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Last September I succeeded in entering Sumatra via the Sekupang harbour in Batam isle. My plan was to reach directly Jambi via the sea port of Kuala Tungkal. There are several fast AC boats playing various routes to Sumatra. Pakanbaru and Dumai are the most popular destinations, but boats go to Kuala Tungkal (Jambi) and Palembang on a regular basis. I jumped on the Sekupang-K.Tungkal fast boat (Mv. Marindo) leaving at 10am each day and arriving at 3pm (5 hr, 140.000Rp). From the K.Tungkal pier go to the travel terminal by ojek: the travel to Jambi city will take 3 hr/20.000Rp. The boat to Palembang (Mv. Surya Gemilang) leave Sekupang harbour each Mon/Wed/Fri at 7.45am, from Palembang Boom Baru Jetty each Tue/Thu/Sat at 7.45am, taking 10 hr/400.000 Rp/VIP class.
Both routes are very scenic and rewarding. The 15 knots boat trip winds through many mangrove-lined islands and islets of Riau. To Palembang the route starts with a fascinating view of the Ampera bridge and the downriver banks of huge Musi river.
No English spoken but a full immersion into bahasa and dialects for true Sumatra lovers.
More info on request.

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Thank you for this wonderful information. Truly appreciated. Pamela

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I took the Palembang-Batam ferry myself last November and it was quite rewarding. My Bahasa is functional enough to buy tickets, board, etc. without any problems. Note that the nearest Bankomat/ATM is located just outside of the terminal security gate.

The ride down the river was fascinating with much to see including sunken freighters. The sun was strong that day, which ended in a bright red sunset.

However, the AC in VIP was set exceptionally high, and I was actually shivering in my seat; many others were complaining, but nothing was to be done. Also, the ferry was almost 2 hours late coming into Sekupang, which meant we missed the last ferry back to Singapore, and had to take a taxi over Batam Center to catch a later ferry. Small problem, if you know your way around Batam.

I have a question about a future trip. My goal is to get from Batam to Rantauprapat by water only. I know that I can get from the Sekupang terminal to Dumai, but this is only half way. Is it possible to get to Tanjung Balai (Sumatra Utara) or directly to Rantauprapat from Dumai. In fact, is the river to Rantauprapat (Bilah?) even navigable?

Cheers, mate


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(quote: I jumped on the Sekupang-K.Tungkal fast boat (Mv. Marindo) leaving at 10am each day and arriving at 3pm (5 hr, 140.000Rp). From the K.Tungkal pier go to the travel terminal by ojek: the travel to Jambi city will take 3 hr/20.000Rp.)

Thanks for the info. I have a couple of question.
I will be going to Tungkal via Sekupang from Singapore. From Sekupang main terminal , i probably get a ojek to fetch me from the international terminal to the domestic one.
1) I have a friend who will be waiting for me at Tungkal , will that person be meeting me at the pier or at the travel terminal ?
2) Is it a walking distance from the pier to the travel terminal ?
3)The sales of ticket in the pier or at the travel terminal ?
4) Which hotel nearest to Tungkal terminal ?


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I don't have any info on Tungkal, but I can tell you that the international and domestic terminals at Sekupang are adjacent to each other. You will not need an ojek, just walk round the fence.

Again, I'm not sure about the arrangement of the pier and terminal at Tungkal, but typically the terminals are at the start of the pier. Sometimes there is a security screen for passengers in the terminal, which would prevent non-passengers from walking from the terminal to the pier (like in Sekupang), but not always.

The visa processing counter in Sekupang will be on your right just before the immigration counters (as of November). They will also stamp your passport, so theoretically there is no need to stop at the immigration counter, but better to show it to them to be sure. Also, best to bring USD or Rupiah for the visa, unless you don't mind them 'rounding up' the Singapore dollars a bit.


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Here is the link to valuable info' found on Thorn

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