Aside from Johor Bahru, Malacca and Genting in Malaysia, another perfect getaway close to Singapore is the lovely Riau Islands of Indonesia.
Bintan is one of the major cities in Riau Islands. The province’s capital, Tanjung Pinang, is located in Bintan. Travel time to Bintan is less than an hour by ferry, plus few minutes land travel to reach your hotel.
Indonesian food, accommodations and massage services are practically cheap. Singapore dollar is commonly accepted in major establishments. No wonder why many Singaporeans and expats living in Singapore go to Bintan for short vacation.
Tanah Merrah Ferry Terminal is the port to go to from Singapore while at the other end, depending on your destination, Bintan has two major ports and it could be quite confusing. In our past trip to Bintan, we landed in the wrong port. We had to hire a private car service and travel 1.5 hours more to get to our hotel.
From our experience, there is not much to see in Tanjung Pinang so go for resorts/hotels in Trikora beach for better accommodation options, aside from being nearer to sight-seeing attractions in the island. If you got time, try temple-hopping or join a nature trip to the mangrove forest. The local tours are affordable, can be arranged with your hotel and no need to book in advance.
Trikora Beach, Bintan Agro Beach Resort. The beach is clean, relaxing and not crowded; freshly grilled seafood at the restaurant is delicious.
Temple sight-seeing tour includes the amazing 500 Lohan (Buddha) Temple.
The only mall in the city is the Ramayana, but really not worth going there. There is nothing good to buy and very few restos, but around the area are very good massage centers. Spa service prices are higher for tourists than local clients, nonetheless, it is still affordable compared to spa offers in Singapore.
Planning and booking a trip to Bintan is easy since everything can be arranged through the internet. Just make sure you are booking the correct port of destination. We booked and paid our ferry online via Bintan Resort Ferries and our hotel via Agoda.
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