Bintan is a small Indonesian island that is about a 1 hour ferry ride away from Singapore.
About the ferry:
We purchased our ferry tickets on-line ahead of time, and took an Uber from our hotel to the ferry terminal. Others advised us to arrive at the ferry about 1 hour ahead of time on the way there. We got there a little earlier than that, and it worked out well. Most people checked their luggage prior to the ferry. We ended up just carrying our luggage on, and used the luggage section at the front of the ferry.
Once your ferry time is called, you can leave the main front lobby and head through security and immigration. Then there is a small area with seating where you wait to actually board the ferry. We couldn’t hear the announcements well, but if you keep track of time and watch boarding screens, it’s alright. We boarded the ferry, and before long were in Bintan. Once there, we also went through immigration and security before our hotel shuttle was waiting to pick people up.
We had a bit of a hiccup when it came to our hotel. I was super excited to be staying at the Nirwana Beach Club which was boasted as being a “rustic beachfront hideaway” We got dropped off there, and it was really cute, and exactly what I was hoping for (at least from what I saw on the outside of the resort). However when we tried to check in… we were told our reservation was at the Nirwana Resort Hotel instead (even though our paperwork stated otherwise).
The Beach Club was fully booked that night, so we had no choice but to go to the other location. I’m not sure where the error was, as we had booked through a 3rd party. Don’t get me wrong, we still had a great time, and enjoyed the accommodations we ended up with BUT, I would say that if you’re especially excited about a specific hotel or booking of some sort, booking directly through their actual website would reduce the chances of some sort of glitch in plans.
The hotel offered a wide range of activities. But be sure to go in and book them early! We got into the hotel several hours before check-in, and when we looked into activities (11am ish?) all the water activities, and spa sessions were fully booked that day. So, we made sure to book our snorkel trip for the next day right away. The first day we ended up going to the Elephant and Culture Show, and wandered around the resort areas. There was a bowling alley, some gift shops, the spa, archery range, water sport rentals, a mini zoo, and much more.
We got to the resort before we could check in, and had to check out early due to our snorkel trip running longer than check out time. The resort was excellent in allowing people to check their luggage in instances like this. After we checked out too, they helped us get our ferry tickets printed for the return trip, and told us which hotel shuttle to take to have enough time. When our shuttle arrived, they moved our luggage to the shuttle for us too. Very smooth process.
We had a great stay in Indonesia. Aside from some lost time resulting from the hotel reservation issue, everything was wonderful. I felt like we had enough time to do everything we really wanted to in our 30 hour visit. However, you certainly could stay another day or two and enjoy a more relaxing visit!