Bintan is a resort island in Indonesia, catering mainly to Singaporean tourists. Singapore being close to Bintan, provides an ideal getaway to anyone staying in Singapore. I stayed in Singapore for about 4.5 years and covered almost all the places. When I wanted to explore places outside Singapore, I zeroed in on Bintan as it was close by and would be an ideal destination to spend the weekend. It takes approximately 1 hour from Singapore to reach Bintan by ferry. I visited Bintan over two weekends and covered different places.
Where to board the ferry
Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (50 Tanah Merah Ferry Rd, Singapore 498833) is located quite close to the airport and few buses ply to the destination.
Ferry tickets can be purchased online in advance from Bintan Resort Ferries website.
Note: Arrive at least 1 hour before departure so you have enough time for immigration and walk towards the ferry. If you are starting early, the terminal provides few options to have breakfast too.
Places to visit
- Air Adventures Flying Club Bintan
- 500 Lohan temple
- Trikora beach
- Lagoon Bay
- Banyan tree temple
To see a complete list of shopping places, click here.
My trip to Bintan
The first time I visited Bintan was in 2014 with my friend Sabita. It was a completely unplanned trip and I expected it to be similar to Batam. So we thought of visiting some ‘touristy’ places, shop and hit the beach in the evening and finally return to Singapore by the last ferry. The ferry ride was smooth and we landed in Bintan. We paid 20 USD for visa charges and cleared immigration in about 15 minutes. As soon as we cleared immigration and turned to the exit, we saw many taxi drivers holding placards for the guests. These taxi drivers were from different resorts to pick up their guests.
We decided to hire a taxi for a day and selected Benny from the hoard of taxi drivers who were vying for our attention. We shared with him our plan for the day. We started off by visiting Air Adventures Flying Club Bintan but did not opt for flying as we were a bit unsure. However, I read great reviews about it and plan to do it someday. Next, we visited Trikora beach, which was picturesque. I saw a man walking inside water and he reached quite a distance. I was amazed! We clicked some pictures and collected sand and shells, which I do from all beaches. Our next stop was Bintan Mangrove – Day Tour. Benny knew that this was going to be a 30 minutes long ride in the hot sun. So, just before we starting our journey, he bought bananas and water bottles for us. We were so touched by his thoughtfulness. We thanked him and wore our life jackets and headed towards the boat, which ferried us on the river Sepong. Though it was very hot, we enjoyed every bit of the ride. We saw some snakes hanging from the trees too!
It was mid afternoon and we were hungry. We scouted for a good place to eat and decided on Pizza Hut so we could get wifi too. I must say the food was great. If you have never been to Vietnam, try their Vietnam coffee here. Next, we went to see the Banyan tree temple. There was another temple nearby, which we also visited and left for the ferry terminal to catch our ferry. The whole day was quite eventful and we really enjoyed!
My second visit to the island was quite recent, which was in February 2017. I was surprised how Bintan has developed in these two years. As soon as you finish immigration, you can book a prepaid taxi for the whole day at the taxi counter. Earlier, Bintan accepted mostly Singapore Dollar (SGD) or USD. However, this time Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) was accepted.
We started our trip by visiting Lagoi Bay, a new facility opened for water sports. As it was too hot, we decided to come back in the evening. Before leaving Lagoi Bay, we purchases some snacks for the day. You can also shop for branded clothes here but the stores open only around 10:30 AM. The beach was a bit murky when I visited but nevertheless a decent spot for photography.
We then left for 500 Lohan Temple, which I had missed last time and so desperately wanted to visit. We arrived at the temple and bought guavas, which was super tasty. As we climbed up and entered the temple, I was so amazed at the 500 figurines with different expressions on their faces. This place is a must see for photographers. It gives a viewpoint to shoot and also provdes a good backdrop for shooting. We clicked some pictures and left to see a mosque nearby.
The mosque is located on a hill and provides for a good viewpoint. The mosque looked very beautiful from far. There was not much to see in the mosque but we explored the area around it and found some nice photography spots.