Bintan and Batam are long-time favourites of Singaporeans looking to get away for a little weekend getaway. It’s largely due to their proximity — you can hop on a ferry from Singapore to Bintan and Batam, and be there in under 2-3 hours including waiting time. But they’re not just great because it’s easy, both islands are actually good fun!
The favourite thing to do really is just to chill out at the resorts and explore all the on-site amenities, like waterslide pools, golf courses, karaoke and buffets. That’ll have you very relaxed for sure. There’s more fun things to do in Bintan and Batam though. Here’s what else you can explore and make a fun weekend getaway.
Batam: A Little Bit of Something for Everyone
CC 2.0 / Wikipedia
Batam has a fair diversity of attractions to keep everyone happy. Whether you’re in the mood for exploration – from undertaking a snorkeling adventure, to browsing the shops for bargain finds – or just want to sit back and relax in your resort.
Avid snorkelers will relish the incredible underwater experience that the crystal clear waters of Abang Island offers. The shallow waters here, containing colourful coral reefs home to diverse sea creatures, are ideal for snorkeling. Travelling to Abang Island from central Batam takes about three hours, starting with drive to Galang Island across the iconic Barelang Bridge, followed by a boat transfer from the port to Abang Island.
The Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple is a must-see site for culture lovers. Soak up the temple’s serene vibes, take in the sight of the Buddha statues placed within the complex and out on the grounds, and stop by to lunch on wholesome vegetarian fare at the on-site restaurant.
And if you’re travelling with your little ones in tow, take them out on a fun-filled adventure at the Ocarina Park or go jetskiing and banana boating at the Waterfront City Marina.
Where to stay in Batam
The beautiful Montigo Resorts Nongsa is worth a splurge. Lounge comfortably in your villa all day, enjoy direct beach access, play a round of tennis at the outdoor court or relax with a beauty ritual at the full-service spa.
The same can be said of HARRIS Resort Waterfront Batam, where you’ll find amenities like a large freeform pool, health club, full-service spa, bar and a variety of restaurants. Harris Café, with views out to the resort’s sun-soaked pool, is a favourite dining venue among guests.
There are plenty of comfortable and budget-friendly options on the island too. The BCC Hotel Residence features well-appointed rooms, a restaurant, outdoor pool, fitness centre and spa tub, while Swiss-Inn Batam offers a fitness centre, bar, café and spa services. The latter is also located within close proximity to attractions like Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall and the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple.
Getting from Singapore to Batam
Ferries departing from the Harbourfront Ferry Terminal head towards Batam Centre, Sekupang, Harbour Bay, and Waterfront City (Teluk Senimba). Ferries from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal take you to Batam’s Nongsapura.
Two-way tickets cost approximately $50 for adults and $46 for a child.
Travelling time is about 45-70 minutes each way.
Bintan Island: A Sea Sports Lover’s Paradise
CC 2.0 / MalizOng
Bintan Island ranks alongside Batam as a well-loved escape for the weekend. Sea sports lovers will appreciate having plentiful options to choose from during their stay – will it be kayaking, banana boating, diving, snorkeling or kiteboarding? All water activities are associated to the resorts, so check in with the staff regarding equipment rental or lessons.
Bintan is also a very family-friendly destination with plenty of resorts that the whole family can enjoy. It’s common for Singaporeans to book a villa and invite extended family along to have a nice big family holiday together. Without flights, a weekend getawy to Bintan makes it easy to travel as a big group including grandparents and tiny tots. Resorts are well-equiped to keep you entertained — large pools, kids clubs, golf courses, karaoke and the buffets! So pick a good one and kick back. CC 2.0 / Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten
Things to do in Bintan
First-timers to Bintan will enjoy taking in the island’s picturesque scenery via a boat ride. Departing from Tanjung Pinang Harbour, the ride will take you across the waters to the village of Senggarang, where you’ll find traditional silted houses and an ancient Buddhist temple. Continue up further along the Ulas River, passing by emerald mangrove forests to the mystical Snake River temple.CC 3.0 / Slleong / Senggarang Village
Or embark on an island-hopping adventure towards Penyengat. Boats departing from the pier of Jalan Pos will take you towards Penyengat Island, and once here, you may choose between exploring the island by foot, or cruising around on a tricycle. The ruins of the palace and Sultan Mosque are worth seeing, as are the century-old Dutch cannons and panoramic views across the harbour from Kursi Hill.
After spending the day out exploring Bintan, you’re bound to be ravenous. Makan time! And that’s when it’s perfect to stop by at Jalan Haji Agus Salim, an after-sunset open-air food market to sample the variety of local delicacies available.
Where to stay in Bintan
An unforgettable stay awaits at Holiday Villa Pantai Indah. With luxurious interiors, a full-service spa, private beach and on-site restaurant, you’ll be tempted into staying in throughout your vacation.Holiday Villa Pantai Indah
But if you’d prefer to save on accommodation, Serumpun Padi Emas Resort offers a comfortable and affordable option. This beachfront resort, equipped with barbecue amenities and child-friendly facilities like a playground makes a great bet for families.
Nirwana Resort Hotel, with its freeform infinity pool, on-site restaurants, full-service spa, children’s club and babysitting services is ideal for accommodating families with young children too.
Guests can enjoy the resort’s freeform infinity pool overlooking the sea. Several restaurants and bars, as well as a full-service spa, are also on site.
Getting from Singapore to Bintan Island
CC 2.0 / Karen
Passenger ports are dotted across the island, and the port of Tanjung Pinang is where travellers usually arrive at. Ferries depart from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal towards this port, and prices for two-way tickets are about $50 – $59. The ferry ride lasts a duration of about one and a half hours. The second option is to arrive at Bintan Resorts (Lagoi) via a 45-minute ferry ride.
Whichever option you go for, do remember to confirm your return ticket upon arrival at the offices of the ferry operators, as the ferries departing towards Singapore are often fully booked.
Enjoy your weekend getaway!
Feature Image: CC 3.0 / Marcvanloo