Living in a Water World – Sungai Buluh, Riau, Indonesia

So I’ve just spent 2 days living in an isolated place called Sungai Buluh. And now I’m happy to be back again to the city.

I’ll tell you what – it was a mind blowing experience. Water World is REAL, as real as it could be. Except, there were no guns and fights, only expensive water.

So I’ll tell you a bit about this place. 

Sungai Buluh Indonesia
Our ride from Kuala Tungkal to Sungai Buluh


Sungai Buluh Riau Indonesia
Other “passengers”

All of the houses there were built on top of the river. You can’t really touch the ground as there were no ground. You can’t walk fast if you’re not used to the assembled woods. You can’t play basketball, or soccer. You can, however, ride your bikes around the neighbourhoods, learn to drive a speedboat, go fishing, have some cats at home. There are still a lot of things you can possibly do.

Sungai Buluh Indonesia

Sungai Buluh


And I’ll tell you what. There are  no garbage man. They just dump every single waste (be it organic or non organic) to the river, said it’s okay as the water will “take” them away and *cling* your surroundings will be clean as new.

Your waste goes here!

I felt guilty at first, but considering there were no better choice, I did it anyway. *sigh*

Sungai Buluh Riau

There were approximately 2 km long of houses there, with just one elementary school for all. People who aim to pursue higher degree of education will eventually move to a bigger city nearby, like Batam, Jambi, Tembilahan. Some even moved to Jakarta & Bogor and decided to start a new fresh life there.

There rest will just stay there, enjoying their hometown, doing what their parents have been doing their entire life. They mostly catch fish, shrimp, or make something from it, like dried salted fish and ebi. Some of them even sell their catches to Singapore and even Hong Kong! Awesome, isn’t it?!

Sungai Buluh Riau
Dried Salted Fish
Sungai Buluh Riau
Getak Shrimp

All people here know other people’s businesses. Oh imagine how gossips fly fast. They all know each other and the only way they make the day pass faster is by talking to the neighbours, watch television, cook something, or just simply take a nap.

Sungai Buluh Riau Indonesia

My phone was useless as there were no signals at all. I couldn’t make a phone call, or send texts. It made me feel anxious at the first few hours but then I felt so so much relaxed! Like all of the suddens, my burdens just *woosh* went away.


When I lived there, there were literally nothing to worry about. No works, no email, no social media notifications, no people trying to make small talks via chat messaging (which is the worst), no nothing! Only silence, and food, and sleep, and food all over again.

Sungai Buluh Riau

I literally spent my days eating, reading *thank God I brought my kindle with me*, and sleeping – day and night. And of course, drink some cup of coffee in between. I woke up feeling greater than ever.

There are however downsides. Being isolated means everything is more expensive than it normally is (except for fresh seafood). Especially water. I felt like I was living in Water World, you know.

This is what you do when the rain comes
You want to save as much water as possible.

Oh, there was also this Cap Go Me event being held there. There was an auction, and singers wearing thigh costumes. I didn’t really care about the event, but it was nice to know.

Cag Go Me di Sungai Buluh Indonesia

Cap Go Me di Sungai Buluh Indonesia

Lelang Cap Go Me Sungai Buluh

Lelang Cap Go Me Sungai Buluh

The 2 days stay is a mind blowing experience for me. It was… something I’ve never experienced before. And it was a great one.

Thank you people of Sungai Buluh! You’ve been so kind and warm. I might not come back any other time, but I’m fortunate enough to live the life you’ve been living this whole time.

Sungai Buluh Riau Indonesia

How To Get There
Go to Pelabuhan Kuala Tungkal (Kuala Tungkal Port) in Kuala Tungkal. Buy a one-way ticket to Sungai Buluh.


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13 Komentar

  1. persiaprinses berkata:

    Wow, water world !!

  2. winnymarlina berkata:

    aku kemaren juga nemu sungai kampar sharoh

  3. Ceritaeka berkata:

    Walau kampung tapi teerlihat damai sekali yah. Btw nampung hujan di ember.. ah jadi inget masa kecil dulu 🙂

    1. Sharon Loh berkata:

      Iya, enak deh tinggal dua malem, sueger tanpa internet hihi. Iya, banyak drum juga tuh dipake untuk nampung hujan.

  4. It’s a bit funny knowing that they live in “water world” but they have to save water when it is raining 😀

    Anyway, it’s such a great experience, Sharon! Living different way that we’re used to. Being in the middle of nowhere gives us chance to contemplate, time to real interaction, and have a peaceful life without smartphone or laptop.

    1. Sharon Loh berkata:

      Hahaha if you watched “Water World”, you’ll know what I mean!

      Yes it was an incredible experience, and I think I might come back for more shrimp :9 Let’s see~

  5. Dita berkata:

    fotonya keren-keren dehh 🙂

    1. Sharon Loh berkata:

      Uuuu makasih Ditaaaa 😀

  6. IDTravelGuide berkata:

    So nice experience mbak Sharon. Btw I’m wondering if they throw all the garbage to the water, then the water become smelly or not?

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