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Written by Beverley Lennon

Tired of the usual regular getaway to Bintan or Batam?

Did you know that scattered in the Riau Archipelago are some 3,200 islands, a few of which are actually a short ferry ride away from Bintan or Batam?

From remote islands scattered across the best diving reefs, to untouched islands off the mainland coasts, these are Riau’s best underrated tropical sanctuaries to snorkel in, bask in spectacular views, indulge in fresh seafood and just laze on the pristine beaches.

You have to see for yourself!

Read more:

11 Private islands and resorts in Indonesia for a perfect tropical getaway!

9 Magnificent water villas in Indonesia for a hidden paradise getaway

12 Unconventional things to do in Batam that will surprise you

19 Epic things to do in Bintan that will put this hidden gem into your bucket list

Getting there

This post is made possible by Indonesia Tourism Board

From SingaporeFrom Johor, Malaysia (tap here to view)From Jakarta (tap here to view)

Batam has 4 international harbours (Harbour Bay Batam, Batam centre, Sekupang Ferry Terminal, and Waterfront City Ferry Terminal) that you can reach from either Harbourfront or Tanah Merah ferry terminals via a 1-hour ferry ride. Four ferry companies operate on this route, and you can check their official websites for the schedule and fare:

1. Batamfast (operates at every harbour in Batam and Singapore)
2. Horizon Fast Ferry (operates at Harbour Bay Batam and Harbourfront Singapore)
3. Sindo Ferry (operates at Harbourfront Singapore, Batam centre and Sekupang in Batam)
4. Majestic Fast Ferry (operates at Harbourfront and Tanah Merah in Singapore and Batam centre and Sekupang in Batam)

Return tickets from Rp. 340,000 (approximately SGD 32.50). Duration of ferry ride: 1 hour.

Take a direct ferry via Citra Ferry, Indomas Ferry or Pintas Samudra Ferry from Johor Bahru International Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Pinang Ferry Terminal.

Return tickets from RM 145. Duration of ferry ride: 3 hours

Direct Flight (From Rp.1,210,000 per pax for a two-way ticket)

Take Batik Air, Lion Air, Citilink or Garuda Indonesia from Soekarno Hatta International Airport to Batam Hang Nadim International Airport

(Flight time: ~1h 45 min)

This story would not have been possible without the support of Indonesia Tourism Board. For more information, check out Riau Islands’ official website.

1. Idyllic sceneries for snorkelling and island hopping: Pulau Rano

This island holds many possibilities to experience the essence of tropical island lure of sun, sand and sea. Don’t forget to snorkel and explore the rich marine life!

Photo Via Ranohisland
Photo Via Yusifadila96
Photo Via Serii.guo_
Photo Via Vitahsd, Rahaps_
Photo Via Eseko1

(Many tour companies offer day trips here. It’s best combined with a trip to Pulau Abang)

Pulau Rano

Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Batam Centre Ferry Terminal (Batam) (45 minutes, S$34 per pax for 2-way ticket). Take either a boat charter or organised tour to Pulau Rano.
Recommended tour: https://goo.gl/7iE2bg (20 minutes boat ride from Batam, from S$80 per pax for tour)/
Contact: Mr Akut Wibowo +62 813 7836 3090 (Whatsapp) for more details.
Recommended for: Day trip from Batam
Accommodation on island: Not available, but you can book glamping packages via tour operators.

2. Bask in quiet luxury and privacy – Bawah Island

With a luxury car waiting at your house door to a private seaplane ride, this private island resort does everything for you to experience #thatluxelife!

Photo Via Bawahisland, Agirlwhoblooms
Photo Via Agirlwhoblooms, Astrid.caesaria
Photo Via Piecesofzee, Astrid.caesaria
Photo Via Nuneno_
Photo Via Leaguetravels
Photo Via Agirlwhoblooms

Bawah Island

Rates: From S$2350 per room per night (approximately Rp. 24,235,550) (includes all transfers from Singapore, meals and drinks, unlimited spa treatments and water activities)
Getting there: All transportation and transfers are arranged by Bawah Island; from a luxury car pickup in Singapore to a seaplane ride to the island. (3 ½ hours from Singapore)
Recommended for: Weekend trip from Singapore

Website


3. Swoon over water bungalows cooled with natural ocean breeze – Telunas Resorts Private Island

Ever wanted to escape to a luxurious water bungalow perched on a private island – just you and your lover?

Photo Via Honeykidsasia
Photo Via Alexinwanderland
Photo Via Honeykidsasia

Telunas Resorts Private Island is one of our best bet. Asd you can indulge in a decadent spa treatment at the resort’s spa, right in the middle of the ocean too!

Photo Via Honeykidsasia, Chrsma
Photo Via Hippieinheelsblog, Destinasianmagazine, Cheeesepolice

Telunas Resorts Private Island

Rates: From S$110 per person per night (approximately Rp. 1,134,430)
Getting there: Ferry (Batam Fast) from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Sekupang Ferry Terminal (Batam) (1 hour, S$49 per pax for 2-way ticket). The Telunas Resorts’ boat will be waiting at the ferry terminal to pick you up. (1 hour 40 minutes from Batam)
Recommended for: Weekend trip from Singapore
Book your stay here: https://goo.gl/haVFmG

4. Kayaking and snorkelling amidst the clearest of waters: Pulau Abang

With such kaleidoscopic marine life and schools of tropical fish, this is undoubtedly one of the most stunning places to snorkel in the Riau Archipelago!

Photo Via Hanifmustoffa
Photo Via Dedirui, Mroova_rigman

Pulau Abang

Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Batam Centre Ferry Terminal (Batam) (45 minutes, S$34 per pax for 2-way ticket). Take either a boat charter or organised tour to Pulau Abang.
Recommended tour: https://goo.gl/7iE2bg (1 hour boat ride, from S$43 per pax for tour) /
Contact : Mr Akut Wibowo +62 813 7836 3090 (Whatsapp) for more details.
Recommended for: Day trip from Batam
Accommodation on island: Not available, but you can book camping packages via tour operators.

5. Rustic living with basic comfort – Labun Island Resort

Labun Island is where you can find peaceful and tranquil atmosphere while you spend your day fishing your dinner, snorkelling and kayaking around the island. At night, you’ll fall asleep to the sound of the sea and wake up to the chirping of the birds…

Photo Via Aerialbatam
Photo Via Jokowarsito, Try.jha36
Photo Via Iyan_reggezt

Labun Island Resort

Rates: S$160 per person (approximately Rp. 1,650,000) (Package includes boat transfer to Labun Island, meals,banana boat activity, kayaking, fishing and snorkelling)
Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Batam Centre Ferry Terminal (Batam) (45 minutes, S$34 per pax for 2-way ticket). Take an organised tour package to Labun Island Resort.
Recommended tour: https://goo.gl/ycR9Jf (1 hour boat ride, from S$45 per pax for tour) (1 hour boat ride, S$ 43 per pax)/
Contact: Mr Akut Wibowo +62 813 7836 3090 (Whatsapp)
Recommended for: Weekend trip
Book your stay here: [email protected]

6. Catch sunrise, snorkel and dive with an array of tropical fish: Pulau Benan

Head over here if you’ve dreamt of a blissful slice of island where you can wade into the crystal clear water. And while inland, explore the bushwalking tracks and fertile landscape to find a lovely spot for sunrise.

Photo Via mandhanphotography
Photo Via Aprizal__ijal, Kristinewinata
Photo Via Royfadlii, Royfadlii, Markitrip
Photo Via Bunkhepri

Pulau Benan

Getting there: Ferry (Batam Fast) from Harbour Front Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Sekupang Ferry Terminal (Batam) (50 minutes, S$34 per pax). Taxi from  Sekupang Ferry Terminal to Telaga Punggur Terminal (90 minutes, S$15 per taxi). Ferry from Telaga Punggur Ferry Terminal (Batam) to Pulau Benan Jetty (90 minutes, S$17 per pax for one way).
Ferry timing: 9.30am *Tip: Be there early!
Return ferry to Batam on same day: Not available
Recommended for: Weekend trip
Accommodation on island: Cottages available (Contact: Mr. Joni + 62 821 7169 4616)

7. Snorkel your way through and watch TV underwater: Pulau Petong

Snorkelling is the top thing to do here and this island does not draw crowds yet; so you can peacefully enjoy the technicolour fish displays, playful turtles and curious marine life without bumping into other snorkellers!

Photo Via Julianloh08
Photo Via Juliann08
Photo Via Reefsadventure_pulaupetong
Photo Via Reefsadventure

Pulau Petong

Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Batam Centre Ferry Terminal (Batam) (45 minutes, S$34 per pax for 2-way ticket). Take either a boat charter or organised tour to Pulau Petong.
Recommended tour: https://goo.gl/7iE2bg (50 minutes boat ride, from S$77 per boat for tour) /
Contact : Mr Akut Wibowo +62 813 7836 3090 (Whatsapp) for more details.
Recommended for: Day trip from Batam
Accommodation on island: Not available, but you can book camping packages via tour operators.

8. Double the pleasure with island hopping –  Pulau Tunjuk and Pulau Subang Mas

8-a) Camp with an abandoned shipwreck as your backdrop – Pulau Tunjuk

With a mysterious shipwreck on its shores, this beach will appeal the most curious of you all. So it’s is time for you to explore, little pirate!

Photo Via Eka_dewi_puspita
Photo Via Eka_dewi_puspita

Pulau Tunjuk

Find out more: https://goo.gl/UKcaeW

8-b) The Maldives of Riau – Pulau Subang Mas

How far is Maldives again?

You’ll give up on the idea once you set foot on Pulau Subang Mas. Enjoy your time far away from civilisation, where you can slow down your pace at this out-of-a-dream island!

Photo Via Thomas_sonny
Photo Via Asadsaputra, Sellyng
Photo Via Doy_erianda

Pulau Subang Mas

Tour to Pulau Tunjuk and Pulau Subang Mas: Contact +62 823 8899 4423 (Whatsapp) for more details.

9. Indulge in freshly picked durian by white sand beaches – Pulau Kundur

9-a) Serene, white sandy beaches framed by lush greenery perfection – Pantai Lubuk

This beach is so untouched and pristine that it’s the perfect spot for your pre-wedding photoshoot location. Zero onlookers!

Photo Via Mhafidz24
Photo Via Okky.husain, Nurfatinhamid
Photo Via Prydhks

9-b) Originating from a 100-year-old durian tree – Pulau Kundur Durian Producer

Real durian connoisseurs come all the way to pick durians and eat them right in the farmer’s garden!

Photo Via Mi2tan, Musidye_lee95

Pulau Kundur Durian Producer

Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Tanjung Balai Ferry Terminal (Karimun) (90 minutes, S$50 per pax for 2-way ticket). Speed Boat from Tanjung Balai Ferry Terminal (Karimun) to Tanjung Batu Harbour (Pulau Kundur) (15 minutes, S$3 per pax)
Return ferry to Singapore on same day: Available
Recommended for: Weekend trip
Accommodation on island: Available (Homestay) /
Contact: Mr Dody +62 853 2462 8888

10. Paradise island – White Sand Island

With a name that speaks for itself, this island is best known for its powdery-white sand and clear azure water that are perfect for frolicking by the seaside. Keep the area clean as turtles call this beautiful area home!

Photo Via Ikhsandfc
Photo Via Sellyng, Chanstellar
Photo Via Dandre_andry, Farhanfirdaus

White Sand Island

Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Tanjung Pinang Ferry Terminal (Bintan) (2 hours, S$44 per pax for 2-way ticket).
Book your hotel stay in East Bintan and enjoy free pick-up/drop-off in your package. (https://goo.gl/nucqGY)
Recommended tour: https://goo.gl/xnGF7x (15 minutes boat ride from Bintan, from S$70 per pax for tour)
Recommended for: Day trip from Bintan
Accommodation on island: https://goo.gl/kjhAUc

11. Turtles’ home in an old shipwreck – Mapur Island

Exploring the waters around Mapur Island will lead you to discover the ruins of an ancient shipwreck – and these also happen to be sea turtles’ favorite napping spot!

Photo Via Deow_
Photo Via Ry_yude, Deow_
Photo Via Markitrip

Mapur Island

Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Tanjung Pinang Ferry Terminal (Batam) (2 hours, S$44 per pax for 2-way ticket) Car transfer from Tanjung Pinang to boat jetty (40 minutes/ included in packages). Take either a boat charter or organised tour to Mapur Island (1 hour/S$ 125 for 2D1N Package  ).
Recommended tour: https://goo.gl/hZeLoV / Contact: Mr Rijalul Fikri +62 813 7177 4207 (Whatsapp) for more details (3 ½  hours from Batam)
Recommended for: Day trip from Batam/Singapore
Accommodation on island: Available (Homestay only), contact [email protected] or [email protected]

12. Sun, sand, turquoise sea and fresh seafood – Pulau Karimun Besar

12-a) Snorkel in dazzling turquoise waters – Pantai Palawan

Looking for an idyllic weekend escape close to home?

Experience white sand paradise with lush tropical forests, surrounded by translucent waters under clear blue skies.

Photo Via Aryokuncoro, Faridmumazaini

12-b) Kick back, relax and soak up the sun – Pongkar Beach

This little beach resembles what we define as a secret getaway; it has retained all the tranquil charm that makes it perfect for some chill time by the sand and sea!

Photo Via Dedihermawanboy, Bertylaras, Rizki_ramadhaan

12-c) Enjoy fresh and hearty seafood galore – Restaurant Seafood 188

Surrounded by water, it’s no surprise that you will find the best seafood dishes on the island here.

Photo Via Indrayeo, Seafood

Order small plates of various dishes to share! Prepare your tummies for a seafood feast!

Photo Via Yuli_jun, Trisnrianty

Restaurant Seafood 188

Getting there: Ferry (Sindo Ferry) from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal (Singapore) to Tanjung Balai Ferry Terminal (Karimun) (90 minutes, S$50 per pax for 2-way ticket).
Check ferry timings: https://goo.gl/ZQP1WC
Return ferry to Singapore on same day: Not available
Recommended for: Weekend trip
Accommodation on island: https://goo.gl/xf29ih

Best time to travel

You can visit Bintan and Batam anytime as the local weather is generally hot and sunny (always summer!) with a chance of rain throughout the year.

But if you wish to enjoy the tropical sun at its best, March to October would be great as the region enters the dry season. We don’t recommend visiting on weekends, or on Singapore’s public holidays or school holidays (June and December), as the islands are generally crowded with many Singaporean travellers during those periods.

In these islands readily accessible from Singapore, you can find finer sand and clearer waters than in Bintan and Batam!

So what are you waiting for? Time to book that weekend getaway!

This story is made possible by Indonesia Tourism Board

PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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