When I was asked to write this article, I hadn’t even remembered that we had been to this island, just 1 hour away from Singapore. Digging through my passport, I came upon the stamp. Yup, in 2011 I visited Bintan Island. I do believe we were trying to escape overpriced Singapore and were dying for a beach. I don’t remember much about what we did, as we only stayed a few days, but I do remember almost not being able to leave- I had run out of pages in my passport and I had a hard time getting them to put the full page stamp in the endorsements/special section. After much begging and pleading, we were sent back to Singapore. Whew! Who knew you couldn’t use the last few pages for emergencies? Well, in case you also have no idea where this island is, here is a handy dandy map explaining geographics and all that fun stuff.
Bintan is part of the Riau archipelago of Indonesia. Accordingly, currency here is in Indonesian Rupiah. This little island, with it’s white washed beaches, has many activities for you to keep yourself occupied with. Lets talk about some of the things you can do on Bintan Island.
Year-end wind and waves make Bintan ideal for wind surfing. Kayaking, jet ski, banana boat rides and wake-boarding are all available at water sports centers, check with your resort or hotel for availability.
All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV)
Adventure junkies, get ready for a thrilling ATV ride. Drive through jungle trails specially designed with sharp bends and steep slopes for that heart-stopping ride. Or take the ATV for a ride along white sandy beaches, always being careful and don’t forget to wear your helmet.
The quiet roads of Bintan Resorts are ideal for biking. Try some of the off-road tracks.
Kayak along the Lagoi Beach
Take a kayak out and row yourselves along the rich mangroves and the Sebong River, pointing out wildlife along the way. There is also a night mangroves tour, with thousands of fireflies!
There are lots of beautiful resorts for you to stay at on Bintan island, such as the Bintan lagoon resort. I’m not sure why we didn’t stay here, but we might have been feeling a bit shell shocked from paying so much for our hotel in Singapore. Websites like Traveloka have reviews and prices for all sorts of resorts to fit your budget.
Various species of sea animals and plants are found underwater. From squids to snails, from various fish to oyster – several marine species including sea turtles are found here. Dolphins are also sighted. The variety and diversity of sea life is very attractive. Wild animals you can see include the beautiful silver leaf monkeys, sunbirds, and eagles.
Sea turtles, in particular, are the special species of Indonesia and its many islands, including Bintan; six species out of seven found in the world are recorded in Indonesia. Bintan Island was one of the locations where turtles were found in large numbers; in the 1950s, during the nesting season, at least 2 nests used to be found every day on the coastline of Bintan Resorts. Now, the nests are not found as frequently as in the past. Turtle tracks, nests, eggs, and egg shells have been recorded during patrol surveys conducted during specified periods, not only in Bintan but also in the Pasir Pasan beach. In the Bintan Resort’s nestling beaches hawksbill turtle & green turtles have been recorded. Research and Development Department and Environmental & Health Division of Bintan Resort are encouraged by their patrolling efforts and they are confident that sea turtle nests would be protected on Bintan and also conserved in local villages. If you’re in Bintan around the peak hatching periods – mid-May to end-June or August to September – book it to the Lagoi beach to watch some hawksbill and green turtles hatch and be released into the ocean!
Gunung Bintan Adventure Trekking
Make your way up to the top of the 340-metre high mountain of Gunung Bintan and enjoy panoramic views from the summit. Trek through Bintan’s rainforest and see giant trees which are more than 40 metres tall. Take a dip under the waterfall afterwards to receive a shower of blessings according to local tradition.
Santa Maria Cave
Santa Maria Cave was built in 18th century by a Dutch Pastor. Come Sundays, devotees will pack the place and sing songs while enjoying a short get-together with everyone in the community. Until today the place is still very well preserved and maintained.
Just thinking about hatching baby turtles is enough to make me want to return to Bintan island. Click here to check out this link for some more great ideas for traveling in Indonesia. Have you been to Bintan Island? What did you think? Any other interesting activities we missed? Leave your comments below!