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
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)