Fancy a quick beach break, but not sure where to start? Bintan is super easy to get to and has plenty to offer both couples and families. Here are a few ideas for a one-night, two-day stay on the Indonesian island.
Book one of the recently renovated Deluxe Premier Rooms at the Nirwana Resort Hotel, a mere ten minutes from Bintan Ferry Terminal, and you can be sipping a cocktail at the pool bar by lunchtime. We stayed in a Deluxe Premier Queen Room for $295. The price includes buffet breakfast for two, return land transfer from the ferry terminal to the resort and unlimited Wi-Fi access. (More keen on a villa stay in Bintan? We’ve tried that out too – see our review here).
Relax with a massage at the Anindya Beach Spa in front of the hotel. The spa has six beachside cabanas, and also offers in-room treatments. We opted for a beachside hour-long Balinese rub-down for $70. The cabanas offer little privacy, but we were lucky – the pool area was not too busy or noisy, and we could relax into the treatment.
Dine at RIN, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant. We were treated to kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, which included our first taste of gong gong (sea snail), a delicious selection of sashimi with lime juice, wasabi and salt, and chicken broth with dumplings, all for $68 per head. RIN also has a teppanyaki griddle in the main restaurant, which was the source of much entertainment for the children at the table next to us.
Explore the mangroves at the Aroma River Spa, a 50-minute drive from the ferry terminal. Look out for monkeys, lizards and turtles amongst the mangroves, and if you feel the need for more relaxation, book yourself in for a massage in one of the spa’s attap and bamboo huts. The mangrove tour costs $35 for adults, $28 for children; a 70-minute Riau massage costs $38.
Lunch at the Kelong Restaurant, a free shuttle ride away from the resort. As the kelong reference suggests, the restaurant is set up on stilts in the sea, and it serves a blend of Chinese and Indonesian seafood. We sampled its Rising Sun menu for $34 per person (without drinks), which included a massive pile of gong gong (again!), fried noodles Malay style, and braised crab with chilli sauce. The food was good, but the best bit was the restaurant setting, with beautiful views across the South China Sea.
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