Things to do in Singapore – Go to Bintan
Of course Bintan is not Singapore. But its so damn close that it felt like something only someone living in Singapore (or perhaps Malaysia) would go to. Otherwise, if you are travelling all the way to Indonesia, you might as well go to one of the more popular islands like Bali.
Bintan, and nearby Batam, feel like island resorts that have been built purely for the tourism dollar stemming from nearby Singapore. At only 45-60 minutes away by ferry, its a perfect weekend trip away for locals in highly urbanised Singapore. ‘Staycation’ was a new term i discovered after living here (roughly defined as a holiday at home, such as staying in a hotel in the city, or going to nearby batam/bintan).
One thing i had to keep reminding myself was to bring my Passport, as this was an international trip. That might seem trivial to some but for me, the idea of going overseas whilst not actually jumping onto a plane is very foreign indeed.
To get here, i took a Grab taxi to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in the east. You can buy your ferry tickets here from one of the private operators, or from Bintan Resort Ferries. Be sure to use the official website brf.com.sg and not one of the deal comparison sites like directferries.com, as ordering on the latter option does not guarantee you a seat. Book on the official site for an immediate and confirmed reservation. If you are going on a popular period like a long weekend be sure to book your tickets early. You want to maximise your time at these resorts.
We stayed at the Canopi for two nights. It was only meant to be a single night trip but we booked an extra night beforehand due to ferry availability. Wouldn’t recommend it because we had a dead 3 hour spot between checking out of one room, and into another.
The Canopi is known as a resort for ‘Glamping’ (again a new term learnt in Singapore) which is a combination of the words Glamorous and Camping. As expected, its high class camping where you stay in an air conditioned tent with all of the works (LCD TV, AC, shower and bathroom facilities, etc.)
Once you arrive by bus (The resorts will all pick you up from the ferry terminal after immigration), you will be dropped off to see this in front of you.
Imagine a huge swimming pool shaped like a lagoon. Its quite a sight, and you will no doubt either be taking photos, or seeing people take these types of shots:
We got there quite early, about 10:30AM, so we had 4 hours to kill before check-in. We basically lazed around after lunch on the deck chairs and went for a swim. The weather in the afternoon though was not in our favour.
The Rooms @ The Canopi Bintan
Once we were finally let into our rooms, we were really impressed with what we had. We stayed in the Deluxe Tent and the Garden Tent. The only real difference is that one had a Jacuzzi and the other didn’t. The photos should speak for itself.
Breakfast is included in the cost of the room. For each night you stay, they give you a voucher to use at Patio or this other place closer to the tents. Breakfast is a mix of things suited to Singaporeans, so expect fish ball soup, congee with condiments, eggs, as well as some western options.
The Food @ The Canopi Bintan
You are kind of stuck for options here. The main restaurant is a pub/bistro called The Patio, serving a mix of western and indonesian cuisine at a premium. The food is not that bad actually, but it does get repetitive. Pics below of nasi lemak, nasi goreng, onion rings, burger and fries, ayam bakar, and a coconut.
There are some other restaurants on the other side of the lagoon, but we didn’t get to try them. There is also some cheaper ‘hawker’ type stalls selling ayam penyet there as well but they seemed kinda dead.
Detouring to the final day, we did go out to Pujasera Food Centre, a local hawker centre. It wasn’t bad, but probably not worth the $10SGD it cost us to get driven there and back.
On the final night we did go for the room BBQ option. For around $50SGD they setup a BBQ for you with meats, satay, vegetables, and salads for you to grill. It is a bit different and fun to do, but a little pricey. We were that sick of the food at the “Patio”.
Overall, it was somewhere nice to go to without having to do any planning or thought. Sometimes you just need a nice weekend away to escape Singapore, and to laze around a pool and drink. There is actually quite alot to do on the resort in terms of water activities. But again, this was an incredibly lazy trip 🙂