This month travel happened last November 7, 2010 to Bintan Indonesia. While it is still not far from Singapore being just 55 minutes ferry ride, I still consider it travel. My second time to Bintan, I basically wants to explore the other side of the island.
Bintan Resorts also known as Lagoi is in the northern part of the island which is separated from the rest of Bintan by barbed wire, checkpoints and armed guards. The area as the name implies is consist of expensive resorts with exclusivity and away from the locals. It has it's own jetty terminal and an exclusive ferry Wan Sendari that transport guest from Tanah Merah Jetty Terminal in Singapore. From the ferry terminal buses from different resorts awaits the guests.
I booked at Nirwana Resort Hotel for a two days one night stay thru Agoda, my ever reliable online hotel booking. Nirwana Resort Hotel is part of Nirwana Gardens, a 330 hectares of lush tropical land. Just like any upscale resorts in this side of the island, it has its own private powdery beachfront. The hotel main pool is a grotto-style infinity pool complete with whirlpools, lush tropical foliage, and a pool bar. It has its own sport center caters for both water and land activities, a mini bird aviary, several restaurants, a shopping arcade, and a spa.
I took the 8am ferry ride and arrived at about the same time at the resort because Singapore is one hour ahead of Indonesia. Being weekend and holiday the day before the resort was fully booked. I can only be check in by 3pm their published check in time, but the receptionist assured me he can check me in as soon as the room becomes valuable, I booked a room with a seaview.
Upon depositing my luggage at the reception, I headed directly to the beach and check whether it is really white powder-soft sand. Indeed it was though not white enough. I quickly change to beach wear and get a beach towel at the clubhouse and hit the beach. Stayed on the beach for two hours and transferred to the main pool for another hour before heading back to the main lobby to check the room availability.
I managed to check in at two in the afternoon only. The room has no towel and toiletries. I have to call the housekeeping several times just for the towel. The room is basic and seems old and I think does not match the money paid for it. And to add, it is not well cleaned so as the toilet but at least there is a bathtub. I stayed in my room the rest of the day since by 5pm it rained heavily.
As expected the food rate here is expensive and there is additional 10% gov't tax and a 10% service charge. Dinner at the poolside has cultural show, the same group of dancers who welcome guests at the lobby upon arrival. The night was spent at a bowling arcade at the Resort Center, a walking distance from the hotel. There is a complimentary game per guest so I availed it and managed to play two more before heading back to the hotel.
I woke up early the next morning for sunrise photo shooting but no sun appears until late morning. It was a good morning though to explore the beachside of the resort. There is a bird sanctuary where recovered illegally captured birds where being confined and breed. There is a monkey colony but I haven't spotted a single one, only a sign that says feeding them is not allowed. Another thing nice about the place is there is a small island called sunset island within the area. Early morning walk during low tide you can practically crossed to the island but it is unexploited thus it is off limit. The sandbar path formed in between, is a nice spot to lounge around as it is hidden from the rest of the resort.
There are a lot of activities you can do while at the resort. Horseback riding, elephant ride and show, rifle shooting and archery, paintball, ATV adventure, buggy ride, cycling. For seaports they have kayaking, windsurfing, jet-skiing, banana boating, and snorkeling all at expensive rates. The hotel also provide outside tours.
Though it was a short stay, I enjoyed every minute of it. I left the resort at 4:30 in the afternoon for 5:30 ferry ride back to Singapore.