Who would have thought that Indonesia is just across the pond (so to speak)? The vantage geographical point, tropical weather and beckoning blue seas lure islanders to some water fun and cool beach breeze on Bintan Island. In just an hour on the ferry at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT), arrive at beach heaven.
Emerald Lounge and Ferry Ride
Make like a celebrity for the day by checking into the Emerald Lounge and Bintan Executive Lounge before embarking the ferry (each one-way adult ticket starts from S$46.45). The gilded ticket comes with complimentary beverages, newspapers and magazines, and snacks as well as personal selection of seats and luggage handling by personable service ambassadors.
To book ferry tickets online, visit www.brf.com.sg
Before you know it, both feet are firmly planted on Bintan sand. So what's next? Grab a partner and get the hang of driving the monstrous-sized ATV or All Terrain Vehicle around (it's much easier if you already know how to drive a car). And plough through the sandy beach into the forested areas where a few locals live, and if you're gung-ho enough, deeper into the woods. Of course, an expert driver will be leading the way at all times; turning back now and again to make sure no one's stuck or missing. It's a great way to tour another face of the island instead of mainstream touristy routes. Or breathe in fresh coastal air on the ever-popular Jet-ski with the help of a trained instructor. By nightfall, the starry night and cool weather makes for a night of cuddles and snuggles under the blinking lights of thousands of fireflies or kelip-kelip on a boat trip through the mangrove forests.
Focus Adventure - www.focusadventure.com / 62786560
Angsana Bintan Resort
The grand icing on the cake is staying at Angsana Bintan resort. Guests of the 106 rooms and suites will enjoy the South China Sea view and amenities befitting of a luxury resort. The glorious spa smells as good as their soothing massage strokes, be it a 60-minute traditional Indonesian or Ayurvedic massage, it will bring the body and senses in tao with surrounding peace and nature.
What's exciting to note is that the property has its very own Conservation Lab, where an environment naturalist could take guests on nature walks and talk about the birds and the bees, really.
If you must leave the newly-orange minted rooms (every room is fitted with a balcony or sun-deck), complete with plasma TV, fully-loaded mini bar, bathrobe and slippers, then head on to the rooftop for some foosball or billiards. Hit some balls at Laguna Bintan Golf Club or rent some gear and expert advice on windsurfing, snorkelling and canoeing at the Marine Centre. Angsana Bintan is a place that has thought of almost everything for everyone under one roof, done up in good taste and with a warm smile.
For more information about Angsana Bintan resort, visit www.angsana.com or call +62 770 693 111
Tanjung Pinang and River Spa
If there are two places seasoned Bintan lovers should head to (or even adventurous first-time explorers), they are Tanjung Pinang and River Spa.
Either sit on a two-hour ferry ride from Singapore to Sri Bintan Pura ferry terminal or a 50-minute speedboat ride from Bintan, and land on the capital of the Riau Islands (over 3,000 of them). Besides the water houses on stilts, whip out the DSLR to immortalise interesting sights of Buddhist temples and their animal deities in Senggarang and the abandoned king's palace in existence since the 16th century, the royal tomb, and the famous green and yellow mosque rumoured to have been built with cement mixed with eggs on Penyengat Island.
The River Spa is a throwback to the kampung era where simplicity is key and people ate from the fruit of the land. Found on Trikora Beach, the rustic mangrove enclave is a fantastic getaway from the noise and buzz of city life. Lay under the hands of Javanese therapists for a traditional deep-tissue Riau body massage or sea salt mineral scrub before settling into a little boat to tour the mangrove river to spot natural wildlife such as turtles and monkeys, or have some home-made local grub.
For more information on the River Spa, visit www.mutiarabintan.com or call +62 811 774 578