Riau Islands : Bintan : Bintan Resorts
Bintan Resorts refers generally to the area on the entire northern coast of the Indonesian Island of Bintan. It is commonly misunderstood as a colony of Singapore because of its higher standards in infrastructures, utilities and security. Very much a family-oriented destination, there are currently five independently owned and operated beach resorts, four designer golf courses as well as a range of recreational facilities and attractions located within it. Most tourists come for its serene characteristic, where they can laze by the beach, enjoy spa, play golf and dabble in watersports. The area is separated from the rest of Bintan by thick forests and checkpoints.
Bahasa Indonesia and English are widely understood. However, if you plan to rent a car to visit towns outside the resort area, bring along your Bahasa Indonesia Phrase Book because the drivers' command of English can be limited.
Bintan has a small domestic airport and three international seaports. However, most travellers to Bintan Resorts arrive at Bandar Bentan Telani (BBT) at the western tip of the Bintan Resorts from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) in Singapore. The trip takes about 45 minutes and ticket can be booked at Bintan Resort Ferries  or as part of a room package.
Visitors form other parts of Indonesia may either fly to Hang Nadim airport in Batam and take 25-minute boat rude to BBT or to Raja Haji Fisabillilah in Kijang and drive for 1.5 hours. In the future, the traveling time will be shortened with the new Bintan International Airport, a 30-minute drive from Bintan Resorts, scheduled to open in 2015.
Visitors from ASEAN countries, Chile, Ecuador, Morocco, Hongkong, Macau and Peru do not require visa to enter Indonesia. Visa on arrival (VOA) can be obtained at BBT or onboard of ferry if you are on Emerald Class for the citizens of Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Panama, People's Republic of China, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Timor Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America
7-day VOA costs USD10 and 30-day USD25. USD and SGD currencies are accepted but not credit cards. It is worth obtaining USD notes for VOA payment before you leave the Singapore side.
Currently, the most convenient and affordable way is by taking a holiday package that include hotel transfer. The limited means to get around Bintan Resorts and the nearby towns push up the price of vehicle rental.
As a destination, Bintan Resorts is rather artificial with its manicured landscape. Still, the beaches are beautiful with white sands and most of the resorts are built to a high standard.
However, do not solely devote your entire vacation to the beach and golf. You can book various eco-tours by contacting [email protected] The PATA Gold Winner's Mangrove Tour and Firefly Night Tour are the most attractive choices. A day pass with unlimited rides from your resort to Pasar Oleh-Oleh at Kota Sebung costs SGD3 for child and SGD5 for adult. Massage and meal here are more affordable than at the Resorts.
If you stay longer than 3 days, visit the town areas of Bintan Island especially Tanjung Pinang 2-hours drive from Lagoi to savor a taste of the local lifestyle and enjoy cheap shopping and tasty local fare. Another interesting place is Sawah Ladang Bintan , an organic farm where you may spot some species of birds, snakes, mouse deers and monkeys.
Golf is popular, with several excellent golf courses charging much lower prices than in neighboring Singapore. Watersports of all sorts are also popular, although the scuba diving here is lacklustre due to the poor visibility.
Note that during the northeast monsoon (November until March), there is usually quite a bit of wave action on the beach. This is good for surfing and bodyboarding, but not good for most anything else. The north facing beach break at the resort Mayang Sari, even with fresh onshore winds in April, does not generate more than 1 to 1.5 foot waves. The waves tend to close out, however it is a good beach for children on boogie boards or surfmats. Small jellyfish may be found.
Spas are increasing in number and quality in Pasar Oleh Oleh, with prices a little below that in Singapore.
In Bintan Resorts, both Singapore Dollars and Indonesian Rupiahs are accepted. At most F&B establishments, prices in the menu have not included 10% tax and 10% service charge.
In the hotels is nearly every food available. This reaches from the traditional Indonesian food over the usual European food to some Sushi-Bars. Expect Singapore prices, given that they have a captive market.
Bintan Resorts' nightlife is limited to hotel bars.
The Nirwana Gardens Bintan Resort  (contact: +62-770-692505, bookings: +65-6323-6636) consists of five accommodation choices:
The Banyan Tree Group operates two high-end hotels, which share a private beach, and charge in US rather than Singapore dollars:
Bintan Resorts' serious crime rate is zero. The Tourism Police and Navy of Indonesia have an office at Kota Sebung. Tap water is drinkable - with source from its huge reservoir processed by water treatment plant to achieve WHO standards.
In addition to the new pipeline at the existing resorts, two upcoming areas called Lagoi Bay  and Treasure Bay  will have new hotels, attractions (cable ski, tree-top walks, motorsport, crystal lagoon) and transportation methods (seaplane, yatch, etc).