Bintan Island is like a dream. With its pristine beaches and unspoiled natural beauty, it has everything you could ever wish for in a picture-perfect tropical holiday destination – and more. Virtually undiscovered until just a few years ago, this idyllic retreat has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, particularly amongst Singaporeans who, due to the island’s close proximity, have made it their preferred spur-of-the-moment getaway.
The largest of 3,200 islands in the Riau archipelago and the third largest of the 27 provinces in Indonesia, Bintan Island covers an area of approximately 1,140sqkm, fringed by a coastline measuring 105km. With a population of less than quarter of a million, the island has an interesting, eclectic mix of different cultures and ethnicities, including Malay, Bugis, Chinese and a unique tribe called the Orang Laut (sea nomads).
A trip to Bintan’s two main towns, Tanjung Pinang and Tanjung Uban, is a great way to learn more about the island’s people and local culture. Both towns are filled with tasty local-style dining options, bargain shopping opportunities and traditional villages, giving visitors a glimpse into the locals’ lifestyle. The island’s highest mountain, Bintan Besar, almost 400m in height, is also the highest peak in the archipelago.