Not everyone has a trip to Bintan in Indonesia on their travel bucket list. The reason why is, because many People may have never heard of Bintan. Bintan- isn’t that an Indonesian beer? No, not exactly. So, what is Bintan then?
Bintan is a beautiful Indonesian island that is easily reachable from Singapore.
The highest elevation of the island is the 348-metre mountain of the same name. “The one and only” as our driver tells us later.
The economy on Bintan is dominated by tourism in the north of the island.
To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have thought of going to this island if it hadn’t been for the hotel I wanted so much to see.
The Banyan Tree Bintan has been on my “Hotel List” for a very long time, a list that I’ve created over time. It is full of hotels that stand out for me because they either embody the luxury in which I still feel comfortable, or are unique, or lie in a destination with breathtaking views. It doesn’t matter to me if the hotel has one or six stars.
This list is my own hotel bucket list which I hope to “check off” at some point.
And now I can check the Banyan Tree Bintan, on the beautiful island of Bintan, off my list!
Getting there – Our arrival in Bintan
It was an adventure for us just to get to Bintan.
If you are traveling from Johor, Malaysia like us, there are two options to get to Bintan: either go to Singapore and take a one-hour ferry ride; or take a three-hour ferry ride directly from Johor.
Since we stayed in Johor, which is directly adjacent to Singapore, we decided to go the easier way:
1. A taxi to the Johor ferry terminal
2. Then the ferry to the Tanjung Pinang ferry terminal (the nearby ferry terminal Bentan Telani is not offered from Bintan)
3. And a taxi to Banyan Tree, 1.5 hours away.
From Singapore it would have been the nearby ferry port Bandar Bentan Telani. And just a short transfer to the hotel. But at the same time, it would have required a taxi, a bus, a subway and another taxi to get to Singapore Terminal from Johor.
Considering we had our two heavy golf bags, our decision was made relatively quickly.
Location of the Resort in Bintan
The ferry ride went smoothly, and we were both very happy to have chosen this option. The arrival was fast and easy. After a quick check of our passports was made, and we were in Indonesia.
Our driver was waiting for us at the ferry terminal. The Banyan Tree has a shuttle for 714,000.00 Rp., but since we have to watch our budget, we opted for a taxi company at the cost of 350,000.00 Rp..
The trip to the resort was nice and we were able to see a little bit of the island on the way there.
The Banyan Tree Bintan Hotel itself is beautifully located in a 23,0000-hectare rainforest. There are several luxury hotels in this area, as well as a plaza if you want to get out of the complex for shopping or eating in a warung.
By the way, a warung is a small family-run shop that offers local food. We find them to be most always very tasty and much cheaper than normal restaurants.
The shuttle service to the plaza is provided free of charge by the Banyan Tree Bintan and the bus departs from the Angsana Hotel which is right next door. We didn’t go there because we were happy to be in this fantastic paradise place and didn’t want to leave.
So, we enjoyed the hotel, which will be the only luxurious hotel on our world trip and actually didn’t see anything of Bintan other than what we saw on the transfer from the ferry terminal to the hotel and back.
What can you do in Bintan?
First of all, you can relax at a breath-taking white beach surrounded by jungle.
Directly at our hotel is the Laguna Golf Bintan, where we played 9 holes. So, if you feel like it, why not play a round or two of golf.
The Ria Bintan Golf Club is also located nearby, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get a tee time.
But there is more to do for active people on holiday then just relaxing at the beach, and for others who want to explore more of the island!
Next time we will have to go to the sand dunes and blue seas! It is a promising sounding tour of the natural sand dunes of Bintan and the nearby located lakes that have crystal clear blue waters.
Snorkelling tours, a mangrove tour, and a visit to the sea gypsies are also offered.
These are all worth considering, we think.
The way back from bintan
When it was time for us to return to Johor, we had a little excitement at the ferry terminal.
We had bought our ferry tickets in Malaysia, but what nobody told us was that when we arrived in Indonesia, we should have exchanged our Malaysian ticket for an Indonesian ticket.
When we arrived, we were told that the 12 o’clock ferry was already full, but that we could wait until 11.45 a.m. to see if someone would cancel. Which is what of course we did, because otherwise we would have had to wait until the next ferry at 3 p.m., and still would have had to play the same game.
At 11.45 a.m. we were told that there were 2 available seats for us, but that we would first have to pay a so-called “confirmation fee”. A pure rip-off! We were really annoyed, because this fee cost us almost as much as our round-trip ticket cost!
The next shocker came when we wanted to go through customs. We were told that they closed at 11.45 a.m, and that we were now too late to catch the ferry!
After a long discussion, they allowed us to go through. We got onto the ferry and fell into our seats.
Tip: If you buy your ticket in Malaysia, and round-trip ticket is a lot cheaper than a one-way ticket, it’s best to go straight to the ferry office on arrival in Bintan and take care of your return ticket. However, it could happen, that as a tourist, you may have to reach into your pockets again.
Since the hotel was a long-awaited wish, we would do it all again. The beach was a dream, as was the Banyan Tree Bintan. And if it weren’t so expensive, we would definitely go on holiday there again.
From the little we saw from Bintan itself, if looked very nice and not overcrowded with tourism.
One day we will be back! And then we will explore the island. We would always choose a trip to Bintan in Indonesia.
What we particularly liked:
Finally, a beach holiday!
During our short trip to Bintan we were able to really relax and leave the backpacker life behind us for a few days. Not that we don’t like it, because we love what we do! But every now and then, such a great hotel is a welcomed change.
What we didn’t like:
The corruption at the Indonesian ferry terminal. We are really disappointed that our beautiful holiday had such bitter tasting end. Other than that we recommend a trip to Bintan in Indonesia!