The Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan are set to welcome tourists again. And for those looking to plan a retreat there, our guide, with the best stays, is all you need! By Eesha Kulkarni
Batam and Bintan islands in Indonesia will resume tourist activities and welcome back leisure travellers from Singapore to their pristine seashores. As per the ferry operators that arrange trips from Batam and Bintan, a stream of inquiries have been flooding in since the past week, owing to the country’s announcement that travel bubbles between Singapore and these islands will resume.
Visitors from Singapore have been permitted to travel quarantine-free to Batam’s Nongsapura Ferry Terminal and Bintan’s Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, thanks to the travel bubble agreement.
Travellers should present a negative COVID-19 test report and should be fully vaccinated before their arrival. They must stay in Singapore for a minimum of 14 days prior to that.
There are plans to introduce daily or twice-daily ferry trips to Batam — up from its current schedule of one trip every two days.
Batam and Bintan: The port hubs of Indonesia
A secret paradise with sparkling, white sandy beaches and mouth-watering culinary delights, Batam and Bintan Islands are just a stone’s throw away from Singapore.
For a quick weekend getaway from Singapore, visit the province of Kepulauan Riau, which in English translates to ‘Riau Islands’ or ‘Riau Archipelago’, which is home to the beautiful islands of Batam and Bintan. With convenient access from both Singapore and Malaysia for day trips and weekend stays, the Riau Islands house many wonders for you to experience.
Things to look forward to in Batam and Bintan
Tourists and locals alike from Singapore enjoy visiting Batam because it serves as a wonderful getaway for family and friends who would like to try adventure activities, affordable fresh seafood, shop and pamper themselves with inexpensive spa and massages.
One of the best spots for shopping in Batam is the Nagoya Hill Mall where you can buy local food products like the popular kueh lapis (Indonesian layer cake) and Indomie (instant noodles). You can also shop for sports equipment, especially for golf, as it is a destination with internationally acclaimed golf courses. Nature enthusiasts could motorbike through the scenic northern coast, sandwiched between lush green forests and a sweeping seafront.
Visit the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple, famous for its many laughing Buddha statues in various sizes and costumes surrounding the temple. Lastly, you can go off the beaten path and marvel at the Barelang Bridge to experience a more realistic local culture, consisting of street hawkers and locals aloof from the tourists thronging the place. Be sure to enjoy a quiet meal at their authentic, old seafood restaurants with dishes at dirt cheap prices. You can also explore the coastal backwaters to delve deeper into Batam’s past.
Rich in cultural and historical stories, Bintan Island is a part of the Riau Archipelago in the South China Sea, a perfect escape for visitors from Singapore with its array of activities to indulge in. A picturesque 45-minute ferry ride will transport you to an oasis of white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue seas, delicious Indonesian cuisine and loads of fun outdoor activities.
There are plenty of things to do in Bintan, like immersing yourself in history and culture at the Senggarang Village, their first Chinese establishment. With its strategic placement on the Indo-China trade route, the quaint village is a boiling pot of diverse styles of architecture. Since it’s an open community, the doors of most houses are left ajar, which allows you to sneak a peek into the lives of the local people. While taking a walk along the charming village, you’ll spot many temples, Banyan Tree Temple being one of the most interesting ones, as the massive structure, built way back in 1811, is enveloped in the massive branches and roots of ancient trees.
Lastly, you can grab the best shopping bargains in the cosy town of Tanjung Pinang, play golf at resorts and clubs, de-stress by indulging in spas and massages, eat fresh and highly affordable seafood/local food, interact with gentle giants at the Bintan Elephant Park, or sunbathe and take a dip in the clear blue sea at Trikora Beach.
Where to stay?
To make your stay at the Batam and Bintan Islands even more memorable, there are several high-end, luxurious accommodations for you to choose from. These beachfront resorts and hotels offer rustic charms coupled with modern amenities and tailor-made services guaranteed to help you unwind.
Offering gorgeous pool-side villas with panoramic sea views, 24-hour butler services, water sports, internationally acclaimed golf courses as well as vibrant and delicious meals from fine-dining restaurants, these luxury resorts in Batam and Bintan have it all.
Here are some of the most gorgeous luxury resorts and hotels in Batam and Bintan you can book
If you want the celebrity experience with premium world-class services when you visit Batam, head on to Radisson Golf & Convention Center Batam. Located approximately five kilometres from the Batam Center ferry station, the resort is a perfect home base and easily accessible to the island and its activities.
When here, you can avail their complimentary airport and shuttle services to visit nearby shopping centres, explore the island’s natural beauty or go snorkelling.
Featuring a restaurant and an all-year-round open outdoor pool, Radisson Golf & Convention Center Batam is a great choice for travellers looking to relax. Additionally, the gorgeous hotel overlooks Padang Golf Sukajadi, providing stunning views from your hotel room and convenient access to a game of golf. Free toiletries, a hairdryer, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a 24-hour room service are provided in all the spacious hotel rooms.
The amenities here include a children’s pool, a kids’ club, a babysitting service to take the load off parents and the Zoysia Spa for a calming massage treatment coupled with outdoor and indoor pools as well as a hot tub.
Here for work? The business centre offers you ample space for a much-needed workation or spaces where you can convene business meetings.
Specialising in Indonesian and Western cuisine, the Bite Restaurant offers mouth-watering options all day. If you want to laze around and sunbathe next to a gorgeous infinity pool, head to Pool Bar for its cocktail hour.
Immerse yourself in one of the best luxury services at the five-star Batam Marriott Hotel Harbour Bay through their premium and high-tech amenities.
Hugging the scenic Harbour Bay, the luxury resort is conveniently located near some of the island’s top attractions, with direct access to the ferry terminal.
You can unwind at their chic restaurants, bars or rooftop lounge before or after a good workout session at their 24-hour gym and fitness centre that offers stunning waterfront views.
After a tiring day of touring Batam, you can sink into the huge king-size beds with high-quality bed linens and soak in the sunset views from your hotel room window. Batam Marriott Hotel Harbour Bay provides 24-hour room service to make your stay even more seamless.
Enjoy delicious dishes at the Goji Kitchen and Bar, which is an open-kitchen all-day restaurant, and serves authentic Batam dishes along with popular Western dishes, including Parrilla-grilled meats and fresh seafood.
Montigo Resort Nongsa is located in Nongsa on the northeastern coast of Batam. While the resort is conveniently situated at a five-minute drive from the Nongsapura Ferry Terminal, it would take visitors 30 minutes from Hang Nadim International Airport and 45 minutes from the Nagoya City Centre to reach. Additionally, visitors can also avail free pickup services from Nongsapura to the resort.
Comprising luxurious, modern villas, with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a private beach area, the Montigo Resort Nongsa boasts several restaurants and an exciting beach club that offers pool and sea views. Free WiFi access is available in all corners of the resort.
Blending sleek, minimalist furnishing with sophisticated dark wood, the villas offer breathtaking panoramic sea views and come with a flat-screen TV, an iPod dock, and a roof terrace that will give you Santorini vibes. A fully functional kitchen and a private bathroom with a complete list of amenities are provided in all the villas.
You can indulge in soothing massages at the spa, play tennis or enjoy an evening with barbecue facilities. You can enjoy delicious and hearty meals at TADD’s that serves Asian and Western specialities, drink by the pool at Tiigo Beach Club, and relish a slice of cake accompanied by a cup of coffee at Café Montigo.
Boasting sweeping views of the sea, HARRIS Resort Barelang Batam in Airnanti features a private beach area and plush other amenities, including outdoor swimming pools, a fitness centre, a juice bar, a kids’ club, an infinity swimming pool, a bay house, private white sand beaches, jogging and cycling tracks and business centre.
The rooms of this resort are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a large private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries. Some hotel rooms have an attached terrace overlooking the pool or the sea, which you can easily upgrade to by making a booking well in advance.
If you are travelling with children but also want to destress at the rejuvenating spa centre, feel free to leave the little ones at the children’s playground.
When it comes to the culinary experience and signature dishes, indulge your taste buds with mouth-watering meals cooked in front of you.
You can begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the HARRIS Cafe or enjoy freshly pressed juices as a breather from all your island activities at the Juice Bar. For a fun afternoon with your kids, head to the 20 Feet Snack Bar located right next to the kid’s pool.
Before retiring for the day, you can visit the Rocksalt Beach Club for an intimate dinner by the seashore or a raging barbeque party with friends and family — whatever floats your boat.
Located in Lagoi Bay, northern Bintan Island, which is the largest island in the Riau Archipelago Indonesia, the exclusive beach resort is a perfect place to enjoy and unwind. Spread across 14 hectares, the sprawling campus of the deluxe Holiday Villa Pantai Indah Bintan offers breathtaking seaside views, which makes it suitable for vacationers, honeymooners and adventure enthusiasts.
This private and tranquil resort houses 99 luxurious pool villas, boasting exquisite decor with influences of traditional Balinese architecture and contemporary design.
You can relax at the resort’s spa centre, or enjoy delectable dishes at The Legenda Cafe, where Asian and Indonesian dishes are served. The resort also offers many activities, such as golfing and cycling, which you can sign up for.
Situated close to the Hang Nadim Airport in Batam and the Raja Fisabilillah Airport near Tanjung Pinang, Holiday Villa Pantai Indah can be reached in approximately 90 minutes.
The Residence Bintan is dotted with charming villas along the seashore, exuding modern amenities. Covering 70 hectares of land created for profound comfort and luxurious experience, the five-star resort boasts a meshwork of a traditional Indonesian village charm and modern architecture.
While the famous British spa brand, ila, will help you reset your mind, body and soul with its soothing rituals, those in search of an adrenaline rush can opt for water sports or explore the island’s exotic natural and cultural treasures.
The Kakatu Kids Club offers activities for young guests like treasure hunts, cooking classes, playtime in the pool and on the beach.
You can satisfy your taste palettes and enjoy stunning views at the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, The Dining Room, which specialises in Asian and Western cuisine. Or, savour authentic Indonesian meals made from locally sourced fresh ingredients at Rica Rica before lounging at the Pool Bar for an incredible sunset view, accompanied by a platter of delectable snacks and appetisers.
Located in Nirvana Gardens, Indra Maya Pool Villas can be reached within a minute on foot from the Lagoi Bay Beach. Spread across the sprawling 33-hectare Nirwana Gardens coastal resort, these bright, airy understated villas are 4.7 km away from Laguna Bintan Golf Club and 10 km from Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal. Offering luxurious and modern villas with a private entrance and a private pool, the resort also has massage services and a 24-hour front desk, along with free Wi-Fi and free parking.
Exuding Indonesian, Thai and Chinese architecture, the villas offer enchanting views of the South China Sea. While the massive living rooms in the villas come with a flat-screen cable TV and DVD player, the kitchens are equipped with a stove, toaster and tea/coffee-making, allowing you to fix your own snacks to satiate late-night hunger pangs.
Try the culinary treats offered at The Kelong Restaurant where fresh seafood is served, while Neydles House offers a diverse range of noodle-based dishes that exude authentic regional flavours. You can head to Calypso Bar to relish delicious drinks.
Indra Maya Pool Villas is approximately an hour’s ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore and takes another hour’s drive to reach the destination. The resort provides free transfers from and to Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal.
Located on a beautiful beachfront, The Sanchaya is synonymous with luxury and comes equipped with a private beach area, a massive scenic outdoor pool, invigorating spa treatments, a restaurant for fine dining and a bar.
Blended with light and dark tones, the hotel rooms at The Sanchaya are designed with class and utmost comfort. Old and new styles of architecture and interior design create each suite and villa that comes with a high-end entertainment system, a selection of movies, an espresso machine and a large mini-bar.
An interesting arrangement at this resort is that its guests can choose from a specially curated list of the softest pillows. Additionally, you can pick a bottle of wine from the private wine cabinet. Stocked with premium bath products, the luxurious bathrooms have both bathtubs and showers. Select units also include a dining area and a well-equipped kitchen.
The 24-hour front desk has a concierge service that can help you with currency exchange, luggage storage, laundry requests, car hires, bicycle rentals, airport shuttles, and booking an indulgent massage treatment at The Sanchaya Spa. Complimentary daily morning yoga can also be availed.
The on-site All Day Dining Restaurant includes Asian and Western dishes to titillate your taste buds, while the Library & Bar serves light snacks and refreshing beverages. The resort has food menus, spanning varied cuisines, grand cocktails and an estate sommelier named the Decanter. Don’t miss the authentic meals served at their restaurants – Tasanee Thai Grill serving vibrant Bangkok street food inspired dishes and The Dining Room serving contemporary European and Indonesian delicacies amidst incredible pool and ocean views, followed by The Bar and Decanter, both offering a 24-hour in-villa dining experience.
This resort also offers a free return transfer service to the ferry terminal, which is a 10-minute drive away.
While the landscape around the Banyan Tree boasts lush green rainforests, diverse wildlife, hilly terrain, secluded white sand beaches and sparkling waters of the South China Sea, the beautifully designed villas here are built in traditional Balinese style of architecture, each perched on stilts along the hillsides.
Here, you can relax at the resort’s private beach, enjoy unforgettable fine-dining experiences and mouth-watering cuisines, wander in the undulating Laguna Golf Bintan championship course and get pampered at the acclaimed Banyan Tree Spa.
The resort also provides amenities like a 24-hour front desk, airport transfer, bicycle rental, car park, indoor swimming pool, on-site golf course, shuttle service and free Wi-Fi in all rooms.
Offering gastronomic culinary experiences, make sure to visit their restaurants — Treetops for genuine Indonesian food. You’ll find everything here, from gourmet meals to home-cooked comfort dishes.
While Saffron offers an award-winning dining experience and lip-smacking Thai food, The Cove is for those who are looking for a modern European experience, overlooking the sea.
Angsana Bintan is an exclusive private beachfront resort in Bintan. The 1.5-kilometre-long private beach is suitable for lounging or taking a lazy early morning stroll. The resort includes tropical rainforests, manicured Laguna golf course, and a place to play beach soccer.
Offering the best of both worlds, its rooms are designed with chic interiors and various plush amenities for city dwellers while offering breathtaking views of the South China Sea. Ideal for weekend escapades or business visits as well as families, friends and couples, Angsana Bintan boasts an array of rooms suitable for its visitors. You can also relax through massages and therapies at the Angsana Spa.
From casual meals to an exclusive destination-dining experience, the resort has a range of dining options. These include The Lotus cafe, serving an array of international dishes, Xana Beach Club for delicious cocktails and diverse palette of cuisines, and the Veranda Lobby Lounge to simply sit back and enjoy a casual meal with your friends and family.