Sunday, May 01, 2016

Long Family Weekend at Bintan Lagoon Resort in Bintan Island, Indonesia

I visit my family in Asia every year and last year (2015) we decided to meet in Singapore where my sister lives. Then as part of the holiday agenda, my parents and I went to Bangkok, Thailand for a little side trip. On my last weekend in Asia, the family escaped to Bintan Island, Indonesia for a long weekend getaway, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. Bintan is just an hour ferry ride from Tanah Merah terminal in Singapore.

Bintan Island is divided into 2 communities: 1) Bintan Resorts and 2) Rest of the island. You can read my previous entry here, an introduction to the island: Welcome to Bintan Island - An Overview

In Bintan, we stayed inside the resort community at the Bintan Lagoon Resort for 3 days and 2 nights. We booked 2 rooms where one is facing the beach. After checking in to our rooms we hightailed to the beach area to have lunch at Nelayan Grill. This restaurant is really nice, they have an outdoor seating and bar right on the beach.

It was a very hot and sticky day, just like your usual day in tropical Asia by the way, so we were eyeing the blue waters. A beach dip would help difuse the hotness of the day we thought so we went back to our rooms to get undressed and put on our beach wear. The parents decided to relax in the room and continue watching CNN and BBC. Did I tell you my parents devour news like no other?

At the beach we noticed that no one was swimming and the waves were rugged and bigger than normal. That did not stop us and within minutes we were bouncing, tousling and throwing ourselves at the big edgy waves. I don’t think we made it to half an hour of frolicking in the waters when we saw a hotel personnel standing on the beach shore waving at us. Hmm, it looks like he wants us to get out of the water?

The beach as we were told is off limits because of the strong currents. So we returned to our little hut to dry ourselves on the waiting sunbeds. As we were preparing to go back to our rooms, we saw a hotel personnel sticking a red flag on the beach sand. That said it all.

In the evening we had dinner at the Italian restaurant—Orzo. My mom didn’t join us as she was still full from the day’s non-stop eating extravaganza. We ordered pizza, pasta with tuna and curry shrimp to share. After dinner we checked out the bar scene but unfortunately there were barely no guests. Perhaps we were too early? A little bit of browsing around the stores and hanging out in the lobby and we were ready to retire, while SisterJ and Myrhh looked forward to being pampered with a room service massage. I am not into spa and massages really.

On the second day, my siblings and I went swimming again, this time in the pool. There are 2 swimming pool areas in the resort and we swam in the biggest one near the beach. Here I saw a monitor lizard crawl into the pool. Twice! Yup, 2 different monitor lizards. That was a bit of a shock there for us but the reptiles were quick to get out of the water and disappear back into the bushes. They just needed a quick dip to freshen up =)

This is what I could manage to catch of the monitor lizard.

In the afternoon we rented a car with a driver and took a road trip to Tanjung Pinang, the capital of the island where we shopped at a local department store. Along the way we passed by some interesting local sites, such as rubber and pineapple plantations, the Guan Yin temple, the Banyan Tree temple and the floating Chinese village. In the evening we dined at a Kelong fish restaurant not too far away from the resort.

The third day came which was more of a relax and do nothing day. I remember begging off joining the family at the breakfast buffet. I have been eating round-the-clock in this Asian holiday and I am at the edge of torment from this eating travesty. I am literally fed up.

Oh, we did some last-minute shopping as well in the resort. There seems to be an abundance of Ralph Lauren outlet shops in the island? At Bintan Lagoon Resort alone you can find 2 shops. They all have the same promotion: Buy 1 Get 1 Free. You pay for the highest price item. The brand must have a production factory in the island, or the country.

We also had to leave early because our boat in the afternoon was rescheduled to a late morning departure. The weekend wrap up holiday was a relaxing one with enough smattering of culture, adventure and shopping. Everyone was happy.

Private beach area of Bintan Lagoon Resort.

We booked 2 rooms with a balcony which were both quite spacious.

Traditional Indonesian entertainment at the lobby. These 2 girls are so cute and adorable!

We managed to swim before the hotel personnel politely asked us to get out of the waters. Then they planted this red flag on the beach. The waters are off limits due to the strong currents.

Italian dinner at Orzo.

We swam in the big pool near the beach area where I saw 2 monitor lizards, on separate ocassions taking a dip =)

A koi pond in the hotel resort. You can feed the fishes by buying fish food from the hotel. Just one of their tricks to earn more money from unsuspecting  tourists. But perhaps the children like it.

The breakfast buffet. It is huge with lots on offer.

This is the other pool area beside the sports and recreation building.

Hanging out here in the lobby on our last day waiting for our transfer bus to the ferry terminal.

The resort has a seaview 18-hole golf course (Jack Nicklaus) which is the biggest in Bintan.

Travel Period: November 2015
Destination: Bintan Resort, Bintan Island (Riau Islands), Indonesia

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

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