After months of wanting to do an out of the country (Singapore) getaway, we finally made it! We spent the weekend in Bintan, Indonesia last 22-23rd of February 2014.
Miyet made the online reservations to the hotel, Nirwana Resort Hotel, and the roundtrip ferry tickets. Our three main objectives in going to Bintan were: (1) to enjoy the beach, (2) get a massage, and (3) pig out on seafood.
We all met at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal just before 10AM. We were all excited and happy to leave and relax in another place.
At Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Goodbye Singapore
The ferry ride from Tanah Merah to Bintan was approximately 55 minutes. It wasn’t an easy and enjoyable ride that noon. The sea was raging and unforgiving. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but it was like a roller coaster ride. The captain warned us that due to the monsoon, most of us may experience sea sickness. The crew went around distributing barf bags. And after only fifteen minutes, I was throwing up already. I was nauseous the whole ride. Everyone was. The sound of people throwing up around you made it worse. I think I vomited at least three times. By the end of the ride, everyone was pale and looking sick except Jen. She’s a tough one! She occupied herself with watching whatever the TV was showing. I didn’t have the energy to stand-up and get out of the ferry but I have to. I need fresh air!
After the 55 minute ferry ride, we reached Bintan Ferry Terminal. Welcome!!
And to make ourselves feel better, a group selfie was in order. We may not look like it but we really weren’t feeling very well. We headed to the immigration after (there’s no other place to go to!). Some of the visitors were sitting on the floor or leaning for support while queuing. Some looked like they will turn into zombies anytime soon. Was I imagining too much? Hehehe..
From the immigration, we just had our bags checked at the customs and went to look for our shuttle bus. There were staff from Nirwana Hotel who directed passengers to where the bus was located. On our way out, there were about 10-15 people handing out flyers. I suggest you grab every flyer that you can. They were a big help! We were able to check what this small island has to offer and compare the prices.
Nirwana Resort Hotel facade
The bus ride from the ferry station to the resort was about 10 minutes. By the time we reached the resort, Jen and I were able to decide on which spa to book.
As we enter the hotel, we were welcomed by the hotel staff with iced lemongrass tea. It was refreshing! Just the right kind of drink to soothe our sick tummy. We were directed to the front desk to check our reservation but we were not allowed to check-in just yet. We were asked to return at 3pm to check-in. While waiting, we found a restroom to change our shirts and freshen up. We walked around the pool area too to check out the premises.
We returned to the hotel lobby to plan our itinerary. We still have about 2 hours to kill before we can rest in our rooms. We decided to try the archery and ATV. The activity area was a short walking distance from the hotel lobby but the scorching heat of the sun made it like it was a 21km walk.
First stop, archery. For the price of S$10 each, we were given 25 arrows to use. No time limit.
We enjoyed archery. The uncle in charge was very helpful and patient as well. He briefed us on how to properly load the bow with an arrow and how to aim. He was also more than willing to take our photos while we pose and while we were busy shooting arrows.
I’d like to think that for a first timer, I did a pretty good job. Hehehe.
Bull’s eye! I think.
After archery, we tried their ATV (all-terrain vehicle). We paid S$20 for 20 rounds. It was a nice experience. Looking at the track, it looks like it’s easy and you just have to go in circles but once you’re driving the ATV, it can be tiring. Be prepared to eat some dust though, literally.
After both activities, feeling tired and looking dirty, we were finally allowed to check-in. It was a two bed room and we just asked for an extra bed. The room was clean. The lights and air con were all working just fine. I didn’t like their TV set though, quite old.
Twin bed room with extra bed.
After a few minutes of resting and making sure that no spec of dust was left in our skin, we planned how we’ll spend the rest of the night. We wanted to do some night swimming after dinner but decided to get a massage instead.
The other half of our bedroom
More checking out of the pool and beach while killing time for the sunset and dinner.
We were just in time to capture the beautiful sunset just outside The Kelong Seafood Restaurant. The panoramic view of the South China Sea was breathtaking.
Since one of our objectives was to feast on seafood, we ordered deep fried (buttered) crab, sotong celery, and calamari. The servings were huge and they were cheap!
Dinner at Kelong Seafood Restaurant
After our sumptuous dinner, we were fetched by a SUV to bring us to the spa place. It was quite a long ride. Not knowing where our destination was, we were scared but still managed to joke about being kidnapped. It was 9PM and we did not inform our hotel that we’ll be out for a spa. That was a mistake.
But nothing to worry because we arrived safely and enjoyed our body massage and scrub. Some of us even fell asleep during the massage. The tiring ATV ride was forgotten after. The staff were all polite and nice. They gave us something to drink before we left and the receptionist even recommended a shop where my friend bought some ginger tea. We were sent back to our hotel safe and sound.
Once inside the room, we almost didn’t talk to each other and just decided to sleep. The massage helped us relax and sleep like babies.
The next day, I woke-up early hoping to catch the sunrise but to my disappointment, sunrise was not visible from where we were. So I just walked along the beach and went around to take pictures. It was freaking cold and windy.
A walk along the beach at 6AM
Hotel view from the pool (1)
Hotel view from the pool (2)
After breakfast, we went for an early morning swim. Good thing the pool wasn’t crowded yet.
Early morning swim.
My jumpshot. It has to be this small.
After our beach photoshoot. Feeling models.
Look! I wasn’t aware that there was a couple kissing.
We wanted to stay longer but we have to face reality sooner than we hoped for. Before riding the ferry, we made sure that we take an anti-seasick medicine and it worked! It was very effective that we haven’t reached the ferry terminal yet but we were groggy and sleepy already. The ride home was better than expected.
Calm waters on our way back to Singapore. Goodbye Bintan!
Back in Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Singapore
It was a memorable and relaxing weekend that we all enjoyed. We will definitely return to Bintan.