Bintan Island is renowned for its white-sand beaches, mangroves, thick rainforests, turtles, dolphins, and silver-leaf monkeys. Located in the South China Sea, just off the coast from Singapore, it is the largest island in Indonesia’s Riau Archipelago and has fast become an illustrious tourist hotspot. Indeed, the Indonesian government has worked hard to make it so, pushing tourism investment into the region in an effort to create a rival beach destination to Bali and attract the high-fliers of neighbouring Singapore.
The island has in many ways successfully achieved its mission, possessing a multitude of activities for the well-heeled traveller, from world-class golf courses to idyllic white-sand beaches and luxurious hotels strategically positioned across the northern shore. Taking prime position is The Sanchaya, our tip pick of hotels to stay in this area, where you are bound to enjoy a relaxing beach holiday surrounded by gin-clear waters and palm-fringed beaches.
Beneath the glittering façade of the northern coastline, however, lies a fascinating and rich cultural history for visitors to explore. The island’s position along the trade route between China and India meant that Bintan has long been a point of conflict and coercion between rival colonial powers over the last half millennia. Dominant forces that have at one time controlled the island include the Portuguese, Dutch, Arabs, and British: each have left an indelible mark on Bintan’s history that can be appreciated when walking through the island’s cultural heartland around the regional capital of Tanjung Pinang.
Bintan is a 45-minute boat ferry ride from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, easily accessible from Changi Airport, a major international gateway. For travellers who prefer to fly, there are daily flights from Jakarta to Bintan’s Raja Haji Fisabililah Airport daily with multiple national carriers. Thanks to Bintan’s proximity to the equator, the island has year-round tropical weather averaging a balmy 26°C.
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Susan Ford, India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India