Bintan Island is the largest of the Riau Islands in Indonesia, which are spread out from the Straits of Malacca all the way to the South China Sea. Bintan Island’s main attraction is its stretch of unimaginably white sandy beach and the crystal-clear waters that surround it. The resorts on Bintan Island inevitably revolve around this star attraction, with a variety of luxurious waterside retreats offering some stunning vistas out to sea.
Away from the picture-perfect beaches to the north of the island, the capital of the Riau province and the main port town of Tanjung Pinang offers a more authentic and local way of life. Situated along Bintan’s southwest coast, Tanjung Pinang has a busy harbour and features traditional houses built on stilts over the water. The huge wet market here is usually bustling with people and is a refreshingly local experience—a place where buyers jostle and bargain with sellers and the seafood is as fresh as it comes, including Bintan’s specialty, the “Gong Gong.”
Bintan Island is easily accessible by ferry. Tanjung Pinang is the main port for visitors coming from Singapore, which is just a 90-minute ferry ride away. Motorbike taxis are widely available for short trips between destinations in the town and other taxis can be arranged for longer trips to the resorts in the north of the island.