Here comes the sun

Go be­yond the sun-kissed shores of Bin­tan Is­land and dis­cover its wild side in one jam-packed week­end. By Jes­sica Chan

Epicure - - TRAVEL FEATURE -

t’s not hard to see why Sin­ga­pore­ans are flock­ing over to Bin­tan Is­land on the week­ends. Just an hour away by boat, it makes for a fuss-free beach hol­i­day. The re­sorts that have mush­roomed along its coast­line are one-stop des­ti­na­tions, be it for a girls’ trip, new­ly­weds or an an­nual fam­ily get to­gether. There’s ev­ery­thing you’d need at the Catch an early ferry to Ban­dar Ben­tan Te­lani Ferry Ter­mi­nal and spend a day at Trea­sure Bay Bin­tan (Kawasan Pari­wisata, Jl. Raja Haji KM 01, Teluk Se­bong, Lagoi.

Tel: +62 770 692259). Opt for a seafood lunch set within lush man­grove forests at Kam­po­eng Ke­long Seafood Restau­rant (Jl. Langsat - Sun­gai Ke­cil, Lagoi, Bin­tan Re­gency. Tel: +62 812 7000 206), which mar­ries Chi­nese and In­done­sian flavours with the is­land’s daily catch for sump­tu­ous plates of steamed gong gong (conch), drop of the hat; a va­ri­ety of wa­ter sports, a much-needed spa day or the de­lec­ta­ble In­done­sian spread. That, how­ever, barely cov­ers what this trop­i­cal par­adise has to of­fer. Here, we ex­plore the oft-over­looked side of Bin­tan Is­land, from the quaint fish­ing vil­lages and lo­cal haunts to the hot­pots that will have na­ture buffs weak in the knees. Best of all, three days is all you’ll need. grilled man­tis shrimps and their sig­na­ture black pep­per crabs. Set­tle into a ta­ble by the lake and you may spot a cu­ri­ous king­fisher hid­ing among the gnarled man­grove branches.

Con­tinue with Trea­sure Bay Bin­tan’s Max­i­mum Ad­ven­ture Pack­age ($100, with en­trance ticket). It in­cludes four ac­tiv­i­ties, start­ing with a Man­grove Kayak­ing Tour. Pad­dle along the coast and en­ter the man­groves as you’re guided through the re­gion’s myr­iad wildlife. There’re also of­froad trails for UTV and ATV and un­lim­ited

ac­cess to their thrilling Slip & Slide.

Make your way to La­mak Basamo (Jl. Gurindam Dua­belas, Teluk Se­bong Lagoi. Tel: +62 811 779 597) for a hearty nasi padang din­ner, served in the tra­di­tional Hi­dang-style. Nu­mer­ous plates, rang­ing from the crunchy paru (beef lung) and kari ikan (fish in co­conut curry) to tem­peh stir-fried in home­made sam­bal, are laid on the ta­ble for your choos­ing. (Pay­ment is de­pen­dent on the plates you choose.) A teh susu (tea with con­densed milk) is the

bev­er­age of choice here.

Fill up on the buf­fet break­fast be­fore a morn­ing of div­ing (li­cense re­quired) with Max’s Dive Cen­tre (Nir­wana Gar­dens, Se­bong Lagoi, Teluk Se­bong. Tel: +62 812 7742 9844). The PADI Dis­cover Lo­cal Div­ing (price upon re­quest, in­cludes lunch and dive in­sur­ance) of­fers boat dives at two of four lo­ca­tions. Pop­u­lar choices are the Seng­giling Reef, for its vi­brant corals and nudi­branchs, and Tan­jung Ber­akit, dur­ing April and June, for schools of brightly-coloured Beaked Co­ral­fish and Blue-ringed An­gelfish.

Don your boots for a trek through the ever­green rain­for­est of Gu­nung Bin­tan Be­sar with BRC Tours (IDR 550,000/S$50/ adult and IDR 350,000/child)

Man­grove tour

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