A trip to the tourist and industrial island of Batam in the Riau Islands Province will never be complete without visiting its most prominent icon: the Barelang Bridge.
Situated some 35km from the heart of Batam City, the bridge is an architectural feat that connects Batam Island with several small islands to its south, which are Rempang, Galang, and Galang Baru (which, together are also known as the Barelang Islands area) and the smaller islands of Tonton, Nipah, and Sekotok.
For this reason, the name Barelang itself is a short form derived from the three major islands of Batam, Rempang, and Galang.
Barelang Bridge is, in fact, a system consisting of 6 bridges and connecting roads, that together stretch across the total area of the Barelang islands region of approximately 715 square km.
The span of all 6 bridges together covers 2 kilometers, while the actual distance covered from the first bridge to the last is about 50km.
Reflecting the Riau-Malay Culture, the bridges are officially named after rulers of the Riau Sultanate from the fifteenth to the eighteenth-century rulers.
The Barelang Bridge project was initiated by B.J Habibie. Indonesia’s 3rd President, who was then Minister of Research and Technology and Chief Executive of Batam Authority at the time.
The first and main Bridge is officially called the Tengku Fisabililah Bridge, but this bridge is more familiarly known simply as the Barelang Bridge or the Habibie Bridge (after B.J Habibie).
The bridge connects the island of Batam with the small island of Tonton. Similar to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA, this picturesque bridge is the longest and largest in the entire system.
Spanning 642 meters, this is a cable-stayed bridge, supported by and decorated with two towering 199m high pylons. Overlooking the open seas dotted with several small islands, the bridge provides the perfect setting for some of the most outstanding pictures.
Complemented with a platform offering the best angle of the bridge, taking a picture here for tourists is obligatory since it will provide solid proof that one has indeed visited Batam.
The 2nd bridge connecting the islands of Tonton and Nipah is called the Nara Singa Bridge and is a cantilever bridge covering a total length of 420m.
The 3rd Bridge is a girder bridge that stretches about 270m, called the Ali Haji Bridge which connects the island of Nipah with Sekotok. The 4th Bridge is the Sultan Zainal Abidin Bridge connecting the islands of Sekotok with Rempang, which is a 365m long cantilever bridge.
On Rempang Island is the Melayu Beach which offers panoramic sceneries and relaxing ambiance and is frequently visited by both locals and tourists.
The 5th Bridge is a 385m long Arch Bridge called Tuanku Tambusai Bridge. The bridge connects Rempang with Galang Island, the site of the former Vietnamese Refugee Camp. The 6th and last bridges are also the smallest with a total length of 180m. Called the Raja Kecik Bridge, it connects Galang with Galang Baru Island.
Barelang is also mostly associated with its super fresh Seafood. Around the bridge, an area is a number of restaurants offering all sorts of freshly caught seafood offerings besides fish also lobsters, prawns, squids, clams, crabs, and plenty more.
Customers can choose for themselves the fresh seafood caught at sea live before they are cooked to your style and taste.