Banyan Tree Bintan Resort
Bintan Island is the largest of the 3200 islands of Riau Archipelago that lay in Indonesian
waters near Singapore.
It is a favourite weekend haunt of many Singaporeans and expats who want to enjoy a few
days break away without stepping on a plane. It is also a perfect place to stop and flop mid-
way on international flights to rest up before heading off again.
The 45-minute high-speed catamaran trip across the Singapore Strait is seamless and in no
time you are digging your toes into white sandy beaches, swimming in blue waters and
discovering the island’s many charms.
Bintan Island is well-known for its amazing flora, fauna and bio-diversity and relies on
There’s so much you can do on this island from hiking through rich rainforests filled with
giant trees and a robust ecosystem to cycling along hillside terrain stopping at secluded
beaches, where you may be the first to make footsteps.
There are many resorts to choose from but Banyan Tree Bintan is a firm favourite with many.
The all-villa resort has a private beach at Tanjung Said Bay overlooking the South China Sea
edged with natural hewn boulders.
Rooms and Interiors
The spacious villas are framed by coconut palms and perfumed by fragrant frangipani trees. Decorated in traditional Balinese style, the villas are raised on stilts set on hillsides with panoramic views over the ocean.
Each villa has an outdoor private relaxation pool, private dressing area and a spacious
verandah where you can soak up those views and watch the blood red sunsets streak the sky.
Dining is a feature here and there are lots of choices. The Beach Pool Bar offers casual dining
with freshly squeezed juices, light snacks, healthy salads and sandwiches. The Sate Campur,
a traditional Indonesian dish with grilled chicken, beef and lamb served with a rich peanut
sauce and cucumber, is excellent.
Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant, Saffron serves award-winning Thai cuisine with modern
twists and the views are amazing from the verandah.
Thai chef, Pimswat Pairote, uses fresh locally sourced ingredients from dedicated growers to
bring a variety of tastes to the chic restaurant.
There are three other restaurants including The Cove, which offers al fresco indoor and
outdoor dining under tropical trees with an emphasis on Mediterranean and Italian dishes.
The smoked salmon linguine, stone crab spaghetti and Australian rack of lamb cooked in a
crust of garden herbs are always popular.
Treetops restaurant offers a variation of the famous Indonesian fried rice dish, Nasi Goreng
and flaming spicy Sambal chilli.
Or you can order in-villa dining and a chef will prepare a sumptuous barbecue of fresh meats,
vegetables and seafood served on your verandah.
For romantics, there’s a choice of several special dining experiences that will long be
Dinner on the Rocks, complete with a personal chef and waiter, is served at a candlelit table
under a moonlit sky on a rocky outcrop on the beach. It’s for one couple, so book well ahead
and lives up to its reputation as the most romantic spot on the island.
Dinner at 8 is another dining experience set on the signature eighth hole of Laguna Bintan
Golf Club with a gourmet medley under evening stars.
Dinner of the Legend is a combination of Indonesian Rijstafel and a Fisherman’s Table, a
dining experience served on a traditional fisherman’s boat where you can indulge in the
luscious seafood spread including wok-fried chilli crab caught fresh from Bintan’s mangrove
swamps. Dinner of the Legend also offers a specially crafted Indonesian Rijstafel served at a
There are also lots of dining choices at other resorts including Miyako Japanese Restaurant at
Bintan Lagoon Resort, Spice Restaurant at Mayang Sari Beach Resort and Baan Arya, 10
minutes from the Banyan Tree that serves rustic dishes.
The traditional Kelong Restaurant, built on stilts offers fresh savoury seafood and cool sea
breezes. Its signature dishes include sea snails, known locally as gong-gong, black pepper
crab and stir-fried buttered prawns.
Set up in 2007, Banyan Tree Bintan’s Conservation Lab continues its mission of reversing
the trend of reduced island biodiversity by fighting unsustainable practices and habitat
With a vision to protect threatened species and delicate ecosystems, the lab works with local
communities and authorities to develop and promote alternative livelihood program that
encourage the conservation of precious natural resources.
We watched as tiny turtles were released into the sea as part of the Banyan Tree conservation program.
Some turtles show remarkable dexterity as they climb the small mounds of sand in their
pathway and follow their instinct.
There’s much clapping and squeals of delight from both children and adults alike as the last
of the turtles swim off in the warm blue waters – their fate unknown.
For adventure-lovers, there is a large selection of land and water sport activities on offer
including quad bikes and jetboats.
Spa-aficionados can relax at the spa – step through the doors of the spa and you are immersed
in indulgent treatments and pampering. Yoga and meditation sessions are also on offer and
are a great way to start the day.
Nature lovers will enjoy a walk with an Environment Ranger who points out many different
species of birds, reptiles and other rare animals including bats and reptiles that live on the
The resort’s popular Marine Centre offers canoeing, windsurfing, snorkelling, fishing and
There’s a choice of two pools – the beach pool and the rock-edge pool, set high above the
beach with stunning views of the surrounding seas. Aqua aerobics are held some mornings.
Golfers will enjoy teeing off at the nearby Laguna Bintan Golf Club, where the undulating
championship 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman, challenges both novice and
seasoned golfers. It is nestled on 60 hectares of lush landscape and features various terrain
including forest, wetland, beachfront coconut groves and an abandoned quarry.
There are several tours available to discover more of the charms of Bintan including a
Mangrove Discovery tour that heads out on the Sebung River to a thick mangrove jungle. The
90-minute eco-adventure provides a back-to-nature encounter as you discover various types
of mangrove plants with their unique roots. Keep an eye out for animals such as monkeys,
snakes, monitor lizards and kingfishers.
Local fishermen are busy catching crabs and shrimps but have time for a friendly wave. The
Mangrove Discovery Night tour under night skis is also popular and you will see fireflies
flitting among the mangrove roots as you cruise down the river.
If you love a challenge sign up for the Gunung Bintan Adventure on the 340-metre high
Gunung Bintan mountain passing through rainforests with 40 metres trees.You may catch a
glimpse of rare animals such as Silver Leaf Monkeys, deer, Sun Birds, eagles. You can also
try seasonal fruits which thrive in the wild such as the spiky durian, fragrant jackfruits,
rambutan, mangosteens, duku, banana, papaya, and pineapples.
The South Bintan Heritage Points tour takes holidaymakers to Senggarang, a small Chinese
fishing settlement where a 200-year-old Banyan Tree takes pride of place. It is a popular
pilgrimage site for the local Buddhists. Walk through the Chinese Park where a Giant Buddha
statue protects the island. On nearby Penyengat Island, there are interesting heritage sites
including an old Dutch fort, ancient palaces and the Sultan of Riau’s Grand Mosque.
What I loved
Bintan Island may be a well- kept secret but it won’t be for long- it’s the perfect place to recharge and Banyan Tree Resort is just the place.