December is fast approaching and the winter wonderland vibe is getting stronger, at least for us in the northern hemisphere.
When I left Europe a month ago, the reds and oranges of fall were already giving way to the browns and bare branches of winter. Even here in the Philippines, the evenings have become quite cool (pardon my tropical standards), and the countries further up from the equator are speeding their way into winter – with Tokyo leading the way with its first November snow in 50 years.
While December certainly has its perks, a tropical girl like me can only take so much “winter” before craving for summer and the sea again. Good thing I live in Asia, home of fantastic islands and beaches – from Busan in South Korea to Coron in the Philippines.
But cool months call for extreme measures, so this time, we’re heading somewhere so close to the equator, it’s always summer: the gorgeous Bintan Island of Indonesia.
Travel Guide to Bintan Island, Indonesia: Top Things to See and Do
Sun, sand, and sea
Let’s start with the number 1 reason you’d want to go to Bintan Island: the amazing white sand beaches. With 105 kilometers of coastline, you’d surely find a spot to lay down your sarong and toast under the tropical sun. (As a dermatologist, I have to say this: slather on the sunscreen!)
If you’re looking for maximum leisure and relaxation, check out the Bintan Lagoon Resort (find out here). It’s one of the finest resorts in the island, set on the gorgeous Pansir Panjang Beach. The resort has its own private beach and – an absolute win if you love convenience – its own private ferry that can bring you from Singapore straight to the resort.
Once at the resort, you can do some swimming, snorkeling, body-boarding, an ATV tour of the island, and even a round of golf. End the day with a massage by the beach and you’ll never want to leave the island.
History, art, and culture
Long before the beach resorts made Bintan the next Bali, the island has always been pivotal in the history and culture of the region. It’s located along the Indo-China trade route, making it a melting pot of various Asian communities.
Senggarang Village, a community just outside the capital of Bintan, is the home of the first Chinese migrants who came to Indonesia. Now, the village is like an open-air museum showing various cultural influences in terms of art and architecture. A walk along the village allows you a peek into the locals’ lives through their homes and the old Buddhist temples. Just remember to be respectful at all times.
Seafood and the local cuisine
When in the tropics, eating seafood is a must!
Not only are fish, lobsters, crabs, prawns and a variety of seafood more affordable in this island, but the locals certainly know how to cook them best. It comes fresh and with a view – it doesn’t really get better than that.
Head to the Sebung Village for the best seafood in the island. At night, head to Akau in Tanjung Pinang for yummy local snacks.
Get active and adventurous
Don’t worry about overeating on seafood and Indonesian cuisine – just burn it all off with a variety of water and land sports.
There’s an endless list of water activities that you can try: snorkeling, body-boarding, wake boarding, kayaking, and a lot more. The island is particularly popular for surfers during the windy months (November to March).
If you want to stay dry on land, go for guided ATV, Segway, and biking tours around the island. If you’re traveling with friends and family, build up your camaraderie with paint ball and Go-Kart.
Essential Information: Planning your trip to Bintan Island
- There are flights from Jakarta to Tanjung Pinang and ferries from Singapore, Johor Bahru in Malaysia, and Batam in Indonesia.
- The most popular and convenient way is via Singapore, from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Depending on where you want to go, the duration of the ferry can be from 60-120 minutes.
Best time to go
- The island’s proximity to the equator ensures a year-round tropical weather averaging 26-28C.
- The dry season is from March to October – this is also the peak season so if you’re going within these months, secure your reservations and bookings earlier.
- It tends to rain a lot from November to February, though, so if you only have a few days to spare, avoid these months so you don’t spend your holiday rained in.
Staying: Bintan Island accommodations
- Bintan Island caters to a wide range of budgets.
- Highly-rated beachfront accommodations include Bintan Lagoon Resort (find out here) and other accommodations in the Bintan Resorts area.
- For budget hotels, check out the options in the Tanjung Pinang town.
Conde Nast gushes about Bintan Island, a top secret destination for travelers coming from Singapore. Read on the find out what else the island has to offer.
If you’re spending a bit of time in the area, check out the other tropical wonders you can visit via sea travel from Singapore
Ready for summer? Be sure to bookmark, pin, and share this with your friends. Let’s spread the tropical warmth!
This post is sponsored by Traveloka and 100% written by me.