Bintan, Indonesia: A Weekend in Nirwana Garden Resorts

One of the best reasons to travel around Asia is that the countries here are pretty close to each other. For example, if you go to Singapore, it’s pretty close to Malaysia and Indonesia. Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines are almost a throw stone away. JK! It won’t take that long really.

During my trip to Singapore to visit my brother, he invited his friends to go to Bintan, which would only take less than an hour of ferry ride. The more the merrier it is. It’s good to have new faces to travel with.

 

GETTING THERE:

From Singapore, we rented a cab to take us to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. The travel was about 30-40 minutes from Sembawang MRT. We booked tickets for Bintan Resorts Ferries (BRF). Fare for weekend and weekdays are different. It’s slightly higher if you book on a weekend. For more information, please visit http://www.brf.com.sg/schedule-fares/ticket-fares/.

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Singapore
Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Singapore

CURRENCY

Indonesia’s currency is Rupiah. As of today’s writing, 1 IDR is equal to 0.00375 PhP. So basically, your 1,000 pesos is equal to 266,600 IDR. It’s sounds pretty cool, isn’t it? But don’t be so cool with that since most of the goods in Indonesia is priced at thousands of rupiahs. You can definitely spend millions of rupiahs when you dine there – like literally. haha! On a serious note, be mindful of your expenses but don’t be too overwhelmed with their currency.

FOOD

There are multiple restaurants in the entire Nirwana Garden. These resto also has their own cuisine. For example, there is the Neydles House (noodle dishes), Spice Restaurant (Indian & Indonesian cuisine), and more! Since we don’t have the opportunity to get into these restaurants, I will only share my gastronomic experience at Kelong, Dino Bistro, The Coffee Shop, and Poolside Restaurant.

Visit http://www.nirwanagardens.com/dining/ for a list of restaurants at Nirwana.

Kelong Restaurant

Kelong is a fishing method that is popular in Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Kelong Restaurant takes its name from that fishing method obviously. I can say that the best eating experience I had in the island is at this restaurant. Most guests flock there during dinner and catch the beautiful sunset.

Sunset at Kelong Restaurant

There are also live fishes in aquariums waiting to be cooked. Plus, you can also see the kelongs too. Customers can also leave notes on empty crab shells. It’s a high ceiling structure and you can smell the breeze when you are dining.

kelongs

A must visit when you book to any of the Nirwana Garden resorts.

Serving Speed: A bit faster compared to the other restaurants

What I love: the most delicious food I’ve tasted in the entire resorts

Customer Service: Very good; friendly staff

Dino Bistro

Upon arrival, we have chosen Dino Bistro. It’s one of the main restaurants in the Nirwana Resort Hotel. They serve mostly Western dishes with Asian twist. Most of the food we ordered are pizza and pasta. We’ve ordered some Asian cuisines too like satay and spring rolls (gui con).

gui con
satay with peanut butter sauce

Serving Speed: slow

What I love: lots of Mozarella cheese on the pizza

Customer Service: Good; friendly staff

The Poolside

When we dine at The Poolside for dinner, the service was too slow. However, staff were somehow accommodating. Quite similar to Dino Bistro – they’re serving pizzas, pasta, fish and chips, etc.

Indonesia’s version of pancit (tastes like dry sotanghon/vermicelli)

On special days, Nirwana Hotel Resort also hosts barbeque and grill party at the pool side. Ask the hotel for more info of this promotion.

 

Serving Speed: very slow

What I love: lots of Mozarella cheese on the pizza

Customer Service: somehow friendly

The Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop is where the breakfast buffet is. They are open from 6:30AM to 10AM. The restaurant also serve lunch and dinner (ala carte).

The breakfast buffet features a mix of Western and Asian cuisine. They serve different variety of bread and pastries. There are eggs (omelet and sunny side up), friend rice, ham, bacon, and more. They also serve unlimited coffee and fruit juices – pineapple, apple, iced tea.

I suggest getting there earlier to taste everything haha!

Serving Speed: they refill empty dishes quite fast

What I love: the chicken sausage is to die for

Customer Service: friendly

ACTIVITIES & AMUSEMENT

  • Jumbo Park (Elephant Ride/Show) (Feeding – you have to pay for the banana)

  • Happy Valley (target shooting – rifle & arrow)
Katniss Everdeen
Deadshot
  • Bowling Center (free 1 game if you have booked a room)

  • Parasailing

 

  • Buggy Rental

  • Mini Zoo

  • Volleyball

  • Infinity Pool

  • and more

 Resorts Hopping

Nirwana Gardens provides buses that will transport guests from one resort to the other. There are also buses that will transfer guests to and from the Nirwana Hotel to the ferry terminal.

Bus schedule and Boat Transfer; Nirwana Gardens

List of Resorts operated by Nirwana Gardens:

  • Banyu Biru Villa
  • Indra Maya Pool Villa
  • Nirwana Beach Club
  • Nirwana Resort Hotel
  • Mayang Sari Beach Resort

 

Nirwana Beach Club

My brother booked through Agoda. The good thing about this is you can have discounts and you are sure that you will be able to get the accommodation that you and your loved one needs. The resort also has their own online booking system but they only accept Rupiahs.

Nirwana Beach Club

Nirwana Beach Club looks like a tiny village, which I like the most. It is peaceful and it is where the activities on the entire Nirwana Garden lies. Activities include parasailing, jetski, paddle board, and more!

Beware: monitor lizards in sighting

The beach

Nirwana Resort Hotel

The Nirwana Resort Hotel hosts the visitors information area. This is where you’ll find Dino Bistro, The Pool Restaurant, The Coffee Shop, and the infinity pool. There are different shops including a convenient store and a clothing shop. In the visitors information area you’ll find someone who creates customize souveniers for you including keychains, mugs, and ref magnets. You may also buy souvenirs at the Indola Convenient store.

customized keychain/ref magnets
kendang
chess board
film showing (since it was raining)
Now Showing: The BFG
colorful Indonesian dancers
the welcome dance

Mayang Sari

 

The Mayang Sari is probably the accommodation which is closest to the beach. This is where the Spice Restaurant is located.

Expenses:

4242.32 pesos or 120 SGD (back and forth for the whole cab; if you come in group, you can divide it) – Maxicab Van, you can do your bookings online at http://www.singaporemaxicabhotline.com/. We have chosen the 13 seater van.

2262.57 pesos or 64 SGD (roundtrip; Offpeak + peak) – fare from Tanah Merah to Bintan Resorts Terminal

494.94 or 14 SGD – Elephant ride at the Jumbo Park

989.88 pesos or 28 SGD per hour – buggy rental (need to present driver’s license)

88.38 pesos or 2.50 SGD for a customized keychain (Bintan)

353.53 pesos or 10 SGD per pack of 3 ref magnets

Try booking at Agoda for discounted resort rate!

 

About quen 50 Articles
adventure seeker. wanderer. videography enthuasist . follow my travel stories at https://asaniquen.com.

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