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Bintan for families: A fun-filled short break at the Angsana Bintan

On a recent short break to the island of Bintan, Indonesia, Valmai Dhir discovered you don’t need to take an international flight to enjoy a great family adventure in the region.


Click through the gallery above for all the snaps from Valmai’s short break


When Angsana Bintan put on a Family Adventure Weekend recently, we thought it would be a great chance for our kids to enjoy some outdoor fun. Although the package was aimed mainly at kids aged seven to 14, both of our boys (four and eight) got to enjoy the activities throughout our stay.

We boarded a ferry at Tanah Merah at 5pm on Friday only to discover that our youngest son had left his favourite soft toy, Scoot, at home. My only thought was that this was going to be a challenging weekend ahead, with some very restless nights. However, the days were filled with so much fun that he forgot all about asking for Scoot and we all slept soundly.

The Angsana is located on Tanjung Said Bay, and the soft white sand and crystal-clear water happily dispelled Bintan’s reputation for only average-looking beaches. Glorious weather for the duration of the weekend possibly helped, too.

 

 

Fun for the kids
When we dropped off our four-year-old at the Kids’ Club, he wasn’t initially too keen on the idea of us dashing away for a few hours while he stayed to play. Thankfully, the staff started a very engaging puppet show that quickly got his attention. Seeing puppets flying all over the stage, he thought this was a fantastic idea and decided to join in and create his own puppet show, with the help of the staff. He also got to select from a huge array of stencils to create a wonderful and colourful T-shirt, and he enjoyed interacting with children of different ages and nationalities. By the time we came to collect him, he didn’t want to leave.

In collaboration with Lion Adventures, the Angsana had put together an action-packed, fun-filled weekend for the children; just reading the itinerary had me wishing I was a kid again. As our eldest son was fortunate enough to fit into the targeted age category, it was game on for him.

Friday night saw a “meet and greet” in the lobby, followed by a campfire by the beach (yes, a real campfire!) with marshmallows cooked on a stick. The next two days were filled with a variety of activities. Day One started with team-building, treasure hunts and a jungle hike followed by a quick pit-stop for lunch. After lunch came bridge-building, river-crossing, beach archery and pool activities, and then a barbecue dinner for all the family at Pantai Grill, Angsana’s beachfront restaurant. (Don’t miss the Thai beef salad – it was a real hit with us.)

 The fun continued on Day Two with raft-building, slippery slides and swimming followed by more beach games – even an Ice Bucket Challenge for cooling off. The coaches were fantastic and really tried hard to fit our four-year-old in whenever possible.

Well done to Stu, Tom and Sian from Lion Adventures for making it such a successful weekend – we can’t wait to hear when the next session will be. Both the boys are still raving about what an awesome weekend they had, and they made some great friends along the way.

 

 

Spa and facilities
While all of this was going on, hubby and I managed to get in a few hours of kid-free time, including massages at the Spa. The place had a wonderfully calming vibe, and the staff did a great job of soothing our aching bodies. 

We also ventured out on jet-skis for an hour, with an instructor who helped us to explore the coastline of this part of Bintan. It was a great to be out on the water; I was reminded of summer beach holidays as a child – there’s something magical about the ocean.

Aside from jet-skis, the Angsana water sports club has an array of both non-motorised and motorised items for hire, from snorkels, fins and masks to boogie-boards. My younger son absolutely loved the boogie-boarding, as the waves weren’t too strong – just enough to push him along.

Daily breakfast, served at the Lotus Café, featured the usual buffet choices, including a wide and plentiful selection of colourful tropical fruit, cereal, bread and cheese. In the evenings, it transforms into an Indonesian barbecue, with freshly made skewers of prawns, chicken, mutton, squid and fish. We loved the seared tuna rolled in sesame seeds served with spicy sambal, and the seafood salad with lemongrass, lime leaves and chilli salsa.

 

 

Our deluxe Queen room overlooked the pool and the ocean and had a small balcony with outdoor furniture. The beds were cosy with extremely comfortable pillows, the décor was pleasant and the immaculate room had all the amenities that come with a five-star resort – though it must be said that the outside of the hotel could use a fresh coat of paint to bring it up to scratch. 

The staff throughout the hotel were delightful and always willing to help – when we requested extra towels on a few occasions, for example. This definitely exceeded our expectations of a beachside resort, where staff are sometimes too laid back. Because it’s so close, I think, we sometimes underrate Bintan; but we were really impressed this time. It was nice to get away for a quick break, relax on the beach, and have some adult time, as well as some quality time with the kids.

So if you feel the urge to get away for a few nights, with or without children, keep in mind this hassle-free destination.

Fact file
• Bintan Resorts Ferries provides regular ferry services between Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and Bintan. The one-way trip is around 50 minute and it’s a quick and easy process at the terminals.
• Check prior to going if you require a visa; most nationalities can purchase them on arrival. Note that the fee was increased from US$25 to US$35 this year. Ensure you have US or Singapore dollars to pay for it. 
• The Angsana provides a coach to and from the resort, and as a bonus can arrange your boarding passes for your return journey.

 

 

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