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In this period of vengeance travel, numerous are consumed with flying to far flung locations. As Karen Tee finds, there is likewise happiness in returning to familiar favourites amongst Singaporeans, like the beach location of Bintan, for much shorter weekend vacations.

vacation Why you should not forget Bintan's trendy resorts and sparkly fireflies if you're making vengeance travel prepares

Unwinding in a good beachfront vacation home at a resort and having an experience checking out the mangroves– no issue doing both in Bintan as author Karen Tee discovers. (Photo: The Residence Bintan, Karen Tee)

14 Jan 2023 07:06 AM
(Updated: 14 Jan 2023 07:28 AM)

I am poking around a damp market, peering at all way of fresh catch, from the little however delicious ikan kuning to the bigger talang or double spotted queenfish, which I at first error for tuna. A street feline saunters by, plainly concentrated on scavenging scraps.

A fishmonger raises a mallet over his head to deal a fast blow to a fish somebody has actually picked for their next meal. Afraid meat-eater that I am, I flinch and turn away, however not quickly adequate to prevent experiencing his death strike from the corner of my eye.

Despite the fact that it has actually been years given that I last checked out a damp market, choosing to get my groceries provided to my doorstep, there is a sense of familiarity as I breathe in the tang of salt water and observe the bustle of activity at the Barek Motor Fish Market in Bintan. It advises me of the times when I utilized to accompany with my granny to the damp market as a kid.

Friendly Indonesians making otak-otak at one of the stalls at the Barek Motor fish market in Kijang in Bintan. (Photo: Karen Tee)

Here in Bintan for a fast trip with my partner, I figured it would be the best chance for a walk down memory lane while delighting in the easier life.


Over the previous year, we too had actually been captured up in “vengeance travel” to different remote locations. For a spur-of-the-moment , the strategy was to take it simple by returning to this familiar island location, as it is simply a breezy one-hour ferryboat trip from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

Like numerous, we utilized to invest the majority of our previous journeys ensconced in our resort. This time, we solved to leave the vacation bubble– a minimum of for a little while. One lazy early morning, we headed to the little town of Kijang in the southeast corner of the Indonesian island, about a 20 minute drive from our , The Residence Bintan.

The shop brand name, which likewise has 2 homes in the Maldives, is the only first-class resort in its area, making this neck of the woods especially brimming with traditional appeal.

After the fish market, we cross the roadway to a similarly dynamic spice and veggie market where I identify newly fermenting tempeh, something that is significantly difficult to hound in Singapore. I follow the envigorating whiff of newly ground herbs and spices to find stalls packed with containers of newly combined shallots, ginger and chilli, prepared to be blended into a rempah or spice mix for curries and all way of Southeast Asian cooking.

Newly ground spices all set to be blended into rempah. (Photo: Karen Tee)

Regretfully, I have no access to a kitchen area on holiday however the identified shopaholic in me does stockpile on a selection of dried spices consisting of nutmegs, candlenut and cinnamon that I can quickly bring house. (Tip: For those thinking about tasting the regional fruit and vegetables, The Residence Bintan carries out cooking classes that begin with a see to these 2 markets.)

Still, my tastebuds are satisfied with a pitstop at Otak-otak Sei Enam, among numerous stalls in this location that offer this delicious treat– a sort of home market spilling over from the fishing market. A female is hectic packing the distinct orange toned seafood, coconut and spice paste into banana leaves prior to they are grilled over a charcoal fire. Made with very little filler components, we savour our fish and squid otak, feasting on the majority of it even prior to we return to the hotel.


We had actually selected The Residence Bintan to enjoy its privacy far from the more industrialized Lagoi location, where the majority of the trendy resorts lie. After hours, it is an advantage the dining establishment’s restaurants provide outstanding genuine fare. Do not miss out on the intense sambal plate at Indonesian dining establishment Rica or the superb tauhu tulur (fried egg and tofu) at the primary dining-room.

While there are 127 suites and vacation homes, the resort seldom feels overcrowded as the structures are kindly spread out throughout stretching website, even when it is close to capability like when we existed. There is even area for an onsite garden along with chicken and bunny cages, which are not remarkably a big hit amongst visitors of any ages, specifically throughout feeding time.

“To be sincere, we were captured by surprise by the rise in need amongst tourists when ferryboat services resumed,” stated basic supervisor Rajeev Paul, keeping in mind that the ferryboat in between Singapore and Bintan was considerably minimized throughout the pandemic.

“And possibly since many individuals have actually been restricted in their houses throughout the pandemic, now they actually wish to go out. They are asking for lots of activities, trips and personal suppers,” he included.

The Residence Bintan’s beach and watersports location. (Photo: The Residence Bintan)

The hotel remained open throughout the pandemic by using staycations to residents and this financial investment reveals. While much of the hospitality market has actually been hard struck by labour lacks due to COVID-19, the group here runs like a well-oiled device. The genuine test comes when the monsoon season ends in February and much more visitors from Singapore are anticipated to check out Bintan.

To accommodate this new age of vengeance visitors, the resort provides an entire host of activities consisting of watersports and snorkeling, it can likewise schedule island hopping expeditions, fishing expedition and land trips to regional landmarks, with schedules prepared based upon the personnel’s own expeditions throughout the pandemic.

Health club treatment with a view. (Photo: The Residence Bintan)

Still, my willpower to go out more is sorely checked at the rustic trendy garden medspa, where the Traditional Healer session– that includes an indulgent head and body massage and a calming body cover– lulls me into a deep state of relaxation. By the time my therapist prepares my organic bath, aromatic with fresh components consisting of citronella, lime and flowers, all I desire is to lounge my day away.

I pull away to my beachfront vacation home, which can be finest explained as using Robinson Crusoe desert island vibes with a dash of high-end as it come with a personal infinity swimming pool ignoring the South China Sea. Plus, there is likewise the choice to buy the undoubtedly unwise however extremely Instagram-friendly drifting breakfast simply for the enjoyable of it.

Having a drifting breakfast even if you can. (Photo: Karen Tee)


A brief rest in the sluggish harmony of this almost personal beach suffices to awaken me from stupor and I navigate a boat rode through a mangrove river. This environment is typically extremely misconstrued as being “filthy” however in real truth, these plants are an important part of the marine environment as they assist to avoid soil disintegration, secure versus storm rises and filter contaminants from the water.

Author Karen Tee expoloring Bintan’s mangroves, aka, it’s extremely own “Amazon forest”. (Photo: Karen Tee)

Our guide masterfully manoeuvres our boat down a narrow passage and all of a sudden, we are in a tranquil channel surrounded by remarkable mangroves, their roots poking out of the water and a leafy canopy overhead. “Welcome to Bintan’s Amazon!” he states. It is our hint to get our cams out for a picture-perfect breeze.

Fishing boats along with mangroves in Bintan. (Photo: Karen Tee)

The genuine surprise though, follows the sun sets. As our eyes get accustomed to the dark, we unexpectedly area small lights sweeping with dignity amongst the mangrove trees. It ends up that fireflies are drawn to mangroves, too. We carefully capture a few of these sparkly bugs in a bottle to get a more detailed take a look at them. Not to fret, they are launched back to the wild right after.

Here on this tropical island, time appears to decrease and our boatman is content to let us remain amongst the fireflies. Like magic, our stress lines disappear, changed by unwinded smiles. Who understood such magic existed so near to house?

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