Tambelan islets is the most outer part of Bintan Regency. In fact Tambelan is actually closer to West Kalimantan (West Borneo) than to Bintan Island, where the regency is domiciled. It takes 16-18 hours sea travel by motor vessel from Port of Kijang on Bintan Island to reach Tambelan, while only 8 hours from Pontianak in West Kalimantan. That is why Tambelan people do business to Kalimantan more than to Bintan itself. But the history has seen that despite this geographical distance, Tambelan people associate themself culturally as part Riau Malay than to Kalimantan Malay.
I felt grateful that I finally able to visit this beautiful island and meet with the friendly and humble people of Tambelan when I joined the entourage of the Governor of Riau Archipelago Ismet Abdullah and the Regent of Bintan Anshar Ahmad in conjuction with eid al fitri celebration in Tambelan last week. The entourage was consist of almost 300 people, probably the biggest government entourage ever visited Tambelan in history. The group sailed to Tambelan from Port of Kijang by MV Leuser.
Tambelan people thronged to the warf to welcome Bupati (the Regent) Anshar Ahmad (no. 2 from right) and the country Senator from Riau Archipelago Idris Zaini (behind Ansar Ahmad) upon arrival at the Tambelan port (foto Rikson Situmeang).
Pompong the main moda of transportation in Tambelan isles (foto Rikson Situmeang).
Traditional boat race in Tambelan (Foto Rikson Situmeang).