The Sensation of Seven Ghosts Bono River Surfing in Indonesia

Usually the waves only occur on the shore or sea due to changes in water and wind currents. Large waves are often used for surfing. But what’s it like to surf for hours nonstop over the river waves? this can certainly be an amazing unique experience. Bono wave sensation can be a unique destination, surfing in the river mouth. There are only 2 countries in the world
and one of them is in Indonesia! Breaking the record of the Guinness Book of Records, three Australian surfers successfully broke two world records surfing at Ombak Bono, Kampar River, Pelalawan, Riau, March 9-12, 2016. And about 20 world-level surfers from Europe and America will come to Teluk Meranti Village Pelalawan, Riau. With a mission to conquer Bono Seven Ghosts (The Bono Seven Ghosts).


Surfing Bono – surfing in the river

Scientifically explained the Bono is an Indonesian tidal bore, or an extremely fast moving river wave pushed upriver by extreme full moon tidal fluctuations. Similar tidal bores have already been surfed on rivers in the Amazon, South America, in China, and Europe (England), but in Indonesia you can find the best tidal called Bono which forms a perfect surf wave that can not be found anywhere else. Last year’s Seven Ghosts trip was not the first journey there, but was definitely the most amazingly photographed surfing conditions on a river wave ever.

The exact location is in Muara (Kuala) Kampar River – Kuala Kampar Sub – Pelalawan District – Riau Province – Indonesia. The tidal bores is known locally as “The Bono”, that is a giant water swirl that forms big wave at the downstream of Kampar River and at peak level the big wave can reach 6 meters. On top of the big wave, there is the adrenaline point for the surfers, they can scream very loud and enjoy the sensation as wave conqueror. Bono wave can be seen in many location of Kampar river, such as: Tanjung Sebayang, Pulau Muda, Teluk Meranti and Tanjung Pungai, all of them in Pelalawan Regency. The location can be reached from Pangkalan Kerinci within 4 hours by car, or 3 hours by speedboat. Arya Subyaktyo, Head of Indonesian Surfing Association said that Bono has special feature if compared to ocean wave. At the Kampar River, all surfers can ride a giant wave which formed for about 1 hour before the form is weakened while the ocean wave only can give similar sensation for 10 minutes. Also you can feel the sensation of river surfing with a rope here.

bono seven ghosts kampar river

Seven Ghost – Kampar river
credit to:

Bono Conditions

Bono surfing – The tidal bore “Bono” (or “Seven Ghosts”, named after a surf movie about the bore), is a famous surf spot in Sumatra, Indonesia. The wave in the Kampar River can rise up to 10 feet and travel up to 50 kilometers — in theory you can ride this beast more than one hour. Bore riding happens 4-5 hrs per day between 9am and 4pm. Scientifically, the Bono wave is one of the rare natural events that are rare. Where we will see a big wave like the one in the beach or middle of the sea, but this happens in a river. Bono wave occurred due to collision of three streams of water coming from the Straits of Melaka, South China Sea and Kampar River Water flow. The waves can travel from the sea at speeds of up to 40 kilometres per hour, and when sea water at full tide combines with heavy rain upstream they can reach a height of 4–6 metres (13–20 ft), accompanied by a loud roaring sound and strong winds. The surf on the river can head upstream up to 60 km away, until it ends in Tanjung Pungai area. The large number of ships sunk in the Kampar River’s estuary has been attributed to the Bono waves, and it is not a single wave, There were multiple waves, the front wave is followed by at least 6 waves that formed canals and this is why they named the Kampar River as “The Seven Ghosts”,considered to be the incarnation of the seven evil spirits. Sometimes on the left and right side of the river cliff, sometimes together in the middle of the river. Usually the waves that occur are white and brown following the water color Kampar River.

The first real video of the Bono in full bloom last year was watched online at Seven Ghosts on YouTube. You can also see an independent mini-documentary entitled “Water from the Moon” there. You have to see it to believe it.


  • 8-10ft face
  • glassy walls
  • barreling momentum for 10-15 minutes
  • 50km rides possible
  • current record is a 1h30min ride
  • gentle rolling wave travelling at slow speeds between 5 km/h (when super
  • shallow) and 20 km/h (in deep water) with 2-5 knots tidal currents behind it.



The river is inhabited by crocodiles, hence the surfers are usually escorted by rescue boats for their safety.

When to go

You are interested to visit tourist attraction waves bono in Kampar River Riau, Indonesia? Make sure you know when the right time to visit the largest tourist sites in the world.

Surfer Steve King braved a river full of crocodiles to set a new world record by riding a wave for 12.8 miles in Sumatra, Indonesia. Credit:

Big Bono waves usually occur on every 13 to 16, or close to the full moon. The largest bono usually appears during the rainy season where the Kampar River water discharge is quite large, which is around November and December. Bono is the largest occurred in Tanjung Perbilahan, which was formed because of the meeting Bono already formed on either side of Pulau Muda.

How to Go to Kampar River

GPS Coords

  • Latitude: 0.2636709
  • Longitude: 102.7249146

To get to the location of waves Bono generally made from Pekanbaru to Pangkalan Kerinci (capital of Pelalawan Regency) then headed to Teluk Meranti Village. The trip is done by land transportation (car, bus, motor). Duration of travel takes between 5 s / d 6 hours depending on road conditions and traffic density. From Pangkalan Kerinci to Simpang Bunut about 30 minutes and will enter Lintas Bono Street to Teluk Meranti Village which takes about 3-4 hours.

So the usual route chosen to go to the location of the waves of Bono is by road using transportation as follows:

  • Pekanbaru – Pangkalan Kerinci (IDR.25.000 / person).
  • Pangkalan Kerinci – Teluk Meranti Village (IDR.55.000 / person)

Bono waves occur in Kuala Kampar River. The nearest village to that location which already has lodging facilities is Teluk Meranti Village. Teluk Meranti is a small village near Kampar River which ends at Malaka Split and it is not far from Batam Islands, Riau. Eventhough this is a small village, Teluk Meranti has complete social facilities such as market, restaurant, dock and office building for local government headquarter. While the location of surfing around the village of Pulau Muda. From Teluk Meranti Village to Pulau Muda village can be reached by using speed-boat transportation which takes about 30-45 minutes. The cost of this rent depends on the desired distance of the location ranges from IDR. 300.000 – IDR. 600,000 per speed boat. Speed-boat can also be hired to follow the motion of the waves, speed boat will run in front of the waves with a safe distance. Locals can show the best location of largest and longest Bono waves.


Some of local people provide additional service for the traveler they modified their house at riverside as traditional inn with affordable room rate around IDR 50.000 / night and IDR 100.000 / night for homestay. Commercialism started to grow in there although the noble live and family matters are the first priority for local people. If compared to other village, the price for certain goods in here is higher than normal price since most of goods are drooped from other places.

For more information, please contact directly to the local operator Bang Eddie via this link:


The Sensation of Seven Ghosts Bono River Surfing in Indonesia by

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