A fast ferry ride from Singapore, Bintan Island in Indonesia is a popular getaway destination for resort-style holidays where visitors can sit poolside at a Bintan Island resort, sipping on cocktails, cool off with water sports and sleep the afternoon away under the shade of a palm tree. While we got a taste of that typical itinerary, we were also lucky enough to see a little more of the island. We strolled the boardwalk and kicked up dust on the pathways of Senggarang Village, cruised the mangrove flanked Sebung River and watched the sunset over the water. The weather was warm, the scenery diverse and the locals were lovely.
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We walked down the narrow covered wharf at Tanjung Pinang past the locals to make our way to the boats that would carry us the short distance over to Senggarang Village. It took us about 10 minutes from wharf-to-wharf.
Senggarang Village was built and is still home to the Teochew Chines who emigrated to Bintan Island in the 18th Century. Fisherman who lived very simple lives, they mounted their houses on stilts above the water to protect them from the elements. Even today, they speak a number of dialects and they are practicing Taoists. We found them to be extremely friendly as we wandered through the village.
The Sebung River
We spent a morning cruising the Sebung River, pushing deep into the mangroves in search of wildlife living among the trees. We barely saw another soul, with the exception of a fisherman bailing out his boat and a handful of others preparing lines from the riverbanks. In the evening, we returned to the river again. This time we travelled in the other direction at dusk to a local restaurant where we ate dinner at a local restaurant and watched as the sky blushed and the sun went down over the water.
Visiting Bintan Island
- We took the short flight from Jakarta to Bintan Island with Garuda Airlines. There is also the option of a fast ferry running between Singapore and Bintan Island.
- Be aware that most of the big resorts are located to the north of the island. Don’t underestimate the time it takes to get across the island. If you are interested in visiting Senggarang Village, I would advise you to fly into Bintan in the morning, go directly to Pengujan Ferry Wharf in Tanjung Pinang and out to the village, before heading for some afternoon relaxation at your hotel.
- A car, petrol and driver costs about Rp500,000 per day (about $AUD50) on Bintan Island. You can book one through your hotel prior to your arrival, but expect to pay a little more
- There are a few high-end Bintan Island resort options. We stayed at the Bintan Lagoon Resort which has a private beach, large pool area, ample activities on site of close to the resort and a great gym.
The Fit Traveller was a guest of the Indonesian Ministry for Tourism for this trip to Bintan Island. As always, the opinions, imagery and words are authentically our own
I used a Canon EOS 7D MarkII to capture these images. Thank you to Canon Australia
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller.
She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health.
As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her appetite for adventure.
Read more about Skye’s story here.