Bintan Island, The Jewel Of Riau Islands
Bintan is one of two islands (the other being Batam) situated just off the southern coast of Singapore. Due to their proximity to Singapore, Bintan is easily accessible from the ferry terminal located on Singapore’s southern coast. The crossing only takes around 30 minutes by fast boat. Bintan has become increasingly popular with Singaporeans in recent years as the general costs here are much lower than those in Singapore.
The main town on Bintan is Tanjung Pinang and it has managed to keep its Indonesian charm away from the western developments. It’s a great place to visit at night with the night market flourishing with tropical delights. There are some basic guest houses here that will accommodate you for the night. It is also a place where travelers wait for their connecting ferry to mainland Sumatra or Java. There is an international and domestic ferry terminal in the heart of Tanjung Pinang. Most ticket offices can be found on Jalan Merdeka and also Jalan Bintan. You can purchase tickets to almost anywhere in the Archipelago and it’s a great way to travel from island to island.
If you don’t want to venture out to the far flung reaches of Indonesia’s expansive archipelago, there are some island gems just off the coast of Tanjung Pinang that can easily be reached by boat.
Pulau Mapur is around 15 km off the coast of Bintan and offers the visitor with white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. To find accommodation, it would be advised to ask in the villages for the traditional homestays or guesthouses that are on offer. To get here, you need to make your way to Kijang on the southern coast of Bintan and then it’s an hour’s ferry crossing to the island. There are two main beaches to head for, those being: Pantai Belakang on the north coast or Pantai Sonseng on the east coast.
Pulau Penyengat is an island very close and clearly visible from Tanjung Pinang. It really is well worth a day trip to visit the old historical buildings from the Dutch colonial period.
20 year’s ago, there wasn’t much in terms of tourist infrastructure on the island and even getting around was an adventure in itself as the roads were somewhat a little to be desired. Times have changed and Bintan has also changed for the better. With the island being two times larger than Singapore, there has been plenty of room for development and that is exactly what has happened here.
You can expect to find very plush hotels Golf courses and resorts all offering a five star service or those who are not willing to splash out on the 5 star treatments, head south to Trikora where you will find accommodation is a lot lower key with bungalows and also hotels on the beach offering sweeping views of the horizon. It really is a great place to sit in the sun and swim, snorkel and eat great seafood. The area of Trikora has around 30 km of coastline that is fringed with white sand and palm trees and is ideal for that relaxing time in the sun away from the hustle and bustle.
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