Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mini-Deepavali Weekend Beach Vacation in Bintan, Indonesia in November 2013 ~ Section 3

Welcome to the third section of my mini Deepavali weekend beach break within the resort island of Bintan, Indonesia in November 2013. This will be the final segment of the report. There will be a total of two focus topics that will be covered in this segment, which will be our final afternoon in Bintan, and the ferry journey back home to Singapore.

This now officially concludes my holiday blog report of my mini Deepavali weekend beach break in the resort island of Bintan, Indonesia in November 2013. Like before, questions or comments will be more than welcome. I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed reading this blog report, and coming up next in December 2013 will be a surprise for all of you!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Mini-Deepavali Weekend Beach Vacation in Bintan, Indonesia in November 2013 ~ Section 2

Welcome to the second section of my short Deepavali weekend beach break in Bintan, Indonesia in November 2013. The main focus topic that will be covered in this section will mainly be on how we spent our sole Saturday in Bintan.

Part 1 ~ Spending Our Sole Saturday Around Bintan

The next morning, which was Saturday (2 November), I woke up at around 9.45 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's sleep.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Mini-Deepavali Weekend Beach Vacation in Bintan, Indonesia in November 2013 ~ Section 1

Welcome to this blog vacation report about my short Deepavali weekend beach break in Bintan, Indonesia in November 2013. This blog report will be divided into a total of three sections. This will be the first section, where the in-bound journey to Bintan and our first day at the resort island will be covered as the main focus topics. However, there will be no videos for this report, as I did not film any videos for this short break.

Part 1 ~ The Opening Sequences

After ending off my first year in college, my parents decided to bring us along on a short Deepavali weekend break towards Bintan, Indonesia. I was rather excited about it since I felt a need to reduce the stress I had sustained over the course of the year. This trip would also be our third time visiting Bintan since March 2010.

On the morning of Friday (1 November), we all woke up at around 6.30 a.m. after having a well-earned good night's sleep. Having packed our baggage weeks before the trip, we were quite relieved. As our baggage was being loaded into our car by our parents, my brother and I had breakfast specially cooked by our housekeeper.

According to our parents, our itinerary for the in-bound journey towards Bintan would be to board a Bintan Resort Ferry bound for the Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal, which would be scheduled to depart the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal at 9.10 a.m.. In accordance with the Indonesian Standard Timing, we would arrive at the Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal at 9.05 a.m..

As soon as we had finished breakfast, we immediately headed towards our car to begin our journey towards the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Soon enough, we finally departed the compound of our home by 7.05 a.m., with the entire journey between home and the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal taking no more than just 25 minutes.

Soon enough, we finally managed to arrive at the departure curbside of the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal at 7.30 a.m.. While I went to get a few baggage trolleys, my brother helped my mum unload our baggage before my dad went to park our car for the weekend. Upon entering the terminal building, we immediately headed over towards the Emerald Class check-in counter to check in for our ferry bound for Bintan Resorts. The entire check-in process took no more than just 15 minutes.

Bintan is an Indonesian resort island located on the South China Sea across Singapore. Like Bali, Bintan is also a well-known tourist beach resort island for many Singaporeans and other foreign tourists. Tourism in Bintan has been gradually declining over the years, as most people switch to Bali for better summer beach chill outs, due to the limited facilities in Bintan.

Bintan currently does not have its own airport. Instead, it has a small ferry terminal, known as Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, which caters to short ferry journeys to and from Singapore. Should you be a foreigner visiting Bintan from another country other than Singapore, you will have to arrive Singapore Changi Airport, and then take a cab towards the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, which is located just adjacent to the airport. From the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, you then take a short one-hour ferry ride towards the Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal.

The Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (Traditional Chinese: 丹那美拉渡輪碼頭; Simplified Chinese: 丹那美拉渡轮码头) is a ferry terminal located in Tanah Merah near Changi Village in Singapore. It is located just adjacent to Singapore Changi Airport, and has a total of four ferry berths, which mainly serve ferries bound for the Indonesian resort island of Bintan. Opened in 1995, the ferry terminal underwent a large renovation process, which cost approximately S$3 million, in 2007.


The ferry check-in counters located in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal during the early morning hours

The overall interior view of the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal during the early morning hours

Overlooking the departures area in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal during the early morning hours

After checking in for our Bintan Resort Ferry bound for Bintan Resorts, we finally received our Emerald Class boarding passes at 7.45 a.m.. The check-in agent then informed us that our Bintan Resort Ferry bound for Bintan would depart at 9.10 a.m. from Gate No. 1, and that boarding would also commence at 8.45 a.m., approximately 25 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

Feeling slightly thirsty and since it was still early, we decided to have some drinks before heading into the passenger waiting concourse. With that, we collected all our hand-carry belongings and proceeded to a small cafeteria by the entrance to the security checkpoint, named Killiney Kopitiam.

Killiney Kopitiam mainly specialises in local food delicacies, such as Indian and Malay food catering to Halal dietary requirements. Since I just had breakfast earlier at home, I simply had a nice, warm cup of Milo to warm up for the trip. My other family members had their light breakfasts respectively.


The ferry departure information board located near the entrance to Killiney Kopitiam in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The main entrance to Killiney Kopitiam in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The main food and payment counter at Killiney Kopitiam in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The overall interior view of Killiney Kopitiam in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

A simple cup of hot Milo for myself at Killiney Kopitiam in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

After having some beverages and light bites at Killiney Kopitiam, the clock was finally showing 8.05 a.m.. Knowing that boarding for our Bintan Resort Ferry bound for Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal would commence in 40 minutes' time, we grabbed all of our belongings and proceeded to the security checkpoint. Upon reaching the security check, we showed our passports to the security officers, and had a relatively rapid security check.

As soon as we had cleared the security checkpoint, we went towards the passport control area. To clear the passport control point, we made use of the fingerprint checkpoint, which is reserved exclusively for Singaporean citizens and permanent residents of Singapore. Soon enough, we were finally in the passenger waiting area of the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal by 8.15 a.m..

Since it was still early for boarding to commence, we decided to head over to the Emerald Lounge, which is reserved exclusively for Emerald Class guests to relax and charge their electronic equipment before their ferry journeys. While resting in the lounge, my mum and I went to a nearby duty-free shop, known as DFS Galleria, to purchase some duty-free wines and liquors.


The main entrance to the Emerald Lounge in the passenger waiting concourse in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The interior view of the passenger waiting concourse in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The interior view of the Emerald Lounge in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The ferry departure information board in the passenger waiting concourse in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The passenger waiting concourse in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal packed with waiting travellers

One last view of the Emerald Lounge in the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The beautiful and clear morning view of the South China Sea from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, with the sight of our ferry, Wan Sedari, which would soon take us to Bintan at Gate No. 1

Part 2 ~ The Ferry Journey Towards Bintan Resort

After spending approximately 30 minutes of relaxing in the Emerald Lounge and duty-free shopping, the first boarding calls for the Bintan Resort Ferry bound for Bintan Resorts were finally made at 8.45 a.m.. All of the Emerald Class passengers were called to board the ferry first, through a special boarding gate in the Emerald Lounge itself.

Grabbing all of our belongings with us, we immediately rolled up for the boarding process and walked along the jetty towards our ferry at Gate No. 1. Upon reaching the ferry, I saw that the ferry that would take us towards Bintan Resort was named Wan Sedari. Once the ferry doors were swung open, we were finally on board Wan Sedari at 8.50 a.m., which was in good time for a 9.10 a.m. departure.

The Wan Sedari ferry had a total of two levels for its cabins. The main deck caters to Economy Class passengers, whereas the upper deck mainly caters to Emerald Class guests. There are also baggage spaces on both levels where passengers can store their baggage during their journeys. Entering the interior of the ferry, we walked up a staircase linking both decks towards the Emerald Class cabin. Finding our seats No. 3A, 3B, 4A and 4B, we settled down for the short 55-minute hop towards Bintan Resort.


A view of my seat, 3A, the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The interior of the Emerald Class cabin of the Wan Sedari Ferry during the boarding process at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The information board of the Wan Sedari Ferry during the boarding process at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The beautiful and clear morning view of the South China Sea during the boarding process at the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

At around nine o' clock, all of the ferry doors were closed, and we finally docked away from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Soon enough, we were finally on our way for a short ferry ride of just 50 minutes over the South China Sea towards the Indonesian resort island of Bintan. On board the ferry, wagon service for beverages were available to freely select the drinks of their choices, being it soft drinks or hot drinks like tea or coffee.

Strangely though, the refreshment counter was never opened throughout the journey. There was also a small outdoor deck on the upper deck of the ferry, where passengers can take a breathtaking view of the sea as the ferry cruises along. There were also a few television screens fitted in some areas of the ferry cabin to provide passengers with entertainment facilities. Surprisingly, the movie of the day for the passengers' entertainment purposes would be Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008).


Finally docking out of the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The view of the Emerald Class cabin on board the Wan Sedari ferry as we dock out of the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

The beautiful morning view of the South China Sea as we begin our cruise out of the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

Finally leaving the Republic of Singapore behind on the South China Sea

The view of the outdoor deck on the upper deck of the Wan Sedari ferry

Finally cruising away from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

Crusing through the South China Sea with several tankers near Singapore

The seating indication numbers in the Emerald Class cabin above Seats No. 3A and 3B

Crusing through the South China Sea with several tankers between Singapore and Bintan

The opening credits to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) being shown on the on-board television screen

The view of the Emerald Class cabin on board the Wan Sedari ferry from my seat midway between Singapore and Bintan

The view of the Emerald Class cabin on board the Wan Sedari ferry as the ferry nears Bintan

The first sights of Bintan as the ferry makes its final approach towards the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal

A scene from Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) being shown on the on-board television screen

The view of the Emerald Class cabin on board the Wan Sedari ferry as the ferry makes its final approach towards the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal

The view of the Kelong Restaurant, where we will be having dinner tonight, as the ferry approaches onto the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal

The journey conclusion video thanking passengers for riding the Wan Sedari Ferry

One last view of the South China Sea facing Bintan as the ferry finally docks onto the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal

After a short 50-minute ferry journey across the South China Sea from the Republic of Singapore, we finally docked on to the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal at 8.50 a.m., according to the Indonesian Standard Timing Zone. Having all of our personal belongings with us, we headed down towards the main deck and waited for the ferry doors to be opened. Once the crew swung the ferry doors open, we alighted the ferry in a relatively orderly manner and headed towards the immigrations area.

From both the outside and inside, I could clearly see that the Bandar Bintan Telani Ferry Terminal was relatively small, and mainly caters to ferry services to and from the Republic of Singapore. Upon clearing the immigrations area, we immediately headed towards the baggage claiming hall, where there was only one baggage belt, to claim our bulky check-in baggage.


One last view of the Wan Sedari ferry as we head over to the immigrations area in the terminal building

The exterior view of the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal as we make our way towards the immigrations area

The sole baggage claiming belt in the baggage claiming area of the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal

The main interior of the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal

Walking towards the Nirwana Resort Hotel booking office in the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal

Part 3 ~ The Journey Towards the Nirwana Resort Hotel & Our First Day in Bintan

After claiming all of our baggage, we walked through the arrival security checkpoint, and were finally in the main concourse of the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal at 9.05 a.m.. We then went to the Nirwana Resort Hotel booking office, where a few gentlemen were waiting for us. At the booking office, the gentlemen and office receptionist checked our necessary documents.

Upon having all of our important documents checked, the gentlemen told us that a large green limousine resort bus would be taking us towards the Nirwana Resort Hotel. We would also be joined by several other passengers heading towards the same resort hotel. Once everything had been settled, we immediately proceeded towards the green limousine resort bus and boarded the bus at 9.15 a.m..

All of the passengers' baggage, including our baggage, would then be loaded into the large baggage boot below the bus. As a few moments went by, more passengers began to board the bus. Soon enough, at 9.20 a.m., all of us finally pulled away from the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, with the journey between the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal and the Nirwana Resort Hotel taking no more than just 10 minutes.


The interior of the green hotel limousine resort bus bound for the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Finally departing the roads near the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal for the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Driving along the forested countryside road between the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal and the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Arriving at the security road entrance towards the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Bypassing a small fountain lake near the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Driving along the road near to the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Finally arriving at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

After a short 10-minute limousine bus ride from the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal, we finally arrived at the main entrance towards the Nirwana Resort Hotel at 9.30 a.m.. A few baggage porters came to the main entrance to help passengers unload their baggage on to the baggage trolleys.

Having all of our possessions with us, we alighted the bus and went to the main hotel reception counter to check ourselves in for the weekend break. At the main entrance, a traditional local Indonesian dance was performed in celebration of Deepavali and to welcome the tourists who are arriving at the hotel for their beach holiday.

Upon receiving our room keys, the check-in receptionist informed us that we would be staying in Rooms No. 1152 and 1154 respectively, which were suite and deluxe rooms located in the East Wing. At the same time, she told us that our rooms were still being cleaned after the previous guests had occupied those particular rooms. She also informed us that our baggage would be brought over to our rooms for us.

Not feeling bothered, we decided to head over to the Action ATV Adventure counter in the hotel lobby to make a booking for the Action ATV Adventure at one o' clock later that afternoon. At the same time, we also booked for a night firefly tour around the Bintan Mangrove at 7.30 p.m. later that night.


A small man-made pond containing koi fish at the main entrance to the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The main hotel lobby of the Nirwana Resort Hotel shortly after we arrived

The green limousine resort bus that took us from the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal to the Nirwana Resort Hotel earlier

After checking into the Nirwana Resort Hotel for the weekend, we were finally getting rather famished after our early morning journey from Singapore. Looking through all the food and beverage menus of the hotel restaurants available, we decided to have lunch at a open-air Western restaurant, known as Dino Bistro.

With that, we went towards Dino Bistro and requested for a table for the four of us. I have known this restaurant very well since my first trip to Bintan in March 2009. As soon as we were ushered to a table, we were left with the food and beverage menus to review before placing our main meal orders for lunch. As a complement, a large 2-litre bottle of mineral water was provided for us to be shared among ourselves.

Upon having a good review through the food and beverage menus, a waitress came by to take down our main meal orders for lunch. We ordered several items off the menu, which included the local satay. That afternoon, we had a very sumptuous lunch at Dino Bistro. The view of the South China Sea from the restaurant was especially beautiful.


The interior of Dino Bistro at the Nirwana Resort Hotel during lunch hours

The cover page for the food and beverage menu of Dino Bistro at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Reviewing the food and beverage menu of Dino Bistro at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The beautiful afternoon view of the South China Sea from Dino Bistro at the Nirwana Resort Hotel during lunchtime

A platter of satay to be shared among us

A platter of french fries to be shared among us

A platter of ultimate nachos to be shared among us

Another platter of satay to be shared among us

My main course: Rib-eye Honolulu with fresh asparagus, mozzarella cheese with black pepper sauce and mashed potatoes

After having a sumptuous Western lunch at Dino Bistro, the clock was finally showing eleven o' clock. Having requested for the bill, the waitress informed us that the meals at the restaurants would count towards our duration of stay here over the weekend. With the bill paid up, we grabbed our belongings and headed towards the lift lobby located near the souvenir shops. Walking through the various passageways in the East Wing on the first level, we finally arrived at the main entrance towards our rooms by 11.05 a.m..

Inside the room, we found that our baggage had already been brought to us, much to our relief. Our rooms mainly consisted of two bathrooms, one living room, a balcony, one twin room and one master bedroom. Before heading out to the Action ATV Adventure, we decided to have a rest in the hotel room. While resting, we unpacked all of our electronic device chargers and sorted out our attires for the coming weekend.


Several souvenir shops in the main hotel lobby of the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The entrance towards our Rooms No. 1152 and 1154 at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The first view of the twin room, where my brother and I would sleep

A very clear and beautiful view of the South China Sea from our resort suite at the Nirwana Resort Hotel on our first day

A neatly-arranged complementary towel set on my bed

The view of our beds in our twin room

After having a short rest in our room for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes, the clock was finally showing 12.20 p.m.. Knowing that our reservation for the Action ATV Adventure would be in 40 minutes' time, we decided to leave our belongings in our rooms and take only our necessary belongings with us.

With that, we put on our footwear and left our rooms by 12.25 p.m. towards the main hotel lobby, arriving there by 12.30 p.m.. An Action ATV Adventure staff member was waiting for us by the reservations counter in the hotel lobby by the time we arrived. Once the gentleman checked to see whether all of us were here, we finally departed the main hotel lobby of the Nirwana Resort Hotel via his buggy at 12.40 p.m..


The exterior view of the East Wing building at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The exterior view of The Coffee Shop on the first floor of the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The outdoor swimming pool facing the South China Sea at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

An iguana enclosure located near The Coffee Shop at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The main hotel lobby of the Nirwana Resort Hotel during the mid-afternoon hours

Finally departing the compound of the Nirwana Resort Hotel

After a short buggy ride from the Nirwana Resort Hotel, we finally arrived at the Action ATV Adventure Centre by 12.45 p.m.. With all of our belongings with us, we got down from the buggy and headed towards our respective ATV recreational vehicles, where our trainers were waiting for us. While my parents and I had our own ATVs, my younger brother would be riding with one of the trainers to ensure his safety during the Action ATV Adventure course.

Before the adventure could begin, we were thought the basic safety procedures on how to operate the ATV. Once we had gotten the hang of the ATV operation procedures, all of us were ready to begin the adventure at 12.55 p.m.. The entire Action ATV Adventure course lasted approximately 45 minutes.

During the course itself, we drove through the many forested areas of the resort, stopping to pose for photographs and to have a good breathtaking view of the South China Sea. In all of my trips to Bintan, going for the Action ATV Adventure has become one of my most favourite recreational activities.


The Action ATV Adventure Headquarters near the Nirwana Resort Hotel

One of the adventure trainers at the front of us just as we are about to start the tour

A family photograph of all of us just as we are about to start the tour

Crossing the first forested road during the Action ATV Adventure course

My mum posing for a photograph during the Action ATV Adventure course

Having a brief rest in the middle of a forest during the Action ATV Adventure course

A photograph of myself crossing a small ditch on my ATV

My other family members about to cross the small ditch on their ATVs

The small ditch in the forest over the Action ATV Adventure course tracks

An ATV road trail that crosses through the lush green areas during our ATV Adventure Course

Bypassing several lush green areas during the Action ATV Adventure course

About to cross another small ditch on our ATVs

An offshore island located near the beach in the South China Sea during the Action ATV Adventure

A clear and beautiful beach view of the South China Sea during the Action ATV Adventure

All of us posing for a family photograph on the beach near the South China Sea during the Action ATV Adventure

One last view of the South China Sea shortly before continuing the Action ATV Adventure course

Stopping at a sparse sand dune during the Action ATV Adventure course

Posing for a family photograph by the sparse sand dune during the Action ATV Adventure course

A photograph of myself on my ATV by the sparse sand dune during the Action ATV Adventure course

A photograph of my mum on her ATV by the sparse sand dune during the Action ATV Adventure course

A photograph of my dad on his ATV by the sparse sand dune during the Action ATV Adventure course

A photograph of my younger brother on his ATV by the sparse sand dune during the Action ATV Adventure course

One final look at the sparse sand dune during the Action ATV Adventure course

Finally about to turn towards the road leading back to the Action ATV Adventure Headquarters near the Nirwana Resort Hotel

After a rather rough but enjoyable 45-minute forest recreational tour by the Action ATV Adventure, we finally arrived back at the Action ATV Adventure Headquarters at 1.40 p.m.. Having all of our belongings with us, we paid up and thanked the trainers for their kind and supportive services. Feeling slightly hungry again after the tour, we decided to have some tea & cakes before heading back towards our hotel rooms.

With that, we left the Action ATV Adventure Headquarters by 1.45 p.m. and walked back towards the Nirwana Resort Hotel, with the walk taking no more than just five minutes. Upon arriving back at the Nirwana Resort Hotel by 1.50 p.m., we headed towards Dino Bistro, where we had lunch earlier. Soon enough, we were directed towards the very same table, where we had eaten lunch, and were left with the food and beverage menus to make our selections.

As soon as we had a good review through the food and beverage menus, the waiter came by to take down our orders, while I went to the cake confectionery counter near the main hotel lobby. There, I opted to have a chocolate cake served with chocolate chip ice cream, along with some cookies. That afternoon, we had a quite refreshing light tea at Dino Bistro.


Finally back at the Action ATV Adventure Headquarters

Our ATVs parked outside the Action ATV Adventure Headquarters

The recreational vehicle shack located adjacent to the Action ATV Adventure Headquarters

Walking back towards the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Finally arriving back at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Bypassing the small man-made pond containing koi fish at the main entrance to the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The main hotel lobby of the Nirwana Resort Hotel during the mid-afternoon hours

The beautiful mid-afternoon view of the South China Sea from Dino Bistro at the Nirwana Resort Hotel

The interior of Dino Bistro at the Nirwana Resort Hotel during afternoon lunch hours

A nice plate of chocolate cake with chocolate chip ice cream for myself

A platter of cookies for myself

A nice, refreshing glass of iced milk tea for myself

After having a nice, refreshing afternoon tea at Dino Bistro, the clock was finally showing 2.35 p.m.. Requesting for the bill, the restaurant attendant informed us not to worry since our dining experiences at Dino Bistro would included during our stay at the resort. With that, we paid up our bill and walked past the swimming pool towards our Rooms No. 1152 and 1154.

Arriving back at our rooms by 2.40 p.m., we entered our rooms and had a nice, hot shower before being left towards our own devices to keep us company. Since there was nothing much left to do, we simply had a well-earned afternoon rest in our hotel rooms until night fell.


Bypassing The Poolside Restaurant on the way back towards our rooms

The view of Rin Japanese Restaurant near our rooms

A very clear and beautiful view of the South China Sea from our resort suite at the Nirwana Resort Hotel during the late afternoon hours

The view of our beds in our twin room during the late afternoon hours

The view of the balcony from our living room during the late afternoon hours

The view of our living room during the early evening hours

After having a nice, well-earned afternoon rest in our hotel rooms, the clock was finally showing 6.40 p.m.. Knowing that our firefly night tour in the Bintan Mangrove would be in 50 minutes' time, we decided to bring along only our necessary belongings, just like we did earlier that afternoon for the Action ATV Adventure.

With that, we left our hotel rooms by 6.50 p.m., and headed towards the main hotel lobby, arriving there by 6.55 p.m.. Once in the hotel lobby, one of the staff members informed us that a resort limousine bus would be coming to take us to and from the Bintan Mangrove. We would also be joined with other passengers during the bus ride itself.


Bypassing The Poolside Restaurant on the way to the main hotel lobby in the early evening

The exterior view of the main hotel building at the Nirwana Resort Hotel in the early evening

The main hotel lobby of the Nirwana Resort Hotel during the early evening hours

After spending approximately five minutes of anticipated waiting at the main hotel lobby, a large yellow resort limousine bus finally showed up at the main entrance to the Nirwana Resort Hotel at seven o' clock. As we rolled up to board the bus, I grabbed a seat a couple of seats away from the front seat near the driver's seat on board.

As several seconds went by, more passengers began to board the bus, as they would also be going to the Bintan Mangrove for a firefly night tour that evening. Soon enough, all the bus doors were closed, and we finally depart the compound of the Nirwana Resort Hotel at 7.05 p.m., heading for a dark road journey time of just 20 minutes towards the Bintan Mangrove, located just adjacent to Pasar Oleh Oleh.


The large yellow resort limousine bus that would soon take us from the Nirwana Resort Hotel to the Bintan Mangrove

The interior of the large yellow resort limousine bus that would soon take us from the Nirwana Resort Hotel to the Bintan Mangrove just as we are about to depart from the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Finally departing the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Travelling along a very dark and secluded road near the Nirwana Resort Hotel

Travelling along a dark road by some forests

The interior of the large yellow resort limousine bus near Pasar Oleh Oleh

Stopping briefly by Pasar Oleh Oleh

Bypassing a food centre near Pasar Oleh Oleh

Finally arriving at the entrance to the Bintan Mangrove

After entering the Bintan Mangrove, we finally arrived at the main boathouse by 7.30 p.m.. The tour guides extended a warm greeting to us and outlined the tour plan for tonight's firefly tour. However, because of the possible activity of dangerous animals like snakes lurking in the swamps, we could not go into the areas within the mangrove swamps.

The tour guides then explained to us that we would be segregated into different boats, with one boat reserved for my family. For safety reasons on water, life vests were provided by the tour guides for us to wear throughout the night firefly river boat tour, in the unlikely event of an emergency. Once everyone had their life vests on, we immediately rolled up by the jetty to board our boats for the Sebung River night firefly tour.


Finally arriving at Bintan Mangrove boathouse near the Sebung River

A large boat model containing life vests Bintan Mangrove boathouse near the Sebung River

The jetty of the Bintan Mangrove boathouse near the Sebung River

After putting on our life vests and waiting on the jetty, our assigned boat for the night firefly tour around the Sebung River finally docked onto the jetty at 7.35 p.m.. Ensuring that we had all our belongings with us, we carefully boarded the boat and settled down for the night firefly tour around the Sebung River to commence. A tour guide would also accompany us with the boat operator throughout the entire tour.

Soon enough, we finally docked away from the jetty of the Bintan Mangrove boathouse for the night firefly tour around the Sebung River. During the tour, we saw how beautiful the night sky was, and the stars oscillating in their patterns, which looked something like the Milky Way. Unfortunately, fireflies are quite difficult to get a good picture, which resulted in me having pictures only of the beautiful night sky and the river.


The view of the Sebung River from the Bintan Mangrove jetty at night

The Sebung River boat that would soon take us on a night tour around the Sebung River from the Bintan Mangrove

Finally cruising away from the Bintan Mangrove boat jetty along the Sebung River

The view of the Sebung River at night as we cruise away from the Bintan Mangrove boat jetty

The overall view of the Sebung River at night during our first phase of the night firefly tour

Bypassing an open-air riverside restaurant along the Sebung River at night

A few river houses located near the open-air riverside restaurant along the Sebung River

A very dark view of the Sebung River near the Bintan Mangrove forest, where dangerous creatures are known to prowl the forests at night

Bypassing the open-air riverside restaurant along the Sebung River at night once more

The overall view of the Sebung River at night as we make our way back towards the Bintan Mangrove boat jetty

Making our final approach towards the Bintan Mangrove boat jetty after completing our Sebung River night tour

Finally arriving back at the Bintan Mangrove boat jetty on the Sebung River

After a very enjoyable and breathtaking night tour around the Sebung River and watching the fireflies, we finally docked back at the Bintan Mangrove boat jetty at 8.25 p.m.. Being sure to check that none of our belongings had been left behind on board, we went up to the main jetty, where we took off our life vests and geared up for the continuing journey to the Indra Maya Pool Villa.

At Indra Maya Pool Villa itself, we would have dinner at a local on-sea Chinese restaurant, which was known as The Kelong Restaurant. Holding on to our belongings, we thanked the tour guides for their services, and promised to come for a day tour around the Bintan Mangrove the next afternoon. We then walked out of the wilderness of the forest near the Bintan Mangrove, where we found the large yellow limousine resort bus waiting for us by the entrance.

Boarding the bus, we could really see that other than just the four of us as a family, there were no other passengers on board the bus late that night. Soon enough, we finally left the Bintan Mangrove at 8.30 p.m., with the entire journey between Bintan Mangrove and the Indra Maya Pool Villa taking approximately 20 minutes.

The Kelong Restaurant is a Chinese seafood restaurant located on the sea at the Indra Maya Pool Villa in the resort island of Bintan, Indonesia. The restaurant mainly specialises in serving fresh seafood made in Chinese style. It is also most noted for storing most of its live seafood in enclosed nets instead of a proper seafood restaurant aquarium.

Usually, the best time to go to the Kelong Restaurant would be at night, since the night views of the South China Sea are spectacular to allow diners to enjoy the night scenery of the sea. Across the Kelong Restaurant is the Calypso Bar, where people can enjoy having cool beverages during the early evening and late night hours. The restaurant is open daily from eleven o' clock to 10.30 p.m..