Travelogue
Travelogue
Bintan Resorts: Of white sand beach, mangroves and glamping in Indonesia

NITN | @notintownlive | 16 Oct 2022, 11:00 am

Bintan Resorts: Of white sand beach, mangroves and glamping in Indonesia Bintan Resorts I Indonesia

Barely an hour's voyage from Singapore, Bintan Island in Indonesia is a tropical paradise and an ideal getaway combining white sand beaches, dense mangroves, golf courses and upscale resorts and glamping options. Sujoy Dhar writes

While Bintan Island is in itself a destination for pampering yourself amid nature and luxury, it is also a two-day minibreak if you are visiting  Singapore.

On an August morning after touching down at Singapore's Changi airport, we headed straight to the Bintan Resorts ferry for the less than an hour long voyage to Bintan.

The Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal from the airport was a short distance. Just take a cab from the Changi airport and head straight for the ferry terminal.

The ferry from Singapore to Bintan is barely an hour. The ferry from Singapore to Bintan is barely an hour.

The ferry from Singapore to Bintan is barely an hourThe ferry from Singapore to Bintan is barely an hour

The Arrival

The short ferry will take you to Bintan Resort's Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal. A quick hassle-free visa on arrival welcomes you to Bintan in Indonesia.

Our stay was booked at the luxurious and tranquil Banyan Tree Bintan, a resort perched on a cliff overlooking the South China Sea  with beautiful Balinese style villas. 

Banyan Tree Bintan is a true representative of the vibrant local flora and fauna and sincere hospitality.Banyan Tree Bintan is a true representative of the vibrant local flora and fauna and sincere hospitality.

Banyan Tree Bintan is a true representative of the vibrant local flora and fauna and sincere hospitality.Banyan Tree Bintan is a true representative of the vibrant local flora and fauna and sincere hospitality.

Perched on a cliff and nestled in a verdant landscape, Banyan Tree Bintan is a true representative of the vibrant local flora and fauna and sincere hospitality. With beautifully decorated villas in traditional Balinese style, the resort offers spectacular views of the South China Sea stretching into the horizon.

Banyan Tree Bintan is a true representative of the vibrant local flora and fauna and sincere hospitality.Banyan Tree Bintan is a true representative of the vibrant local flora and fauna and sincere hospitality.

But before we could indulge in the resort's luxurious offering of private beach, golf course, spa or jet skiing, we headed for exploring the island first.

Seafood and a Floating Bar

We started with Nirwana Gardens. Nirwana Resort Hotel here is an option for you to stay in Bintan. The beautiful guest rooms offer a sweeping sea, pool and garden views. While we stayed at Banyan Tree, we checked out Nirwana's ensemble of restaurants and bars and we can vouch for their awesome seafood.

The Kelong Seafood Restaurant in the property serves you freshest seafood, as you enjoy the balmy sea breeze and a magnificent view of the South China Sea. Dig into the signature dishes such as Gong-Gong (sea snails), Black Pepper Crab and Stir Fried Butter Prawns prepared in a unique blend of Asian and local culinary styles. Built on stilts just above the sea, this place should not be missed.
 

Located right beside, Calypso Floating Bar here is bound to be one’s favourite spot at Nirwana Gardens. This is a Caribbean-style bar with a Rastafarian influence.

Walk the wooden jetty to the bar right into the sea and immerse yourself in the soft reggae and calypso music while sipping on a cool drink and adoring the beautiful sunset from here.  Or just stand on the jetty and get swept by the South China Sea wind.

At night, the Calypso Floating Bar makes one of the perfect spots to wind down, while being in the middle of the sea and enjoying the cool, night breeze.

Plaza Lagoi: Shopping Mall by a beach with an eye trick museum

Our next was this shopping mall with a 3D Imagination Museum thrown in for good measure. Located in the new ‘heart’ of Bintan, Plaza Lagoi is a contemporary and modern two-storey shopping mall designated as a one-stop retail, F&B and entertainment hub for Bintan Resorts. Plaza Lagoi is accessible via a complimentary shuttle bus service that travels to-and-from properties of Bintan Resorts and Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal.

For some real fun, do check out the Rumah Imaji, the 3D eye trick house where you can interact with up to 50 optical illusions. Tumble into the culture of the Riau Islands and learn about the Malay heritage at Bintan’s very own Trick Eye Museum. Enter into an alternate realm as you interact with the 3D and inverted settings including hand-painted mural illusions done up by talented artists of Yogyakarta.

Check out Rumah Imaji, the 3D eye trick house where you can interact with up to 50 optical illusions.Check out Rumah Imaji, the 3D eye trick house where you can interact with up to 50 optical illusions.

The first stop of the museum beckons you with an intriguing topsy-turvy experience in a traditional Malay house. Be enthralled by the twinkling lights of fireflies as you stroll into Bintan’s beautiful mangrove forest. Tumble into the culture of Riau Islands and learn about the Malay heritage. Become one with the masterpieces and recreate memorable photographs with your very own style.

There are plenty of spa options on the mall's ground flood too. The beach here is beautiful. You can explore the 3.5 km-long Lagoi Beach.

Pick up some Indonesian souvenirs at Plaza Lagoi.

Mangrove Cruise

While Bintan is a beach destination, one of the most exciting experiences here is the Mangrove Discovery Tour across the mangrove jungle. We next headed for the mangrove jetty to embark on a back-to-nature adventure  journeying through the thick mangroves of Bintan along Sebung River. The dense foliage and interconnected roots of the trees naturally give rise to a thriving community of animals and plants. Witness the agile leaps of macaques and silver leaf monkeys, and colourful kingfishers as you sail across the mangrove jungle on the Mangrove Discovery Tour.

One of the most exciting experiences here is the Mangrove Discovery Tour across the mangrove jungleOne of the most exciting experiences here is the Mangrove Discovery Tour across the mangrove jungle

Sebung River is home to hundreds of wildlife and fauna species. The roots of the mangrove forest holds the soil firmly to the water bed, preventing soil erosion and safeguards the coasts of Bintan. Keep an eye out for mangrove snakes curled up on the trees that form a natural canopy above the meandering river. Monitor lizards also form part of the local community. Sebung River is also home to marine life such as fishes, mudskippers, clams and more. Spot the elusive mud lobsters that weave homes through the mounds. Learn to identify the different species of mangroves and how the river provides a livelihood for its local residents.

One of the most exciting experiences here is the Mangrove Discovery Tour across the mangrove jungleOne of the most exciting experiences here is the Mangrove Discovery Tour across the mangrove jungle

For another extraordinary experience, sign up for the night tour that departs daily at 7:30pm. Unlike in the day, the mangrove is serene and peaceful; the rippled river glistens under the pale moonlight. As your eyes adjust to the surrounding darkness, you will see the intermittent yet enchanting glow of dancing fireflies – the main highlight of the night tour. Remember to gaze up at the starry skies too, for such abundance is a spectacle you will hardly get to see in urban civilization.

One of the most exciting experiences here is the Mangrove Discovery Tour across the mangrove jungleOne of the most exciting experiences here is the Mangrove Discovery Tour across the mangrove jungle

Nestled in the Sebung River are some of the most delectable seafood options. Dine in restaurants on wooden stilts known as kelongs, and relish at freshly caught seafood of the day.

To experience the wonders of the Bintan Mangrove, check out Mangrove Discovery Tour (Day/Night) for more details.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sujoy Dhar (@sujoydhar1)

The ship hotel

Have you ever thought of staying in a hotel that is actually a ship that had set sail more than 100 years ago? Well in Bintan you can actually stay in a luxurious property that was once a majestic ship that first set sail in 1914 and then retired as the World's Oldest Active Ocean Going Ship and made it to the Guinness World Records.

A twilight view of the South China Sea from Doulos Phos The Ship Hotel A twilight view of the South China Sea from Doulos Phos The Ship Hotel

Doulos Phos The Ship Hotel, also fondly known as The Grand Old Lady of the Seas, welcomes you in Bintan for a stay in its luxurious rooms which were once cabins of the ship. Each cabin (some 104 cabins in total) is equipped with full amenities and offers sea view. This ship is stationed permanently on her very own purpose-built Anchor Isle right beside the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal in Bintan Island. The ship hotel also has a maritime museum.

 Image: Mr. Eric Saw, director and chief executive of BizNaz Resources International

The ship underwent a three year conversion into a luxury hotel that saw the ship mounted on dry land in  Bintan escaping the breakers after its decommissioning. The hotel opened in June 2019 .

On 18 March 2010, Doulos escaped the breakers and had a new owner, Mr. Eric Saw, director and chief executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore. She was renamed Doulos Phos (Servant of Light).

Giant seawater lagoon and glamping in Bintan

The word Glamping is a portmanteau of "glamorous" and "camping". So glamping in a nutshell is camping with resort style amenities. If you want to glamp, Bintan is the destination for you.

So to check out the glamping options in Bintan we headed for Chill Cove at Treasure Bay Bintan, a 90-hectare one-stop recreational leisure hub where you can spend your entire day enjoying a plethora of interactive activities. And this is also your glamping retreat in Bintan.

The crowning glory of this place (Treasure Bay Bintan) is the Crystal Lagoon, which is South-East Asia’s first man-made seawater lagoon at 6.3 hectares. Here, you will find an extensive range of recreational and sporting activities suitable for all ages from dawn till dusk. The lagoon’s specially filtered seawater is delicate on the skin and provides perfect water conditions all year round.

Treasure Bay is a 338-hectare waterfront resort city located on the Indonesian island of Bintan. The destination resort integrates wellness, leisure, cultural, residential and commercial real estate supported by infrastructure that adheres to international standards.

Treasure Bay Bintan is a paradise for glampers and we checked out two resorts- Natra Bintan and Anmon- for that ultimate experience of staying in a luxurious camp.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Sujoy Dhar (@sujoydhar1)

Natra Bintan

Natra Bintan is a Tribute Portfolio Resort from Marriott. It is a glamping resort set along the extraordinary Crystal Lagoon. This Bintan Island resort is ideal for groups, families and corporate events.

Indoor and outdoor venues are available, with every space supported by delicious catering. The lush hotel grounds host safari-inspired tents with private patios boasting garden or lagoon views.

Every glamping accommodation features king-sized beds, LED TVs, mini-refrigerators, sofa beds, outdoor rainforest showers, free Wi-Fi and air conditioning. Indulge in delicious cuisine or sunset cocktails overlooking the lagoon at The Patio Restaurant and Bar, or arrange a barbecue on your tent patio. Take a guided kayak tour through the private mangroves, golfing at Ria Bintan Golf Club or hiking in the rainforest of Gunung Bintan. 

Anmon

Next to Netra Bintan is Anmon. A truly nomadic adventure awaits you at ANMON, a desert glamping resort. 

"Escape from the superficial world and retreat into our desert adventure, where soulful experiences meet wanderlust," advertises Anmon. Well, the experience here is truly to what they proclaim to offer you.

The self-contained resort has an en-suite bathroom and modern comfort in a teepee tent from where you can actually gaze at the  stars through the skylight during night.

You can swim into their party pool with a large outdoor cinema screen, or have a drink at the desert-inspired cocktail bar. The local cuisine platter along with international dishes at their communal restaurant is gastronomical delight.

And not to miss is Safari Lagoi

Well before you take that ferry back to Singapore from Bintan or leave for exploring more of Indonesia, do not forget to visit  Safari Lagoi and Eco Farm and encounter some rescued and endangered animals including orangutans, Komodo dragons, sun bears, elephants and a 6 metre crocodile!

Now you are all good with your Bintan excursion!!!!

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