Want to step up your Instagram game without travelling too far? Bintan Island is the answer. With the trip from Singapore to Bintan being just a stone’s throw, this destination is a game changer for both your social media and travel bug. Forget about the overhyped Bali attractions and head to the less crowded Bintan Island. Beyond the luxury golf course, it charms visitors with the enthralling landscape, cultural diversity and history, and wealth of wonderful things to do in Bintan. Ready to wow your friends on Instagram?

Most Instagrammable Places and Best Things to Do in Bintan

1) Sand Dunes at Gurun Pasir Bintan

Sand Dunes at Gurun Pasir BintanImage Credit /  Roy Fadli

Paint your Instagram profile with these extraordinary sand dunes, only an hour away from Singapore. Originally a mining site, Gurun Pasir Busung is many Instagrammers’ favourite amongst all the breathtaking Bintan attractions. The white-washed sand hills were a beautiful contrast to the blue sky and white fluffy clouds. It may be missing the camels and sweltering heat of the Sahara Desert, but the dunes still exude a dreamy Arabian night (except that you’ll probably visit it in the broad daylight). No signboard, no public transport, and low-key publicity do not deter tourists from going there. Rent a private car or a scooter to get around the city.

2) Danau Biru, Kawal (Blue Lake)

Danau Biru, Kawal in BintanImage Credit /  Roy Fadli

Bintan is well-known for its tropical beaches and the surreal blue lake is a serendipitous discovery at an old mining site. Surrounded by a Bintan beach rich with white sand dunes and lush greenery, Telaga Biru is under the radar. And what’s more, it’s absolutely free of charge! P.S. I’ve heard that it’s a pretty sweet spot for wedding photos too!

3Seaplane Experience with Air Adventures Flying Club

Seaplane Experience with Air Adventures Flying Club in BintanImage Credit /  Glen Lim

Bored of the usual Bintan resorts, beaches and terrains? How about hopping onto a seaplane, aka ‘flying boat’? Unlike the usual passenger plane, a seaplane takes off from the water. With the seaplane, you can soar to greater heights and reward yourself with a bird’s eye view of Bintan beaches and its amazing landscapes. It’s one of the best things to do in Bintan if you want to really take in the views from a new height.

A seaplane in BintanImage Credit /  Glen Lim

4) 500 Lohan Temple

500 Lohan Temple in BintanImage Credit /  Paul Tan

One of the distinct features of the Vihara Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, also known as the 500 Lohan Temple, is its Chinese-influenced architecture — roofs with upturned corners, pagoda and carved beams. Walk to the back fo the temple and discover more than 500 life-sized statues with intricate facial expressions clothes. You can even find several popular Chinese characters such as Guan Gong from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Tripitaka from the Journey to the West. Another Insta-worthy location for you and your BFFs to soak in during your Bintan getaway!

Statues at 500 Lohan Temple in BintanImage Credit /  Paul Tan

However, the highlight for 500 Lohan Temple is the ancient sculptures and the 500 Lohan statues that are deposited neatly one to another over the edge of the garden. It’s scenic, majestic and I am sure you’re going to burst your photo album by taking beautiful shots here. Otherwise, maze around the compound and you’ll definitely find something that sparks your interest.

5) Mangrove Discovery Adventure

Mangrove Discovery Adventure, Bintanimage Credit / Susan N.

Nature lovers won’t be sure of things to do in Bintan. Sign up for the Mangrove Discovery Tour to experience the island’s natural beauty. You can choose either the day or the night tour — each showcases different sides of Bintan. During the day tour, you can explore the mangrove area where there are plenty of kingfishers and wooden kelongs. At night, the atmosphere turns romantic as fireflies dimly lighting up the forest.

6) Sign up at a Bintan Golf Course

Birdseye view of Bintan Golf Course Image Credit /  Allan Lim

Bintan is often called a golfer paradise, thanks to its stunning natural landscape that sets Bintan golf courses apart from others in the region. Bintan is so welcoming to golf professionals and rookies alike. Just head to the popular Ria Bintan Resort and Golf Club to start your golf training. Ria Bintan Resort has two courses: Ocean Course that overlooks the South China Sea and Forest Course that comes with a lake and lots of trees. Don’t miss a chance to capture the mesmerising view of the golf course.

7) Ancient Red Brick Igloos

Ancient Red Brick Igloos in BintanImage Credit /  Irma Jacob

Have you ever seen a red igloo? Most likely not unless you have been to Bintan’s ancient charcoal kiln, also known as Rumah Arang. The Sea Gypsies built these red brick igloo-shaped kilns to produce charcoal using mangrove woods. The number of kilns in Bintan has dropped to only 2 right now ever since the Indonesian government banned the burning of mangrove woods.

8. White Sands Island (Tanjung Pinang)

White Sand Island in BintanImage Credit /  Mei Yee

Of all the beaches in Bintan, my favourite is White Sands Island, a secluded private white sand island. White Sands Island boasts crystal blue water, making it a good site for snorkelling and scuba diving. You can also go for kayaking or kite-skiing if you prefer something more adventurous. Alternatively, bask in the sun with a book and cold fresh fruit juice. Stay on the beach until sunset to capture the scenic view while enjoying dinner!

A tent on White Sands Island, BintanImage Credit /  Mei Yee

9. Glamping at The Canopi

Birdseye view of The Canopi, BintanGlamping tent at The Canopi, Bintan

Unlike the typical Bintan luxury resort occupying a high-storey building, The Canopi offers guests a different experience: glamping. Stay in one of their luxurious tents, furnished with elegant furniture, private mini pool and outdoor sofa to lounge. Beyond your room, The Canopi offers plenty of great Bintan activities such as water paddling, “flying” using water jetpack and ATV riding — you won’t be bored staying here, and pretty sure, your Instagram followers won’t be bored with your photos and videos too!

Interior of a glamping tent at The Canopi, Bintan

10. Catch a Sunset on Calypso Floating Bar

Sunset at Calypso Floating Bar, BintanImage Credit /  Luke Robinson

No sunset is quite as scenic as the one here at Calypso Floating Bar. Located right in the middle of the sea, Calypso Floating Bar soothes guests with its laid-back soft reggae music and chilling breeze. You can get an unobstructed view of the sunset while sipping on a cocktail. The romantic ambience at night makes Calypso Floating Bar a perfect hang-out place for any couples.

Calypso Floating Bar in BintanImage Credit /  Luke Robinson

Overall

Bintan Island is not only a budget weekend getaway destination for Singaporean but also an Insta-worthy one. Get your camera and outfit ready for your upcoming trip to Bintan!