If you fancy a break from the busy Singapore city life, Bintan Island in Indonesia makes for a perfect short getaway for a small affordable price.
This can be an easy way to visit Indonesia from Singapore for those wanting to visit a new country and the island of Bintan has a lot to offer visitors to the island.
Within this blog post, I will help offer advice from my own personal trip to the island with information about how to get to Bintan from Singapore as well as where to stay and what to do around the island.
It’s very easy to put together a trip and you can easily put together your own day visit or weekend-long escape package holiday on a backpackers budget.
How to get to Bintan Island from Singapore:
Advance booking is not required unless you plan on travelling during the peak season in the summer (June-August).
You can turn up at the Singapore ferry terminal located at Tanah Mirah MRT station and pay on the day for your ferry transfer.
The easiest way to reach the terminal from the city centre is to take the MRT to Tanah Merah and grab the number 35 bus, you’re there for as little as S$2.
There are a number of ferry company’s you can take and tickets are very competitively priced.
Shop around the terminal and find the best rate for your budget and comfort, I managed to book a S$50 return ticket with Sindo ferry’s and it’s important to buy the return part as proof of return which is one of the requirements for visa on arrival.
What was the boat journey like?
From Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Singapore to Tanjung Pinang, Bintan Island, Indonesia, the journey time is around 1 hour and 50 minutes.
Sindo Ferry’s have recently introduced a new boat for the route called the Queen Star 6 and frequently update the fleet to offer a modern and comfortable service. The journey is fast and can be chopping at times so those with seas sickness should travel with caution.
It’s important to note that each passenger has a maximum of 30kg baggage allowance. That’s 10kg in hand luggage and 20kg in check in luggage. This is due to the size of the boat to accommodate everyone.
Have a safe and fun voyage over to the island on Bintan.
How to arrange your Indonesia visa
Good news for travellers! As of March 2016, Indonesia now issues special Short-Stay Visa-Free facilities to nationalities of up to 169 countries. The visa-free exemption facility is valid for 30 days and will cover your weekend visit to the island on Bintan, Indonesia from Singapore.
In the past, you would have to purchase an Indonesian visa on arrival for roughly $25 US dollars, you would get a form to fill in and its pretty straight forward to arrange. Good news as this extra expense can now be put towards a nice room for the night.
Please do check before you arrive to see if you are able to have access to this Visa-free entry into Indonesia.
Getting around the Island
The easiest and cheapest option to explore Bintan is to rent a moped which can be arranged for a fair price at the Bintan boat terminal on arrival. Shop around to negotiate the price and be sure to inspect the bike before rental and always wear a helmet which is included in the rental cost.
It’s easy to pick up a moped rental and many rental companies are awaiting new arrivals as you get off the boat.
You could also opt for a moto taxi if you know where you’re going and want to stay at the resort for the weekend.
Then you can go off to explore the island and try and search down a beach hut by the coast for the night.
if you can’t find anything then, by all means, sleep under the stars but this shouldn’t be a problem as the island offers many options close by to Tanjung Pinang Ferry port.
Another option, you can opt for booking a resort package which includes transfers from the boat terminal, make sure you book in advance and you can arrange to be picked up on arrival.
As I don’t have a driving licence this was the best option for me.
What to do around the island of Bintan, Indonesia
If you rent a moped for the weekend then you can drive around and visit many of the coastal beaches the island has to offer such as Lagoi Beach.
You can also visit Penyengat Island to visit the Grand Mosque of the Sultan of Riau or the dunes of Gurun Pasir or 500 Lohan Temple.
Many attractions to visit around if you have the transport option.
Otherwise without a Moped, don’t worry, invest in a good beach resort and spend your weekend relaxing on the resort beach, enjoy a relaxing massage, order a freshly prepared coconut and chill in a hammock until your return boat arrives.
It’s the perfect island to focus on relaxing and escaping the big and busy city of Singapore for a moment.
Places to stay once you get to Bintan Island
This is what affordable accommodation looks like in Bintan, Indonesia.
After searching around I found Bintan Laguna Restaurant and Resort to be the most affordable option on the island which was within close distance to Tanjung Pinang Ferry Port.
Just down the road from the resort is a cheaper Bungalow version which is attached and more affordable for backpackers.
Great for two backpackers on a budget, Total was S$20 per night, just under a fiver per person if you plan on sharing!
If you compare this to the hotel prices that can be found around Singapore you’ve already covered your return boat ticket and go on a little adventure as well.
This is how far a backpackers budget can be stretched when travelling around South East Asia so always look at your options and see where they can take you.
You can stay at the more costly resort, but for a fraction of the price, I preferred this cheaper backpacker paradise down the road that did the job rather well. It’s down to preference at the end of the day and what facilities you would like.
Made a nice little get away from Singapore for a long weekend to relax and unwind and didn’t break the bank either.
It doesn’t have to cost a lot to travel if you spend your money in the right areas.
Along with the room, free shuttle transfers were included to other resorts where you could use the swimming pool and facilities, as well as transfers to and from the boat dock to the resort on request.
Local restaurants served up freshly caught Fish for around S$5 per dish, some of the best seafood I’ve ever tasted, all freshly caught and cooked to perfection.
Cold local beer was always on offer for under S$1 which is always an added bonus.
Free Wifi was included with the room as well as bottled water and breakfast which was delivered every morning to your room on request.
Who said Paradise was not affordable? And the island of Bintan is a cosy little paradise worth discovering and a great way to get a taste of the Indonesian culture.
If you’re interested in staying at the same place, then head on over to nostalgia Yasin bungalow.
All in all, I enjoyed my stay at Bintan Restaurant and Resort and I hope you’re looking forward to your next visit to Indonesia!
I’ve put together a room tour video to give a better idea of what the beach hut looked like (Sorry for the quality):
Can I recommend Bintan Island as a weekend Get away from Singapore?
100% yes! It was an easy weekend trip to arrange to this picturesque laid back island in Indonesia, Great way to escape the busy Singapore city life for the weekend.
After the whole trip, I felt relaxed and ready to return to Singapore, a hidden paradise not that far away.
And don’t forget to try a coconut straight from the tree, its delicious!
The affordable and tasty food really made the trip for me getting the opportunity to visit a little taste of Indonesia was a real joy as I got to try the food and meet the very friendly happy locals and all in all it was a great experience.
Want to visit another island whilst on your trip to Singapore? The island Pulau Ubin is also worth a day trip on your visit and offers much history from Singapores past.
Thank you for reading my post about visiting Bintan Island
If you’re staying in Singapore for more than a week, it’s worth taking this trip. Go, have fun and I hope you enjoy Bintan Island as much as I did.
Have you been to Bintan island, Indonesia from Singapore or looking at making the trip and would like some additional advice that I haven’t covered? Feel free to send me an email and I will be more than happy to chat.