Villages on the water in Pulau Bintan - 1 : Kawal
(Pulau Bintan, Indonesia)

Where is a Southeast Asian-like water village ? A village suitable for such a request full of preconception is this Kawal.

First of all, a highly recommended part is a long extended tree pier.

Now, the road bridge crosses the middle of the village and divides it. Actually it is a long village continuous from the depths of an inlet, via an estuary, to the area where the river is obtaining a footing on the inland. Two tree piers extend towards the sea and houses settle along them with the flow of the river between both.

The piers are built by the traditional way that a pile is driven into the bottom of the water, a beam is laid on it and an irregular thick board is nailed on a beam.

The boards are wet and slippery with a strong squall at the time, and a part of the boards are rotten with holes and loose nails and jumps while walking, that is, there are many "traps" here and there. Walking it cautiously is just the real thrill of exploring this kind of village. In contrast with such a traveler, children run jumping up and down.

Next, let’s lift your eyes from the foot to observe the houses.

The houses with gable roof and wooden board siding are just a model answer for a water village, and between a house and the pier is a covered terrace. It is not special but a form that has been completed over a long time in this region and climate with high rainfall. Easy-to-obtain materials and simplified design are easy to repair.

Many houses are not painted and the appearance that is wet with rain and dirty in the rain synchronizes with the color of the mangrove trunk and the soil color and fuses into the environment.

Among water villages in this Bintan island, the air of Kawal is casual, compared to brightness of Penyengat Island, which is related to Malaysia, and closeness of the Sengarang of Chinese residents. This village is free to come and go, and even if others are walking around, they don’t mind or don’t feel uncomfortable. Would this stance is related to the fact that the residents are Indonesian ?

The preferences of the residents is gardening. In the colorless settlement, potted flowers on the terrace in front of each house’s entrance emerges vividly.

To Japanese Version

Google Maps

From Singapore to Tanjun Pinang
2 hours by ferry from Singapore Cruise Centre at Tanah Merah Ferr y Terminal to Tanjun Pinang Port (4 services per day).

From Tanjung Pinang to Kawal
30 minutes by taxi from Tanjung Pinang Port.


Comfort Hotel & Resort Tanjung Pinang
Hotel Furia(TEL 62-771-31125)
Pelangi Hotel


2008.11 Photos in English version, and photos and text in Japanese version

2018.01 Change of photos
2018.05 Text in English version

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Village of Kawal

Photo by Daigo Ishii