Bintan has been a major trading post on the route between China – India since the 3rd century. Along with Batam, their strategic location at the Strait of Malacca made several countries contesting for control over the islands. At least 5 countries have recorded of having control over Bintan in the past, which is Arab, Portuguese, China, Britain, and Dutch – not to mention other ethnic groups such as the Melayu, Bugis, and others; before Bintan finally joins Indonesia during the Independence Wars. During the 12th century, the Malayan pirates have been using Bintan as their base of operation, to loot and plunder trading ships that sail around the area.
This island is the largest among the 3.200 islands of Riau Archipelago and has a tropical climate. However, the island has quite a sparse population. Most of the citizen lives in the bustling port-city of Tanjung Pinang. As with the rest of Indonesia, there are only two seasons in Bintan, which is the monsoon and dry season. Bintan relies heavily on tourism as their main source of income and because of that, the Indonesian government has been promoting it as the next tourist destination after Bali. Most of the tourist that came here are originating from Singapore, Korea, and Japan.
The Indonesian government has a plan into designating Bintan as an upcoming tourist spot, so it has undergone a major infrastructure construction since 1991. These infrastructure developments will surely boost Bintan tourism into a whole new level. For example, providing easier access to this island by ferry since there are about five main ports in Bintan, or bigger airport so it can handle more flights, etc. Due to the amount of Singaporean tourist that visit this island regularly, most of the hotels and shops are also accepting Singaporean and U.S. dollars as a legit form of payment. In fact, a lot of Singaporean citizens own the resorts and other properties here, as they were the main target market of Bintan Islands property business.
Places of Interest
As an island with quite a long history and lots of natural attractions, Bintan surely possesses a great number of interesting places to visit. However, due to the amount of industry that lies around the proximity of Bintan, such as Singapore, the waters are murky in some areas. Still, a visit to Bintan is really worth the trip. In this list, we have compiled some of the must-see places in Bintan. Hopefully, it will help you to plan your itinerary to Bintan better!
1. Tanjung Pinang
As the main port of Bintan, Tanjung Pinang is the largest and most populous city in the island. It is also the capital of the Riau Islands Province.The name Tanjung Pinang derives from an ancient sailor’s landmark, which is an areca nut tree that juts out into the sea, marking the entrance to the Bintan river from the sea. Their harbor is among the busiest in the Malacca Strait, with hundreds of ships docking in or out daily. A significant portion of the city is comprised of traditional houses that were built over the water. This trade center is a home to many ethnic groups of various backgrounds. The city center regularly held festivals and other performances.
Many Singaporeans consider this city as their own backyard, a place to retreat from their country’s confining regulations to a fetterless haven. They usually come during weekends to indulge in a free, anarchistic life. This port has a direct ferry and speedboat access to Batam, Singapore, and Johor Bahru in Malaysia.
2. Bintan Resort
This is arguably the most famous place in Bintan. It is an integrated complex of a tropical resort with world-class facilities. Bintan resort usually refers to the whole area of the northern coast of Bintan Island, where it contains ten independent resorts, residential complex, apartments, four golf courses, and an ample amount of watersport activities with other recreational facilities.
The company PT Bintan Cakrawala owns and manages the whole area. It has won several awards in the past for the development of the Bintan Resort complex. In fact, this resort is the main reason for most of the tourist to visit Bintan Islands. Most visitors usually enjoy the amazing golf courses in this area. Some of the best resorts in this place are discussed in more detail below.
3. Tanjung Uban
Tanjung Uban is a small port town in the north of Tanjung Pinang. It is also one of the ports that have a direct ferry and speedboat access to outlying areas. Due to its closeness with the Lobam Industrial Estate, expedition and cargo ship crowds the port. It is the main entrance of industrial shipments in or out of the island. This is the second largest town on the island and it has a quaint and rustic atmosphere. Visitors could enjoy authentic and delicious seasonal fruits cultivated in here, sold by the street peddlers and shops. A perfect town to relieve the stressful city life. Thus, you can stay there and do all the top enchanting things to do in Bintan island Indonesia.
This is a major tourist area in Bintan, located in the Kepri region. It has such a relaxing atmosphere, far from the noisiness of daily life in the city. According to several sources, Senggarang is the home of the first Chinese immigrants in Bintan. From there, they spread throughout other islands over the course of time. That is why there are a lot of temple in this area, such as the Sun Te Kong Temple, Marco Temple, Tay Ti Kong Temple, and the Banyan Tree Temple.
Each of the temples has their own purposes and characteristics; for example, the Sun Te Kong Temple is primarily used to worship the God of Fire and invoke happiness, Marco Temple for worshipping the Sea God and safe passage at sea, and Tay Ti Kong is dedicated to the Earth God to provide a plentiful harvest. A lot of tourists from Singapore visit these temples regularly to pray and worship the deities.
5. Penyengat Island
This small island is located approximately 6km from Tanjung Pinang. It lies just off the Bintan Island, and visitors could take a 15-minute ride by boat to get there. This island is famous as the main seat of Sultan of the Johor-Riau Sultanate in the past. As such, it has a palatial complex, Grand Mosque, and an office blockhouse at Kursi Hill. The palace complex has an interesting mixture of Javanese and Dutch architecture. In the past, UNESCO has been nominating the palace as the World’s Heritage Site. The mosque is another amazing spectacle to enjoy, for it has a handwritten and illustrated Quran that has been preserved for more than 150 years. There are also a lot of other historical relics from the colonial era, such as cannons, bunkers, even a fort.
6. Trikora Beach
This beautiful and amazing beach resort is very popular among the visitors of Bintan Islands. A pristine open ocean is surrounding this beach resort, giving it a natural, splendid look. Most visitors love to swim around the ocean or enjoying many watersport activities. Kite-surfing is becoming quite popular lately among the Western and Singaporean tourists, and you can also do some sports fishing if you feel up to it. Just rent some local fishing boat complete with their sail and paddles with price starting from 50.000 rupiahs per day.
Another popular thing to do is to walk the beach during the night, observing the starry sky while accompanied by the windy sea breeze.Visitors can also rent some bikes to traverse through the beach easily. But what makes Trikora Beach truly amazing is because the number of people around here is very sparse, making the resort enjoyable without many disruptions from the crowds.
7. Sebung Village
All the best things to do in Bintan island, Riau Indonesia is trying their tasty seafood. Every seafood lovers need to visit this village for it has a lot of amazing seafood restaurants with fresh delicacies. The seafood in here is mostly fresh, delicious, and affordable, making it extremely popular among tourists. Most of the houses here have a Kelong style, which is a house with wooden poles as its foundation and built on the water. These houses offer you an impressive view of sea and mangrove forests to accompany your meal with.
The most ordered food in here is a succulent sea snail which is called Gong-gong by the local populace. You can reach the village through a 40-minute boat ride from the Bintan Lagoon Resort. The villagers are very friendly, you can even take a peek into their daily life and activities while you were there. Enjoy the sea breezes that flowing through the window amidst your meal. Bring your loved ones or friends to enjoy a truly unforgettable experience of a dinner by the sea!
8. Lagoi Beach
This beach is absolutely one of the best beaches in the Bintan Islands. A white sandy beach that stretches along the coast of clear blue water, with a world-class resort nearby. Here you can literally taste the paradise on earth; lying on a hammock hanging from the coconut trees while enjoying the ocean breeze.
Things to do in Bintan Island Indonesia, grab and drink some coconut to add more excitement to the relaxing sense of joy and freedom. You can find a lot of budget hostels and homestays nearby if you’re backpacking, or sleep it off in the luxurious rooms of a prime tropical beach resort, the Lagoi Bay Resort. The resort itself actually is a large development complex that is consists of a resort, residential, and commercial areas. The developers designated the Lagoi Bay as a prime tourist destination sometime in the future.
[toggle title=”9. Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alamsyah Museum“]
The Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alamsyah Museum was originally an elementary school during the War of Independence era until 2004. In that year, the government decided to renovate and turn the school into a museum. The reason for this conversion is because the building held an extreme importance to the history of education in Bintan Islands. They boast a number of collections and artifacts related to Tanjung Pinang’s history. Most of the artifacts are related to arts and cultures. The government designates this museum to be the center of cultural study and preservation of Bintan Island’s history.
[toggle title=”10. Mount Bintan“]
There are not many mountains in Bintan, which is exactly why this mountain is very popular as the only place to do some trekking or hiking. Enjoy a magnificent view of sunset and sunrise from the top of the mountain after a long, exhausting hike. You can also rent a bike to make the trip easier and obviously more enjoyable.
[toggle title=”11. Tugu Pensil“]
This pencil-like obelisk is built and located in Tanjung Pinang. There is a park surrounding the area that acts as a public place. You can find a lot of trees, benches, jogging tracks, and kid’s playground scattered inside the park.
[toggle title=”12. Bintan Expo Center“]
This government-owned building serves as the multi-purpose function hall of Tanjung Pinang city. There is a mini theater with a 48 person capacity and various display of major attraction, potential areas, and development process in Bintan, which normally used to attract potential investors to invest in the island. The expo center is also open to the public, where the citizens of Tanjung Pinang can learn about the undergoing process and potential of the Bintan Islands.
[toggle title=”13. Tepi Laut“]
Tepi Laut is a waterfront city in Tanjung Pinang that offers a striking view of the surrounding islands, such as Penyengat Island, Paku Island, Senggarang, and more. It is a car free day area of Tanjung Pinang, where automobiles and other motorized vehicles are forbidden to pass during a certain day.
Best Resorts in Bintan
Other than these places of interest, the major tourist attraction in Bintan is obviously their famous resorts. There are plenty of resorts from various range of classes in here. We have compiled the very best of these resorts for you to choose from in this list.
[toggle title=”14. Treasure Bay” state=”opened”]
Treasure Bay is an upscale waterfront resort that is dedicated to brought the best holiday experience for their esteemed guests. They aim to be the first in everything and designed their facilities to impress and amaze guests with the most happening attractions. You can find lots of truly amazing activities that cannot be found anywhere else. Don’t forget their iconic 6.3 hectares Crystal Lagoon with 740 m in length, creating a gigantic swimming pool. There are so many exciting rides in here; for example, the Jetovator, underwater scooter, kayaking, and other fun activities. No journey to Bintan Islands is ever complete without a stay or visit to this impressive place.
[toggle title=”15. Angsana Bintan“]
This resort is comprised of a series of seaside pavilions and lush garden terraces with over than 100 rooms. Most of the room are overlooking the magnificent view of South China Sea. Angsana Bintan offers you a serene and tranquil sweet escape from the daily life into an idyllic vacation filled with relaxing atmosphere and spectacular views. There are a lot of facilities to be enjoyed here, including a designer golf course, marine conservation lab, water sport and recreation facilities, mangrove discovery tour, and more.
[toggle title=”16. Banyan Tree Bintan“]
Banyan Tree Bintan is a luxurious tropical heaven featuring 64 exclusive private villas on a cliffside with a panoramic view of the surrounding ocean. Ideal for those traveling with families or couples enjoying their solitude within the fancy villas. Visitors could enjoy some sensational and exclusive dining options provided by the resort. For example, dine under the stars accompanied by a multitude of blue lanterns, dinner on the rocks while enjoying a captivating view of the South China Sea, and other classy options.
[toggle title=”17. The Canopi“]
This resort is truly a place to free your inner spirit and enjoy the nature in Bintan Islands. The Canopi is offering their guests an opportunity to blend in with nature in the most luxurious way. With a modern safari tent-suites that spread over a 2-hectares area, guests can relax and enjoy the nature while still having the modern-day luxuries. There are plenty of options to choose from while you stay in this resort. Lying in a hammock, stargazing, start a campfire, or simply bike around are among the best options here.
How to Get Here
In order to reach the Bintan Islands, there are only two routes that the visitors normally take, by air or sea. Getting there by air means you will arrive at Raja Haji Fisabillilah Airport, which currently is the only airport in the area. The nearest airport other than this is located in the neighboring province of Batam or in the neighboring country of Singapore. The main flight operator of the Raja Haji Fisabillilah Airport only caters for domestic flights only. This is the main reason that most foreign tourists chose to land in the nearby Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam or Changi Airport in Singapore, and then took a boat or ferry ride to the island.
When going by sea, there are plenty options regarding which transports would you choose. You can choose to travel using speedboats which are faster but surely more expensive, or by the slower yet cheaper ferry that regularly travels between Singapore – Bintan, Johor Bahru – Bintan, and Batam – Bintan. There are several passenger ports in Bintan. The largest one, and the one that mostly used is Tanjung Pinang. There are also other main ports, such as Tanjung Uban, Kijang, and Teluk Sebung.
Tanjung Pinang handles all of the foreign route, the one from Singapore and Johor Bahru. This port also handles some of the domestic route, such as from Batam, Sumatra, and other areas. Tanjung Uban and Kijang serves as a secondary port for those who departs from Batam and various area of Indonesia. PELNI, the official sailing company owned by the government, is the owner of Kijang port where most of its ships and routes from all over Indonesia directs here.
You may also visit:
- Things to Do in Batam
- Things to Do in Denpasar
- Things to Do in Ubud
- Things to Do in Jimbaran
- Places to Visit in Jakarta