Destination: Bintan Island, Indonesia

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Just a short 55-minute ferry ride from Singapore, Bintan Island in the Riau Archipelago is a popular family beach destination that sees the most tourists during the holiday seasons and Singapore school vacations. The beach resorts are located in a development known as Bintan Resorts in an area called Lagoi in the northeastern coast of the island. If you visit out of peak season, you’re pretty much assured a good dose of peace and quiet. The only problem with being in Bintan is that there isn’t much to do around the resorts, but things are slowly changing with the newly built Plaza Lagoi, golf courses and nature paths in the area.

Places worth visiting include the Santa Maria Cave near Lagoi, 500 Lohan Temple, which is about a 45-minute drive from Lagoi, the city centre – Tanjung Pinang, which is about a one and a half hour drive from Lagoi, and Penyengat Island, a car-free, historical island that is a 30-minute boat ride for the main island.

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Cuisine: Freshly caught seafood served Asian style, gong gong sea snails, Indonesian favourites like nasi padang – steamed rice with various cooked dishes; gado gado – a salad of boiled vegetables, tofu and peanut sauce; bakso – Indonesian meatball soup; soto ayam – a spicy chicken noodle soup, and satay – skewered barbequed meats, are what you’ll find in food courts and street stalls. If you’re looking for international fare, there are a number of Thai, Indian and Western restaurants in the hotels in Bintan Resorts that you can visit.

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