Planning a trip to Indonesia? If you’re looking for a relaxing, quiet island escape close to Singapore and Malaysia, that offers a peaceful retreat from the rest of Indonesia, Bintan could be the perfect destination for you. This fantastic island to the north of Indonesia is famous for its legendary golf courses, secluded beaches and a huge array of beach sports (think incredible pools, jet skis, ATV’s and more!) If this sounds like everything you’ve been dreaming of, here’s everything you need to know about Bintan, for first time visitors.
How to get there
Getting to Bintan is super easy and, importantly, affordable. One of the most simple ways to get there is via Singapore, funnily enough. I quite often nab super cheap flights from the Gold Coast to Singapore on Scoot, for around $120AU one-way. From Singapore you can catch a ferry to Bintan for around $25 per person one-way as a foot-traffic passenger (i.e. not taking a car with you). The ferry ride should take around 1h 15minutes together, so it’s not only affordable, but fast too. You can find out more information about ferry tickets from Singapore to Bintan here .
If the ferry sounds like too much hassle, you can fly to Bintan (Tanjung Pinang) from Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and a handful of other, smaller, cities. From Jakarta, the flight takes around 1h 30min and should cost you less than $100AU per person one-way. I’d recommend flying Garuda Indonesia as you receive a meal on the plane, in-flight entertainment, checked baggage and the price between Garuda and budget airlines like Lion Air is minimal. You can find flight times and prices for a whole range of different airlines on Skyscanner.
The best time to visit Bintan Island
A good thing to keep in mind, when planning your trip, is how close Bintan is to Singapore. If you’ve visited Singapore before, this will give you a good indication of how hot it can be and, hopefully, inform your planning. With its tropical climate, you’ll find the weather in Bintan hot pretty much all-year round, with the temperatures ranging mostly between 20 and 32 degrees celsius. The weather is warmest between March and October, with the rainy season kicking off in November. Just make sure your trip doesn’t coincide with any public holidays in Singapore as Bintan tends to get pretty crowded during these times.
What to pack for a trip to Bintan Island
Don’t forget a single thing! Here are my tips on what you absolutely must pack for a trip to Bintan:
- You’ll need sun-safe gear like a rash shirt, long-sleeve shirts, hat and sunglasses as well as some really good sunscreen
- I also recommend you pack some good-quality insect repellant and use it regularly
- Take with you a few pairs of swimmers, board-shirts and light, beach-friendly clothing like sarongs and kaftans, to slip into
- Pack breathable, light-weight clothing like cotton t-shirts and shorts or quick-dry/sweat-whicking items
- You might want to take on or two nice outfits, for special meals, but you won’t be needing fancy high-heels
- Take comfortable shoes like sandals, flip-flops, a closed in pair of comfy shoes (like Converse)
- Be sure to pack a small medicine bag with all the essentials, like Imodium and Buscopan (to stop an upset stomach) as well as cold and flu, paracetamol and ibuprofen
- It’s also a good idea to take your favourite beauty products with you, especially for anyone with sensitive skin, as it may be hard to get your hands on your favourite stuff on the island
- I took a personalised, electronic little fan with me and it saved my life! I was so hot and sweaty, it just took the edge off in the middle of the day. Dorky? Yes. Amazing?… you betcha!
The best things to do and see while you’re there
There are a tonne of fun, adventurous, relaxing and enjoyable things to do and see in Bintan. Here’s a look at a few of the very best:
- If you find yourself visiting in October, be sure to take in the Tanjung Pinang International Dragon Boat Festival
- Explore Senggarang Village and visit the majestic Banyan Tree Temple, consumed by a 200-year-old tree straight out of a fairytale
- Take a tour along the Bintan Mangroves and spot snakes, otters and other wildlife! Seriously, it’s pretty incredible!
- See the abandoned ship near the Bintan Mangroves and get some eerily amazing photos…
- Take an incredible scenic flight with Air Adventures Asia and see Bintan from above
- Check out the Plaza Lagoi Weekend Bazaar markets
- Try your hand at archery, but be sure to do it at sunset as the light is gorgeous
- Visit the adorable little children and Sea Gypsies of Panglong Village and see how the locals live
- Spend an entire day or two sprawled out on the pristine beaches, swimming, drinking cocktails and reading a good book
- Get involved with water sports, from snorkelling and scuba diving to stand-up paddle boarding, wake boarding, kayaking, jet skiing, water skiing and the jetovater!
- Sleep late, savour a divine buffet breakfast then spend the rest of the day relaxing and unwinding by the hotel pool
- Challenge yourself on the incredible obstacles at Nirwana’s Gardens
- Pamper yourself with an entire day spent at the day spa, or get into a routine of a daily massage
- Take a trip to the stunning 500 Lohan Temple
- Hire an ATV and go absolutely wild on a safari tour along the beach and through jungle
- Eat incredible street food at Pujasera and live to tell the tale!
- Play a few rounds of golf, get a lesson or just smack some balls at the driving range for fun
Where to stay in Bintan
When it comes to choosing a place to stay, you really are spoilt for choice. Bintan is known for its incredible beach-front resorts, each offering something different, but with one thing in common; it’s all about relaxing, beachfront experiences.
Bintan Lagoon Resort
For a budget friendly stay, Bintan Lagoon Resort is a decent starting point. The resort offers a huge, sprawling space with plenty of beach space to play, loads of fun activities to partake in and a gorgeous pool. The buffet breakfast is pretty good and you’ll find the service here lovely too. Some of the rooms are a bit tired, so don’t expect 5-star luxury. I would recommend you try to get yourself into one of their newer or recently refurbished rooms. I’d also keep in mind there isn’t much to do around the hotel, so you’ll need to think about transport or be prepared to bunker down and spend a week chilling out at the hotel and taking advantage of the spa and fun activities available (like golf, ATV, archery, kayaking, jet skiing and more). You can find Bintan Lagoon Resort here.
Banyan Tree Bintan
For all-out luxury and a stay you won’t forget anytime soon, check out Banyan Tree Bintan. This place is insane, we’re talking private pools, ocean views, amazing rooms that are modern and welcoming with that famous Indonesian warmth and Earthiness to them. The service is top-notch, food delicious and the spa is something special too. This is the spot to go if you’re celebrating something special (honeymoon!) or just want to treat yourself to a really divine getaway because, well, you deserve it. They also offer gorgeous pools, amazing cocktails, fun activities like jet-skis and ATVs as well as relaxing past-times like yoga and meditation. This place has it ALL! You can find Banyan Tree Bintan here.
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.