Bintan, Indonesia

I lied when I said Jamie and I were going to stay put for a while after our whirlwind European holiday, which you can read about here.  We couldn’t help ourselves.  Bintan, Indonesia is an island only a 45 minute ferry ride from Singapore, so we figured “why not?”.  A huge draw for Bintan are the tourists from Singapore, so you could literally take your pick of several resorts over there.  We stayed at a resort called The Sanchaya (pictured above) which was so incredibly nice!  The rooms and the beach were lovely!!

The ferry terminal in Singapore is near the airport, about 15 minutes drive from our house.  Super easy to get to, through and on to the ferry.

Once we got to Bintan’s ferry terminal, The Sanchaya Hotel had someone there who swept us through immigration and into their own little room to check in.  Then they had a van drive us to the hotel which was less than 10 minutes away.  It was incredibly efficient.

The next morning we woke up to a rainy day.   Rained all day.  We had breakfast by the beach, then bugged my brother for a while about how to get Skype to work on our iPhones (sorry Doug, we know it was late for you, but thanks 🙂 ) as Jamie had to take a work call later in the day.  We had a little terrace off of our bungalow that looked over a lagoon.

We sat out there for a while and listened to the rain, then decided to go for massages!  They were wonderful, one of the best I’ve ever had.  When we came back, Jamie took his call and I sat outside and watched a brown-winged kingfisher fish out of the little lagoon!  Highlight of the day for me!  Kingfishers might be my favorite bird.  They are easy to spot because of their shape, they come in all colors, and they are cute and squatty.  For those of you in Singapore, there is a brown-winged kingfisher that lives in the Botanical Gardens near the lake behind the stage (if your walking towards the Palm Valley from the MRT).  He always sits on that wooden arrow thing coming out of the middle of the water.  I’ve seen him more times than I can count.  Go check him out 🙂

Sorry, this is the best picture I got. He was about 30 ft away from me in this tree.

Anyway, since it was still raining, we went and sat up at the restaurant/bar/pool area and hung out there talking the rest of the evening.  It was really, really nice.  Loved it.

The next day the sun came out so we went to the beach!

You have to be careful in Bintan, we were told, because there can be tar in the sand from the ships coming from the South China Sea (above) into the Singapore Strait (where we live).  We didn’t have any issues with that.  The beach was so clean (probably because the hotel cleans it every day) and the water was clear. The hotel even packed us this cute basket with water, cool towels, sunscreen, etc.

The food was really good, although expensive.  Goodness.  I don’t know what that was about, but you gotta eat!  So we ate well 🙂

Oh wait, those are drinks… 😉

We got lucky with the weather.  We had friends that went to Krabi, Thailand for the weekend (shout out Emily and AJ!), same resort we went to, actually, click here to read, and they said it rained the entire time.  I am not sure of when “monsoon season” is, but when you come to this part of the world, just expect it to rain a little bit every day, at least.

This particular evening we went on a “Nighttime Discovery Tour” of the mangroves.  We got in a little boat with a guide and a driver (introduced to us as Captain Jack Sparrow) and went off into the complete darkness.  I was a little scared at first, but then we saw thousands upon thousands of fireflies in the mangroves!  It was beautiful!  Looked like Christmas lights.  And then when you looked up into the sky, the stars were so clear they looked like crystals.  No camera we own is going to do that justice, so I don’t have any photos, but we completely enjoyed it.  If you go, this is the place you do the tours from…they also do daytime mangrove tours.  Watch out for mangrove snakes…

And then it was time to go home!  It was a nice relaxing weekend, that both of us needed.  This hotel was incredibly nice and I would recommend it, for sure, but there are also several other options on Bintan from which to choose.

Get out there and travel this summer!  Here are some more pics of our weekend!  Enjoy!