When South Africans talk about a holiday in Asia, there is one firm favourite destination atop that list – Thailand. With its beautiful beaches, friendly people and a variety of activities for all travel types, it’s not hard to see why it’s so loved. But, there is another Asian destination that is quickly climbing the ranks of “best Asian holiday spot” among South Africans: Bintan Island, in Indonesia.

Bintan Island is a 10-hour flight from South Africa (direct to Singapore) and then a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore. It may very well be Asia’s best-kept secret. With astounding raw natural beauty and endless ways to rejuvenate the body and soul, Bintan Island could confidently compete with Bali in terms of being the ultimate wellness retreat. 

Olivier Hannaert, MD of Club Med Southern Africa, notes that Bintan Island is one of Club Med’s top selling destinations. “Bintan Island is truly a unique paradise with so much to offer couples, friends and families. The island is renowned as a wellness destination and provides refreshment to the minds and bodies of travellers who visit the island. But that’s not where it ends. At Club Med’s Bintan Island resort, travellers can: treat themselves to a magnificent spa perched atop the rock; try their hand at the flying trapeze which overlooks the sea (this is a big attraction for families with small children); enjoy yoga on a private beach and indulge in a game of golf at Ria Bintan – voted one of the best golf courses in South East Asia – with panoramic ocean views and greens atop magnificent cliffs. With so many water and land sports options, plus artistic and cultural activities for kids aged 2 to 17 (including kids clubs where professional G.Os ensure the children have as incredible a holiday as the adults), this stunning island really is the perfect family destination”.

 

Astounding raw natural beauty and endless ways to rejuvenate the body and soul

 

If all of this has piqued your interest and you’re considering booking a holiday to experience Bintan Island for yourself, here are some practical things to know:

 

Location

Bintan Island is an island in the Riau archipelago of Indonesia. It is part of the Riau Islands province, the capital of which, Tanjung Pinang, lies in the island’s south and is the island’s main community. Bintan is the largest island in the Riau province with a coastline of about 105 km.

 

Getting there

The average flying time from South Africa to Singapore (direct) is about 10 hours. Once you arrive in Singapore, you will hop onto a ferry and travel 45 minutes to Bintan Island.

 

The Climate (and when to go)

Bintan Island is very close to the equator. Tropical climate is dominant all through the year with two distinct seasons, namely the northeast monsoon from November to March and a dry southwest monsoon from June to October with the annual rainfall precipitation incidence varying in the range 2,500–3,000 millimetres.  The island has an insular character with a constant temperature averaging at 26 °C. The temperatures reported vary between 21 °C and 32 °C. March to early November is the dry and quiet season with clear sunny days. Winter lasts from late November to March.

 

Bintan Currency

According to the Bank of Indonesia’s regulations from September 2014 onwards, all the transactions in Bintan Island are using Indonesia Rupiah (IDR). So you’re required to exchange your currency to Indonesia Rupiah when you plan to visit Tanjung Pinang city.

 

A hidden gem and a destination unlike any other

 

 

Timezone

Bintan Island is in the same time zone as Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, at GMT +7 hours. Bintan Island is one hour behind Singapore time.

 

Dress Code

Daytime temperatures are generally high in this tropical region, which allows for plenty of unforgettable fun in the sun. Humidity levels are also high, so loose cotton and natural fibres are highly recommended.

 

Essentials to pack

A good sun protection cream, sunglasses, caps/hats and insect repellents are essential. Should you forget any of these, you can purchase them at the Bintan resorts.

 

The Water

Tap water from all Bintan Island resorts hotels meets World Health Organization standards for potable water. This means it is safe to drink water straight from the taps at Bintan resorts.

Bintan Island really is a hidden gem and a destination unlike any other. With its beautiful beaches, endless relaxation and wellness offerings, magnificent golf course and variety of water and sports activities for couples and families alike, it’s no wonder more South Africans are making Bintan Island their holiday destination of choice.