Sindonesia - Bintan Resorts - Singapore in Indonesia

Bintan Travel Blog

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After last night's Insomnia, I found out that it didn't carry over to morning, and wound up missing all of the morning ferries to Bintan, Indonesia.

Dragged myself out of bed, got some coffee, and headed over to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in time for a 2PM Ferry to Bintan.  Rode over to Bintan on the Indera Bupala with the upper deck consisting of a full compliment of seating.  The upper deck's windows were cleaner...could actually see out the window, hence I stayed upstairs.  I was sitting on the left side window...if you are leaving for Bintan, I would suggest sitting on the right side as you get a nicer view of the Singapore skyline in the distance as the boat heads out to see.

Outside the Ferry Terminal

Arrived at the Bintan Ferry Terminal, paid my US $10 for Visa on Arrival, got my passport stamp - really the only reason I still went :-) - stopped by the ticket counter to reserve a seat on a return boat that night (only Ferry available was the 20:15 return) and realized that wass still almost six hours away!  What to do now...

Walked out of the terminal and quickly realized there wasn't much to do if you weren't hopping right onto a resort bus to where you're reservation is.  As I didn't have one...now what?

I walked back into the terminal and saw the Indorent desk for car rentals and such so decided to stop in and see what they could suggest for how to kill the next few hours.  As it was already after 2PM, there weren't many choices.

Is it real, or is it Memorex?
..they suggested the 3PM Mangrove Discovery Day tour and then a stop by one of the beaches to relax and watch the sunset before heading back to the ferry terminal for the ride back to Singapore.  The price for transportation by private taxi from the terminal to Mangrove tour, tour to Nirwana Beach Club, and Nirwana Beach Club to Ferry terminal - S$35.  Yeah...S$...the entire time in the Bintan Resorts portion of Bintan Island...I did not see a single Indonesian Rupiah (I did get lucky...there were 3000 Rupiah folded in the tray table on the ferry ride to Bintan...so I got a couple to keep as souvineers).

I decided to go ahead and do the suggested itinerary...had nothing else to do and the only real alternative would have been just going right to the beach.

Smile!
..and for six hours...perhaps they would have tried to charge admission for the beach...as it was it was free (except for food and drink) and I only had to pay the admission for the Mangrove tour.

My taxi dropped me off at the ticket desk for the tour...located at the entrance to a true tourist trap area of small shops selling Polo, local crafts, convenience items, and a couple restaurants and "health spas".  Wandered around for a few minutes until time for the tour, then off I went for the tour.

I must say, I was expecting the tour to be crap.  My expectation was something more touristy where you follow a route with fancy signs, "surprise" sightings, full safety precautions (nets between the river and the trees, etc.)  This was much better.

Nirwana Beach Club
  The 3PM tour wound up being pretty much full and two boats were needed, and we headed down river for 6km sighting some monkeys in the foliage, a couple mangrove snakes (which the tour guide was determined to try to make fall out of the tree into our boat), an indonesian squirrel in the middle of a late lunch, and a tree full of bats (pull the vine, out comes a bat...watch your head...those suckers are FAST!)  Took a little more than hour, then back to the landing and off to the beach club.

Nirwana Beach Club is part of the Nirwana Gardens resort.  This is the location for younger people with cheap lodging and supposedly good entertainment and a nice scene during peak times.  Being Sunday evening, it was very quiet, most people finishing up and packing (I saw maybe 10 people on the beach and in the restaurant, and all 10 of them and 20 or so others were waiting for the bus to the ferry terminal when it was time to depart for the last ferry.

Just before the burning...kicked a fire ant hill well getting into position...after the picture, it started to burn!!!
..luckily I had a taxi!)

Everything was quiet, but got to walk through the beach and the sea and relax for a while, settled down for some dinner and a beer from the club's restautant, and then the sun started to set.  I'm glad I didn't get an earlier ferry back to Singapore...this made it all worthwhile!  Beautiful sunset...beautiful surroundings.

Caught the 8:15 ferry back on the other ferry to Bintan, the Aria Bupala.  This ferry's upper level is not rows of seats, but groups of seats around tables.  Much more relaxed, but not as much room on the upper deck.

Made it back to the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal around 10:15PM.  When I got out of my taxi to go to Bintan, I noticed there weren't many taxis at the terminal, so I decided I wanted to be quick off the boat, through customs, and into the Taxi rank for the ride back to Orchard Bay.

...gone.
  Well, I wound up being second off the boat and second in the taxi rank from my boat, 4th in total in the taxi rank.  It only took 40 minutes for me to get into my cab!!!  The first two came quick...the person in front of me gave up and decided to shell out for the limo taxi after around 30 minutes, and then finally I got taxi #3.  Many people decided to call and order a cab and they came first, but I tried and got nothing by busy signals and hold music...was still on hold when I got into my cab.  Being Mother's Day may not have helped...

Overall, a nice day!

lonlee2 says:
Very helpful, thanks!
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012
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Outside the Ferry Terminal
Outside the Ferry Terminal
Is it real, or is it Memorex?
Is it real, or is it Memorex?
Smile!
Smile!
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
Just before the burning...kicked a…
Just before the burning...kicked …
...gone.
...gone.
Three hour tour?
Three hour tour?
Lots of cargo in the Straights
Lots of cargo in the Straights
First glimpses of Bintan
First glimpses of Bintan
Welcome to Indonesia!
Welcome to Indonesia!
Housing for local employees of the…
Housing for local employees of th…
More shops
More shops
...
...
The stepping off point for the riv…
The stepping off point for the ri…
The eastern boat...
The eastern boat...
Mangroves...high tide so most of t…
Mangroves...high tide so most of …
Fishing village
Fishing village
Charcoal kiln
Charcoal kiln
Another type of mangrove
Another type of mangrove
Local fisherman...
Local fisherman...
...with his catch
...with his catch
The river gets narrower...
The river gets narrower...
...and under more cover...
...and under more cover...
...and narrower...ok...we didn;t g…
...and narrower...ok...we didn;t …
More mangrove roots
More mangrove roots
Mangrove snake in the tree over ou…
Mangrove snake in the tree over o…
Mangrove snake in the tree over ou…
Mangrove snake in the tree over o…
River gets a little more narrow an…
River gets a little more narrow a…
The bat cave...pull a vine, out co…
The bat cave...pull a vine, out c…
Me and the western boat.
Me and the western boat.
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
Nirwana Beach Club
From the restaurant/bar deck
From the restaurant/bar deck
First signs of the coming sunset
First signs of the coming sunset
The sun begins its descent
The sun begins it's descent
The lights come on in the trees
The lights come on in the trees
Going...
Going...
...Going...
...Going...
...going...
...going...
The local Bintang beer...actually …
The local Bintang beer...actually…
Bintan
photo by: metsbwd