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Just under an hour away from Singapore, Bintan is a beautiful resort destination for anyone looking to unwind from the bustling and hustling city of Singapore. A quick ferry ride and you’ve got blue waters, miles and miles of palm trees, Indonesian hospitality and nature at your beck and call.
Bintan offers two different experiences for the traveller, Tanjung Pinang, the main town which is further away from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and Bintan Resorts, a shorter journey for the traveller looking to unwind without spending too much time on the Singapore Straight. So if you’re transiting through Singapore and have time to kill, or you are in Singapore on a project and need a getaway, this may just be what you need.
It is the closest resort island to Singapore, with a number of resorts at rates more affordable than other private islands close by. A short distance from Singapore’s Changi Airport, the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal runs frequent ferries every day to Bintan Island. What else? The island boasts clean, white sand beaches and blue waters, free of large crowds. Hallelujah! Believe it or not, there’s plenty to do on this island, which is, in fact, larger than the city of Singapore. This makes Bintan a perfect getaway for a group of friends and family, beach bums and adventure seekers.
With a range of resorts to choose from, all located by beautiful private beaches, Bintan Resorts makes for a perfect detox spot for someone looking to unwind and take it easy. Relax by the poolside bar, take a stroll by the sea or even get tempted into a beachside massage. The resorts are spread over large spaces, almost like a mini city, offering a number of cuisines and entertainment to keep you occupied.
Bintan is a golfer’s paradise, with resorts such as Ria Bintan and Bintan Lagoon offering top class golf club facilities. Looking to improve your game by a few strokes? Just hop on the ferry for a quick golfing day trip. The resorts have also played host to a variety of tournaments and corporate events. Even better is that the golf courses are set amongst lush landscapes and jaw-dropping backdrops, which make for great places to watch the sunset.
Crystal Lagoon located in Bintan’s Treasure Bay is a 6.3 hectare (16 acre) salt water lagoon, making it not only Asia’s first, but largest, man-made salt water lagoon of its kind. The lagoon is open for nature fanatics for swimming and also offers a range of water activities to indulge in. The Bintan Wake Park is located in the Crystal Lagoon, giving adventure junkies the option to wakeboard in the clear waters of the lagoon. The wake park offers obstacles fit for beginners to advanced level wakeboarders – it’s one of the ultimate experiences at the salt water lagoon.
Bintan Resorts has been conserving baby turtle eggs since 2005, especially to protect them from local villagers and scavengers. Conservation staff collects the eggs during season time and buries them in various hatcheries across the resorts. Between the months of mid-May to the end June and August to end of September travellers can take part in the release of the sea turtles while they hatch. Bintan Islands is home to the green and hawksbill turtle, watching an experience such as this is as, if not more, enchanting and heartwarming as it sounds.
The beaches of the Bintan Resorts, such as Nirwana, Bintan Lagoon offer various beachside activities for travellers to enjoy a day out in the sun. The benefit of the private beaches is that they allow guests to enjoy the activities at their leisure. Water sports such as jet skiing, kayaking, paragliding are a few from the wide range to choose from, while for land adventures the resorts offer ATV rides and bicycle rentals.
Trikora is the authentic side to Bintan, with a long stretch of beautiful beach located on the east shores of the Island. The coast is home to beach stays for backpackers and beach shacks to visit as well. It is also known for the dive sites located nearby. There are a couple of dive centres to choose from where you can take up a dive course or merely try out the experience for the first time. Witness exquisite marine life in the clear blue waters, with highlights such as the nudibranch, sting rays and clownfish. The coast is also home to one of the local favourite’s called Pizza Casa Italia, an Italian joint run by an Italian family who’s been living on the island for years.
Be mesmerised by the magic of the fireflies while you take a boat ride on the Sebing River at night amongst Bintan’s mangroves. The Mangroves Discovery night tour is an enchanting experience under the night’s sky and is one of a kind.
Tanjung Pinang is the capital of Bintan and your doorway to experiencing the local culture in one of its main towns. What makes this town stand apart is its unique street art, perfect for a traveller’s Instagram photographs. While exploring the streets, there are many little shops with dried seafood and other local snacks to try as well.
If you really want to get your adrenaline pumping, Bintan Air adventures is the right place! Fly in an ultra open cockpit sea plane – the first in Asia! It’s a fantastic way to get an aerial view of the island, and the flying club also gives lessons for those looking for a further adventure.
Take the ferry from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal – you can book here. There is also an option to book an all-inclusive trip which includes the stay and the ferry.
1. Purchase alcohol from the Tanah Merah duty-free.
2. Meals at Bintan resorts tend to be expensive, so do keep that in mind. Include the breakfast option for the duration of your stay.
3. For the more budget conscious, properties such as Angasana or eco-resorts by Trikora Coast have better deals.
4. Early November to Late march is the main monsoon season, which brings a drop in price. However, the waters are harsh hence the sea is off bounds on most days, with the weather being unpredictable.
5. Remember to get money converted to Indonesian rupiah. If in Singapore before, money changers near Mustafa in Little India have great rates.
Mustafa Centre, 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore, +65-62955855