Bintan, Indonesia Seaplane Adventure

Bintan Weekend Getaway 

Bintan Island is part of Indonesia's Archipelago closer to the South China Sea. A beautiful small island nearby Singapore which is accessible by a ferry ride. I remembered I went to this island three years ago and I had so much fun, now I'm going back for another adventure. Let's go!

How to get there: Singapore to Bintan, Indonesia
Singapore to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

Exit at Tanah Merah MRT (Green Line), go to Exit 2B  to the bus stop. Take Bus 35 (4 stops) to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

From Singapore's Tanah Merah Ferry to Tanjung Pinang Port: Book ahead of time for Ferry Tickets via online or phone booking
Take Sindo Ferry to the island
Ferry fare: 50 SGD (2-way ticket)
Travel time: up to 2 hours

Take note there are 3 routes to Bintan Island from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal:
Bintan Resort Ferries is from Tanah Merah to Bandar Bentan Telani.
Sindo Ferry from Tanah Merah to Tanjung Pinang and Tanah Merah to Tanjung Pinang. 

Prices may have changed.

Power outlets: are commonly type C/F, Round Two-Pin Plug, with standard voltage 230 V and frequency 50 Hz.

Survival Terms
Toilet is the term for the bathroom/washroom
Terima Kasih means "thank you"

What to do in Bintan

Welcome to Bintan! Now what?!

A short trip to Bintan to re-energize and revitalize is all I need after a tiring week at work, plus the building where I'm staying at is renovating the water pipes so we have no water for a week. It's not a big deal we just can't use the toilet and prepare our meals. Honestly speaking, it's not really work or home-related dilemma that I'm going on a trip. It's my itchy feet and wandering mind that pushes me to go somewhere even just nearby Singapore. Let's consider the water pipe renovation a great motivation for making this trip spin into motion. 

Ferry Terminal to Resort
Travel time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

1. Where to stay in Bintan

Check-in: Bintan Cabana Beach Resort
Address: Jl. Pantai Trikora km 46 | Malang Rapat, Bintan Regency, Riau Islands Province 29153
2 days 1 night: 85 SGD
Free Shuttle Bus (ferry-resort-ferry)
Breakfast Buffet

Make your way to Tanah Merah ferry terminal an hour or more to give time for breakfast, queuing for the ticket, and clearing immigration. It was a comfortable ferry ride, had a cup of noodles and chips for breakfast, and watched Just for Laughs on TV. The resort graciously picked us up from the ferry terminal with welcome drinks in the counter. 

2. Try Nasi Lemak

Before going straight to the resort we stopped by a small eatery and bought Nasi Lemak, a famous Malay dish served with rice, ikan bilis, and boiled egg with a special sweet and spicy sauce. Afterward, we traveled for an hour going to the resort. 

We came to the island on the wrong date, the sun hid the whole day, the weather was cloudy and raining lightly. But that didn't stop us from enjoying our stay in the resort. Lunch by the beach with bits of rainfall plus a quick swim in the cold water till our fingers run dry isn't that bad at all. You just need a happy mindset and a great companion. 

3. Head outside the resort: Dinner and Massage

5 hours of taxi rent via resort service
(Resort-Tanjung Pinang town-Resort)
Driver fee: 85,000 rupiah

We met five friendly Singaporeans during our stay, even went along with them for massage and dinner. It's nice to mingle with different nationalities you get to know how they think, their culture, and insight on what's going on with their lives. The massage parlor we went to was huge, it has 45 rooms in its establishment. I choose the traditional massage for 290,000 rupiahs. My friend and I prefer a painful massage, we don't settle for light Balinese and Swedish massage. Luckily, our group meets the owner of the place, he asked the attendants to give us another 30 minutes massage for free. I couldn't ask for more. We just did our full marathon a week ago and I know for sure some of my leg muscles are a bit tight from the run. Dinner with the group in a restaurant came afterward, then we proceeded headbanging for an hour ride back to the resort. The night ended with a few drinks which we bought in town and settled in bed at dawn.

4. Relax at the Beach

The next day we went for a morning swim before having our breakfast buffet. The water was just so inviting from our veranda view. Everything was calm, relax, and satisfying. Our free shuttle bus was scheduled around 12 noon, we asked the driver to send us to BRC Zone instead of the ferry terminal. 

I'm impressed with all the information I received from the resort's reservation officer who responded with my emails, even the receptionist who booked our ride and the friendly driver of Bintan Cabana Resort. All were professional, accommodating, and exceptionally friendly. I salute their genuine service with hearts and flying colors. 

The highlight of this trip is in BRC Zone scheduled at 1:30 in the afternoon. We booked a seaplane flight package with Air Adventures Flying Club in Bintan. Yes! I'm flying again. I was browsing for resorts and hotel days before our trip and came upon this blogpost about her seaplane experience. It got me pretty excited about this trip. Another flying adventure closer to my sky diving and paragliding experience. I'm totally getting hooked to flying, it has always been my dream and now I'm doing things that ignite my soul- I'm so loving it big time! I remembered back in my school days I used to stare at walls and wondered for our hours how it feels like to be up there, staring at the world, so small and pretty. 

5. Book a Seaplane Adventure Ride

Free shuttle bus from the Resort
Bintan Cabana Resort to BRC Zone
Travel time: 1-1.5 hours

Air Adventures Flying Club
Flight Package: 120 SGD (20 minutes flight)
Go Pro video: 35 SGD (optional) 

Our pilot's name and owner of the business is Mr. Stuart, an English guy with an Australian accent whose married to a beautiful Japanese lady named Yuli. I knew Yuli from the emails I've sent, she was even friendlier in person. A brave lady who has left Japan to work in Singapore married a guy in Indonesia and is living the dream. I'm totally in awe with this couple, they have defied the laws of attraction in so many levels, both from different countries with complex culture and tradition yet they manage to find each other in a small island in Asia's biggest archipelago-like what are the odds of finding love in such an amazing way? I knew right there I will soon find mine, it may not be as damn spectacular as their story but mine will be damn amazing in so many ways. 

My friend volunteered for me to go first which I humbly accepted with a chuckle. A brief orientation for safety, wear the life jacket, and off to the cockpit. Our two-seater seaplane is the Challenger Ultralight XL-65 sports plane. I totally love the color of this plane, I just need to add that for some unknown reason. It wasn't a bright, sunny day perfect for flying, black clouds hover the area and some parts of the island are drizzling, I thought to myself "who cares how soon is now?." 

The plane drove through the small runway, glide over the waters, and lifted up in the air. This time I didn't get to shout like a madman compared to my previous flying experience, now I watched with a different excitement. 

Last time, I worry about what's up there, what's going to happen up there, what if something goes wrong and all those normal paranoia a person feels out of its comfort zone. This time around I can't wait for liftoff, I can't wait to see what's up there and more down there below me. Let's just say last time I breathe fear, fear for safety, and fear of my life. Well now it's the other way around, remove the fear and what you get is the crave to see something wonderful, to explore what's beyond what we normally see. I get to experience these while flying around Bintan Island. Though my flight was cut short due to an approaching dark cloud I still had an amazing time up there with Stuart. I love experiencing new emotions, discovering a deeper sense of wisdom, and getting myself higher with how I think and see things. 

My friend was next in line for the flight however we had to wait for half an hour for the rain to stop and get the eye of the storm out of the radar. Stuart showed us the weather updates and was puzzled why the rain was just on our site of all the places. It gave us more time to have a chitchat with his wife. I find it amazing knowing people as if you've just seen them yesterday. It makes me wonder about people's past life, provoking me to ponder about sensitive matters regarding reincarnation and all those subjects. Anyways, my friend was able to complete a 20 minutes flight which made me really happy. We've done so many things together, it would be a shame if she misses out on this flight experience. 

BRC Zone to Tanjung Pinang
Taxi fare: 250,000 rupiah - 500,000 rupiah

Tanjung Pinang Port to Tanah Merah Ferry
Take the Magestic Ferry
One way ticket: 23 SGD/ 230,000 rupiah
Travel time: 1.5-2 hours

The pretty Yuli contacted a friend of hers to send us off to the ferry terminal but we still didn't catch our 5 pm ferry ride. Wait the minute! I missed my ferry three years ago too, but this time heading back to Singapore. I find that really funny, this time it was all worth it and this is the part where you can use your stash emergency money for instances like this. 

One thing me and my friend have in common is that we are laid back travelers, free-spirited backpackers with patience tied up to a circle. Thus making us lucky individuals in so many situations with all our travels. People around us will always try to help us, faith in humanity restored. The driver, even the immigration officer -I know these guys are pretty tight sometimes, the ticket officers, the crew, and the universe made it all happened that we were able to get the 5:30 pm ferry ride back to Singapore. I don't why I was so calm even when the clock strikes 5 in the afternoon, maybe I was still hopeful to catch our ferry while the song "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)" played in my mind. At that moment I only wanted to close my eyes and sleep it off. Funny thing is I did sleep it off during the ride. When we got to the terminal we hurriedly paid the driver, bought the terminal fee (make sure you have 35,000 rupiahs for the terminal ticket ), ran to the immigration officer, denied access, ran down to the ticket counter bought a one-way ticket, and ran to our new ferry ride. Surprisingly we were not breathless with all the running we did, I guess the training for the marathon paid off now. In the end, we just laughed it out and settled ourselves at separate seats available inside the ferry. It was an amazing way to end the trip. I wouldn't change a thing about it. A great weekend getaway away from the bustling city of Singapore to a nearby beautiful island in Indonesia. 

Have fun and be safe ^__^

Do you want more adventure?
If you still have a few more days to spare why not go hiking or have fun in the waterfalls of Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Where am I going next?
My next adventure is to check out Unique Places and New Things to do in Singapore.

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