Bikepacking Bintan Island, Indonesia

08~11 March 2008 (4D/3N)
Biking Distance: 98Km

On 08 March 2008, we started off the journey by driving to the Singapore Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal for Bintan Island which is located south of Singapore. The fast ferry to the island took almost an hour. We arrived at Bintan, Tanjung Uban Ferry Terminal around 3pm. As my partner was from Taiwan she had to arrange VISA on Arrival for USD10. This was partner first oversea biking experience. 

After which we started our 40km biking to the Nostaliga Yasin Bungalow Resort on the east coast of Bintan. The journey on the island was not easy even we were riding on the road. There were many 30 to 40 degree uphill ride along the way. As we rode further away from Tanjung Pinang, the traffic got lesser. We managed to arrive the resort around 7pm, about 3.5hours bike ride. This was the cheapest and natural resort holidays we ever had on water, mini Maldives. Our room cost just SGD30.00 a night without air-con but there was a fan also service and food was great. We decided to spent 2 nights with our room on stilt over water. For the next 3 days, we basically played dead and enjoy beers with no other thoughts. Had morning breakfast on the carpet grass lawn and idled the whole day away.

On the 3rd day we set off from the resort and headed towards the more upmarket resort which is 60km away. We decided to take the longer route to view the nature part of the island. Cycling along the east coast was beautiful until we have to turn inland where the killer uphill starts. Somewhere inland around the town Anculai, we decided to be more adventurous and took a northly off-road toward Bintan Resort. This route was not listed either on the my map or on the GPS, we arrived at a northern coastal small fishing village, Segiling. It was really beautiful and tranquil.

I wanted to camp over the fishing village but my partner had warned that we were short of water and ration supply. After consulting with the local villagers, they showed us an eastern short cut route towards the Bintan Lagoon Resort. It was the toughest short cut route we have ever taken and it was just 2km away from the resort. We met with soft beach sand that was so fine we could not even ride or walk properly over it. We ended pushing our bikes with all the gears for the next 2Km for 2 hours. Finally we arrived at Bintan Lagoon Resort just before 7pm.

Bintan Lagoon Resort was nice, they have golf course, swimming pools, 4 restaurants and for the price..... SGD140 a night!! We paid that much so we just went all out and relax, pampered ourselves with fine cuisine and drinks.  The next day we departed the resort, we took the in house coach and our bikes were taken care by the hotel management. They had delivered the bikes to the ferry terminal with no extra charges.

Overall the trip was fantastic, if we have another moment, we would do the same ride again. The cost for the ferries was around SGD100, lodging SGD200, food and drinks was around SGD50. Yeah I know.... it can be cheaper if not for the up market resort and our beers. Anyway for less than SGD400 for 4 days for 2, it worth every penny just to get away from the city.

I have been to Bintan many times, first time was with the Navy at Tg Pinang in early 90s. Those days you could still see antique cars roaming round the streets, it was very nostalgic. Since then we have been to more up market areas (North Bintan) for holidays. Till today my partner still prefers Nostaliga Yasin Bungalow Resort against Bintan Lagoon Resort. Guess she prefers simplicity and not luxury. 

If you plan to do the same trip and cost less, stay in Nostaliga Yasin Bungalow Resort then ride to Segiling Fishing Village and camp there but do prepare your ration. From Segiling head to Bintan Lagoon Resort and ride west till ferry terminal, my guess is another 6 to 8Km. Our total biking distance 98Km was only to Bintan Lagoon Resort. 

Bar and Resturant

Our room

taking a break from the uphill stretch 

Kampung simple

Segiling fishing village

Segiling fishing village

after this path, up at the horizon is sand of death to Bintan Lagoon Resort

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