Versi Bahasa Indonesia: https://indonesia.tripcanvas.co/id/sumatra/tempat-wisata-di-bintan-riau/
Bintan is easy to peg as resort central. Just hearing the island’s name sends most people’s minds drifting to swanky resorts and pristine pools. The general mind-set seems to be that when you need a break from the hectic pace of Singapore, you head to Bintan.
And no wonder – the Indonesian island is home to stunningly luxurious hotels and epic swimming pools. It’s easy to spend an entire weekend on the island simply lounging by the pool while sipping a cold drink.
But don’t be too quick to write Bintan off as a mere resort destination.
As it turns out, this stunningly beautiful and diverse island has more than a few tricks up its sleeve, ranging from natural wonders to man-made marvels.
So don’t just settle for luxuriating by the pool, but head out to discover the real Bintan instead with 18 secret and incredible things to do!
1. Explore the enigmatic sand dunes – Gurun Pasir Busung
The diversity of the Indonesian landscape seems to truly be endless. In the middle of all the lush rainforests and pristine tropical beaches, you can also find a stretch of desert.
This is exactly what you’ll discover in the mysterious dunes of Gurun Pasir Busung. What was once a quarry is today transformed into picturesque sand dunes that instantly transport you to the dreamy landscape of the Arabian nights.
Lately Gurun Pasir Busung has emerged as something of an Instagrammers’ favourite – but since the site hasn’t attracted any significant tourism development as of yet, the dunes remain charmingly low-key.
This Indonesian take on the Sahara desert is easy to find since it’s located right by the side of Jalan Raya Busung, but keep in mind that there is no public transport to reach it.
With all the glitz and glamour of Bintan’s swanky resorts, it’s easy to forget that this island, has its own rich and colourful history too.
To get a first hand feel of a time gone by – not to mention some serious photo-ops! – pay a visit to the abandoned ship docked next to Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal.
Originally built in 1914, the vessel currently known as MV Doulos Phos sailed the high seas transporting produce and passengers before being repurposed as a floating bookstore.
The ship was finally put on sale in 2009 and has since been waiting to be turned into a boutique hotel by the new owners. The project is finally approaching finish and the hotel is set to open at the end of 2016.
But for now, the abandoned vessel sits on the beach, waiting to be immortalised in truly unique holiday snaps. It’s an especially impressive landmark during sunset, when the skies are painted a glowing shade of pink!
3. Discover a surreal lagoon with bright blue water and white sand – Danau Biru, Kawal
Though Bintan is surrounded by clear blue ocean on all sides, those picturesque shores might just pale in comparison to the mesmerizing shades of blue you will discover at Danau Biru.
The lake and its surreal blue waters surrounded by white sandy dunes are in fact so beautiful…That you might be surprised to learn that instead of a natural oasis, Danau Biru was in fact created as a result of mining activity in the region and active mining still takes place in the area.
Because the lake is not a tourist attraction as such, you can expect a peaceful visit complete with stunningly beautiful views. Just remember to pack your own lunch to go!
4. Join a nautical fiesta – Kepri Marine Festival
Indonesia is the largest archipelago country in the world and in fact, two thirds of the nation’s territory are water, so it seems only fitting that the country should celebrate its aquatic splendor.
That is exactly what happens at the annual Festival Bahari Kepri, or Kepri Marine Festival, held in Bintan’s Tanjung Pinang. The festival brings together participants from across the Riau Islands and attracts visitors from all over the world.
The festivities include nautical events ranging from sailing to dragon boat racing, while local heritage of the Riau Islands is celebrated through music, fashion and traditional games.
The most colorful part of the festival is the Kepri Carnival, which features 100 performers making their way down the waterfront, dressed up in full-on carnival gear, inspired by the area’s nautical roots.
Fancy costumes, lively music and the ocean seems like a combination that’s worth celebrating!
5. Splash around in pristine waters and indulge in your favourite water sports – Treasure Bay Bintan
Just as the name would suggest, Treasure Bay Bintan is a shining jewel of a resort. In fact, it’s more than a resort – it’s a full-blown resort city. This cornucopia of luxury travel offers so many unforgettable experiences that it’s hard to know where to start!
So dive into Treasure Bay head first and choose your favourite!
5-1. Inject some glamour into camping – The Canopi
Camping meets glamour at The Canopi, where guests get to experience sleeping out in the great outdoors without sacrificing one inch of luxury and lavish comfort.
The Canopi consists of 41 tents set amidst a lush tropical setting complete with a mangrove river and the ocean glimmering in the distance.
If camping brings into mind mosquito bites and soggy s’mores, it’s time to think again.
Each tent at The Canopi is fully air-conditioned and houses a plush four-poster bed, and with alfresco hot tubs and stellar WiFi – this is a camping ground that will win over even the most discerning traveller.
5-2. Discover a unique paradise bay – Crystal Lagoon
Imagine the most beautiful, pristine white sandy beach you have ever seen. Got it? Now multiply it by ten and you’ll have some idea of what to expect from a visit to Crystal Lagoon.
Boasting a status as Southeast Asia’s very first man-made seawater lagoon, Crystal Lagoon is all about stunning turquoise water and epic fun in the sun.
Although this manmade wonder draws quite a crowd, there’s plenty of room to splash around for everyone as the lagoon’s size equals a whopping 50 Olympic-size pools!
5-3. Get your adrenaline fix and prepare to get wet! – Bintan Wake Park
Calling all water babies! Whether you prefer to explore the underwater world or to catch your thrills above the surface, Treasure Bay has got you covered.
First, there is the new Bintan Wake Park, which is Bintan’s first bespoke wakeboarding facility. Wakeboarding entails holding onto a rope attached to a cable, which whisks you around a circuit in a thrilling yet safe manner, making this the perfect sport for all aspiring surfers!
If wakeboarding is not enough to satisfy your aquatic cravings, fear not! Treasure Bay offers a whole world of water sports. Maybe you’d like to try your hand at flying with the Jetovator or scale the aquatic world with an underwater scooter?
And if all else fails, why not simply walk on water? Yes, even this is possible at the Treasure Bay thanks to the lighter-than-air ZOVB Balls.
6. Explore mysterious brick igloos – Rumah Arang
Igloos in Indonesia? Might sound strange but in Bintan they really do exist! Or at least, something very akin to those icy abodes.
Once used as furnaces by the nomadic Sea Gypsies, the domed huts fell out of use after the traditional way of burning mangrove to produce charcoal was banned.
Today the brick buildings, which are strangely reminiscent of a beehive, are enjoying a second coming as a quirky tourist attraction.
Wander through the village and snap photos besides the mysterious looking huts – and leave your friends back home guessing into what ancient kingdom you have stumbled upon!
7. Escape to a private beach paradise – White Sands Island
Get ready to experience the desert island paradise of your wildest dreams.
White Sands Island is a not your basic resort, but an actual private island where guests get to indulge in a customized holiday experience in a stunning tropical setting.
You can spend your time snorkelling in the crystal clear waters, kayaking around the lush island or settle in for a night of camping under the stars.
It’s all about what makes you happy! After roaming about in this paradise, grab a drink at the bar or set a picnic by the sea and prepare to be swept away by a stunning sunset.
8. Witness the miracle of seaside life – White Sands Island Turtle Conservation program
Is there anything cuter than a baby turtle finding its feet and making its way to the salty waves of the ocean for the very first time?
If you can think of any, do let us know, because we just can’t get enough of these little guys!
If you find yourself in Bintan during this time, participating in this unforgettable ceremony will definitely bring a new dimension into your beach vacation.
PS: Check Nirwana Gardens’ official Facebook page to find out when the next turtle release is taking place.
9. Hitch a ride and view Bintan from the clouds – Air Adventures Flying Club
Hop on board the open-cockpit seaplane and get ready to experience Bintan in all its tropical glory as you’ve never seen it before.
“Highlight of the trip!”
“A must-do activity!”
These are just some of the superlatives that previous daredevils have used to describe a flight with Air Adventures Flying Club Bintan.
The flights are operated by a seasoned pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience, so the only thing left for you to do is to take in the stunning views and relish the butterflies fluttering about in your belly.
Photo via mcm3329
For an additional Rp.350,000 you can also get a full video of your time spent up in the clouds – talk about a one-of-a-kind souvenir!
10. Take your vacation into new heights – Gunung Bintan Adventure Trek
Take your Bintan experience into stunning new heights by conquering Gunung Bintan!
Hike up to the 340-metre summit and be rewarded by jaw-dropping 360-degree overlooking the island. The height is just enough to offer stunning vistas and terrific photo-ops, but still manageable in 2-4 hours.
In addition to the gorgeous views, you’ll encounter exotic flora and fauna, and a waterfall too! Catch photos of mischievous monkeys and tune into the singsong of exotic birds.
Reach out your hand a grab a juicy mangosteen or a ripe banana straight from the vine. Heading down the hillside, pause by a hidden waterfall, where you can enjoy a refreshing dip beneath the cool cascading waters.
11. Seize unmissable photo-ops at a grand 500 statue garden – 500 Lohan Temple (Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Vihara)
Diversity is the backbone of the Indonesian landscape, and sure enough, you can find mosques, churches and temples happily coexisting in Bintan, too.
One of the island’s most fascinating holy sites is 500 Lohan Temple, a Buddhist shrine which houses a mesmerising sculpture park.
As you might have guessed, the park is home to some 500 Lohan statutes that will make you feel like you’ve stumbled into an ancient shrine in Mainland China.
Make sure to take your time as you make your way through the sculpture maze, as each one of the life-size statues is unique. You can check the name of each stony inhabitant from the carvings etched to their feet.
12. Enjoy fresh seafood and chill at a floating bar! – Kelong Seafood Restaurant, Calypso Floating Bar
Looking for the best dine and wine option? Look no further than Kelong Seafood Restaurant, and Calypso Floating Bar that’s both located right at the same place!
12-1. Fresh seafood with a side of epic sunset views
At Kelong Seafood Restaurant, it’s all about food with a view!
Built on high stilts just off the shoreline, the restaurant offers a prime spot for taking in a tropical sunset over the ocean – as you tuck into a plateful of incredibly fresh seafood.
The cuisine on offer is a delicious mix of Indonesian and Chinese fare and when it comes to seafood– it doesn’t get much fresher than this, as much of the fish is caught mere coconut’s throw from the restaurant.
After filling your belly with fresh seafood, finish the night off with cocktails at the neighbouring Calypso Floating Restaurant and let the reggae tunes sway you into sheer tropical bliss.
12-2 Catch Bintan’s best sunset view floating over the South China Sea – Calypso Floating Bar
What better way to end an epic day on Bintan than by walking into the sunset – literally!
You can do just this at the aptly named Calypso Floating Bar at Nirwana Gardens Resort. Trust us: this is the absolute best place for taking in a seaside sunset on Bintan.
Make your way down the winding pier and discover an oasis of a cocktail bar, which appears to be simply floating on water, standing on high stilts and surrounded by ocean on all sides.
True to its name, guests at Calypso are treated to Caribbean vibes with some groovy Rasta influences. Case in point: the drink list includes names ranging from The Essence of Rasta to Reggae Fever.
13. Aim for a hole in one and enjoy breathtaking ocean views – Ria Bintan Golf Club
Cynics say that golf is a good walk spoiled. This cliché couldn’t be further from the truth at the jaw-droppingly beautiful Ria Bintan Golf Club.
Regardless of whether you are a seasoned pro or have never held a club in your life, this gorgeous location is guaranteed to inspire you to strive for a hole in one.
The resort is perched right on the water, opening out to marvellous views overlooking the South China Sea – with a lush green forest shrouding the exclusive course from the outside world. And the club’s high standards aren’t just limited to the views, either.
If you’re looking to really work on mastering that perfect swing during your stint on the island, the club’s world-class 18-hole course is more than up to the challenge.
14. Catch a glimpse of Bintan’s nomadic sea gypsy village – Trail of the Sea Gypsies
Trust us – life on Bintan is not limited to what you see within its many resorts. In fact, one could argue that the real Bintan lies somewhere far beyond the private pools and thrilling water sports.
To catch a glimpse of some the island’s authentic magic, follow the trail of the Sea Gypsies. The Sea Gypsies are nomadic people to whom home has traditionally meant a boat sailing the waters surrounding Indonesia.
Though the gypsies have put down shallow roots on the idyllic shores of Bintan, a lot of their traditional ways still prevail. Visiting their village of brings you up close and personal with these maritime people and you get to witness everything from traditional boat making to houses built on stilts over water.
Photo via iriskok
Be prepared to lose your heart to the children running around you, shooting shy smiles and giggles at every turn.
15. Tune into the blissful frequencies of the jungle at Aroma River Spa
Aroma River Spa takes relaxing spa treatments into blissful new heights!
At Bintan’s one and only floating spa, you can enjoy heavenly massages and healing spa treatments all the while being surrounded by the lush beauty of a pristine mangrove river.
The facilities have been built in complete harmony with the surrounding nature, with bamboo huts perfectly blending into the luscious rainforest.
After blissing out on a Traditional Riau Body Massage or going all out on a De-stress River Spa Package – enjoy a leisurely boat ride down the tranquil river, and let the lush green vistas cast their spell on you.
16. Throw on a snorkelling mask and go hunting for Nemo – Tasik Divers Bintan
Thanks to its crystal clear waters and vibrant marine life, Bintan is a snorkeler’s paradise.
You can easily spend hours or even days gazing at the stunning underwater world – where you can encounter vibrant coral and exotic fish glowing in all the colours of the rainbow.
What’s even better is that to experience these underwater wonders, you hardly need to break the bank, as a typical two-hour snorkelling trip in Bintan will cost you just $18-$45.
Don’t forget to pack your waterproof camera to capture those amazing views!
17. Escape into the great outdoors – Power Paintball, Shooting Range, ATV,
Bintan is about so much more than whiling away the day within the resort walls! These outdoor activities will get your heart pumping and bring a smile to your face. Let the games begin!
17-1. Experience a burst of colour with a paintball war
Make your way through the obstacle course, hide in the nooks and crannies – and shoot for victory!
Paintball is teambuilding at its best. Divided into two teams, participants compete for being the first to capture the opposing team’s flag.
Hash out a strategy, make your way through the exciting course, aim for the opposing team and keep your eyes peeled, because once you’re hit, you’re out of the game.
Paintball is available at Bintan Lagoon Resort and Nirwana Gardens.
17-2. Shoot ‘em up – Air Rifle and Archery Shooting Range
Release your inner warrior and aim for your mark with an air rifle!
Nirwana Gardens’ shooting range allows guests to shoot for targets while the resort staff assist you with everything you might need, starting with loading the pellets into your gun.
If you’re looking for a bit more challenge, try your hand at a round of laser clay shooting, where you’re aiming for a constantly moving target.
Thanks to the modern laser aim technology, no clay will actually break. The system will recognize if you’ve hit your mark and sound out a cleat noise of breaking clay.
17-3. Go off-road and enjoy an adrenaline rush with ATV
ATV, or all terrain vehicles allow you to let loose and head for the great outdoors with abandon!
Choose between two stunning locations: either rev your buggy down a lush jungle trail or zoom up and down the talcum white sands of Nirwana Gardens.
And don’t worry about lack of experience behind the steering wheel – as all participants receive safety instructions before heading out and all drivers are accompanied by a member of the Action ATV staff.
Choose between a single bike or opt for a double-seater to share the good times with a buddy!
18. Go on a jungle adventure – Mangrove Discovery Tour
Go on a jungle adventure through Bintan’s lush nature and witness the vibrant green of the island’s mangrove forests. Mangroves are true multitaskers and a vital part of the ecosystem.
Mangrove forests provide a home for countless varieties of fish and other marine life as well as protecting the coastline from erosion. During your mangrove cruise, you get to encounter monkeys and other wildlife and simply relish the lush calm of the forest. As an added treat, you might just glimpse local fishermen at work.
If you are more of a night owl, why not opt for the nocturnal tour instead?
The night tour will allow you to marvel at the starry sky, whose magical twinkle is only rivalled by the soft glow of the swarming fireflies as your boat slides down the jungle river.
19. Sample Bintan’s original beach life – Trikora Beach
Looking to escape the city for a bit of seaside bliss? Look no further than Trikora Beach, Bintan’s original beachfront paradise.
This stretch of white sand on the island’s northeastern coast is where beachgoers used to flock before the emergence of the island’s grand resort developments.
Trikora Beach is actually a chain of four beaches, conveniently named from one to four going from south to north – so that would be Satu, Dua, Tiga, Empat in bahasa Indonesia.
During dry season, you can expect white sand and crystal clear waters perfect for snorkelling!
With a few huts selling cold drinks and local snacks, the atmosphere is irresistibly laidback – with a delightfully small number of local beach lovers, and fellow backpackers looking for that idyllic breed of low-key seaside living.
So there you have it – our Bintan favourites, ranging from sandy dunes to lush mangrove forests, and from a mysterious stone statue park to a full-blown private island!
Now, we’d love to hear from you: what are your unmissable attractions in Bintan? Let us know in the comments below!