Long weekend festival started for the month of May 2017, first with Labour Day on the 1st falling on a Monday, then with Vesak Day on 10th falling on a Wednesday. So that’s two potential long weekend breaks, and this year we decided to take both of these quickie breaks near Singapore. The first one being a short ferry ride away to Bintan Island (3 days), followed by a longer 5-days holiday to Phu Quoc Island by plane.
Let me talk about Bintan Island first, and what I will say up front is that it’s quite a contrast to the Phu Quoc Island trip that we went just over a week later. I’ve known of Bintan Island since I arrived in Singapore close to 5 years ago, but never had a good reason to go there. It always came across to me like it’s an overpriced version of Batam Island, and not quite as developed. It’s twice the size of Singapore and somehow I got the impression Bintang beer is associated with that island (which it doesn’t). Not sure how I got that association! Visiting this island was really more about crossing it off the list than anything else.
Anyway, we departed on Saturday with Bintan Resorts Ferry from Tanah Merah terminal near Changi Airport, which was new to us.
It was a relatively uneventful ride and got us there in just 45 minutes. A bus waited for us at the terminal and took us to our hotel.We booked to stay at Grand Lagoi for 3 nights, which was supposed to be right next to newly opened (May 2015) Lagoi Mall. Except the mall looked more like an abandoned site to us when we arrived. In our mind, we thought maybe it’s ‘slow season’ being off peak.. and it’s fairly new and haven’t established itself etc etc.. We didn’t spend much time there at all.
The hotel where we stayed wasn’t all that impressive either, given we paid a good ~SGD$200/night for it. Thinking back now, we felt a bit ripped off (after our trip to Phu Quoc where paid around the same price per night). The room was ok. Ethan seemed to like the snippet of local traditional music playing on the TV every time we turn it on..
One of the reason why we came here was for Ethan to have fun at the so called Kid’s Club. Except most of the toys there were broken, and weren’t manned at all with an empty desk.
Needless to say, Ethan got bored of it pretty quickly. Thankfully, Ethan liked the roof top pool, which we spent quite a bit of time in.
In fact, the pool was arguably the only part that was fun about the whole trip! Apart from swimming, there really weren’t all that much to do. We did discover a very nice Indonesian casual eatery called Warung Yeah closer to the beach, which was worth going back twice for. I swear they served one of the BEST fried rice I’ve ever had!
Of course.. it probably contributed quite a bit to my clogged arteries eating that as my recent health scan suggested. But it was GOOD!
Nearby, we did the touristy thing and took a ride in this rather brightly lit car powered by foot. Of course, most of that foot power was from daddy!
The Lagoi Park Lantern Park next to it was “meh”..
We did take two excursions out of the resort. First, it was Treasure Bay, which is a resort on its own right. If I had to summarise the place, it’s really just a massive man made lagoon with lots of water activities to choose from. Definitely looked very pretty in pictures..
We probably should have stayed at Treasure Bay (at the hotel named Canopi). Lesson for next time.
The second and only other excursion that we took was the mangrove tour, done on a boat.
We had a pretty good local guide. Ethan had fun on the boat, except he fell asleep with all that wind blasting in his face. All in a all, a pretty good boat ride.
All 3 of us were a few shades darker and quite burnt after this trip. Despite all the negatives, it was one trip where we could get home without the hassles of flying and was home in 2 hours door to door. If I had to compare this to Batam Island, I probably would still prefer Batam any day. Now let’s talk about the second long weekend at Phu Quoc Island..