Mal SKA’s ‘SKA’ appears to be pronounced ‘es-ka’ instead of ‘ska’ or ‘S-K-A’. But if you’re booking a Grab ride, it won’t matter since you won’t have to pronounce the name or give directions. Found Shihlin here and got the tote bag in my preferred design! Woohoo! Paid 100,000rp for XXL Crispy Chicken (very dry) and a Tokidoki tote. By right, for 90,000rp I should be able to get a tote, Teriyaki / Spicy & Cheese Popcorn Chicken Bowl and a bottle of mineral water. But according to the staff, this wasn’t available then. Maybe because it is was not even 11am yet? 🤔
The Shihlin chicken was SO dry… and spicy. We then ordered a Sparkling Mango Tea from ‘go mango’. It was so-so. At LIANG sandwich bar, I wanted the nyonya spicy chicken and was told it was sold out. I wanted to get their lychee tea too and it was similarly also sold out. It was only 11.15am on a Tuesday. I guess that’s Pekanbaru, or Indonesia, for you. They are very, very chill. So, as a tourist, you have to behave the same way. If something you want is not available today, just come back tomorrow. It’ll likely be ready then.
I also found that one of their recycling bins looked rather odd – it says Plastic on top but Paper below:
Mal SKA is pretty impressive: there’s an archery venue, trampoline park and ice skating rink in this mall. So safe to say… it’s pretty big. Folks with kids would surely enjoy spending time here.
Those excavators are huge – I don’t even think they are kid size. This shows you just how much space / land there is in Indonesia and in the malls in Pekanbaru. (@_@)
And we visited Matahari once again and ended up with more of their coupons to use.
For folks who are constantly hangry:
Across the road from SKA mall are two other malls: Living World and Transmart Carrefour. I think it is possible to spend a whole day just exploring these 3 malls even if you don’t have kids.
We had lunch at Ichiban Sushi.
As for the Beef Teriyaki Bento Set, the gyoza’s not the best but the beef’s decent – probably stewed in a sweet sauce. One thing you’ll notice is that Pekanbaru has a very young workforce. Almost all the staff in the malls are young people. It’s nearly impossible to find seniors working as retail or F&B staff.
Found a KOI outlet here and bought a cup for a taste of home 😀
KOI here has the exact same taste as in SG. However, their largest cup appears to be our ‘M’ sized one in SG thus it seems to be pricier here actually. (@_@)
And if you go overboard with your shopping, please note that there are no money changers within the malls. In fact, when I asked for a money changer, I got directed to Sudirman street – there’s a Kirana Baru Money Changer there. Even the banks located in malls will not take your Singapore dollars.
My darling had coffee at Kim Teng (which is SO popular in Pekanbaru, just like YaKun is in Singapore). He found their coffee very sweet…
And the most interesting bit about Mal SKA? This sign! Apparently, you’re not allowed to bring guns into the mall. I’m sure people with weapons will most certainly think twice about bringing them into the mall upon seeing this sign, ya? 😉
~ Living World ~
There’s also an archery venue here. I didn’t think the Indonesians were so interested in archery. Hmm.
Head to the supermarket for cheap and good avocado juice:
Living World is a larger and newer mall, compared to Mal SKA. There is a “foodcourt” with plush seats. But we actually found few people out and about. There were more staff than customers in most of the shops we visited.
Likewise, we found it impossible to get our money changed to the local currency in this mall. We would have to visit the moneychanger near Mal Pekanbaru as there are none at SKA, Transmart and Living World! 😅 I guess there aren’t many tourists here. Also, English is not widely spoken nor understood here. And in some eateries, the menus are exclusively in Bahasa Indonesia. But it helps that being from Singapore, we know our nasi putih, mie goreng, etc.
My darling read somewhere that Pekanbaru is the cleanest city in Indonesia. But we couldn’t help noticing that there’s still a lot of rubbish strewn about the city. Not too far from the main road was this ‘dumping site’ with lots of trash and chickens going through that rubbish heap…
We also had to cross potholes and muddy places to get to Transmart Carrefour…
Inside the mall, it was a world of difference, of course. Found the supermarket looking gorgeous. And it even had its own hydroponics setup, from the Pekanbaru GreenFarm. Wished I could have gotten these veggies and prepared a meal with them! 😀
And I also found this quite hilarious-looking CNY display for *erm* bathroom attire?
And the cartons are stacked so high and in such a manner that I wanted to play life-size Jenga:
There’s also a truly impressive arcade at level 3. Take the lift to get from G to 3. There’s even an indoor rollercoaster – likely for kids. I wouldn’t dare to take the ride anyway.
The foodcourt looks miserable – like the last customer they served was from a week ago. And the female staff manning the bumper car ride was going round and round in a bumper car herself. I hope she doesn’t drive herself crazy going round in circles. (@_@)
After the obligatory tourist shots at the photowalls, we headed downstairs to the entrance where there is a Wendy’s outlet. For just over S$2, we got a baked potato with bolognese sauce plus a Coke!
And for S$2.30, I got beef spaghetti + small fries and a coke for takeaway (including a takeaway charge of 909rp).
My darling got takeaway from Abah Burger which, surprisingly, tasted pretty good! But eating too much keropok gave him a sore throat soon enough.
By the way, if you are wondering, I used my TPG sim card in Pekanbaru. Data roaming works here but since it is a FREE service from TPG, don’t expect it to be awesome. For instance, in one part of the mall, the reception is great, and in another part of the same mall, there can be zero reception.
We spent an entire day exploring the three malls then took a 22,000rp Grab ride from Transmart back to FOX Harris hotel. Who knew that shopping (and eating) could take up so much time?!
Once again, if you want to find a money changer in Pekanbaru, you can look for the one called ‘Kirana Money Changer’ that is near Mall Pekanbaru. We actually haven’t been there ourselves. We decided to pay with a credit card in places that accepted it, and with cash for Grab rides and others. Thus, we were able to have a 5-day holiday in Pekanbaru without having to exchange more Sing Dollars for Rupiah. And oh, assuming you really need a money changer, the street it is located at is called Jenderal Sudirman. Just Google Kirana Money Changer and you should be able to find the required details.
We’d initially thought that we’ll visit a money changer in Pekanbaru (perhaps get a better exchange rate) and then book a day tour or something. We do travel pretty much free-and-easy and make up the itinerary on the go. But there was no day tour. Even our hotel did not offer or know of one. Fox Harris hotel does, however, offer a private car service at 200,000rp for the first hour. It can take you anywhere you’d like. But I suppose a Grabcar would be more convenient… and cheaper?
And I do highly recommend staying at Fox Harris Hotel. Our room had a rain shower, a safe, and even bedside reading lights though it must be said that his worked (and got rather hot after a while) but mine totally did not light up. 😀
Read about Day One in Pekanbaru here.