I love to go a-wandering – Tanjung Pinang (Indonesia) – 1

This year, for my b’day, K decided to gift amidst several other things (Ya, I manage to loot like that), a travel ticket to Indonesia. That I ended up getting pampered so much that I forgot that I am only getting older (okay okay I know the theory about age being numbers but still) and ended up wishing everyday was a birthday even if it came at the risk of getting old very soon.

For the past few months, I kept talking of Indonesia this and Indonesia that. K must have sensed the urgency in my voice. He gave me a pass to Indonesia. I could choose what kind of a holiday I wanted. I chose the obvious – a totally local trip, one where the locals would guide us and absolutely no resorts.

Somehow, I want to travel the entire of Indonesia. That place fascinates me. Like several others. And I now know the trick to bag tickets – keep talking of the place with K and make full use of 4 days in the year – wedding anniversary, my b’day, K’s b’day (Ya, I can gift him a vacation and say that taking the wife is mandatory) and ofcourse the proposal anniversary. I can also be smart and celebrate the respective dates every month. Hah ! Who am I kidding?

We decided to go to Bintan. It is accessible by a ferry and the journey takes between 1-2 hours. We had two options:

1. Go to Bintan Resorts and enjoy a lot of water sports and basically beaches et al. This was just one hour away and everything is priced in Singapore dollars because it is just so Singapore-ish, you see! And it is like this popular family getaway – go to the beach, play beach ball, do some water sports etc. which are all very exciting.

2. Go a bit further to the capital city of Tanjung Pinang where the best hotel is located at the heart of the city, where the artisans live; where the fishermen spend hours lazing under the sun discussing the catch of the day; where life is always slow paced; where the locals are way too eager to greet tourists; where you get the biggest of tender coconuts,; where the streets are soporific and narrow; where the biggest mall is like one of those sales that happen in cities and where people always always never forget to wear their best outfit – a warm welcoming smile.

No surprise that the second option appealed to me big-time ! It is quite quiescent a place to be called the capital and be listed as one of the biggest cities of Indonesia. But who is complaining? I love such small earthy towns. I love the feel and I love becoming a part of their native population. I don’t prefer being all touristy. We love blending in and that makes any holiday a perfect one for us !

We could just afford 3 days of holidays – 3 days and 2 nights given that it was not a vacation period. We set out on our ferry from the Tanjung Pagar Terminal. Armed with a cup of steaming hot kopi-c  and some butter sugar toast, we proudly carried our backpacks into the ferry.

As soon as we entered the ferry, we noticed that no doubt it was air-conditioned but there seemed to be a small rainfall happening inside as well – all the condensed water droplets pouring right onto the seats at the centre. It was quite a sight to watch everyone trying to stand in a particular place, check whether the area is rain- free and choose their seats. I refuse to sit in anything other than a window seat. So we found ourselves a nice pair of seats as well and settled down nicely.

As we travelled by the ferry we noticed other offshore drilling facilities.

We also noticed other smaller ferries. The weather was misty and though the windows were closed, I somehow loved how it looked outside. Very soon, it started drizzling and I loved looking the the hazy scene outside and K and I decided to cuddle our kopi-c and just spent the rest of the journey looking into nothingness and dozing off a bit in-between as well.

As estimated we reached after a 2 hour journey The visa and everything was a very easy process and soon, we found ourselves shaking hands with the hotel’s driver who was there to pick us up. We loved the hospitality. He took us to the hotel via a longer route, highlighting the must-sees of the place with me belting out the shopping questions. He recommended spas, souvenir shopping, the Trikora beach, Ramayana mall and urged us to try their fantastic seafood and prawn crackers.

Soon, we were received by the hotel staff who asked us for what we would like to have as our welcome drink. We both chose their special tea and just sat their at the lobby. The hotel was a modest one if you were to go by the dimensions but you should have seen the warmth with which they greeted us and went about assigning the best possible room.

As soon as we were settled inside the room, K and I decided to have a small nap. I know we can be really adventurous like that 😛 After modifying their chicken dishes and requesting them to make them vegetarian for us to which they cooperated without any hesitation, we jumped onto the bed and watched some local channels trying to make sense of what they were saying. The language is Malay but they do have some dialectal variations. After gulping down the food, we hurriedly slept as though we went to Bintan with the sole purpose of sleeping.

When we woke up after a couple of hours, the sky was a faint orange and we could see palm trees everywhere. We got ready and left to check out the malls and city centre.

The hotel had a complimentary vehicle and city tour for as long as were guests in that hotel. We made the best-est use of it and totally roamed around the city in the 3 days we stayed there.

We first went to Ramayana Mall (Sorry, this was not as much a photography trip) where we saw a huge 2 storeyed building with sales – shoes, clothes, groceries and seafood. I did become disappointed because I kind of expected to see a lot of artisans selling their handicrafts and all. We could not see any of it. K consoled me saying that souvenirs were probably sold on streets. Ofcourse, it then dawned upon my bright head that nobody sells any souvenir in malls. So, I happily bought a top and we got some fruits and some drinks. We then went to the recommended spa and booked a slot for a couple spa for the next day and went back to the hotel.

We decided to eat at the hotel dining hall. I requested them to make some vegetarian fried rice for me and they happily obliged –

Easily one of the best versions of fried rice I have eaten !

All the three days, I ate just this. I did not have a lot of options but they managed to make it differently for me every single time by varying the type and proportion of mushrooms, by adding pepper and changing spices and so on!  So awesome of them, no ?

With that our first day at Bintan had come to a close. All along the following night, I was only chanting about souvenirs and making sand castles and frog tunnels along the beach. K woke me up at midnight and was like, “Lets book a vehicle and do that Trikora beach and visit the souvenir village.” I gave him one tight jhappi, my mind already conjuring up images of the souvenir village, unable to sleep and unable to wait for the sun to rise.


  1. Smita · August 1, 2012

    wow!! Sounds like an exciting holiday 🙂
    Waiting for the remaining parts & more pictures 🙂

    • Smita · August 1, 2012

      Me 1st & that rice really looks tempting!

  2. kismitoffeebar · August 1, 2012

    Hehe smita 🙂 yay you are first 🙂 yes yes, will share all parts and the few pictures I have as well 🙂
    That rice was so delicious smita. I am drooling over it now :p

  3. Jas · August 1, 2012

    mazaa aa gaya pad kar. and btw, you really ate only those fried rice throughout??

  4. kismitoffeebar · August 1, 2012

    Haaan jas. Morning toast, fried rice for lunch and dinner 🙂 I should have taken a snap every time :p

  5. Destination Infinity · August 1, 2012

    You could have put the photograph of the mall/beach as well (if it was different). Fried rice looks good, but was there any side dish? But then, it was definitely good of the hotel staff to make something specifically for their guests.You could have put the name of the hotel somewhere in the post, would be useful for others who want to go there. You seem to be a passionate traveler 🙂

    Destination Infinity

  6. kismitoffeebar · August 1, 2012

    You know I really thought of both aspects you mentioned. Hotel name I will mention in next part 🙂 the mall, we did not take snaps. We thought it is a mall and so kind of left our camera in the room. We have a big dslr and so thought we will go hands free. Mistakes mistakes.
    Ya the staff were very nice. Yes, the travel bug has bitten me long back :p

  7. Visha · August 1, 2012

    The hotel guys made you stuff as per your needs and that too they did with variations every time is highly commendable.

    I see you taking vacations where water is inevitable…Some samudri shoukeen you are 😛

    The bliss of a nap just after a journey…aahh 😀

    Why so less pics?

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      Ya the hotel guys were awesome ! 🙂 He he being on an island surrounded by islands makes water water everywhere inevitable 😛
      True true about the nap 😛
      Arey, didn’t click much – we were kind of in a hands-free mood, so more often than not, the camera would be in the hotel room 😦

  8. Nithvin · August 1, 2012

    That must have been a wonderful trip! Should take those tips from you to earn myself a vacation for my B’day from my hubby 😉
    Waiting for the next part and more pics 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      hehehehehe anytime anytime for tips 😛 If your husband also loves travelling, then I have additional tips for you 🙂
      Next part will be up tomo or Saturday 🙂

  9. Swaram · August 1, 2012

    Awesome … I luv it that way too, exploring with the locals 🙂
    We had been to Bintan some time in 2010 and abs. loved the place 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      Hai na Swaram? With the locals is something I love 🙂
      Wow ! You were in Bintan – awesome ! 🙂

  10. Mom of A and a · August 1, 2012

    wow! You are so lucky to be so close by!! I too am absolutely fascinated by all those islands of the ‘far-east’!! Do post some photos of the beach and what souvenirs you got!!!

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      He he ya, I am lucky 🙂 Really, fascination is the term – I love these little little islands:) I will postsome photos in the next part Mom of A and a :)) Thankee !

  11. Privy Trifles · August 1, 2012

    Loved the pictures and the description too… Till now Greece was my dream destination but now I think I need to add this one to my list too 🙂

    The rice really looks tempting…will wait for more posts on this with more lovelier pictures!

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      Oh I’d loooooooooove to go to Greece too ! 🙂 hehehehe, add add it to your list ! These islands are all really pretty !
      hehe – I have few photos Privy but will share as much as I can 🙂 The rice was super yummy !

  12. Atrocious Scribblings · August 1, 2012

    Sounds like a very warm experience – with the custom meals and complementary car and all. Maybe you should mention the name of the place so that people who read this post can give it a try if/when they go there.

    Call me shameless but sleep during a vacation especially after a heavy meal is ultimate bliss, so won’t blame you one bit for dozing off.

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      Ya it was a veryy warm experience 🙂 I will definitely put up the name of the place in my next part. Thanks AS !
      Sleep after anything is bliss and I can’t agree more with you on sleep !

  13. Arch · August 2, 2012

    Toffee! I have not been to Bintan. Did you manage to go to the pasar oleh oleh store, that’s where all handicrafts are sold! They are similar to India’s Khadi or Lepkashi. I splurged at Batam 🙂

    Cant believe you managed to get veg fried rice 😦 I lived on water and air at these places.

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      Oh Arch, then you must plan a trip ! Batam and Bintan are not very different some friends said 😛 Yes yes, I went to pasar oleh oleh ofcourse 😛 Both in Bintan Resorts and in the city but shopped from city coz’ I got a better deal and I was buying souvenirs for friends and in bulk !
      I know Arch about living on air and water – that’s why I loved them – if nothing we bught the local fruits 🙂 Maybe you should try the fruits and tender coconut atleast in worst cases, no?

  14. The Girl Next Door · August 2, 2012

    This sounds like a teaser… can’t wait to read the rest of the travelogue and see the rest of the pics. 🙂

    Indonesia has always held a different sort of charm and mystery for me.. would love to visit it someday.

    Wow, I like the idea of complimentary city tour and cab service for as long as the guests want. I would have made maximum use of that too!

    So awesome of the hotel staff to make the few veg. food options available in different permutations and combinations so that you don’t get bored. Very sweet of them!

    Last but not the least, I am so so so J of you that you live so close by to these fantabulous locations and can make a trip there any time! 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 2, 2012

      Let me start bottom up – I do feel wonderful staying at the heart with such great access 😛
      The hotel staff were really cute TGND ! I mean, they just don’t even hesitate for a split second !
      That cab service was like super cool and we toh spent the 3 days inside the cab itself returning only for the night 😛
      Yes, I understand it when you say it holds a different charm – I feel that way too. I wish to go interior as well and K has already been to the interiors.
      Will soon post the rest 🙂 Thankee ! 🙂

  15. sm · August 2, 2012

    beautiful pics
    looks you enjoyed

  16. girlinjammies · August 2, 2012

    Beautiful post ! I should keep in mind to gift vacations on b’days from now on 🙂

    Me too like small towns compared to touristy places whenever we travel. I believe you get to experience a culture more when we choose to visit a small town.

    • kismitoffeebar · August 3, 2012

      Hello 🙂 a warm welcome here 🙂
      Oh, I agree to that – travel gifts are such great getaways, seriously ! Ya, small towns, direct contact with the natives is something I love too. Though a mountain and some away- time is welcome in between 🙂
      Thanks for coming by. See you again !! 🙂

  17. techie2mom · August 3, 2012

    i so wish that this would have been one of your photography trip….
    But the description you are giving is also so good!!! And the fried rice looks yummy…

    • kismitoffeebar · August 4, 2012

      Thanks so much, so so much 🙂 I am sorry that I did not click enough snaps. Infect I want to buy a small handycam though I love our DSLR 🙂 I can click away everywhere then ! I will share as much as I can in the subsequent parts. Fried rice was absolutely yummy 🙂

  18. lifesong · August 3, 2012

    That fried rice looks yummy… I believe I too could have eaten it for 3 days in a row 🙂
    The trip sounds so much fun… starting with journey by ferry and staying at a place that had complimentary vehicle and city tour… Wow!
    Waiting for more… 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 4, 2012

      Hehehehe really lifelong – I ate without a fuss 🙂 it was a super fun trip. Complimentary vehicle was like crazily nice right ? Only for city travel though not for outside city travels.
      More wil be up soon 🙂

  19. greenboochi · August 3, 2012

    You know I love your travelogues, right?! It makes me feel as I though I am traveling with you… enjoying each and every moment.. you bring out that kind of real magic through your words.. 🙂 🙂

    You have tempted me so much that I am gonna bug S to plan some trip soon.. atleast a short one! feel like having a holiday…

    Looking fwd to your other days at Indonesia 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 4, 2012

      Hehe thanks so much gbieeee 🙂 You are just too sweet to say such lovely things 🙂
      Pls pls plan a trip with S. And hopefully plan it in this part of the world, pls ? 🙂
      Ya, a short one is also great 🙂 plan and take a nice break gband share all the snaps with us 🙂 you do need a break after working so hard gb, right ?
      Other days coming up 🙂

  20. sramya19 · August 3, 2012

    Girlie…You are already giving me a vicarious feeling with all your travelogues..The other day I was just mentally noting that in case if I were to travel to Malaysia or Indonesia,I would come over to your post, and do travel planning as per what you’ve written 🙂
    Your writing is awesome and waiting for the next part..

    • kismitoffeebar · August 4, 2012

      Ramya ! :)))) thankee so much for all those kind this you said 🙂 pls feel free to ask me anything if you plan a trip, okay ? I would love to help any way I can 🙂
      I will put up the next part soon:))

  21. pixie · August 4, 2012

    wow! 🙂
    The place and your experience sounds amazing!!
    I wish I could go on a vacation!! Sigh!!

    • kismitoffeebar · August 5, 2012

      Thanks Pixie ! Pls do plan a vacation and take a nice break 🙂

  22. Ritika · August 6, 2012

    The place looks amazing ! I so want to be on a ferry someday 😀

    I think I should post my vacation pictures too,its not as exciting as yours but okayish. If only there were ferries on Ganga 😛

    • kismitoffeebar · August 6, 2012

      Just plan off a ferry trip. Don’t wait 🙂
      C’mon, every vacation has amazing and exciting pictures – please do share them. I would look love to ogle at them 😉
      Ganga – if only I could plan a trip to Ganga. Actually, I may next year 🙂 by God’s Grace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Ritika · August 7, 2012

        Seriously ! But yeah food is definitely one of the main problems when you are a veggie. Last time I was in Sri Lanka I ate a fish sandwich by mistake :/

        PS : I posted the Ganga pics,check check 😀

      • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

        I will, right away 🙂

  23. Dew · August 14, 2012

    I like your blog name so much 🙂 reminds me of the kismi toffee bars we would get earlier..

    It’s fun traveling ..exploring things.. have never tried japanese food though… but might try something veg (for non veg I am scared.. as I have learnt that they eat anything that crawls)..and I feel quite creepy abt it 😉

    Thanks for your kind words on my blog. Glad to meet another friend 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 15, 2012

      Thanks so much Dew and a big warm welcome here! :))

      hehe – ummmm they do have a variety in their food but not sure of everything crawly being in there. I think there are cuisines that cook a lot of things and you can always choose 🙂 They usually will tell you what goes in.
      Hope to see you here whenever you wish to and am happy to meet you too 🙂

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