Destination: Bintan Island (Indonesia)
Bintan Island is one of the most convenient tourist options for Singaporeans. A 45 minute boat ride across the choppy Singapore Strait takes you to Indonesia, where you can spend a few days relaxing at the Bintan Resort area. Looking for beaches and hotel pools? You're in the right place. Looking for anything else? Might want to visit another destination.
Traveling during the Christmas holiday (yes, this post is a long time coming), we decided to spend a few days in Bintan, motivated by the desire for beaches and the desire to add another stamp to our passports. There are a handful resorts that everyone tends to stay, with our party staying at Nirwana Gardens. They provided a nice experience - beachfront, good food, live music, even some outdoor activities (air rifles were our favorite).
Fun fact about Bintan, or at least the resort side - they only accept Singapore dollars. Even though the ATMs have to dispense rupiah by law, they won't do you any good on the northern part of the island.
Fun fact #2: It used to be known as Pirate Island, as Malays would constantly loot ships in the area.
Visiting Bintan did not feel like I was visiting another country, much less Indonesia. It has developed as a weekend getaway for Singaporeans who would like to spend time at a proper beach. In that regard, Bintan was a welcome change of pace from the Singaporean city life. The beach and resort experience was fairly well done. But if you are looking to do some exploring or to interact with a new culture, this isn't exactly the place for you.
|Nirwana Gardens, our resort|