Sunday, 22 June 2008

The Crystal Jade of Bintan Island

If you wishing for an exotic vacation in the tropical lands of Indonesia and far away from modern way of life with lively cultural atmosphere or just want to satisfy your sanity with luxurious resorts to stay and a flavor of wild nature, coral reefs, tropical rainforest and delicious seafood, the Island of Bintan is the finest place for you. Here, among the golden sand beaches, warm weather almost the year with sunshine, you would discover the other side of the Asian life. Facing the South China Sea, Bintan become an exotic place to visit.

Welcome to the island of Bintan

Bintan Island, Indonesia, is the largest island in the necklace of Riau Archipelago, covering an area of 1,140 square kilometers. It is located about 48 km southeast of Singapore. In old Chinese, the name of Bintan Island means the “Memory of a Dream”, and in true sense of the term is a land of long dust covered roads, lush green vegetation and sleepy villages, nestled amidst mangrove swamps or fishing villages built on stilts over the water. Bintan Island is truly a unique paradise. Simple life, beautiful beach, friendly people which bring unforgettable leisure and relaxing. The island gives the refreshment to our mind, body and soul.

Most of the tourism of Bintan Island is concentrated on the north coast around Lagoi. There are many wonderful and interesting places to visit in and near the Bintan Island, Indonesia. The island has a population of about 200.000, and like the rest of Riau this is a true mix of cultures like Malay, Bugis, Chinese and the Orang Laut (sea people). Bahasa Indonesia is the national language and simple English is widely used. In relation to Jakarta, Bintan is in the same time zone as Jakarta, +7 hours to the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). In relation to Singapore, Bintan is 1 hour behind Singapore time.

The resort destination spreads crossways the northern shores of Bintan and faces the South China Sea, and comprises a good collection of beach resorts and hotels to suit the budgets and needs of all holiday makers. In Bintan the main currency used in Indonesia is the Rupiah (Rp). However, the Singapore Dollar (SIN $) is widely accepted in some places. Almost all prices are denoted in Singapore dollars, while all shops will accept Rupiah, prices would be converted from Singapore dollars at very poor rates and rounded up. Prices are expensive compared to Singapore and very expensive compared to almost anywhere else in Indonesia. Most hotels and resorts accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit card payments.

Bintan Island has an equatorial climate and the weather is warm and sunny almost throughout the whole year because it‘s very close to the equator and have a tropical climate. The temperatures range between 21° and 32° degrees Celsius, with an average of 26° Celsius. Humidity ranges from 61 to 96 percent. The monsoon season is between October to March, when the weather gets pleasantly cooler with stronger winds and the amount of rainfall. The ideal time to visit the island is during the spring or late summer when the sun is not so strong but good enough for a satisfactory tan and enjoyable sunbathing.

How to get there

You can reach Bintan from Singapore or Indonesia (Batam) by Ferries. Most international travelers arrive from Singapore.

From Singapore

There is a regular ferry service operated by Bintan Resorts Ferries that plies between Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore and Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal in Bintan. The journey takes about 55 minutes with high speedboat catamaran. Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal is the departure terminal from Singapore. We can choose which destination we want to arrive in Bintan Island. Sri Bintan Pura Ferry Terminal at Tanjung Pinang or Bandar Bentan Telani at Lagoi (Bintan Resort). Please remember to check in at least an hour before the ferry departs. For more information on the ferry schedule and online ferry ticket purchase, please visit: Ferry tickets may also be purchased directly. While doing hotel or resort reservation, they also offering for transfer into and out the Ferry Terminal to the hotel or resorts.

From Indonesia

Telaga Punggur is a ferry terminal located 20 minutes by taxi from Hang Nadim Airport, Batam. The price cost around Rp.50.000 from the airport to Telaga Punggur. There are regular speedboat services plying between Telaga Punggur Ferry Terminal in Batam to Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal Bintan. The cost around Rp.100.000 (one way) and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes until an hour depend on the weather. Its amazing moments while on the journey with beautiful scenery surrounds.

Transportation Nearly Bintan Island

There’s no public transportation in the resort area. There are cars for rent including the driver at the hotel lobby, shuttle service within the resort area or to other places on Pulau Bintan. The cost depends on the type of car, but mostly around SGD80 until SGD100 for 12 hours rental. From the resort area, there are shuttle services from the hotels to Tanjung Pinang. It is rather expensive at about SGD88 for a return trip per person on the shuttle bus. The journey will take about 1.5 hours.

Resorts & Spa

There are many hotels and luxurious resorts with cozy atmosphere for you to choose from, but mostly fairly expensive and using Singapore Dollar and American Dollar, even if using Rupiah it will convert again into Dollar. The resorts area is a private place with a strictly security, even the locals are not allowed into the resort area. There's police and army guarding the entrance into and out of the resort area. Once after the guarded entrance, you will get to feel and see the real Indonesian way of life.

Rest and relax at the private beach on the resorts or getting a smooth spa and massage on the pavilion facing the beach. There are also services for Aromatherapy and yoga for body and soul relaxing. In some resorts there are many hammocks near the beach free for you to relax on or have a swing.


Bintan Island is also a well known for the various activities that tourists can engage in while on a holiday. Water sports, like kayaking, snorkeling, diving, scuba diving, fishing, and swimming are the most popular activities of Bintan Island. From virgin white sands to crystal clear waters during the magnificent sunset and colorful coral reefs, one can indeed find everything for a picture perfect holiday in the Bintan Island, Indonesia. Your holiday at Bintan Island will not be complete without experiencing some local nature and heritage tours.

Recreational activities include snorkeling, jet skiing, canoeing, wind surfing, golfing, fishing, sailing, diving, island hopping and shopping. Sun seekers may take a leisurely walk along the white sandy beaches and enjoy sun bathing in the warm sunshine. Whether your trip is for business or pleasure, golfing is truly an unforgettable experience for everyone. Golf is popular, with several excellent golf courses charging much lower prices than in neighboring Singapore. Water sports of all sorts are also popular, although the scuba diving here is lackluster.

Places of Interests

Among the various leisure activities that this exotic island has to offer to its visitors, including paradise beaches, golfing, spa treatment at the resorts and delicious seafood, there are a number of attractions that reflect the island’s past and deserve tourist’s attention. Most of the tourism is concentrated on the north coast around Lagoi, while the east coast is still untouched and worth a visit. A wonderful experience will take you deep into the tropical rainforest or back in time to Bintan’s glorious royal past or right into the villages to meet the locals and experience their simple way of life.

Tanjung Pinang

About an hour and forty-five minutes from Lagoi by car or 50 minutes by speedboat to Tanjung Pinang. Tanjung Pinang is the main port town on Bintan Island, Indonesia. The trip to Tanjung Pinang, Bintan, is a good experience to learn more about Indonesia’s culture, food and its people. Visit the town areas of Bintan especially Tanjung Pinang to savor a taste of the local lifestyle and enjoy cheap shopping and tasty local fare. Tanjung Pinang is a friendly small town with strong Malay traditions among the society. The whole place has warm tropical feelings all around.

Shopping at Tanjung Pinang is pleasantly affordable, with its colorful variety of goods and cheap bargains. The shop houses here offer all kinds of dried foodstuffs, electronic goods, antique ceramics and handicrafts but the best bargain is to be made with the street side peddler. With their display of jeweled stones, hand-made toys, local artifacts, hand-made Javanese batik clothes and light cotton wraps (also known as sarong) dyed in various vibrant hues, the roadside peddlers are ever willing to explain their wares if you asked them. The famous food from Tanjung Pinang is otak otak - grilled over a charcoal stove - is actually fish meat cooked in coconut milk blended with Indonesian spices and wrapped ingeniously within two cuts of coconut leaf.

Tanjung Uban

The second main town and also district centre in Bintan is Tanjung Uban. It also serves as a take off point for Batam. The main thoroughfare is the 'Pelantar' (boardwalk) with its houses, accommodation, shops and restaurants built over the sea. The simply local way of life we can see in this Tanjung Uban region. There’s also Kampong Eco Tour will takes you to one of the traditional villages where you can experience the real Bintan village life. In local market featuring an amazing variety of fish, gigantic prawns, dried shrimps, crunchy crackers, savory ikan bilis (anchovies), and all kinds of sweet, sour or salty tidbits, fresh green vegetables, and local tropical fruits all stacked high on wooden carts, the rock bottom prices are still open to bargaining. Do note that most peddlers deal in the local Indonesian Rupiah so it's best to have your money changed before you head down south.


Fisherman Village, for those who prefer a more hands on experience in the mangrove take a crack at the Traditional Fishing Tour where guests can ride authentic sampans with fishermen and fish using their traditional traps and nets. Berakit is an incredibly traditional fishing village largely at the north eastern summit of Bintan, comprises 'atap' (thatched roof) houses over tidal estuary. Many of the sea faring 'orang laut', the original settlers of this myriad of islands, have relocated here. At this village you can see the daily activities of the Riau fishing community, such as the thousands of 'ikan bilis' (dried fish) being dried in the sun.

Sebung Pereh & Busung

Sebung Pereh and Busung are typical of the small Malay fishing villages that can be found around the coastal coconut plantations. The settlers in these villages live in unique traditional houses on stilts, elevated over the water and lead fairly simple lives, often getting by without modern amenities or even electricity.

Trikora Beach

Trikora Beach you don't want to miss this one. White sand and Blue Ocean as far as you can see tranquil waters with pleasant atmosphere. Untouched sandy beach with rocky headlands and is great for snorkeling and sun bathing. Here you can try fresh young coconut juice while on the beach. The most popular beach on the east coast of Bintan Island, Indonesia, is the Trikora Beach. The sand is white, the water is spotless, and it is a great place to relax in. With its dusty white sand and clear pristine waters, Trikora Beach also serves as a getaway for the locals during holidays and festive seasons.


Kawal Located a few minutes away from Trikora is Kawal, a charming fishing port where fish auctions are frequently held. Being the only deep water canal in the North East, Kawal is also the fishing centre of Bintan. From the bridge in the centre of the town, observe a vista of fishing boats, houses and storage yards all built on stilts. A remnant of the past at Kawal is the large kilns once used to make charcoal from "bakau" (mangrove wood).

Senggarang & Penyengat

The best way to experience in Bintan Island is to visit the offshore villages located a few minutes' ride away from Tanjung Pinang. The silence fishing villages of Penyengat and Senggarang, a mere 15 minutes away present an interesting contrast between the local Malay and Chinese cultures. Senggarang Chinese Village is a small Chinese settlement that features Buddhist Temples with emphasized Chinese theme. Today, Senggarang is an old settlement mostly built on stilts and the village's cobbled square is lined with a number of hundred year old Chinese temples with carved doors and eaves.

Penyengat Island is a famous historic place in Tanjung Pinang where remains of old Malay palace are located. Around 1803, Penyengat Island developed from a centre of protection into a state, which became the seat of the Yang Dipertuan Muda of the Riau Lingga Kingdom. Since then, Penyengat Island became the center of government, tradition, Islamic religion and the cradle of ancient Malay heritage. Don’t forget to bring insect repellent when you plan to visit this place.

Pasar Oleh-Oleh

Pasar Oleh-oleh located at Lagoi, Bintan. This is an artificial market in that it is built solely to tap into the flow of tourists into Bintan who demands an alternative place to shop, eat and buy groceries. There are many shops here selling arts and crafts, to swimwear, to sunglasses and office wear. Some folks argued that this is a tourist trap, but the groceries here are indeed cheaper than those at the resorts. Pasar Oleh Oleh has a collection of shops selling the local handicraft items and the prices are reasonable. The handicraft items are mainly wooden crafts and a lot of items made of sea shells too. You can buy your travel souvenirs in here.


This is the local vendor centre, ideal for tourist on a budget. The food here are mainly Indonesian and the Indonesian Rupiah is used and ‘not’ the Singapore Dollar. This vendor centre was originally meant for employees and their families working within the resort grounds. So, if you want to have real Indonesian fare at cheaper prices, this is the perfect place. Take the shuttle bus to Pasar Oleh Oleh and then walk out towards the employee barracks. The walk should take 5-10 minutes to get there. The vendor centre is in the middle of town.

Explore Tips:

* Don’t forget to bring sun blocks, sunglasses, caps, and insect repellant.
* Taking anti-malaria pills 2 weeks before visit Bintan Island.
* Find updating information of ferry schedule.
* Paid attentions to the weather before do travel.
* Preparing your passport for Non-Indonesian Citizen.

Contact Details:

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal Counter:

50 Tanah Merah Ferry Road

#01-21 Singapore 498833

Telephone: (65) 6542 4369

Fax: (65) 6542 4372

Email: e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Contact Details:

PT. Bintan Resort Ferries

Domestic Port Telaga Punggur

Batam – Indonesia

Telephone / Fax: (62) 778 761 553



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