An island paradise and a melting pot of cultures, Bintan Island offer visitors a lot more to do than sitting on the beach. Less than 2-hours from both Singapore and Jakarta, Bintan Island is a convenient getaway from frantic city life. The stunning destination is home to incredible, avant-garde attractions, beautiful nature, and fascinating local culture. From hiking experiences to generous feasts, discover the top 10 things to do on Bintan Island, Indonesia.
- Visit Panglong Village
Panglong Village is home to the Orang Laut (Sea Gypsies), several of Bintan’s earliest settlers. The fishermen were once nomadic folk before settling back on the beaches of Panglong, building wooden beachfront homes, and making a living from casting nets from their conventional boats. Travelers will see the island’s past in the beauty of Panglong’s old buildings, such as the iconic ‘brick igloos,’ the locals once utilized to make charcoal.
- Chill and drama at Crystal Lagoon
At jaw-dropping 60 hectares in diameter, this translucent lagoon can quickly feel like a crystal-clear, impossibly quiet and clean sea. Crystal Lagoon is Southeast Asia’s first artificial saltwater lagoon — and it’s an impressive one, too. Hover about on a unicorn float for hours, lounge on the powder-white sand, or sign up for one of their water sports activities. Jetovator, a jetpack-like mechanism that can send you flying over the water, is popular among daredevils.
- Visit the Thousand Face Temple
Renowned as the ‘thousand face’ temple, Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva is a strange, picture-perfect, and culturally rich attraction. This majestic Buddhist place of worship has some 500 life-size Lohan statues in its backyard, all lined up with different faces and expressions. The temple gate and shrines are large and authentic; it feels like a piece of China on a tropical island.
- Feast on food and beverage
Being home to many fishing communities, Bintan is never short of yummy, fresh seafood. Kelong Seafood Restaurant offers some of the island’s best-grilled fish, enjoyed with a stunning backdrop of the sunset from the idyllic Lagoi Bay. After dinnertime, youthful energy in the island’s is carried into the night by hip bars dotting the beach. Lagoi Bay has some great waterfront bars like the Terrace Sports Bar and Calypso Floating Bar.
- Explore Senggarang
Senggarang is an excellent fishing hamlet and home to Bintan’s indigenous population. This village-like a humble version of Venice, with canals dividing wooden houses that float over the water. Since the first Chinese settlement on the island, Senggarang houses several temples and shrines, readily recognizable for their festive and vivid colors — in contrast with simple, earthy homes in the neighborhood. Do not forget to try the local special shark fillet (shua he pia) or shrimp porridge (he moi).
- Explore Trikora Beach
This beach is the authentic tourist hub of Bintan Island. The four beaches’ series remains dotted with laid-back, traditional bungalows and restaurants, which are the reverse of the lavish and avant-garde Lagoi. Visitors can do many things at this beach: swim, snorkel, and chill at a seaside cabana while sampling traditional snacks.
- Get moving outdoors
Embrace a more playful side to island life with the many outdoor activities offered on Bintan Island. Tasks like paintball and air rifle shooting are offered in resorts like Nirwana Gardens and Bintan Lagoon Resort. Travelers may also go off the beaten trail via ATV or head to one of the island’s numerous golf clubs like Ria Bintan.
- Visit Tanjung Pinang and Penyengat Island
The capital city of the Riau Islands is Tanjung Pinang. The city is an old city with colonial and traditional neighborhoods to explore. In Tanjung Pinang, tourists can splurge local-made crafts and authentic traditional dishes like the famed sea snail gonggong. Penyengat Island is just a 15-minute boat ride from Tanjung Pinang’s port, housing 18th-century forts, a mosque, a palace, and other historical landmarks.
- Hike Mount Bintan
Further inland, Bintan Island is covered in the tropical jungle, with hiking trails leading up to the glorious Mount Bintan. Intrepid visitors will be rewarded with stunning views of the island’s diverse landscape featuring jungles, rivers, villages, and beaches. Along the way, create time to spot Bintan’s lovely tropical birds, wild orchids, and waterfalls.
- Indulge at a resort
Bintan provides a lot, but the backbone of the island’s tourism has been its resorts for a long time. It has many Singapore-owned hotels that live up to the standards of the most lavish of jet-setters. However, there are endless possibilities for any taste or budget. Like the Nirwana Gardens and Club Med Bintan, some resorts have expansive properties with on-site activities, such as beachside trapeze and water sports. When you want to relax, there’s always the choice of lounging poolside or indulging in a spa treatment.
Ready to start your getaway to Bintan? Visit Wonderful Indonesia, and don’t miss out on the magic!