Bintan, Indonesia was my first trip outside of Singapore. After nearly 3 weeks of being cooped up inside Singapore, several international students and I planned a last minute trip to Indonesia for the weekend. Bintan is only a short 1½-hour ferryboat ride from Singapore. We booked a rooms online at the Nostalgia hostel, a sister resort to one of the nicest resorts on the Island. Luckily we had access to a shuttle bus and all the nicer resorts facilities, but I would HIGHLY suggest paying the couple extra bucks to stay in an actual hotel or resort. We reserved a “beach bungalow” that appears as paradise to the untrained eye, but in reality is only a death trap set above the ocean (at least during high tide) infested with mosquito’s, geckos, crabs, in addition to a variety of insects.
The hour-long taxi ride to the hostel also acted as a reality check showing me a different side to the Indonesia I had imagined. I naively assumed all of Indonesia was similar to the vacation spot Bali I had heard so much about. It was depressing to see that much of Indonesia’s population lives below poverty. From what I could tell most of these people lived without a proper sewage system ultimately poisoning their own water supply, this was obvious after taking a closer look at the condition of the water near the hostel. I regret only being
able to spend 2 days here and due to safety precautions didn’t venture far from either of the two resorts. Luckily the rest of the trip was more positive.
My absolute favorite part of this adventure was spending Saturday snorkeling off a small Island near Bintan. For less than USD $25 our amazing snorkel trip included, gear, half day on a boat with a snorkel guide taking us to areas with lots of coral and marine life and back to the main resort. This was nonparallel to any snorkel experience I had ever had in the cold Pacific Ocean. The water felt like a warm 80 F as I skimmed the water’s surface observing the abundance of fish and other sea life living in the coral. This little excursion only deepened my need to become scuba certified!