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Bintan Travel Guide - Bintan Tourist Attractions
Captivating Beaches, Villas and Temples, Village on Stilt and Batik
East of Batam in the South China Sea, lies Bintan, Indonesia’s largest island in the Riau archipelago. Take the Bintan Tour Package to reach an island with beautiful beaches; it’s a 45-minutes ferry ride away from Singapore. Bintan Besar is its’ highest hill at an elevation of 360 m. The climb is well worth the effort for the wide-encompassing view it gives of Bintan. There are rainforests, white powdery beaches, silver leaf monkeys, sunbirds, kites, eagles, dolphins and fishes in Bintan. Six out of the world’s seven species of sea-turtles are found here. Malays, Chinese, Bugis and Orang Lauts are the local residents.
Tourists who opt for the Bintan Tour Package make a beeline for the beautiful Trikora beach, lined with palm-trees, offering numerous water-sports. Tanjun Pinang is the pretty capital; the huge Bintan Resort complex has many beautiful but expensive resorts; and Banyan Tree Bintan has many picturesque villas built on rocks amidst forests, some overlooking the sea. Teluk Kawal is a charming fishing village. Swimming and diving are popular at Trikora and Bintan Agro Beach Resort; there are several other beach resorts and lagoons. Laguna Bintan has a well-known resort and spa. The Mangrove Discovery tour is an exciting one, especially at night when the place is aglow with fireflies. There is an elephant park, adventure tours and tours to see farm-life. It’s possible to go kayaking, snorkelling, go-karting, mountain biking, take banana boat-rides or indulge in golf. You can also go island-hopping from the chief ports.
Worth-seeing monuments are the Colonial Graveyard and the Museum – displaying unusual artefacts – and temples in Tanjung Penang; and Senggarang’s Banyan Tree Temple. Bintan’s Museum also hosts cultural performances. The Chinese pagoda-shaped temples have colourful interiors with paintings and wood carvings and the Banyan Tree temple is frequented by tourists and locals. The yellow-coloured Masjid Raya Sultan Riau in Penyengat is a tourist hotspot, with several domes and minarets. Other places worth a visit are an ancient palace and royal tombs, especially the one of Raja Ali Haji. A popular tourist resort is Bintan’s ‘Old Stilt Village’. There are myriad in-resort facilities in Bintan’s resorts; Bintan’s Hermes Agro Resort and Convention also has an adventure park besides beach activities.
The Bintan Tour Package will not disappoint shoppers; there are handicraft shops, artistes’ villages and malls – Bintan Mall and Ramayana Mall – selling products that are cheap and affordable. The Bintan Ferry terminal has batik sarongs, paintings, silk, leather products, silver and handcrafted jewellery for the last-minute shoppers. Next to the Ferry is the Real Bandung Factory Outlet, the largest in Indonesia, which sells international labels like Abercrombie & Finch, Nike and Boss, and quality clothes at heavily discounted prices; they accept US and Singapore dollars. Pasar Oleh-Oleh, cheaper than the resort outlets, does not only sell foodstuff, but also clothes and various types of souvenirs. The street peddlers and shop-houses in Tanjung Pinang sell a range of local goods, including handicrafts, clothing, curios, colourful Javanese batik, jewellery, precious stones, antiques, ceramics, electronics, ceramics, Indonesian clove cigarettes and foodstuff such as traditional cakes, local snacks and dried fish. Tanjung Uban with shops resting on stilts, excels in dry and wet foodstuff, besides local fruits and vegetables at low rates but payment has to be made in ‘rupiah’ – local currency. Pujasera Market has small shops of arts and crafts at prices lower than anywhere else on the island.
Seafood is fresh and Sebung village is famous for a wide variety of seafood; Café Helo Helo and the Lotus Café at Angsana Resort are among the best. Pasar Oleh-Oleh has a cluster of huts serving Indonesian fare. Tanjung Pinang has numerous restaurants but ‘vegetarian’ here has a different meaning and strict vegetarians have to specify that they do not wish to eat meat. Bottled water and fresh coconut water is preferred by tourists. Wine and beer are not available all over the island. There’s grilled food on offer – Pantai Grill and Nelayan Grill are the popular haunts. Laguna Bintan offers international cuisine in its many restaurants – Japanese, Korean, Indian, Asian, Mediterranean and Western.
Being close to the equator, Bintan has a tropical climate throughout with both monsoons – November-March bringing the north-east monsoon and June-October bringing a fairly dry south-west monsoon. Late November-early March is windy with rainfall, while March-early November is sunny. The island’s temperature averages a maximum of 32oC and a minimum of 21oC, with an average temperature of 26oC.