Bintan Island: Sumatra, Indonesia

Situated 45 kilometres south east of Singapore, Bintan Island is the largest of the 3,200 islands in the Riau Islands group. Bintan is fast becoming a favoured destination for Singapore travellers and Indonesians alike.

Bintan is accessible via a 45-minute ride on a catamaran from Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and there are ferries to the southern part of Bintan Island. The southern part of the island is the real of Indonesian part and it is where you will find factories, laid-back fishing villages, numerous prostitutes, and some quite spectacular beaches.

The island is a massive drawcard for scuba divers mainly because it has large ecological areas and the sea life is abundant and stunningly beautiful. Throw in a good climate for most of the year and you have a little paradise on earth. Calm waters provide safety for those less experienced divers and snorkelling is a delight in the crystal clear waters. The best diving time is from April to October.

Accommodation choices are varied and there is a choice of upmarket and expensive hotels (mainly in the north of the island) right down to losmens and homestays but these are mainly found in the smaller fishing villages.

Local transport is at a minimum and getting around can be somewhat hard but there are private taxis that you can use to get from place to place but generally people get around by boat!. This is probably the best way to see the beautiful places on this island. Take into consideration that forests and sea surround most of these places and so really you have no choice but to take to the sea!.