If picturesque beaches, luxurious resorts, and mouthwatering food fall under your definition of an ideal holiday, you really must visit the nearby Riau island of Bintan. Just an hour away by ferry from Singapore, Bintan boasts a wide variety of activities – for both thrill seekers or those simply looking to wind down after a chaotic week or hectic travel schedule. 

To top things off, getting to the island can’t get any easier. Not only are there regular ferry services from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) to Bintan, if you’re heading over from Changi Airport, Changi’s shuttle service will get you to TMFT for only $2!

Ready for your next travel adventure? Here’s the inside scoop on what Bintan has to offer. 

Forget about mainstream, and check out these off-the-beaten-track activities

Trekking

Get your sweat on and trek through Bintan’s dense tropical forest, where you’ll be rewarded every step of the way. On your way up, you can marvel at the gigantic girths of ancient trees, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot rare animals like the silvered leaf monkey or sun bird! 

Silvered leaf monkey on tree

Keep a lookout for the silvered leaf monkey while trekking through the forest.

With its perfect blend of blue waters and greenery, the magnificent 360° view at the 340m summit will take your breath away.

The forest is also home to delicious tropical fruits like the durian, rambutan, and jackfruit, amongst others. Go ahead and sample the wild fruits, but only if you have a tour guide accompanying you. Trying the durian is definitely a task to put on your bucket list. Be warned that the smell may take some getting used to.

If the heat starts getting to you, you can cool off with a dip in the pool at the base of a waterfall you’ll find on your descent. According to local legend, a swim in the clear waters will bring you good luck.

The Bintan Mangrove Tour

It’s no secret that the continuing threat from the rise in sea levels and coastal developments has left some mangrove species critically endangered. Going on a mangrove tour will allow you to embrace the myriad of plant and animal life forms that thrive along with the island’s rich mangrove forests, and better understand how we can each do our part to preserve nature’s beauty. 

Menikmati Bintan Mangrove Memasuki kawasan hutan mangrove di Pulau Bintan harus melalui pemandu. Anda akan diarahkan untuk menggunakan speedboat milik masyarakat setempat yang memang sekaligus sering dipakai wisatawan untuk menyusuri keindahan hutan mangrove. Dalam durasi kurang lebih satu jam, Anda akan terbawa suasana, seperti berada dalam surge dunia, menikmati keindahan alam Pulau Bintan. Area wisata Bintan Mangrove dibagi menjadi tiga zona, yaitu zona asin, payau, serta tawar. Pertama kali, Anda akan dibawa ke zona asin, tempat beradanya Dapur Arang yang biasa digunakan untuk menghasilkan arang dengan bahan dasar kayu mangrove pada zaman dahulu. Akan tetapi, pada akhirnya kegiatan ini terpaksa dihentikan karena dianggap dapat merusak ekosistem di hutan mangrove. Penampakan Dapur Arang kurang lebih seperti bangunan iglo yang merupakan rumah layak huni di daerah Kutub. Disebut mirip karena bentuknya setengah bundaran. Anda tidak diperkenankan untuk masuk, hanya dapat melihat dari speedboat. Peraturan tersebut dibuat karena Dapur Arang kini telah menjadi sarang ular dan khawatir dapat membahayakan pengunjung yang berusaha mendekatinya. Kemudian, Anda akan dibawa menyusuri zona payau. Pemandangan bekas kapal pengangkut pasir dapat Anda temui di zona ini, tepatnya di tepian sungai Sebong. Kapal tersebut dulunya digunakan sebagai alat angkut pasir dari Pulau Bintan ke Singapura. Masih di sungai Sebong, zona payau, sepanjang 6,8 km, Anda akan melihat “penghuni” hutan mangrove yang tak lain dan tak bukan adalah monyet, sarang lebah, serta tentu saja ular sanca. Selain itu, banyak sekali buah mangrove yang kayak manfaat sebagai obat kuat. Buah Nipah juga dapat ditemui di sini yang biasa digunakan sebagai bahan dasar pembuatan gula merah. Lalu, Anda akan melewati batu keramat sebagai spot terakhir. Seru kannn ????? Ecowisata mangrove pulau bintan Yuk gabung di. 1fine day at bintan Terima regisss tuk mulai tahun depan per tanggal. 10 januari 2018,keberangkatan menyesuaikan semua peserta yah BAROKAH PAKET WISATA HEMAT PEKANBARU RENALDO SAPUTRA NO wa:081270895776 No HP:081363086565 #bintanmangrove #ecowisata #wisataedukasi #jalanjalanasyik #wisataindonesia

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If you’re a city dweller, a glimpse into the simple life of the orang laut (sea nomads) during the tour will give you an idea of how life in Singapore was during her fishing village days. In a world where skyscrapers and huge bungalows abound, living in a kelong (an over-the-water fishing house built on stilts) is almost unheard of today.

Kelongs in Bintan

Spot the kelongs and see how the orang laut go about their daily lives.

Hunt down these Instagram-worthy shots

If it’s not on Instagram, did it really happen? If you are all about the ‘gram, these spots will definitely spice up your Instagram feed!

Head down to Danau Biru (also known as the ‘Blue Lagoon’) for some pictures by the calm blue water, Gurun Pasir Bintan (i.e. sand dunes) to get those artistic angles that only sand dunes can make happen, and build up your street cred by posing for some shots by the street art in Tanjung Pinang.

Si cantik biru #explorebintan

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This place doesn't feel like real life

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For stunning sunrise or sunset shots, Trikora Beach has got you covered with its gorgeous view.

Immerse yourself in Bintan's local culture

Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

Get cultured at Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, commonly known as the 500 Lohan Temple. The temple is home to 500 life-sized Lohan statues – each one human-like, unique, and different from the next. Do check out the plaque in front of every statue for some fun facts about each individual Lohan.

Masjid Raya Sultan Riau

The Masjid Raya Sultan Riau is almost like a castle from a fairy tale, peeping out from its surrounding palm trees. It is also home to a 150-year-old handwritten Quran (the central religious text of Islam) on display.

Rumour has it that the original mosque was made mainly of eggs, which were gifts from the Sultan’s loyal subjects during his wedding. Who knew that egg whites made for powerful bonding agents? Maybe we should consider that for our houses today… or not.

Partake in delicious local fare

Pujasera Food Centre

Head down to Pujasera Food Centre for some of Bintan’s local food fare.

The hawker centre is only about a 10-min drive from the main ferry terminal, and can serve as a one stop shop for you to try all the local delicacies that the island has to offer – and at very affordable rates too. From nasi padang (rice served with an assortment of dishes) to kueh lapis (Indonesian layered cake), you’ll be able to experience what it’s like to eat like a local. 

Tapai & Otak Otak

Kawal, a fishery in Bintan, is the go-to place for freshly made otak-otak and tapai.

Tapai refers to a local delicacy, where fermented cassava (the starchy tuberous root of a tropical tree) is wrapped in leaves of forest trees strung with palm leaves, and tastes sweet with a smooth texture. If you’re a food lover, this is definitely a must-try!

Otak-otak is a grilled fish cake made of ground fish meat mixed with tapioca starch and spices. It is widely known across Southeast Asia, and is especially popular in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Otak-otak

Otak-otak is a savoury snack that is usually wrapped in banana leaves and served grilled.

Skip the conventional hotels and go for something unique

Cassia Bintan

With a kitchen in every room, and Instagram-ready walls, what else can you ask for?

🏝🏖 Cassia Bintan Resort #Throwback

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Cassia Bintan is known for its neon-coloured, graffiti-styled walls that will not only brighten up your Instagram feed with a slightly more rebellious vibe, but will also make you feel like you’re living in a modern art gallery.

The Canopi

If you always wanted to try camping, but aren’t sure if you can handle tents in the smoldering wilderness, The Canopi is the perfect choice of accommodation for you.

Exterior of The Canopi

Choose from five different types of tents that offer beautiful views of the complex.

The cozy, island-themed tents are spacious, equipped with an LCD TV, a four-poster bed, and yes – a powerful air-conditioning system. You won’t have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night caked with sweat. Ever.

Interior of room, The Canopi

Every tent in The Canopi is well-furnished and equipped to give guests a comfortable stay.

Essentially, you’ll be staying in a very glamourised tent designed to pamper you in every way possible. 

Whether you’re a thrill seeker, looking to learn more about a new culture, or simply searching for a place to unwind, Bintan has something in store for you!

Getting to Bintan from Changi Airport

You’ll be able to get to Bintan island from Changi Airport in about 1hr 20min – yes, that’s getting to an entirely different country in less than an hour and a half!

Changi’s shuttle service operates daily at fixed timings, and departs from both Terminals 2 and 4. Also, it only costs $2 (talk about being affordable). The shuttle service schedule can be found here.

Best time to visit

From late March to early November, the dry, calm season is characterised by clear sunny days and tranquil pristine waters.

The north-east monsoon from early November to late March brings with it strong winds and passing showers, though there are still many sunny hours throughout the day.

Transportation

The taxi is a convenient way to get around the island. Alternatively, you may rent your own car from Indorent Car Rental, available at the different hotels.

Currency

The currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah (Rp). Most hotels accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit card payments.