2020 for the world has been a real shock. When we were planning our short trip mid Feb, things were still under control and the whole world was looking at China (some boo-ing at them) for locking down to contain the Wuhan Virus. While we were deciding on where to go, we took the extra precaution and ruled out places that required us to travel by air. That left us with 2 options; Malaysia by land or Bintan/Batam by sea.
After doing some research online, we found some kids friendly resort at Bintan and prices were dipping down coz apparently, a lot of tourists come from China. We took this chance to go for the most luxurious resort - The Residence compared to some others that were rather old.
My son, Suleiman had just turned 2 months and Iman is about 2.5 years. While some of my family and friends felt we shouldn't have gone, we really wanted to just take a break and honestly, it was also our 4th year anniversary!
Upon reflection, never regretted it because we're probably going to stay put this year given the situation. The 4 days away from busy Singapore was just what we needed. When all things are back to normal and we fear taking the plane too soon, I would highly recommend Bintan. Here's why;
1) Short Journey
It's only a 45 min ferry ride. Our resort is located quite deep so the van ride took almost an hour plus. It was all worth it - private and secluded.
2) Kids Club
For families with children 1 year old and above - Our Residence is PERFECT. They have a kids club where you can drop off your kid. On website its stated 3 years and above, but they allow even if your child is 2 plus but you have to sit in. They offer baby sitting services for 1 year old min. This is chargeable. Most activities are free except a few which is about $15sgd per session. (The baking was a paid one.) Here is the schedule of activities.
I was also very amazed that beach and pool time, they have a few staff to be with your child. This allowed me and my hubby have some alone time.
3) Safe Environment
Safe environment with lots of space for kids to run. During low tide, we could walk on the beach so deep and enjoy the swing and hammock. I am not sure if its because it was low season due to Covid19, but definitely the resort is private so you wont ever expect heavy crowds.
Food is HALAL. Do not assume that all resorts in Bintan offer halal food. We checked and even within this resort, there is one restaurant that isn't halal. So we went to the main dining hall where they serve breakfast. Breakfast is AWESOME. Though it was half buffet meaning you choose one main course and all the sides are buffet, you can still choose many mains. I feel this is less wastage as they only cook what we order. We really love the menu and the variety - not too little and not too much. Great balance between asian and western.
Overall, the experience is 10/10. When we arrived, we were worried because there were no shops and town was far. After the first lunch, we thought, damn we should have brought food coz the restaurant is expensive (1 plate of nasi goreng can be $7) but it changed after we had our first breakfast the next day. It was so heavy we could last till dinner. So no lunch for the remaining days.
It was good family time, slowing down and really spending quality time together. All we did was eat, rest, play at the kids club, dip in the beach/pool and thats it. It was enough to keep us occupied and more importantly relaxed.
5) Value for Money
Believe it or not, we spent less than $800. All included.
Ferry Tickets for 2 adults, 1 2 year old - $120
Accomodation, 4 days 3 nights including breakfast - $475
Lunch X 1, Dinner X 3 - $150
Misc ( 1 paid activity and some snacks before we headed back ) - $20
Total - $765
Start saving now and let's look forward to the next time we can plan a holiday. Stay safe everyone and may we come out of this ordeal stronger and kinder to mother earth.