Traveljunkieindonesia.com – Just across the Selat Dampak from Batam, the island of Bintan is twice as large and a mirror opposite. Where Batam is creation of imported worker, Bintan has a local community of ethnic Hakka and Indo-Malays. On the west coast, Tanjung Pinang is a busy provincial city, while the high-end resorts in the north of the island around Lagoi do beach escapes right. For the working stiffs from Singapore, there are the more rustic beaches on eastern end of the island around Pantai Trikora for affordable weekend escapes.
Although Bintan is under influence of Singapore prices, it is a smidge cheaper, so the last bits in your wallet won’t evaporate as quickly as in the metropolis. So here, Best Places to Visit Bintan Island.
Bintan’s east coast is lined with rustic beaches and simple wooden bungalows. The main beach is Pantai Trikora, which is pretty enough at high tide but turns into miles of mud flats at low tide. The beaches to the north around Malangrupai have more consistent surf and turf. Regardless though, the area is relatively deserted: just you, the ocean and a few napping dogs. A group of small islands off Pantai Trikora are well worth visiting and there is good snorkelling outside the monsoon season (November to March).
A fascinating village sits just across the harbour from Tanjung Pinang. The star attraction is an old Chinese temple, now suspended in the roots of a huge banyan that has grown up through it. The temple is to the left of the pier, where boats from Tanjung Pinang dock. Half a kilometre along the waterfront, Vihara Darma Sasana, a complex of three temples, all said to be more than a century old, occupy a large courtyard facing the sea. Boats to Senggarang (10,000Rp) leave from Pejantan II wharf.
Snake River swims through mangrove forests to Jodoh temple, the oldest Chinese temple in Riau Islands. The temple is decorated with gory murals depicting the trials and tortures of hell. You can charter a sampan (100,000Rp for five people) from Tanjung Pinang harbour.
A short hop across the harbour from Tanjung Pinang, tiny Penyenget was once the capital of the Riau rajahs. The island is believed to have been given to Rajah Riau-Lingga VI in 1805 by his brother-in-law, Sultan Mahmud, as a wedding present. Another historical footnote is that the Penyenget-based sultanate cooperated with Sir Stamford Raffles to hand over Singapore in exchange for British military protection in 1819.
The island is littered with interesting relics and can be walked in a couple of hours. The coastline is dotted with traditional Malay stilted houses, while the ruins of the old palace of Rajah Ali and the tombs and graveyards of Rajah Jaafar and Rajah Ali are clearly signposted inland. The most impressive site is the sulphur-coloured mosque, with its many domes and minarets. Dress appropriately or you won’t be allowed in. There are frequent boats to Pulau Penyenget from Bintan’s main pier; from 7am to 5pm.
Bintan’s resort area stretches along the northern coastline of the island along Pasir Lagoi, with acres of wilderness buffering the hotels from commoners to the south. Security is in full effect, with checkpoints at access roads and at hotel entrances. The beaches are sandy and swimmable, the resorts have polished four and five-star service. And, there are water-sports activities and entertainment for all ages. And, you will falling in love with manggrove trip here.
Happy Green Travels!