An Indonesian island that’s only an hour by ferry from Singapore, Bintan has become the de facto weekend getaway for residents of the Lion City in search of a quick, effortless escape. With its heavily indented coastline, Bintan, many times the size of Singapore, offers numerous opportunities for a beach holiday for the entire family. This handy family-friendly guide to Bintan will take you through how to get there, where to stay, what to do in Bintan, and more. Enjoy!
With Indonesia’s ever-widening program removing the need for tourist visas (with new countries added to the visa-free list every year), visitors can arrive here for up to 30 days without the need to for cumbersome paperwork and steep fees.
Visa Details In Bintan, http://bintan-resorts.com/visitors/travel-info-tips/travel-visa-information/
For now, the easiest way to get to Bintan is by ferry. There are 3 ferry terminals in Singapore serving the various destinations around Bintan — with the most popular being Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, in the east. Ferries take between one hour to a shade under two hours to reach Bintan, depending on the destination. The ride is quick, occasionally bumpy, and the ferries tend to be frigid cold, so bring something warm to wrap up in. An international airport is under construction, with expected completion in 2020. Extra tip? For those booking on Bintan Resort Ferry - you can try the Emerald Class option which gives you access to a lounge, easy onboarding (avoid the crowds), and an overall pleasant experience for traveling with kids.
Tanah Merah Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry
Bintan Resort Ferry Schedule, www.brf.com.sg/schedule-fares/ferry-schedule/
Tanah Merah Tanjung Pinang Ferry
Majestic Fast Ferries, www.majesticfastferry.com.sg
Sindo Ferries, www.sindoferry.com.sg
Tanah Merah Bintan Lagoon Resort Ferry
Mozaic Ferries, www.ferryful.com
Most visitors tend to come to Bintan for the express purpose of checking in to a resort and staying there. This is where Singaporeans come to unwind with a minimum fuss. The island has finely honed its tourist product, with transfers for Bintan Resorts properties ready at ferry terminals to whisk guests away directly from the boat to the hotel. Depending on the ferry terminal and specific resort, properties can be as little as 10 minutes away from the port. That said, the island has plenty to explore for intrepid travelers that want to get a handle on the more unfettered side of Bintan. Hotels can easily arrange for a private driver and a tour of the island, including a trip to Tanjung Pinang, the island’s main city. Rates start around SG$10 per hour.
Bintan has a huge range of resorts, from refined beachfront idylls with British colonial sensibilities to air-conditioned suites done glamping style, from architecturally jaw-dropping eco-sensitive private-island resorts made of bamboo to simple digs with a zip line and archery on site. The most polished properties and the majority worth visiting are within the Bintan Resorts development though there are more bare-bones alternatives all over the island. Little Steps has rounded up a guide to take you through the all-time favorites to new stunners too - click here for all the details.
Top 10 Hotels For Families In Bintan, Click here!
Given the set-up of the tourism infrastructure on the island, visitors tend to eat within their resorts. Luckily, hotels offer a good range and variety of cuisines and dining experiences, and restaurants are open to all, not only for guests of the property. For a more local experience, visitors should stop by a warung, or small family run cafe — get a recommendation from the hotel front desk.
Warung Yeah!, More Info
The Sanchaya, www.thesanchaya.com/drinkingdining
Bintan Lagoon, www.bintanlagoon.com/dining/nelayan/
Wellness centers are hugely popular, especially with Singapore residents that come here to decompress. Many of the resorts have excellent spas; these include those at Banyan Tree, Angsana, and Sanchaya. Golfers have two excellent courses to choose from, both upgraded in recent years. The Greg Norman-designed Laguna Golf Bintan has a par-72, 18-hole course with views of the South China Sea. Ria Bintan Golf Club, designed by Gary Player, features 27 holes and ranks highly among all courses in Indonesia. Thrill seekers can book a slot on the Jetovator at Treasure Bay Resort, a contraption that elevates riders up in the air by using water thrust. Culture buffs should stop by the Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, with 500 life-size statues known at lohan, which opened in 2017. Eco Farms, part of Bintan Resorts, gives tours of its 17 hectares of fruit and vegetables.
From mid-May to the end of June, and the start of August to the end of September, you can watch baby sea turtles hatch from their eggs as they are released into the sea! It's part of Bintan Resorts’ conservation efforts to protect the critically endangered species. Watch them as they make their way into the ocean and begin life on their own. Many properties organize programs to witness this or you can book up at Nirwana Gardens. Want more? Click here for our guide on top 10 things to do with kids in Bintan!
Experience the more rustic side of Bintan by taking a tour of the island's second largest town, Tanjung Uban. The tour will bring you through the center of town, and coastal fishing villages! You'll start the day with a tour of the local markets. Make sure you sample the local fruits and vegetables. You'll see homes built on stilts, local motorcycle and brick making factories. This is a must do 3-hour tour of the island.
From banana boat rides and beach volleyball to kneeboarding, sailing, and jet skiing... the list goes on and on. There are more than 30 water sports to choose from! If you're an aqua babe, then head here for a day of fun. Pack the suncream, the board shorts and get ready for plenty of fun in the sun! Be adventurous and try something new.
Top 10 Things To Do In Bintan With Kids, Click here
Sea Turtle Hatchling Programs, www.nirwanagardens.com
Tanjung Uban Rustic Tour, email@example.com
Water Sports Bintan, www.bintanlagoon.com/activities/water-sports/