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Ultimate Guide to Bintan Island Plus Info on the SG-Bintan Travel Bubble

Bintan Island
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Traveling between Singapore and Bintan Island is so easy now, and we’re excited! Start daydreaming about your next beach trip with our guide to family-friendly Bintan hotels

Have you missed beach holidays on Bintan Island as much as we have? Well, the good news keeps rolling in this year, as traveling to and from the idyllic island destination is quarantine-free! If you’re debating a flight-free trip to the beach, keep reading to know more!

Jump to:
SG-Bintan Travel Bubble
How to Get to Bintan from Singapore
Where to Stay in Bintan
What to Do on Bintan Island
Where to Eat on Bintan Island
Weather on Bintan Island

SG-Bintan Island Travel Bubble

From 25 February 2022, Singaporeans and permanent residents will enjoy quarantine-free travel between Singapore and Bintan/Batam. Travellers who intend to visit Bintan can enter via the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal and Batam via the Nongsapura International Ferry Terminal. Those who require a vaccinated travel pass can begin applying from 10am on 22 February 2022. The designated ferry services will be operated by both Batam Fast and Bintan Resort Ferries.

Where in Bintan can Singaporeans currently visit?

Singaporeans, residents and those on long-term passes are currently only allowed to visit Lagoi in Bintan (and Nongsa in Batam). You aren’t allowed to visit any other place in Bintan at the moment, and you must enter via the Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal. To qualify for entry you must be fully vaccinated and have a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure. You will also need to take another PCR test on arrival in Bintan.

What documents will you need to travel to Bintan?

  • A negative pre-departure ART or PCR test within 24 hours of the ferry ride to Bintan.
  • A physical or digital vaccination certificate, which you can obtain online in under 5 five minutes on Notarise. The certificate must be in English and must be verified on the official website of Indonesia’s Ministry of Health or on e-HAC International Indonesia.
  • If you’re not a Singapore citizen (or don’t have a passport with visa waiver/on-arrival visa arrangements), then you can visit the Indonesian embassy to file the necessary visa paperwork.
  • Health insurance (with Covid coverage) with a minimum coverage value of $30,000 – your policy must include the financing of COVID-19 handling and medical evacuation towards a referral hospital.
  • Booking confirmations and payment details of your hotel packages in Bintan.
  • Upon arriving in Bintan, you must download and use the PeduliLindungi app (Indonesia’s version of TraceTogether) during your activities.

What if I test positive while travelling?

If you test positive on your on-arrival PCR test or during your holiday, you will be isolated or treated in an area that is separate from your travel bubble IF you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Those with moderate to severe symptoms will be quarantined or treated at a hospital or must undergo medical evacuation to a “referral hospital in accordance with the procedure set by the related referral hospital,” according to the Indonesian tourism ministry. You will also have to pay your own treatment costs.


Bintan Island - Bintan Ferry
Image Credit: Bintan Resort Ferries

How to Get to Bintan from Singapore

Bintan can be reached by ferry boat in just under an hour. You catch the ferry from the terminal in Tanah Merah (not too far from Changi). Due to the pandemic, the number of daily trips has been cut drastically. Currently, the schedule only lists once-weekly ferry trips – 11:10am (SG time) on Wednesdays from the Tanah Merah ferry terminal to Bintan, and at 2:10pm (Bintan time) from the Bandar Bentan Telani ferry terminal to Singapore. Click here for an updated schedule.

Ferry fares to Bintan range between $40 to $58 (one-way) or $50 to $94 (round-trip), while adults will pay between $45 and $67 for a one-way trip and between $50 and $108 for a roundtrip. Note that you can also upgrade to Emerald Class, which will get you a larger, more comfortable seat, complimentary refreshments, priority baggage handling, and – best of all – expedited immigration clearance so you can basically walk right off the boat upon arrival without having to queue up. There is also an exclusive executive lounge on both ends with drinks, Wi-Fi and reading materials. The Emerald Class Lounge also offers the only baby changing table at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Click here for updated ferry fares.

As Bintan is a popular babymoon destination, it’s worth noting that you’ll need a doctor’s note if you travel while pregnant, just as you would for flying. They generally recommend against visiting past eight months due to limited medical facilities on the island. Bintan is visa-free for most nationalities (click here for the exact list). Put the money saved toward cocktails, we say!.

Read more: Easy Island Breaks from Singapore – no flights required!


Where to Stay in Bintan

One of the things we loved most about Bintan pre-Covid was its huge range of accommodation; there’s everything from rustic beach bungalows to luxe pool villas and modern apartments (perfect for families!). On average you can expect to pay about $100-$200 per night for most accommodation; the most basic digs can cost as little as $50, while the high-end resorts could be anywhere from $350-$500 depending on the day. We round up some of the best hotels and resorts to stay in while you’re visiting Bintan Island.

Disclaimer: Always check with any hotel or tour you’re booking for up-to-date information on activities and travel requirements as these details may have changed. All prices listed within this article are in Singapore Dollars unless otherwise stated.
Bintan Island - Water sports at Angsana Bintan
Image Credit: Angsana Bintan

Angsana Bintan

Rates: From $208 per night
At Angsana Bintan in Lagoi, the kids can run from the deck across the large grassy yard and directly down to the beach and pool. There’s friendly wildlife abounds on the hotel grounds and in the rockpools, you’re likely to find a sea cucumber, tiny crabs and fish. Enjoy happy hour on the beach beanbags while the kids dig happily in the sand, and then grab a pizza or fried rice for dinner at XANA Beach Club. The kids’ club is fairly standard – colouring activities and lots of toys in a little room (located conveniently close to the spa!), and a few scheduled activities you could book in for. There are also Ranger trails for little trekkers, water sports, jungle safaris on ATVs and more.

www.angsana.com/en/indonesia/bintan


Banyan Tree Bintan

Rates: from $484 per night
A great option if you’re planning a babymoon in Lagoi, Banyan Tree Bintan has a phenomenal spa with a tranquil seafront setting that’s just unlike anything you’ll find in Singapore. The Banyan Tree offers luxe pool villa accommodation – just about all of it with lovely water views – although there are limited 2-bedroom options (and you’ll pay dearly for them). In short, it’s great for a weekend away as a couple or with a baby, but might not be ideal with older kiddos. The vibe is “rustic luxury”; kids will feel more comfortable at the Angsana next door – the two resorts share a beach and there’s a Kids Club, too.

www.banyantree.com/en/indonesia/bintan


Bintan Spa Villa Beach Resort

Rates: Prices upon request
This 33-room resort in Bintan has a spa, karaoke room, spa and swimming pool plus two outdoor spa pools if all you want to do is lounge in the resort and relax. The kids will have plenty of fun, too, thanks to the movie screenings at night, pool and foosball tables. Seafood lovers will enjoy the alfresco dining at their beachfront restaurant, which serves up generous portions of fresh seafood alongside local, Chinese and Western dishes.

www.bintanspavilla.com


Cassia Bintan

Rates: from $201 per night
Cassia Bintan shares a gorgeous beach with the Banyan Tree and Angsana hotels but had our own modern beach club vibe and a large two-bedroom apartment complete with a kitchenette. The staff are very friendly and they go out of their way to entertain the kids throughout the day. There is a foosball table in the lobby and staff from the Kids’ Club (located next door at the Angsana) show up on the beach in the afternoon to plan beach activities.

www.cassia.com


Club Med Bintan

Rates: from $740 per night for two adults
Club Med Bintan Island is a great option for families who are planning to visit Lagoi. The mini club keeps kids aged 4 to 10 busy with things like circus school, dance classes and archery. Older kids can do windsurfing, snorkelling and play video games in the Junior Club, too. There is a nice beach and also two big pools which allow guests to enjoy and relax. And it’s all-inclusive, so there are no surprises when the bill comes!

www.clubmed.com.sg/r/bintan-island/y?departure_city=SIN1


Bintan Island - Natra Bintan
Image Credit: Natra Bintan

Natra Bintan, a Tribute Portfolio Resort (Formerly known as Canopi Bintan)

Rates: from $221 per night
Natra Bintan is an idyllic glamping retreat that sits along Crystal Lagoon and is perfect for groups and families. The grounds of this Lagoi hotel are peppered with safari-inspired tents that have private patios with garden or lagoon views (don’t even get us started on the comfy king-sized beds). When you’re not tucking into delicious food and cocktails, you can arrange for a barbecue on your tent’s patio, go swimming or jet skiing in the lagoon, and take a guided kayak tour through the mangroves.

www.marriott.com/en-us/hotels/tnjtx-natra-bintan-a-tribute-portfolio-resort


Nirwana Resort Hotel

Rates: from $135 per night
This is actually just one of five lodging accommodations on the Nirwana Gardens property, which ranges from rustic beach chalets at Lagoi’s Mayang Sari and Nirwana Beach Club to multi-bedroom villas like the Indra Maya Villa (great for families and big groups!). Nirwana Resort Hotel, which is also in Lagoi offers the most traditional hotel setup. The hotel grounds are beautiful with a large green lawn for running around, a playground, beach volleyball and pétanque courts, and plenty of hammocks and lounge chairs for all. There’s even a bowling alley! The pool is large and overlooks the sea while the beach is stunning with white sand, clear water. The hotel does have a Kids Club for children ages 4 years and up that is open daily from 9am to 5pm. There are many activities in the daily schedule such as arts & crafts, cooking, horse feeding, archery, and games. Special teen activities are also available for kids aged 11 to 15, including horseback riding, kayaking and snorkelling

www.nirwanagardens.com


Bintan Island - The Residence Bintan Main Pool
Image Credit: The Residence Bintan

The Residence Bintan

Rates: from $209 per night
Looking for huuuuge rooms that have their own beachfront? Then you should consider The Residence Bintan. There are two restaurants to choose from – their main restaurant, Rica Rica, is a great place to indulge in Indonesian food. It’s not all eating and relaxation at The Residence (think amazing spa + complimentary yoga classes). If you like adventure, then take a boat ride to explore the mangroves and in the evening hunt for fireflies, hit the waters in a kayak or even take a tour on a quad bike. The downside of The Residence is the extra drive from Bintan ferry terminal, as it takes just over an hour’s drive. For young guests, the Kakatu Kids Club offers an adventure playground for some fun in the sun, and the staff at the Kids’ club organise treasure hunts and cooking classes, and playtime in the pool and on the beach.

www.cenizaro.com/theresidence/bintan


Sanchaya Sundays: A Culinary Beachfront Voyage

The Sanchaya

Merely a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore, this stunning hotel in Lagoi is a great option for a luxurious weekend or golf getaway! You’ll have access to a personal butler, handsome private villas and an experience to remember. Click here to read our review about getaways at The Sanchaya Bintan!

www.thesanchaya.com


What to Do on Bintan Island

If you’re keen to step outside of #resortlife and get a taste of Indonesia, there is much to be explored outside of the manicured property that is Bintan Resorts. As soon as you exit the border of the resort area, you will feel like you are actually in Indonesia with tiny warungs along the road, chickens and goats roaming freely, temples, a beautiful mosque, and lots of small farms. You can arrange various excursions and activities through Bintan Tours.

Bintan Island - Treasure Bay Bintan
Image Credit: Treasure Bay Bintan

Chill Cove @ Treasure Bay

Chill Cove @ Treasure Bay takes leisure to the next level! There are so many activities, you won’t know what to do first! You pay an entrance fee that gives you access to the Crystal Lagoon, where you can lounge around and take a swim and then add on from a huge list of both land and water activities. Some fun things to try include ATV riding (mini ones available for kids 4+), water slides, rent a solar powered-boat, see-through kayak, stand up board or paddleboat, wakeboarding, and if you stay to watch the sunset, you can end the day by lighting a wishing sky lantern. This is a great cue for the kids that the day is over because they surely won’t want to leave.

www.treasurebaybintan.com


Culture & Heritage Tours

Bintan Resorts has a range of tours that will take you to various attractions on the East Coast to see a large indoor Buddha, a temple tucked inside a Banyan Tree, a fishing village on stilts, and a Catholic pilgrimage site called Grotto Santa Maria. We recommend using their Tour Services to find all the hidden spots.

www.bintan-resorts.com


Bintan Island - Bintan Triathlon
Image Credit: Bintan Triathlon

Endurance Races

If you love running, swimming and/or biking and would like a change of scenery from the standard F1 route around Marina Bay, Bintan offers a slew of fun races throughout the year, including the Bintan Triathlon, Ironman Bintan, the Bintan Marathon and Tour de Bintan. Many of these races offer fun family races and kids’ categories. You’ll have to check the websites for registration dates, fees and other Covid-related details.


Golf

Bintan has several terrific golf courses, all available at cheaper rates than what you’re likely to find in Singapore. All the golf courses are happy to arrange one-off day trip packages that include ferry tickets and transfers, too. Ria Bintan is a 27-hole Championship course designed by Gary Player with a spectacular oceanfront setting. And Laguna Bintan is an 18-hole course originally designed by Greg Norman and revamped in 2016.


Bintan Island - Gurun Pasir Busung
Image Credit: Bintan Resorts

Gurun Pasir Busung

For a really unique experience and some fantastic photo opportunities to confuse your friends, Gurun Pasir Busung is the perfect spot. This former sand mining site was left deserted after sand extraction was prohibited and now resembles an exotic desert sandscape. There are also naturally formed lakes that have collected rainwater and combined with unique minerals from the ground, form the most unusual coloured water that needs no Insta filter to impress! Book a tour via Bintan Resorts.


turtle release bintan island
Image Credit: Nirwana Gardens Resort (via Facebook)

Turtle Conservation

Many of the hotels run turtle conservation programmes, collecting the eggs of the Green and Hawksbill turtles and burying them in a hatchery to protect them from poachers and natural predators. Eggs are monitored until they hatch (approximately 60 days), and the baby turtles are released back into the sea. The middle of the year is generally the best time to see this, and you can check with the individual hotels on the expected hatching and release dates and times.


bintan island - Plaza Lagoi
Image Credit: Bintan Resorts

Plaza Lagoi

Plaza Lagoi is an outdoor shopping mall by the sea and is a fun spot to spend the day with lots of great restaurants and attractions. There is the public Lagoi Beach where you can rent chairs for a small fee or sign up for water and land activities including paddleboards, jet skis, banana boats, and ATV bikes. Spend a little indoor time in the afternoon at the trick-eye museum called Rumah Imaji. If your kids love to ham it up for the camera and enjoy getting into all kinds of funny poses this is your chance to clean a house upside down, compete in a dragon boat race, run from a tiger, and fall down a waterfall. All artwork is hand-painted by local artists from Yogyakarta. Other attractions include Lantern Park, bouncy castles, various shopping outlets and a day spa. There are also frequent pop-up events and performances in the common spaces and some rooftop bars and restaurants overlooking the sea. There’s also the weekend markets if you’d like a spot of souvenir shopping.


Safari Lagoi Eco Farm

When you live in a city with one of the world’s best zoos, it’s easy to dismiss other animal parks while travelling in the region, but the Bintan Safari Lagoi Eco Farm is well worth a visit! It is a working farm, an animal sanctuary, and an environmental conservation centre. It’s a beautiful setting to stroll through with your family, learn about sustainable farming, and get up close to elephants, birds, monkeys, bunnies and tons of other animals. They even have a Komodo dragon! Most are rescued from the illegal pet trade or exotic meat markets or are being rehabilitated after an illness or injury. You can walk around on your own or take a guided tour.


bintan village on stils

Trikora Coast

Along the East Coast are elaborate floating fish platforms called kelongs that resemble something out of the film Waterworld. Fishermen spend all night out at sea collecting their catch with large nets below and during the day these structures are docked along the coast where you can get a great view of their intricate wooden structures. These beaches are loved by locals who visit with their families on weekends and rent out small thatched huts to picnic and spend the day.


Where to Eat on Bintan Island

Expect to do a lot of chilling out on the beach or at the pool, and take most of your meals within your hotel (there aren’t too many standalone restaurants), but if you’re willing to venture out of your resort and a little off the beaten track, you’ll find plenty of local delights (and even a picturesque spot or two to snap a pic for the ‘Gram). Here’s where to eat (and what’s good to eat) around Bintan Island!

Kota Sebung

The Kota Sebung township is a local food haven, and a must-visit spot Pujasera Food Centre, which is famous for its Lamak Basamo nasi padang (rice and mixed dishes). The dishes are laid out in individual plates, and you’re only charged for what you eat. Pujasera also has loads of little provision shops where you can pick up daily necessities, snacks, local SIM cards and more.


Tanjung Pinang

Hunt for local snacks such as otak-otak (grilled fish paste flavoured with spices) and goreng pisang keju (cheese banana fritters). Tanjung Pinang also has several night markets – Rimba Jaya, Akau Potong Lembu and Melayu Square – for cheap eats that won’t disappoint.


bintan island - teluk bakau bay view restaurant
Image Credit: Bintan Resorts

Teluk Bakau Bay View Seafood Restaurant

Enjoy a local seafood lunch at Teluk Bakau Bay View Seafood Restaurant including black pepper crab, prawns, squid and the local favourite, Gong Gong (sea snails). They also have mixed vegetables, fried rice and chicken dishes that were more kid-friendly. The kids will enjoy playing on the sand and checking out the big tanks of live crab and lobster.


Weather on Bintan Island

Bintan weather is similar to what you’d find in Singapore: hot and sunny all year round, with increased thunderstorms around November to January. Due to choppy seas and decreased visibility, some resorts don’t offer water sports like SCUBA diving and snorkelling at this time of year. Box jellyfish are also an occasional threat in the water (and you may spot the occasional oil tanker ship off in the distance).

Stoke your wanderlust with more exciting travel reads!

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Lead image by The Sanchaya Bintan

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