rumbai and minas

life in camp

Rumbai Camp - Camp life is like living in a close-knit neighborhood. The camp is the center for work, socializing and children's schooling. There are houses for nationals and expatriates, guest houses and temporary accommodation for visitors and those on short-term work assignments. Various services are available in camp to provide for everyday needs. These include a commissary, post office, gas station, fire station and banks. Water and power are all company provided. Internet access is available through a service provider. Recreational facilities inside the camp include a swimming pool, gym, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, bowling alley, soccer fields, and squash and basketball courts. In addition, there are mosques and churches with regular services of worship.

Rumbai camp is located in the middle Sumatra and contains areas of untouched jungle, which is a natural habitat for a wide variety of wildlife including monkeys, squirrels and a multitude of bird species. Due to the proximity of the camp to the jungle, wildlife frequently find their way into camp.


There are more than 500 houses in Rumbai camp. Each house is located in a complex named after an Indonesian plant. Water is purified and is safe to drink from the tap or use in cooking. It's recommended that only bottled water or drinks that have been boiled, such as tea or coffee, be consumed outside of camp.

The houses have three bedrooms, two baths, an enclosed front porch, a storage area and an indoor laundry area. Expatriates are assigned a home before the mandatory pre-assignment trip so they can see the house and decide what furniture to ship and what to buy locally. Most floors are tile. Area rugs are commonly used instead of wall-to-wall carpeting. All accommodations are air conditioned. Employees paint and decorate the interior of their homes to fit their personal styles and make their children feel comfortable. All rooms are wired for dual voltage (110/220).

Basic company provided furniture is available including beds, built-ins, china cabinets, as well as dining and living room furniture. Anything can be made or altered. Local seamstresses and tailors produce clothing, upholster couches or seat cushions, make drapes and just about anything else that is requested. Tailors are skilled and reasonable.

support services

Cash is generally not used to pay for services in camp. Instead, camp residents use "chits" purchased at the post office to pay for fuel, bowling, playing golf or practicing on the driving range. The chit system reduces the amount of Indonesian rupiah (cash) needed inside the camp.
Several banks have branches and ATMs in the camp. Their close proximity makes it easy to pay bills or withdraw and deposit cash. Most bank credit or debit cards bearing the Star or Cirrus System symbol are accepted at ATMs across Indonesia. 

In addition to banks in the camp, there are many banks and ATMs in the downtown area of Pekanbaru, which make it easy to obtain rupiah (local currency) when shopping.
Chits are purchased at the camp post office to buy gasoline inside the camp.
The fire station is located inside the camp near the main entrance.
Families generally feel safe living and working inside the camps. People walk both day and night for exercise and children ride bikes to school and to their friends' houses to play. Pedestrians and cyclists should pay attention to motorcycles and cars driving through the camp, since Rumbai is an international community where driving rules and rights of way are different from norms in expatriates' home countries. 

Rumbai camp is open to the outside community, rather than being limited to just resident employees and contractors. However, company security personnel check cars and motorcycles entering and leaving the camp and security regularly patrols the neighborhoods.
Heliports are located in Rumbai, Minas and Duri. The company's Bell twin-engine helicopter operates regular morning and afternoon flights between Rumbai and Duri on work days. The helicopter seats eight passengers and two pilots for business trips between districts.
Although the camp library's collection is primarily in Bahasa Indonesia, a few current magazines and newspapers in English are available. The school libraries also offer books to parents and children in both Bahasa Indonesia and English.
  • Wisma Bukit Hotel - Temporary accommodation is available for expatriates, family members and guests transiting to or from Duri. 
  • Single Employee Accommodation - Single national employees are allocated apartment-style accommodations.
The Rumbai camp clinic is open to both expatriate and national employees and their dependents. This full-service clinic boasts a laboratory, radiology unit, pharmacy, physiotherapy unit, surgical capabilities and a 24-hour emergency room. There are both western-trained expatriate doctors and national doctors to serve the national and expatriate communities in Rumbai and Duri.

Pharmacy - The clinic pharmacy stocks a wide variety of formularies. Malaria prophylaxis is currently not required in the Indonesian camps, but is available for local travel in the region to areas where prophylaxis may be advised.

Because disease patterns change, check with the local Health and Medical Services doctor prior to travel outside camp or to other countries in the region. Additional traveler information is available on the IBU H&MS website (intranet access).

In extreme emergencies, employees or dependents may be flown to Jakarta or Singapore at company expense for medical treatment. A patient review board of company doctors reviews cases to determine where the nearest medical treatment can be obtained.

Air Quality - The air in Rumbai and Minas is good most of the year with blue skies and billowing white clouds. However, seasonal smoke, caused by forest clearing, can become quite thick, limiting outdoor activities and affecting those with asthma or allergies. Chevron monitors air quality daily and the medical staff is well equipped to take care of related health issues. Air quality readings are posted on the SMO OEHES website (intranet access).

A full-time Employee Assistance Advisor is available at the Rumbai Medical Clinic for personal and family counseling needs. 

Awal Bros Hospital, Eka Hospital and Pekanbaru medical Center are modern fully equipped medical facilities located in Pekanbaru. Chevron uses these hospitals when employees and dependents need urgent care.


There are 11 schools serving national and expatriate children within the camp. Cendana High School is a national school located inside the camp.

Expatriate parents view the quality of education provided by the International School of Riau and the family time that camp life affords as being among the key benefits of an international assignment to Sumatra. The school is managed and operated by International Schools Services (ISS) of Princeton, N.J., and has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). For parents with school-age children, many social activities are centered around the school. There is an active parent-teacher organization that includes non-Chevron expatriates. They coordinate the scouts, soccer, swimming, rock-wall climbing, tai kwon do, golf and tennis lessons.

A bus service is available to take children to and from school, including coming home for lunch. Students can also ride a bicycle, a motor scooter or roller blade to and from school.

The school libraries in both Rumbai and Duri contain between 8,000 and 10,000 books with sections for parents and teachers.
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on the compound

Basic foodstuffs, such as cereal, frozen foods, canned and bottled goods and a few dairy products are on sale inside the commissary. While the store doesn't carry a full stock sufficient to meet all shopping needs, some meat and fresh vegetables are available as well as convenience items such as pasta, bread, catsup, butter, snacks, ice cream, cookies and household cleaning supplies.

in pekanbaru

A variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood is available at the local market pasar bawah. The market is open every morning and is in the nearby city of Pekanbaru. Pekanbaru is a large city. Home to an estimated 750,000 people, it is the capital of Riau province and approximately a 20-minute drive from Rumbai camp.
Rattan furniture can be bought readymade or made to specification. There are several rattan shops on the road between Rumbai camp and downtown Pekanbaru, each offering unique styles and patterns. Most major car manufacturers have sales and service dealerships in Pekanbaru. The Toyota dealership sells the locally made Avanza for around US$20,000. Large families may prefer the Kijang, which seats seven passengers and sells for around US$30,000. Modern showrooms and service counters make it easy to purchase and service a car locally. Automobile insurance is also widely available. 

Spas, such as Taman Sari, offer cream baths, facials, manicures and pedicures at very reasonable prices.
Mall Pekanbaru is an enclosed mall with a parking lot, Lucky Market, Gramedia Bookstore and Mega Department Store outlets. The photos provide a good snapshot of what goods are available. Lucky Market sells fresh fruit, vegetables and familiar brands of pet food, toiletries, and canned goods. Because markets do not consistently carry the same merchandise, expatriates will stock up on their favorite imported items when they find them.

The mall's hair salons service both men's and women's hairstyling needs.

Gramedia offers the latest best sellers, magazines and stationery supplies. Lotte Mart is a large membership store selling perishable and non-perishable goods. The duty-free shop in Pekanbaru stocks a good variety of wine and spirits. Shoppers need to present a non-Indonesian passport. The Table Top store sells glassware, dishes, vases and many other household items.

The SKA mall houses a variety of retail and restaurant outlets. The Hypermart Supermarket sells fruit, vegetables, baked goods and meat and fish. Mall Ciputra is a modern indoor mall with a Baskin Robbins, batik shop, restaurants, a large department store and a movie theater featuring some of the latest American films. Some families do their own shopping for groceries, while others send their household help to shop. Western-size clothing and shoes are hard to find in Indonesia. Indonesian sizes do not correspond with U.S. sizes and many expatriates make their clothing and footwear purchases during visits back home.

Employees also order merchandise and grocery items from stores in Jakarta. Orders are placed either in person or online. The stores then deliver the purchases to the company airplane for shipment to Pekanbaru where they are later delivered to the expatriates' homes in Rumbai. Shoppers may have to look a little harder than they would at home for their favorite food items, but can usually find most of what they need.


The company provides a car pool and driver service for employees to go into the city for shopping or dining. A nominal hourly fee is charged for usage. Within camp, employees use the camp taxis or drive their own cars, which may be purchased with company assistance. Drivers may also be hired to drive private cars outside camp.

recreational activities and entertainment

Rumbai is a relaxed and close-knit community. In addition to recreational facilities within the camp, there are many social activities available, including special-event nights at the Rumbai Country Club. Several groups meet regularly for canasta, book discussions, golfing, walking, “Moms & Tots,” and the Parent-Teacher Organization at the school.
The Rumbai Country Club includes a food court, snack shop, restaurant, hair salon, barbershop, 25-meter swimming pool and kids pool, auditorium, tennis courts and a bar and karaoke lounge. The Country Club sometimes features live entertainment. Residents of Rumbai camp get together regularly for shopping trips, golf and softball tournaments, tennis matches and cycling.
The Rumbai camp is home to the 18-hole Rumbai Golf Course. There are two golf courses in Pekanbaru—the nine-hole Kuban and the 18-hole Saujana Labersa Golf Resort. The Saujana has a restaurant, pro-shop and is expanding to a 27-hole course.

Tennis courts are located near the Rumbai Golf Course. There's an organized tennis league for players of all abilities. The courts are also available on a walk-on basis for casual single and mixed-doubles play. 

An eight-lane bowling alley is located in the camp. There are competitive bowling leagues as well as casual play. The bowling alley can be booked for special events such as children's parties. There is also a huge bowling and billiard complex in Pekanbaru. 

Squash and racquetball courts are available to employees. Employees play basketball and volleyball in the camp gymnasium. 

The Gardenia Fitness Center houses a gym and aerobics room. It has all the essential weight and cardiovascular-training equipment. The gym has everything needed for a good workout. The aerobics room offers regular classes. 

Softball games provide a chance for nationals and expatriates to jointly participate in competitive sports. 

Rumbai Hash House Harriers Club is organized by nationals, with expatriates also welcome to participate in their regular walks and runs. 

In addition to the recreational facilities in the Rumbai and Minas camps, employees can take advantage of the jungle environment for mountain biking. Riding through the jungle provides great exercise and offers fabulous scenery. Locals are very friendly, and will always wave when they see riders passing by. However, it is best to either bring your own bike or buy it in Jakarta or Singapore.
Chevron sponsors the nearby elephant camp which you can visit. The nature reserve is home to almost 40 displaced or orphaned pachyderms.
For parents with school-age children, many social activities are centered around the school. There is an active Parent Teacher Organization that includes a couple of non-Chevron expatriates. They coordinate the girl scouts, soccer, swimming, rock-wall climbing, tai kwon do, golf and tennis lessons. 

The movie theatre in Mall Ciputra shows subtitled American films in English.
The Grand Jatra Hotel, located next to Mall Pekanbaru, is a comfortable place for friends and family to stay when visiting expatriates. Hotel Aryaduta offers fine dining with seating inside or outside on the patio near the swimming pool.
There are a few restaurants outside of camp where expatriates often dine, such as Pondok Gurih (Indonesian), Enoki (Japanese) in Mall Pekanbaru, Taman Anggrek (Chili Crab), and the Aryaduta and Jatra hotels (both international cuisine). Pondok Gurih Restaurant offers local fresh food and juices. Typical main courses include satay, rice, chicken and vegetables. Be warned, however, that food can be on the spicy side. In many restaurants, kids are free to play among the patrons as if they were playing at home. Kim Teng's coffee shop is a favorite among locals. Independent vendors sell porridge and Indonesian breakfast items. Many uniformed government employees stop by for coffee and to catch up with colleagues. The Enoki Japanese restaurant in Mall Pekanbaru serves shabu-shabu and sushi. 

The SKA Mall houses a Hypermart supermarket, donut shop, bakery, KFC, A&W, Popeye's Chicken and Seafood, Trimedia Bookstore, Matahari department store, and electronics and cell-phone shops. 

In addition to Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in the malls, many others are located along the main boulevards.

summary of expatriate living

This section includes brief information about the Welcome Committee, pets, religion, household help, travel and more.
The official language is Bahasa Indonesia. However, most national employees and household help speak English. The company offers language classes and there are many opportunities to practice Bahasa Indonesia with drivers in camp, household help and gardeners. In the shops, much of the sales staff speaks English or they will write out totals on paper or print the register receipt.
Rumbai residents recommend that newcomers bring toys and clothing in their excess baggage allowance because it may take several months to receive their relocation shipment. Include outdoor toys and sporting equipment such as cleats and pads. Brands of pet and child medications and bug spray may be different from those in your home country at home. Also, there is no need to bring gardening tools, brooms or utensils. Residents typically hire local help for gardening and cleaning and the house staff is more comfortable with the materials made in Indonesia.
Residents are extremely pleased with the quality of the hired help. People may think they don't want help when they move to Indonesia with small children, but once they are settled, they find they can do things socially because they have staff who can look after their children. Home help will also prepare food, shop, cook and clean up so entertaining at home doesn't require a lot of work. Those without children may still want household help to shop, clean, walk the dogs and garden.
The Muslim community in Indonesia is more tolerant than in other parts of the world. However, women in particular should consider the conservative culture when choosing what to wear in public. Long pants, long to medium length skirts and sleeved shirts/tee-shirts are seen as appropriate attire. Sleeveless tank or halter tops and exercise shorts and outfits are discouraged and may attract undue attention. When jogging or exercising within camp, it is also important to dress conservatively.
Residents in this region take advantage of the many travel opportunities. Favorites include Southeast Asia such as Australia, New Zealand and many islands in Indonesia such as Bali and Lombok. All different types of travel are available from eco-tourist to five-star hotels.
Expatriate employees have formed a strong community and come together to welcome new families. Although this is a small informal group, their activities are well-organized and focused on assisting new families join the camp community. They provide basic necessities and organize volunteers to prepare meals when a new family first arrives in camp.
Because of the size of the camp, request for repairs may take some time. Residents may want to consider bringing some basic tools for small repairs. In some instances, inconveniences such as slow Internet access, slow home repairs, temporary unavailability of products in markets, and isolation are adjustments expatriates and their families make over time. But overall, the benefits of good schools, active social life, recreational facilities and home help outweigh these inconveniences.
There are ample opportunities to get involved with both the national and expatriate communities. For example, volunteer opportunities are available in the schools, orphanages, with the elephant camp project or on the Welcome Committee.
The Al-Ittihad mosque in Rumbai camp offers regular Muslim prayer services as does the Annur Mosque in Pekanbaru. The Catholic Church in camp celebrates Mass weekly in Bahasa Indonesia and Holy Communion every other week.
Expatriate employees working in Minas live in Rumbai camp. They either drive from or to Rumbai or take a 30-minute bus ride. Minas also has residential accommodation for nationals, guest houses and temporary accommodation for visitors or those on short-term work assignments. In addition, there is a central office building, bank, auditorium, swimming pool, bowling alley, elementary school and a nine-hole golf course.