All in all Indonesia has 17,000 islands and Bintan Island or Negeri Segantang Lada is one of them. The closest major city is a 45-50 minute trip by motorized boat is Singapore, so close that the currency is still Singapore Dollars not Rupiah. Indonesia is promoting Bintan as the next best tourist destination after Bali but I actually enjoyed the sands and sea in Bintan than in Bali, the sands are white and waves are not that strong. We stayed in one of the villas in Nirwana Gardens. The resort was really vast and immense. The scenery and landscape was relaxing enough for me.
This is my second time in Bintan. I stayed in Bintan Lagoon Resort the first time but have no recollection of the place. So I guess the first time was that forgettable that every time I retrieved the memory all I can summon up was Desaru (Also a resort near Singapore but part of Malaysia). This trip is kind of’ different because I’m comfortable and appreciative of the place, for one I like our villa. This was a company outing so apart from the free accommodation; I get to travel with my colleagues. The villa was 2 storey, 3 bedrooms, and 3 baths. All the rooms (master and common rooms) are in the 2nd floor and the kitchen, dining, living room, plus porch are in the ground floor. It’s like your own house with the sea attached to it.
On the first night we went to Pasar Oleh Oleh for dinner you have to travel 20 minutes by ride going there. The roads are dark so it’s a must to have your own transport. It’s all local food if you want to get away from hotel food this is the place to be. Apart from restaurants there are local shops. The food was nice and authentic I never liked satay but I learned to eat it here. But I missed the beef rendang – my favorite Indonesian food of all time. I asked for it but the waiter didn’t note it down – bummer!
The food, spirits and booze are to be found in our villa so people gathered in our place before going to bed…Actually this was the busiest villa in all villas. The charade, drinking, card playing, socializing was all done here. So me and my roommates played hosts to all of the activities and organized it.
On the first night, Swavek (my Polish colleague) informed me that they saw a big lizard walking to our villa, then also Freddie with wife Tina told me of this encounter with huge like komodo dragon lizard living in the sewer near our villa. I was so freaked out because Ewwwww… I was walking on the grass, alone in the night the first time we were there. I was ogling at the moon and the sea and the place was not very well lit. I could have bitten or pin down by that slimy creature and these thoughts haunted me all thru out the trip.
In the morning I avoided the grass and I was full alert, walking to the main hotel for my breakfast I joined my other colleagues since my roomies are still asleep. My Indian colleague’s husband, Aniz showed me a photo of this giant live lacoste lurking in the villas. He happened to saw it in their porch while watching TV and took photo of it. He showed it me and jokingly said it was looking for me… OMG! It was so big… I can barely look at it. He said he called room service and they tried to capture it but it escaped. Nenad (my Australian colleague) was listening intently and was determine to haunt it down. On the way back home to the ferry he showed me pictures of this big lizard, bigger than what Aniz has showed me. That’s why earlier I saw Nen lurking around our villas. This guy pulled a Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter) just for an up close photo.
FYI… I didn’t put the pictures of the giant lizard here…creepy! I’m waiting for it to turn into a bag or shoes then I will place it here.
We are doing water sports… we asked Dharma (my Indonesian colleague) to join us in banana boat he was keen. For somebody who was born in Bali he doesn’t like the sea and sand that much. He has zero experience with banana boat and water sports. Prior to this I went for body boarding and others, jet ski.
When we were about to board in the banana boat, Dharma was hesitant to join. After sometime of bullying and verbally abusing him of his cowardice, he agreed to get his ass on the boat. The sea was rough that after sometime both I and dharma took the plunged…I was still smiling having thrown out in the water, but then I saw dharma shaking, scared to death of his predicament. Secretly, I got scared too, he was shaking and the fear of drowning was very evident in his eyes. I put all my attention on him, to ignore my fear as well. I asked him to just look at me and I heard myself saying…. ‘We are floating’, ‘we are floating’, ‘nothing to fear’, ‘the boat is coming back’. He asked if he could hold my hand while shaking uncontrollably. The boat arrived and we’re saved! Dharma spent the rest of the ride in the boat and avoided the banana boat. For me and 6 more people in the ride…the fun continues…. Hiyahhh! Bring it on!
On our last night, after the Hawaiian buffet dinner and dozens of barbecue crab later. We hang out in our villa just chatting. Some of my officemates drinks a lot having lived in a cold country, they enjoyed booze and sprits but somehow I find it amazing that most drink moderately for this trip. No vomiting or getting drunk happened except for this French guy (Jeremy) who every time I look, he always has a bottle in his hand and it’s not water…. People in my company is very diverse, we are one or a few in every nationality so it follows that everybody has different views on one topic whether it’s religion, politics, or beliefs. Conversing with them added more knowledge and information for my side. I asked my atheist colleague how it felt like, when bombarded with difficulties in life, no God to ask for help or to turn to.. They said they just cannot do much except accept that shit happens. That sometimes having nothing to turn to gets lonely at times but that’s their belief. Some don’t believe in having a soul or ghost and would be glad to see one especially Jeremy who wants to play spirit of the glass and summon the soul of Jack Daniels… it’s not enough drinking the brand he has to really talk to the maker.
Like most of my out of the country trip, this ended with whole body massage for 27$ cha! ching! . The place was really big we had to ride in a golf cart just to get from point a to point b. Apart from water sports they have good sports bar, bowling place, tennis, shooting range, horseback riding. etc….It was a very unwinding weekend experience for me.