Those looking for more than idling by the beach, here is a great 48 hour-itinerary to explore Bintan Island, Indonesia.
For Singaporeans, Bintan is a convenient island getaway. For Indonesians, it’s an upscale resort destination unlike anywhere else in the country. This spot in Indonesia’s Riau Islands has something for everyone, whether you booked that ferry ride for outdoor adventures or fascinating cultural experiences. Here’s everything you need to try on a short weekend getaway to Bintan.
08.00: ATV your way along the beach
Start the day right by getting yourself acquainted with Bintan’s amazing landscape at the helm of an ATV. Tourists can sign up for a session of this adventurous ride at most resorts, driving through jungles, hills and coastlines. This wild ride is perfect for couples, groups and even families. Tourists can start with an instructor before venturing off to conquer the muddy, challenging trails themselves.
Natural charm and historic significance put this village on Bintan’s tourism map. Bintan’s early settlers, the Orang Laut (Sea Gypsies) came to settle and build their homes here some hundred years ago. The seaside wooden houses and charming traditional boats testify to the community’s ways of living as skilled seamen, with the appetising aroma of burnt fish puffing from the grill on the houses’ yards. This village also features iconic brick igloo-like domes called Rumah Arang, which locals used to employ to make charcoal back in the 19th century.
Head to Treasure Bay, where endless activity options await. If you feel like chilling, lounge on the daybed or hover around on a unicorn float while sipping on cold drinks at Crystal Lagoon, a 60-hectare artificial saltwater pool. More energetic travellers can swim or try one of the watersports activities on-site.
In Bintan, tourists do not need to go further than the market to find scrumptious local food to try. A melting pot of cultures and communities, the island’s market has everything from street nasi goreng to Chinese dumplings. If you’re feeling adventurous, try to find gonggong: a delicious meal of snails native to Bintan.
Trikora comprises four adjacent beaches with powdery white sands and turquoise waters. Tourists can try catching the glimmering sunrise early morning or simply aim for a casual stroll and chillouts at the beach cabana, sipping coconut ice and munching some traditional seaweed dodol. The beach is also popular for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Once Bintan’s main tourist hub, the nearby villages are inhabited by local fishermen and boat-makers.
Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is known for its magnificent statue garden, showcasing some 500 life-size figures. A grand Chinese-style Buddhist temple sits on the other side, occupied by even more impressive and gigantic statues. The shrines are open to those who come to pray, while other tourists are welcome to admire the unique statues and majestic architecture.
The capital city of the Riau Island archipelago makes a splendid spot to hunt for local crafts, sample traditional dishes and visit historical sites. The city is home to old colonial and traditional buildings, as well as landmarks and houses of worship scattered around the main strip of the town. Penyengat Island, an 18th century Sultanate fort town with the Grand Mosque, palace complex and historical monuments, is only 15 minutes boat ride from Tanjung Pinang’s coast.
Lagoi is the new hip tourist hub on Bintan Island, dotted with modern establishments like shopping malls, restaurants, resorts and attractions. Waiting for sunset is a blast, whether you choose to stroll down the beach, chill at one of the beachside cafés, or canoe around the coastline. Fresh seafood dinner can be had at the famed Kelong Seafood Restaurant, followed by drinks and music at the Caribbean-style Calypso Floating Bar.
When the sky goes dim, this lantern park turns on the lights in the form of beautiful things: marine creatures, landmarks, and more. The vibe can be as romantic or magical as you want, accompanied by the rumbling sounds of the sea just steps away from the park.