In 2005, I have decided to celebrate Christmas with my brother and his family in Singapore. And during this trip, we have planned to jump on a ferry to the nearby island of Bintan in Indonesia.
Bintan is one of the two Indonesian islands that are of close proximity to Singapore reachable by ferries. The other is Batam island. These two islands are frequently visited by Singaporeans for leisure and vacation.
And so, we scheduled an overnight stay at the Bintan Lodge within the cluster of Bintan Resorts. From Singapore, we took the ferry at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal near Changi Airport. We took the earliest trip to Bintan, which if my memory serves me right, took about an hour ride. And since we’re going out of Singapore, we had to pass through immigration from Singapore, and as we arrive in Bintan also.
On our arrival to the Ferry Terminal in Bintan, we pass through immigration and was picked up by Bintan Lodge. Bintan Lodge offers the cheapest accommodation within the resort area. This is because it is not located on the beach side and only offers hotel rooms. From the ferry it takes about 15 minutes to get to the hotel. Our room is big and is a suite type with its own living area.
The Bintan Resorts were developed by Singaporean businessmen and is located on the northern side of the Palau Bintan. These beachfront were developed by importing white sand. The island roads are developed like roads in Singapore where cars drive on the left. Also, Singapore Dollar is the main currency used.
And so after settling down, we headed to the Mana Mana Beach Resort to have our swim, a short drive north of the lodge. Mana Mana is a beautiful resort. It offers different water sport activities, but we just opted to take a swim for the day. After swimming, we took some time walking around the resort to some of its rocky terrain. Since it is not a natural beach (as we were told), the sand is quite packed and not loose like it is wet.
The next day, we opted to watch an elephant show near the resorts. I think it took about 15 minutes to drive to it. It was drizzling a bit that day that the ground has become wet but luckily the rain did not pour. And so the show began. The show started with a traditional Indonesian dance. And part of their routine was inviting the guests to join them in dancing while they adorned us with some traditional clothing. It was a good photo opp… hehehe…
After the dance came the elephants. There were 5 elephants during the show. They showed the different uses of the elephants, they made them stand on two legs, kneel, roll, and stand on logs. They also showed the elephants playing soccer. And as part of their interactive show, they’ve asked 2 guests to come over and join the elephants. My brother and a Japanese guest volunteered. In this segment, both of them were asked to lie on the ground while two elephants walk across them. It was a fun part of the show. Well the best part I think was the end of the show where we were able to take pictures with this beautiful animals and were allowed to feed them with bananas. Boy, their trunks are strong that they’d easily pull a banana from your hands.
It was a good short visit to Indonesia. Though we didn’t immerse ourselves to something Indonesian, the elephant show has made it much better.