the province.
He added that most of the 1.5 millions of tourists visiting the province came from Singapore and Malaysia, which require no visas.
Only a small number came from Korea, Japan, Taiwan and India, which are included among the 64 countries.
He said an evaluation on the impact of the new tariff would be conducted three months after its implementation. He expressed confidence in the new policy's effectiveness and merit.
A Malaysian woman has been arrested for smuggling Ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine, locally known as shabu-shabu, worth Rp 5.5 billion (US$ 589,300) at the International Ferry Port in Karimun, Riau Island, an official said Wednesday.
Head of the port‘s Customs and Excise Office Nasar Salim said that officers had become suspicious of a purple bag belonging to 45-year-old Lim Chen Huat when it was passed through an X-ray machine shortly after she arrived from Kukup, Malaysia on Tuesday.
“We then found 10,112 Ecstasy tablets wrapped in 10 packages and two kilograms of crystal methamphetamine wrapped in two plastic bags,” Nasar told The Jakarta Post.
He added that she might be linked to an international syndicate as she had previously visited Karimun to ensure she could smuggle the drugs.
“We handed her over to the Karimun Resort Police for further investigation,” he said.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Harry Azhar Azis, from the Golkar Party, said Monday the Indonesian government should talk to its Singaporean counterpart about such a plan.
"The bridge would give our producers better access to the Asian continent following the implementation of the free trade agreement between ASEAN and China," he said. - JP
Source: Jakarta Post
Friday, November 27, 2009
Today (26th Nov) is another ferry ban day. The authorities are watching the weather closely and will lift the ban once they are confident it is safe enough to do so. However if the weather remains the same or worsen, the ban will be extended beyond 26th Nov.
Waves up to 2.5 meters and strong wind have even stopped the local fishermen from going out to make their living. Since the sinking of the ferry Dumai Ekspres 10, authorities are being extra cautious.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The Dumai Ekspress 10, the sister ship of the boat here, sank near Karimum Island. This is the similar boat that plies between Kukup and Tanjung Balai Karimun.
Over 25 bodies have been recovered. More than 240 people have been rescued and bought to Tanjung Balai Karimun.
This is the monsoon season and high waves are common in the Melacca straits off Sumatra.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
I havent been able to update this blog lately because I havent been to Tanjung Balai lately due to personal commitments.
So I am looking for contributors to this site. Anyone who lives in Balai or visit balai regularly (or even not so regularly) is welcomed to write for this blog.
Please email me at mdbehappy(XXXX)gmail.com
Replace (XXXX) with @
After 4 months online, this blog has been able to achieve #2 position in google search engine for the search key "tanjung balai karimun". Yay!! One day I hope to build this blog up to even overtake wikipedia which is at number 1.
Looking forward to any contributions... Thanks
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The problem was revealed during a national meeting on the dissemination of Influenza A (H1N1) virus, held by the Health Ministry in Batam on Saturday.
The meeting was attended by heads of hospitals across the country that were recently appointed as referral hospitals for the virus.
Head of the Riau Islands Health Agency Munzir Purba disclosed the officers had to work from morning until 8 p.m., checking about 20,000 visitors entering the country from Singapore and Malaysia in five seaports and an airport in Batam, as well as a seaport in Karimun and two seaports on Bintan Island.
"The officers are very tired of checking the temperature of the visitors. We think that the action is no longer effective," Munzir said.
He said checking the temperature e of the visitors at the arrival gates was no longer effective because the H1N1 virus had spread across the country.
Responding to the problem, director general of the Health Ministry's Medical Services, Farid Husein, said the checking must continue.
"But the officers could do it in shifts, to avoid fatigue," Farid.
He said the World Health Organization had not set a standard for the number of patients needed for a country to be categorized as affected by the H1N1 pandemic.
So far, there have been about 400 H1N1 cases recorded in Indonesia, including three that were fatal.
Meanwhile, Widjajanti Utojo, head of the Dr. Slamet General Hospital in Garut, West Java, said many patients possibly infected with H1N1 could not be bothered to wait for the results of their tests.
"Many patients escape from the hospital while waiting for the results," Widjajanti said. She said her hospital had treated 60 people suspected of carrying the virus, but said only six were declared positive.
Similarly, head of medical services at Bali's Sanghlah Hospital, I Gusti Lanang Suartana, said many foreign patients became angry when they were forced to stay for six days in the in the hospital's isolation room. "Many foreign patients get angry because of that, but it will continue as there is no solution from the ministry," Suartana said.
Director of medical services at the Health Ministry, Marwan Nusri, said the laboratory testing should be conducted centrally, in Jakarta.
"It's not about the lack of equipment. But we have to do the test carefully," Marwan said.
He disclosed each test costs the central government Rp 4 million (US$400).
From Jakarta Post
MUI Riau Islands chapter chairman Azhari Abbas told The Jakarta Post on Thursday the council urged the administrations of Batam, Tanjung Pinang, Karimun, Bintan, Lingga, Natuna and Anambas to close entertainment centers, starting on Aug. 21, the first eve of Ramadan.
"We have sent a circulating letter to the regency and municipality administrations. The administrations could use the letter as a basis on the closure of the entertainment centers during Ramadan."
He claimed the Tanjung Pinang muncipality administration had agreed to the MUI's request and promised to implement the total closure of the entertainment centers in the city during Ramadan.
According Azahari, the council was still approaching Batam administration and urged the municipality to close entertainment centers in the city along the fasting month.
However, Batam has its own regulation that manages the closure of entertainment centers and will close them for just four days during Ramadan, ignoring the Islamic preachers' call for total closure.
The regulation states that the closure is only the first day of Ramadan, the Koran Revelation Day on the 17th day of Ramadan and two days of Idul Fitri celebrations.
"Batam is the only city in the province that does not involve ulema in the closure of entertainment centers during Ramadan. We are very disappointed," he said.
He argued the closure of the entertainment centers along the fasting month was important to prevent immoral activities that could disturb the serenity of worship during Ramadan.
During Ramadan last year, the Batam administration also closed the entertainment for four days. The closure of entertainment along the month was feared to decrease income of workers in tourism sector.
Batam municipality spokesperson Yusfa Hendri said the closure of entertainment centers during Ramadan would be regulated through a muncipal regulation, confirming that last year the centers had been closed only for four days.
"We have to consider workers who depend their incomes on the entertainment centers. It's impossible to close the entertainment centers throughout the month."
However, he said the municipality would involve the ulema council in the planned closure of the entertainment centers during Ramadan.
"We would involve ulema in the closing and opening policies of the entertainment centers," he added, responding to the council's call.
From Jakarta Post
Hang Nadim Airport’s aviation safety unit head, Elfi Amirm, told The Jakarta Post the governor’s chartered flight was bound for Sei Bati Airport on Karimun Island from Tanjung Pinang on Sunday when the aircraft encountered the technical problem.
Elfi said the Sei Bati Airport noticed something was going wrong with the Cassa 212 plane operated by Sabang Merauke Air Charter, as it did not land an hour after takeoff at 8:10 a.m. It normally takes less than 15 minutes to reach Karimun from Tanjung Pinang by flight.
“I reported the problem to the Singapore aviation authorities to direct the plane,” Elfi said.
The governor finally touched down safely at Sei Bati Airport, thanks to the Singapore Air Traffic Control. There is no report about how the governor and the officials on board reacted to the aviation problem.
The absence of a radar in all airports across the province has forced the province to rely on the Singapore-controlled Flight Information Region (FIR) for decades, Elfi said.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requires the nearest member country that possesses a more sophisticated navigation system to help another member country in need.
From Jakarta Post
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Visit by an archaelogist. Sanscript inscription and rock carvings
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I was at Hotel Paradise which used to be one of the top hotels in Tanjung Balai. It was the quietest I have ever seen it. There seems to be a mosquito plague there... The whole place smells of baygon! If you are at the lounge area, you are practically eaten alive by mosquitoes!
Santana is now a Karaoke lounge, opposite Paradise hotel. They have dangdut singers there now. Also plenty of pretty looking PR ladies. I found out that they used to work at other places but now have to supplement their income by working at Santana. Just another sign of how bad things are now.
Durian season is in full bloom! The price is around IDR 8,000 per kg now. Try it!
Friday, June 5, 2009
These boats come from Kukup, Tanjung Piai Pontian and Tanjung Pelepas Port, Malaysia. Their destintation is Tanjung Balai Karimun, Indonesia.
The Department of transportation, Karimun regency reviewed the application of the increase in port tax. There was a decrease in foreign tourists but the number is not too significant, only about 5 percent.
The port authorities have decided to keep the increase in port tax and will only review the increase if the number of foreign tourist drops by 30 percent or more.
From Tribun Batam
Most of Tanjung Balai's street curbs/walkways are being used by traders as places to store merchandise, flower pots and also used for motor cycle parking. In fact the walkways main purpose is for pedestrian use.
There was a raid by local authorities on Mon, 1st June. This was to impress upon the traders that the walkways is for pedestrian use only, not as part of the trader's selling area.
Roads such as Jln Nusantara, Jln Pramuka and Jln A Yani are not very pedestrian friendly. Pedestrians are forced to walk on the main roads, which can be quite dangerous with the heavy flow of traffic.
The local authorities have given warning that this will not be tolerated and action will be taken soon if the traders do not clear up the problem.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Immigration: There are about 200 foreign workers in Karimun.
From 23rd May to 2nd June, Karimun police will be checking on foreign workers as part of the security operations in preparation of the Karimun Regency presidential election on the 8th July.
The Police Commissioner Guruh Arif, Deputy Chief Police Karimun reported to the Tribune after leading the code of ethics assembly in the police Mapolres Karimun, on Wednesday.
Based on data from Karimun, there are about 200 foreign workers in Karimun. Meanwhile, there are 41 foreign citizens with a Limited Stay Permit Card (KITAS). There are 34 person who are new KITAS owner and 7 foreign citizens who are in the process of renewal.
Of the 34, 12 are Malaysians, then followed by citizens of Italy and France as much as 4 people each. India with 3 people, while Australia, Portugal, Philippines, China each accounted for 2 people. Colombia, Sri Lanka and Ukraine each person 1.
Those on extension visa must report to us once a month.
29th May 2009
From Tribun Batam
PT Saipem Karimun Yard recorded 2 million work hours without a single accident. PT Saipem management announced the achievement during an appreciation ceremony last Wednesday(27th May). According to Susilo Hasto, PT Saipem Public Relations Coordinator, said that accidents reduce working hours(lost time injury or LTI).
In the event, the Head of Department of Labor Karimun Regency, Syafri Salisman, represantative of Karimun Regent, hopes Saipem can become an example for other companies in Karimun, even throughout Kepri province.
In Karimun itself there are 12 large companies and also other average size foreign companies. Saipem's safety in the workplace should be an example of course. The top project leader of PT Saipem, Fox Roll thanked Saipem employees and contractors working for Saipem. "Leader in safety," he said his motto in the safety of foreign companies.
He hopes Saipem has contributed to all the companies in the Karimun. "Treat safety work as a need and not a compulsion," said Fox. In the ceremony, Head of Department of Transportation, Representative Lanal Karimun closed by giving awards to the Saipem's employees and employees of contractors, PT Multi Adverindo, Waskita PT Karya, PT Boskalis, PT Putra Tidar brave and so forth.
From Batam Pos
In anticipation of Swine Flu from infected areas, the Karimun port health authorities have tightened the inspection for incoming visitors.
"With confirmed cases in Malaysia and Singapore, the checks on people from these areas are have tightened," said Rizaldi, Section Head of Control and Quarantine Port Health Office Class II Tanjungbalai Karimun, Thursday.
Previously only body temperature was taken from incoming passengers. Additional steps now include passengers filling in health cards which will make it easier to contact the visitors if they are in Karimun for a longer stay.
As a result of these checks, a resident from Bulu disrict Safri (31) , who just returned from visiting Malaysia was taken to the local hospital after recording a body temperature of 38 Deg C.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
The Department of Transportation Karimun promised to review the port tax by early June.
This was in response to the protest from members of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurants (PHRI) Karimun, with regards to the increase of the port tax from Rupiah 25k to 60k for foreign visitors, mainly from Malaysia and Singapore.
Edi Sontek, the Chairman of PHRI complained to Batam Pos recently that many hotel and wisma rooms are empty since the implementation of the new port tax.
Hotel operators are happy just to be able to survive on a daily basis, said Edi. However if there is no review of the port tax, many hotels will have to shut down. "If the visitor numbers continue to decrease, hotel closures will definitely happen. So we ask the government to understand our situation," explained Edi who accompanied PHRI Karimun Secretary, Tantimin SH.
I also heard that a ferry operator from Singapore to Tanjung Balai Karimun recently cut their daily trips from 6 a day to just 3 due to low passenger load.
Maximillian hotel was quiet, even on a Saturday. The local restaurants were also very quiet. They are normally very popular with tourists who frequent them for their fresh seafood. The local Karaokes (KTV), night clubs and disco are also affected. One employee told me they are really feeling the global economic downturn now. If they have a time machine, they would love to go back a year ago!
I think there are a few different reasons why Tanjung Balai is starting to feel the pinch now. Firstly it was the economic crisis, then there is unreasonable increase in TBK's port tax from Rupiah 25k to 60k for foreigners. Recently there was a threat to shut down Villa, the brothel complex. This may have scared off some people.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
The Indonesian Hotel & Restaurant Organisation (PHRI) Karimun, has asked the local goverment to review the recent increment of the international port tax. This is due to the impact on the numbers of tourist from the new regulation. The occupancy rates of hotels and wismas directly affected by it. Numbers of rooms sold cannot even cover operational cost.
"Don't wait till the situation is intolerable before the goverment begins to react. We ask the goverment to be proactive to the people's complaints," said the secretary of PHRI Karimun, Tantimin SH, yesterday. The truth of the decline in tourist numbers, says Tantimin, can be seen from the Immigration Inspection Place (TPI) international port Tanjungbalai Karimun. All international tourists from Malaysia and Singapore enters via TPI.
Kelly, another member of PHRI says, the port pass tarriff which increased from Rp25 thousand to Rp60 thousand, is much higher than those charged by Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore charges it's visitors 6 Dollar plus 18 Dollar fuel surcharge. Malaysia only charge RM10 which is only around Rp30 thousand.
"With such high charges, visitors are reluctant to visit Karimun," he adds. In terms of facilities, Karimun International Port is far from adequate. There are no clean water and the aircondition is almost non-existent.
Facilities at Batam Center Port is much better. However it's port tax is only Rp43 thousand only.
Kelly also admits that occupancy rates are now very low. Many hotelliers have complained to PHRI. Some have even admitted to zero occupancy!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
6th May 2009
KARIMUN - The number of visitors from foreign countries to Tanjungbalai Karimun continues to show a decrease after the implementation of the new seaport tax on the 1st May 2009. Foreign passport holders are charged the seaport tax of Rp60 thousand, local passport holders are charged Rp30 thousand. Previously the seaport tax was apllied to all at Rp25 thousand.
Seaport tax increase according to Regional Regulation... where the seaport exit tariff for outbound ships to foreign countries (Singapore & Malaysia) was charged at Rp60 thousand. "The number of foreign arrivals entering since the start date has decline since 3rd May. It averages out to be a decline of around 50%.", said A Pramudite, Head of Port Immigration Inspection Unit (TPI) in the Tanjungbalai Karimun international seaport , Tuesday (5th May) yesterday.
A Pramudite mentioned that normally there are 15 trips a day made by foreign bound ferries. However on Friday, only 12 trips were made. "In fact we had no problems implementing the increase of the seaport tax but our record shows that the decline in foreign visits is visibly obvious," he said.
Based on data obtained from the TPI Tanjungbalai Karimun, foreign arrivals in the month of March reached 23,949 people. While April was 22,967 people. The high seaport tax rates that applies to foreign passport holders has attracted complaints from Malaysians. This is because the seaport tax in Malaysia is only RM10, about Rp 30 thousand. Malaysians have complained this to Afa, a taxi driver who often works from the harbour.
"Guests are now saying that they no longer want to visit Karimun because the seaport tax is double that of Malaysia" Afa grumbles. There are consequence due to the increased seaport tax tariff. Afa admits his livelihood is threatened. Bringing guests around Tanjung Balai is no longer viable. "How can we earn a living if there are no more visitors? We hope that the local authorities will review the seaport tax," said Afa.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
The demonstration was triggered by the frequent blackouts (mati lampu/pemadaman) occurring at their place. The blackouts can occur twice a day. The worst thing is that the blackouts normally happen at night which affect their children, many of whom are studying for their junior high school national exams (UN) . "They are forced to use oil lamps.", said Sariman and Woko citizens of Jelutung.
Batam Pos reporter was on the scene and saw the demonstrators arrive around 19:30 by motorcycles. However they found the PLN office to be empty.
Edi Firman, the Manager PLN Ranting Tanjungbalai Karimun was not at the office. Edi arrived around at 20:00 WIB, after being driven by Karimun police personnel using a police patrol car.
At approximately 20:10 WIB, Karimun Regent Nurdin Basirun was seen amongst the residents. Nurdin was seeking to calm the residents. Soon after that Karimun Vice Regent Aunur Rafiq was also at the location.
At around 20:25 WIB, Edi accompanied Yusuf Sirat, commissioner III DPRD Karimun came out of the office to meet the people. Using a megaphone, Edi tried to explain the causes of the blackouts in the Jelutung region.
"The blackout was caused by mechanical problems on the Allen machinery, specifically on Piston 6. We have been trying to fix it since morning." Edi said.
After hearing this, the residents did not accept it because the blackouts have been occuring for over a week. Edi then said that the area is prone to lightning. Every time lightning occurs, blackouts will occur. The residents just did not accept the above explanation.
As a result Edi could not respond. The resident then started to scold and berate Edi. The situation became calmer when Yusuf Sirat who is also a Jerutong resident started to address the crowd. He said that the problem will soon be fixed.
Translated from Batam Pos
Monday, April 27, 2009
Treat yourself to visual feast by going up to the 7th floor of Hotel Maxi during sunset.
Another good spot to relax and enjoy the view is Pantai Gloria next to the ferry terminal.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
This wouldn't be so bad if the facilities and services were up to scratch. The waiting lounge is always very stuffy. The air conditioner never works! When you arrive, every opportunity is taken to take uang kopi from you. If you bring in your laptop, you will be delayed. If you do not have an Indonesian chop on your passport, you will also be asked to contribute...
When you are about to depart and you are paying the port tax, you can be sure there is no change available if you do not have the exact amount required. Or if you do not have any indonesian rupiah left, they will ask you to pay in RM or Sing $. Not the converted amount but the foreign amount as is RM25 to pay for rp25k! Then every step of the way to your ferry, there will be numerous people asking for uang kopi!
I know some good people in immigration. They are not all bad. However the port terminal experience is one of the worst for visitors to Karimun Island and Indonesia in general. This is the place where people will decide whether they want to return again if they have such bad experience. It's unfortunate that so much potential tourism is lost for such short term corruption and gain.
There are a few nice cafes/restaurants which are airconditioned. Try them out.
This is a schoolbus carrying the local kids. The body is made from wood. Very colourful and cute. Note the driver's window.
This is a chinese temple on Jl Nusantara near towards the market area.
If you head towards the ferry terminal, you will pass the pasar malam. This night market opens around the late afternoon and is open till about 10pm. Great to buy snacks and food.
One of the food stalls at the pasar malam.
Friday, April 24, 2009
"Approximately at 19.00 WIB, whille passing Takong Kecil Island, MV Falcon 2 was trapped by very strong sea waves. The sea water came over the top of the ship, "said PT Indo Falcon Port Captain, Johanes Diano Bani , Thursday (23rd April).
Johanes thinks that the water came in through the ventilation shafts on the upper deck. Then it flowed through to the passenger compartment in the front. This condition prevented us from continuing to Tanjung Balai Karimun in the bad weather condition. So the captain decided for a rescue operation. He decided to change course for the nearest island for shelter and called his company for immediate evacuation.
Meanwhile Johanes said, the captain announced to the passengers of 46 people (not 63 people) that the ship could not continue in it's travel.
"After MV Falcon 5 arrived, passengers and goods were transferred aboard. The evacuation occured between 20:00 and 21:00 WIB. Passengers who were evacuated to MV Falcon 5 arrived in Karimun around 22:21 o'clock WIB in safe condition and no baggage was missing or damaged," he said.
The next day, Wednesday (22nd April) during high tide, MV Falcon 2 was taken to Tanjunguncang, Batam for a dock inspection.
"From the Tanjunguncang inspection, we found no leaks in the boat. There was no leak under the waterline. During the MV Falcon 2 incident, water came through the top of the ship and ventilation and could not sail to Batam, "John said firmly.
When I stayed at Wiko a few year back, it was too busy! The rooms are not very well sound proofed and you hear every footstep and activity outside your room.
this is one of the restaurant outside Wiko. A little expensive.
The location is pretty good as it is near the market, the disco, the massage parlours, etc. There is a hair salon on the ground floor.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
note the Wellcome on the sign (should be Welcome)
The staff are well trained and friendly, especially the ladies in reception. Roni Susanto, the asst. Manager speaks good english and will take care of your needs efficiently. I even had the manager/owner of the hotel offered and drive me personally to one of the local entertainment outlets one night, when the hotel taxi was not available.
There is a wide variety of rooms to choose from, Sing$28 studio rooms to >Sing$100 suites. Be aware that some rooms on the lower floors from the old wing do not have any views due to it being blocked by a building next door(bird nest factory).
This is the older suite (I was forced to take it once when the hotel was booked out). This can happen on weekends, so book early.
Some of the rooms in the new wing are also blocked, however you can catch the sea views when you walk the corridors in the new wing. The rooms are always clean.
new wing rooms with sea view
There is a hair salon on the ground floor. They are very professional, friendly and reasonably priced. The seaview restaurant in also on the ground floor with nice views of the sea and surrounding islands. There is also a conference room which seems to be quite well used.
This is the outside area of the seaview restaurant.
On the 2nd floor there is a spa and massage centre. Very nicely decorated and equipped. There is a cold and hot pool plus a steam sauna. The last time I went to have a look(when it just opened), the hot pool wasn't hot enough and the cold pool wasn't cold enough. It may be different now. The massage ladies were not up to my standard. I prefer to call in my "ibu massage" who does a better job. You can get your massage on the 2nd floor or up in your own room.
On the 7th floor, there is a cafe/KTV lounge. This area has fantastic view of the whole island. Very impressive.
There are 3 pool tables in the front area.
If you decide to stay at this hotel, please tell Roni that you heard about it from this website! I might be able to get a better discount next time I drop by... :)
No you do not have to walk up 7 flights of stairs! There is an elevator right to the top
The consulate will provide consular services for Singaporeans visiting, living or working in the Riau Islands Province. As Batam is only about 1.5 hours from Karimun Island, this is a very convenient service for Singaporeans here.
It will also promote and facilitate more intensive interactions and cooperation between Singapore and Riau, said Singapore's MFA.
The consulate is located on the 8th Floor of Sumatera Convention Centre, Jl Engku Putri, Kav. 01, Batam Centre, Batam.
Contact details are: Tel: +62 (0778) 470070, 470071 and Fax: +62 (0778) 470076
The Consulate will open daily from Monday to Friday from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm, and from 1.30 pm to 5 pm.
It will be closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
KARIMUN (BP) - The Department of Labor (Disnaker) Karimun Regency, Drs Syafri Salisman admitted his concern about the low skills of the local workforce (naker). Unfortunately, the opportunity to fill the jobs available cannot be achieved.
"I will admit it if our local workers' skills are still low. So, not surprisingly, if the job opportunities are taken by workers from outside the region, " said Syafri, last Saturday (11th April 2009) .
Regarding the statement made by Syafri, comments by dpc Chairman of the Confederation of All Indonesian Workers Sartikat (K-SPSI) Karimun Regency, Hanis Jasni. Hanis firmly stated that 5,000 jobs promised for local workforce when PT Saipem opened, will not be realized. The issue is that the Karimun workforce cannot reach the numbers required.
Syafri add, he himself is unsure of the 8000 unemployed in the figures in the Karimun census. "From some of the data obtained, unemployment in the Karimun is only around 4000 persons." said Syafri.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Moreover ambassador Wardana said that the investment opportunities are huge, now that Karimun is confirmed as a Free Trade Zone (FTZ). This is also an advantage with the close proximity to Singapore. Ambassador Wardana said the areas that will be reviewed will be the potential of the agriculture, tourism and maritime industries. "We will hold talks with stakeholders in Karimun, and later we will hear and see the existing conditions for ourselves." He said specifically.
Meanwhile, Karimun Regent Nurdin Basirun said, Karimun will be introduced to the outside world, particularly Singapore. That is why we invited the ambassador to view the potential of Karimun region.
In 1995 General Sutanto was chosen as the head of Indonesian National Police force and he closed down all illegal gambling. This had a dramatic effect on the sex industry but it still remains as one of the major draw for tourism to Tanjung Balai.
The current world economic slowdown has affected the flow of tourism to Tg Balai. The visitors from Singapore and Malaysia is much less now compared to one or two years ago. Hotels in Tanjung Balai are definitely feeling the effect.
For the residents of Tg. Balai, the main town of Karimun Island, it is a huge disruption on their lives. Most businesses that open at night like hotels, nightclubs, ktvs, restaurants, shops need to run their gensets in order to survive.
The average length of the rolling blackout is around 4-6 hours. They mostly happen at night when the usage rises. PLN (the electric supplier) will shut down supply to areas on a rotational basis. The locals will say "mati lampu" (lights out or blackout) when this happen.
Most home owners will not have gensets and have to rely on battery powered backup lamps. So this means that TVs, PCs and sound systems will not be operational. Another problem that arises from the blackouts is that when the power comes back on, the voltage is not stable and a lot of electrical devices have been damaged by power surges.
Some hotels have better gensets than others. The good ones will kick in almost immediately, whereas others may take a few minutes to start up. The authorities really have to do something about this problem if they want Karimun Island to progress.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Jakarta Post
Tanjung Balai Karimun
Mon, 04/07/2008 11:16 AM
Italian-based turnkey oil and gas contractor Saipem International has begun construction of a massive fabrication yard in Karimun, Riau Islands, with a total project investment of Rp 2.5 trillion (US$271 million).
During the launch ceremony of the ground-breaking facility Friday, Saipem offshore general manager Yves Inbona told the press the yard would be the company's largest production facility of its kind.
Occupying some 140 hectares of land, the facility would have a production capacity of 30,000 tons of oil and gas related components.
"The production facility will be one of the company's largest. Products from here will be allocated for demands in Indonesia as well as for neighboring areas," said Inbona, adding the company expected the facility to start operations in 2010.
He said Karimun Island was chosen to house the facility due to its free-trade zone status.
The company, which plans to employ 5,000 workers, has requested local administration improve business infrastructure on Karimun, including highways, power capacity and ports to help boost the operation's efficiency.
Riau Islands governor Ismeth Abdullah said the project signaled the revival of foreign direct investments in the province.
In a bid to lure more foreign investment into the country, the central government is planning to grant Batam Island, Bintan Island and Karimun Island special economic status whereby various business facilities there will benefit from free-trade.
Batam is located around 30 minutes from Singapore by ferry.
Ismeth said the administration decided to make Karimun Island a center for maritime business due to its deep water access that can accommodate large vessels, making it ideal to serve as a shipyard and offshore production facility.
"We are confident more and more international companies will come to Karimun to construct production facilities, especially those related to maritime and offshore businesses," he said.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Translation from above:
Residents in the vicinity of Bukit Tiung, Tanjungbalai Karimun District, at around 09.30 WIB was shocked by the onset of mini tornadoes on Monday 6th April 2009.
As a result, dozens of homes, especially those located near the Chinese cemetery was damaged by the heavy wind.
"My kitchen was not spared from the tornado. In my neighbourhood, around 12 homes were damaged’ said owner of RT 02/ RW 07, Fachrurozi, yesterday.
The wind also damaged two other buildings, namely the hostel of Marga Yeo and Ngiap E pagoda which is located on the top of the Chinese cemetery.
"From dozens of homes affected by the tornado, one home was severely damaged. That is, the house owned by Day. Fortunately, the house was empty. Just one day before the owner moved to a new place, "he said.
A local resident, Sukoyo said that when the incident happened, he was outside the house and saw a cloud of wind coming from the South or the sea from Puakang
When he saw the wind, Sukoyo shouted for the people to get out of the houses. This was to prevent the loss of life. But, the roof of the building of houses were damaged by the tornado"he said.
Tumidan, a Tiung Hill resident said, it's been a very long time since this region has been affected by tornadoes. Dozen years ago or around 1992 tornadoes damage the building in this area.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I don't suggest using credit cards there. It cost a lot and I don't feel safe using it. Lots of story about cc fraud.
Always have lots of 5k & 10k notes around. Great for tips for the hotel staff. If you go to balai 4 the first time, the chaps in the immigration counter may try to bully you for some uang kopi (bribe). They will normally point to some Singapore or Malaysia $10 notes on their desk, hoping for the same. Just drop a 10k note there casually. DON'T do this after your first trip. Once you have a balai chop on your passport, you are a veteran:)
Some hotels in balai quote Sing dollar as the room rate. If you have Singapore notes, keep them for the hotel bill. It's cheaper. Otherwise they will convert it to rupiah at an exorbitant rate.
The minimum wage for the Karimun regency is around 900k rph per month. So it is not a lot. Somehow, they get by. That's why the tips are much appreciated.
You will also notice people staring at you if you are a foreigner. Regardless of whether you are a westerner, Singaporean or Malaysia, the locals will know and stare at you. Again, ignore them. Most of the people staring at you are unemployed and bored, not criminals looking to rob you.
Generally there is very little crime against visitors. Just do the normal safe things like not be conspicuous with lots of money. I always carry and use a money clip with just a few 50k rupiah notes and small change. I do not use my wallet which may contain millions of rupiah. Leave your wallet and passport at the hotel or room safe. Don't worry if the polisi ask for ID. Just say that it is with the Hotel. You are required to surrender your passport to the hotel when you check in anyway.
There are lots of stories online about how dangerous balai can be. However I have not felt threatened. The only time I was a little worried was in my dealings with the polisi. Some bad apples will always look for ways to "cari makan" (earn a bit on the side). That is another story altogether.
Sometimes, visitors who are showy will get a bit loud and become assholes. Then they attract trouble for themselves and their companions. Just be cool and polite. Let the little things pass by. If someone overcharge you 5k rupiah for something, let it go and just don't go there anymore.
For bigger issues, it is who you know that will matter. So always try to be friendly to the locals like the hotel manager, etc. Don't bother with the hanger ons... They just want a free ride.
If you go to places like the disco and KTV, try to get a local guy to with you first. A bit of safety and orientation is needed to know the dos and donts. Get to know the locals. It helps.. You then have to decide how helpful and trustworthy they are.
Don't wear expensive watches and jewelry. Leave them in your room safe.
Motor - Motorcycles
Mobil - (pronounced mobeel), cars
Supir - driver. Can also mean to drive
Santai - relax
Sarapan - breakfast
Makan siang - lunch
Makan malam - dinner
Roomboy - Bellboy and the guys that you call for room service
Ojek - motorbikes that acts as personal taxi. Also to mean the bike driver. Just call ojek on any street and someone should respond to you to bring you around balai.
Balai - short name for tanjung balai.
kantor - office room
hp - pronounced ha-pay. Handphone
Pulsa - handphone credit or top up.
Pelabuhan - port
Wisma - cheap hotels. normally with common bathroom.
Capet - (pronounced cha pet) tired
Lantai - floor, lantai 1 = first/ground floor
Oplet - small vans that acts as buses.
If you have any questions, feel free to post and I will try to translate.
- Hotel Maximillian
Widely known as hotel Maxi, this is the best hotel in town. No question about it. It's facilities are about 3-4 stars standard but by Balai standard it is 5 stars! It recently had an upgrade and extension which includes more rooms, new dining area, conference room, massage and spa facilities, karaoke ktv lounge. The staff are well trained and friendly. The asst manager, Roni is always helpful.
- Hotel Gabion
Jl. Nusantara No. 45
Standard hotel with no lifts. So quite a bit of a walk if you are on the 4th floor! Loong corridors too!
- Hotel Wiko
Newish hotel with a lot of facilities nearby. There is a food court right in front, Star pub with live band, massage centre, hair salon, etc.
- Hotel Rasa Sayang
- Hotel Paradise
Tel: 0777-23111 /23222
Pronounced as Parah dees. Many rooms. Good parking if you have cars. Quite extensive KTV rooms.
- Hotel Padi Mas
Tel: 0777- 325555
- Hotel Holiday Karimun
Jl. Trikora No. 1
Tel: 0777-21065 / 21666
- Hotel Paragon
Jl. Nusantara N0. 38D
- Hotel Pelangi
Jl. Teuku Umar
Tel: 0777- 23100 / 232000
- Hotel Alishan
Jl. Kapling Blok A No. 10
- Hotel Erikson
Jl. Kapling No. 1
- Hotel Shangrilla
Jl. Pramuka No. 62
- Hotel Horizon
Jl. Setiabudhi No. 15
- Hotel Satria
Jl. A. Yani No. 1A
- Hotel Marina
Jl. Pertambangan No. 108
- Hotel Taman Bunga
Jl. Yos Sudarso
- Hotel Artha
Jl. Pegadaian No.9
Tel: 0777-31591 /31730
- Hotel Asia
Jl. Teuku Umar
- Hotel Tanjung Balai
Jl. Nusantara No. 127B
- Hotel Royal
Tel: 0777-22225 / 22289
- Hotel Top Star
Jl. Setiabudi No. 1
- Hotel Mitra Pesona
Jl. Nusantara No. 15
- Hotel Mirama
Jl. A. Yani No. 8
- Hotel Puri Indah
- Hotel Gloria
Jl. Yos Sudarso No. 46
- Hotel Indah
Jl. Nusantara No. 27
- Hotel King Star
Jl. Setiabudi No. 38
Tel: 0777-22346 / 22348
- Hotel Karimun
Jl. Yos Sudarso
Tel: 0777-21082 / 21088
- Hotel Millenium
This is more of a long term hotel than a daily hotel. I know locals who live here and pay rent on a monthly basis.
Jl. Teuku Umar
- Hotel Nirwana
Jl. Nusantara No. 12A
- Hotel Nusantara
Tanjung Balai is the main town of the island. It's very compact and hectic. Most streets are one way streets and there are more motorcycles(motor) than cars(mobil).
This is a bustling town with a sizeable Chinese (Tionghua) community. As you can see a lot of buildings are built right into the sea via pilings.
Karimun island is a beautiful indonesian island near to Malaysia and Singapore. It's main town is TanjungBalai or Tanjung Balai. Look past the narrow and dirty streets and the staring locals and you will see a laid back and natural island with smiling people.
In January 2009, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono inaugurated Free Trade Zone (FTZ) status on the island of Batam, Bintan and Karimun (BBK) in the Riau Islands Province. This is a very important to the future development of Karimun island.
Karimun island's proximity to Singapore(1.5 hour ferry ride) and Malaysia(1 hour ferry ride) makes it an important transport and business hub. It also connects to the smaller islands around the area as well as stops for the larger ships to Medan.