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Bintan short break: Why Mayang Sari is my favourite escape from Singapore

 By Rebecca Bisset

It may not offer six-star opulence, but Mayang Sari is a great spot for a quick and relaxing escape from Singapore.

I have written about Mayang Sari on Bintan before and I was worried that maybe it was just me who’s a fan. However, I found a fellow colleague who told me it was also her favourite place to skip off to for the weekend.

It’s not cheap for what it is – about S$160 a night for the Sea View Chalets, and you really need to stay in the Sea View ones as they’re right on the beach. It’s very basic and a bit run down and, as usual for Bintan, the food is good but it’s Singapore prices which is a bit annoying. On top of that, you have the US$10 visa and ferry costs.

So far this isn’t sounding much like a raving review but it’s important to be realistic; in any case, even with those negatives I think Mayang Sari is one of the nicest and quickest places to chill out on a break from Singapore. The beach is lovely and quiet. The sea is shallow for miles out and warm (the way I like it) – perfect for doing proper swimming. There’s no pool at the resort so it makes you use the sea!

The rooms are large and there are family rooms that can sleep a few, too, which is rare. It makes a big difference not having to scuttle round the side of your bed or step over mattresses and cots. The essentials are all there: air cons, fans and hot water. There’s also a kettle and a couple of tea bags. Nearby is a supermarket so if you want to buy more of your own supplies you can. Pot noodles and crisps, anyone?

I tried the spa on this recent trip and it’s in a lovely setting. We had a duo room and the masseurs were very good.

There are plenty of places to walk and if you want some nightlife, Saturday night at the beach club at the other end of the beach used to get quite lively. Not too far away you’ll find a Thai and Japanese restaurant and then there are all the restaurants in the other resorts, Angsana, Banyan Tree and Nirwana.

It’s one of those places where you can completely relax; walk out of your room and watch the sun set, get a suntan, have a drink on your own little balcony – there’s no dress code and no pretence. It’s all very close to the reception and dining area, which I like too. At some resorts I’m exhausted by the time I’ve done the walk from the room to breakfast.

I’m hoping that with all the new resorts appearing around Lagoi Bay it will make the current resorts smarten themselves up or cut their rates. I am happy with Mayang Sari the way it is, but would go more often if it were a bit cheaper.

Wherever you stay on Bintan, you’ve always got the great golf courses, watersports and long walks. There are also some beautiful new resorts as well as homes to buy that will be ready in 2014 and we’ll keep you up to date with those.


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