I love to go a-wandering – Tanjung Pinang (Indonesia) – 2

After spending a blissful Day 1, we woke up at 8ish just so that we do not miss the morning victuals – buffet breakfast ! Turned out that their breakfast was a very modest spread of noodles, toast with peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, some baked sweets, nasi lemma (coconut rice) and some gravy. That meant, the only vegetarian part was toast and the sweets. I was not really hungry, surprisingly and so kind of was happy with what I got.

While having breakfast, K and I just ran through what we wanted to do that day and our list looked something like this:

1. Go to Trikora Beach (one hour away) or Bintan Resorts (almost 1.5 hours or a little more, away).

2. Go to Pasar Oleh Oleh at Bintan Resorts for souvenir shopping or explore other options.

3. Go to the spa in the evening at 7.00 P.M. for our couple package (2.5 hours long).

4. Manage to have lunch etc. in between 😛

We had spoken to our previous evening’s escort from the hotel who told us about the above. However, we were a bit unsure as to which beach to go to. So, K and I did what we always do when in doubt – toss a coin. The coin “said” Bintan resorts Beach and so we set off that way.

After our deep, intense discussions over coffee and the inevitably important toss, our list looked like this:

1. Go to Bintan Resorts.

2. Go to Pasar Oleh Oleh and shop or shop in city depending on what the guide says.

3. Come back to hotel to have lunch

4. Rest a bit and go for spa.

At this point, I must tell you that we stayed at Hotel Pelangi. The cab and complimentary vehicle is only for within-city tours. So, this trip cost us 600,000 Indonesia Rupees. Don’t get worried at the number- all you need to do is look at the exchange rate ! 😛

We set off by 9:30 itself. The weather was cloudy and slight drizzles here and there and not really scenic outside – the roads were tortuous at certain points but we loved looking out of the window and tried to smell the air. I have this doubt everytime we travel – whether the air smells different in different parts of the world – it actually does!

After a while, we just reached these long roads that you meet when you are moving from one city to another. There was hardly much traffic, actually, there was nil traffic and we seemed to be the only king’s chariot on the road.

It is a typical small town and has lot of coconut trees and other members of the palm interspersed amidst the dense foliage visible from a distance.

But to our luck, Bintan Resorts was closed owing to some important function.  Bintan Resorts is a group of resorts with their private beaches However, one of the resorts, Resort Nirwana Gardens allows non-guests to come in and enjoy their beach. However, that particular day, there was something important going on and so it was closed for non-guests. That meant, there was no water sport happening as access to beach had been called off – for THAT day, THAT fateful day!

K and I looked at each other. We knew what to do. We asked the driver if we can go to Trikora. We are very compatible that way ! The driver spoke to the other guide next to him and after a couple of minutes, he comes close to us as if telling us a secret and says, “Sir, I take you. But you not tell hotel people because they ask you for 300,000 more!”. Such a gem of a man, I tell you – really! Who does this? Who can be so so wonderful to unsuspecting visitors in such a big way?

If you both happen to read this blog, K and I love you, really!

Since, Pasar Oleh Oleh was in Bintan Resorts, we decided to go there. It refers to a small village that sells indigenous items such as traditional fabric, paper products, clay products, paintings and lots of souvenirs. This is not inside the resort and hence access was not restricted. It is like a small souvenir village; add to it the rain, the hazy weather and a lovely coffee shop – you have found yourself a piece of heaven !

As soon as I stepped in, I let out a big big sigh of triumph – like the ones where you were on a mission and finally conquered the last stage or something – no seriously.

We had coffee with the driver and the guide at –

I ogled at the weather and ogled at the shops –

Looked twice to make sure we were at where we were –

We went inside one shop – correction- I went inside one shop with paper products because I so loooooooove them but K stood outside because the driver and guide were like, “Sir, it is too expensive here. This is a touristy village and so everything will be in Singapore Dollars”. But me being me, brushing off all the advice thinking how much damage can an extra dollar do and all that walked inside confidently. I had to hold myself from staggering back and tumbling down the steps – the prices were as steep as the steps ! One pencil was like 10 dollars and the reason – it was “authentic” and “hand-made”. Bhaisaab, really?

I took a good look, admired them and walked out with my head held high. I think I would have bought those hand-made paper diaries for 35 SGD if the driver hadn’t promised me that the same things are available in the city and he would take us there. So after asking a dozen times, “You sure they are available?”, I reluctantly joined the troop back to the car. Ofcourse, after glancing longing looks for one last time –

We then left for Trikora Beach. We  are really happy we did not waste our day. As we drove towards Trikora, we could see the sparsely populated fisherman’s village. There were very few people there, mostly men, and I was surprised that it was even called a village. Our guide then told us that people do not reside there all year long. They just come there during the fishing season. They bring some paraphernalia and stay there for a week or two. And once they have obtained the catch, they go back to their homes in the city. 

All along the beach, there are small structures that you can rent to keep your clothes and bags. They look like this –

They are quite bare, if you see what I mean. People who come to the beach use it to keep their belongings and also take a nap while the kids play away.

We could also see some structures bang in the middle of the water body. We were told that these are the places where individual or small groups of fisherman stay during the nights during fishing seasons when they need to start fishing early and stay put for long hours.

That does look so quixotic for a getaway, no?

Basically, Trikora is a stretch with several beaches dotting it. Each beach is different and has its own persona. However, the crowds, the frequent visits by natives who

find this to be one of their best weekend spots and the influx of several foreign backpackers has had its toll. Add to this, some beaches have a tarry layer under the sand. Beach 4 is considered one of the best and we went there. I must say, after Penang and Kuantan where the beaches are sparsely populated and few bother to leave their footprints, these beaches are full of happy feet and human activities.

You can see people with frisbees, beachballs, swimsuits, prawn crackers – pretty much a happy racquet !

Not the cleanest beach but who cares as long as there is enough sand to build those castles and tunnels you always wanted to build?

It is quite a tidal region and the waves and all the beauty can be reduced to mudflats by afternoon, as we had earlier online as well.

We scooped this off with one biiiiiiig tender coconut. We spent a good 2 hours building sand castles (which we did not take snaps of because we had to leave the camera aside and settle down nicely on the beach and the couple that we took have me in the most childish pose). We had a whale of a time !

And all this made us what?

You are absolutely right! – HUNGRY –

So, we decided to drive back to the hotel for lunch. On the way, we stopped at a mart, got some chewing gum because gum is not available in Singapore without prescription. We found Big Babol – yay ! We also got some salted pista and some fruitellas and some notebooks (yes yes!). We reached the hotel by 4 and I could hardly wait for a second more for my fried rice. Sensing our urgency, the hosts got us our food in a jiffy. We gulped it down, ran to our room without much ado, got our room changed to one on a higher floor and then promptly set the alarm for 6:30 and slept off.

We were woken up by room service for 2 complimentary teas and some amazing toast. We did not waste much time deciding what to do and got ready. Our car was waiting for us already. We left for the spa.

The spa is called Ladies Spa (a title that did not appeal to me) but you should have seen the interiors- beautiful ! Amazing hospitality again. The natives make such amazing hosts – they are not really very verbose, their smiles do most of the talking, not to forget their actions. They treated us to some lovely ginger tea and soon we were shown into the room.

I wish I could tell you how the experience was but I am yet to develop such a profound lexicon. We loved it – what started off with mmmmms and aaaahs trned into soft snores and then the final jacuzzi was the icing on the cake.

Feeling beautiful in and out, our skin supple and feeling good, we returned to the hotel for another round of the familiar and friendly fried rice. The spa worked its magic because we don’t remember what happened after dinner or when we fell asleep.

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43 comments

  1. Bikramjit Singh Mann · August 7, 2012

    Lovely pictures and you had a good time .. oooh i would love to go to one of those spa’s

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      Bikram !! This place missed you 🙂 Thanks 🙂 Ya, do off a spa trip soon okay? And ofcourse, tell us about it !

  2. Smita · August 7, 2012

    wow!! What a trip and so nice of the driver. Seriously who does this these days? ANd did you get that stuff later?

    Loved the 1st pic and yes the beach does look serene…waiting to read more.

    And your words have made me yearn for a spa!! sigh!

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      Really Smita 🙂 Those guys were awesome ! we toured so much but no sign of any exasperation or any qualms on their side 🙂
      Yes, I bought all I wanted to and more – I will share all those pics in my next and last part 🙂
      Please get yourself a spa – It is a wonderful experience maybe aromatherapy and some Thai massage 🙂

  3. greenboochi · August 7, 2012

    Beautiful is the only word I kept saying again and again, as I read the post Kismi!! Truly beautiful – the pics as well as your words 🙂

    You are great travelogue writer.. you have made me feel the beauty of the place as always.. 🙂

    loved loved loved reading this 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      Thanks so much Gb 🙂 Sooooooooooooooooo much ! I am really glad you felt the beauty of the place. I was a bit sad coz’ I somehow felt we did not have enough pics this time. We loved the trip. Gb, Soon soon please you plan one too 🙂

      • greenboochi · August 7, 2012

        Kismi darlinggggg… how you tempt me 😀 off I go to bug S!! 😛

  4. lifesong · August 7, 2012

    Lovely pics and such a nice writeup to go with them. I felt as if I am travelling with you.
    Even I like to smell the air at the places I visit 😛 and I agree the air feels and smells different at different places 🙂
    The beach looks good… and I love making castles in sand on a beach too 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      Thanks so much Lifesong 🙂 for those really kind words !
      Really? You too? The air – It IS true, sin’t it?
      hehehehehe – I spent all the time making castles and some tunnels and all that – K was laughing away. And so were all the other kids on the beach 😛

  5. Swaram · August 7, 2012

    We stayed at the Nirwana and I lovvved the body massages at Pasar Ole Ole. We went twice for the same 😛

    hand-made pencil? *gulp* 😯

    • Swaram · August 7, 2012

      Errr not gulping at the pencil being handmad, but at the price 😛 😛

      • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

        You stayed at Nirwana – beautiful ! You did water sports? Body massages are like so heavenly – wow! You went twice – Now that’s something I wouldn’t mind doing as well 😛
        Ya, they were priced exhorbitantly – wasn’t peak season and well it is a touristy place and they talked of inflation and all that – so!
        But I found some amazing places where I shopped in the city ! 🙂

  6. Visha · August 7, 2012

    You are increasing my bucket list of places to visit Toffee 😀

    If Zack does not come with me, you will find me knocking your doors one day 😆

    Beautiful pics!! I loved that road, it is almost similar to the one which we took in Thrissur to go to a beach. 10 dollars for stationary is too much 🙄

    your hosts throughout the trip are how hosts should be – making the guests feel homely and comfortable…so glad to know about them 🙂

    I have not undertaken spa services yet..should do one soon 😉

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      Visha ! Anytime anytime! You don’t even have to say that – just come off okay?
      Zack will come – else, I will do the advertising with you 😛
      Ya, the prices were high – well, the locale was such.
      amazing hosts, hai na? 🙂

      Go go go go for a spa! One of these weekends – of you will looooooooooooove yourself!

  7. Phatichar · August 7, 2012

    Yelladru kalsidra write-up na? :/ Heenge maadtha iri..helthini

    😛

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      🙂 Naanu nimge adara bagge keLokke email maadbeku antha ivatte ankonDe. KaLsthini – swalpa details and guidance bekithu. Ella vishya email alli 🙂

  8. Jas · August 7, 2012

    You have made up your mind to make me take that trip. Beautiful pics and those words feel like I am missing such an important travel.

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      🙂 Thanks Jas ! hehehehe maybe you must make this trip soon ! It is a beautiful place undoubtedly! 🙂

  9. Nithvin · August 7, 2012

    Coconut rice available there is not vegetarian?Glad you mentioned it..should remember if I go there 🙂
    Those structures along the beach to relax are so thoughtful, aren’t they..
    Such expensive pencils! who buys them anyway..
    And spa..wow!
    Waiting for the next part now 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      Hey 🙂
      coconut rice is just rice cooked in coconut milk – cannot eat just that – need the gravy 🙂 Not like the Indian version where they have seasoning and can be stand-alone food.
      Ya, those structures are very Indonesian 🙂 and ya, not all pencils are so expensive – this was a wrong place to buy ! next part will be up 🙂

  10. Nithvin · August 7, 2012

    Ok..got it ! the coconut rice part 🙂

  11. Destination Infinity · August 7, 2012

    Here, we can eat plain coconut rice. It should be made with some dhal/nuts, etc. Some of the photos with coconut trees remind me of Kerala. Before about a couple of years, I was wandering over middle/north of Kerala and what a bliss that was! I want to go back there and visit those places again someday. The roads in your pics look smooth and fabulous. Spending less = More vacations, BTW 🙂

    Destination Infinity

    • kismitoffeebar · August 7, 2012

      Ya, true. I like that form of coconut rice. I have been to Trivandrum and Cochin but I want to go on a proper vacation, the earlier one was on a conference tour. Hehe DI, yes one needs to save for vacations, but not always. Sometimes the vacation itself may seem exotic but not pinch the pocket a lot 🙂 I guess that’s where individual definitions of fun comes into picture 😉 I hope you get to do your Kerala vacation soon 🙂

  12. Makk · August 7, 2012

    Visa for Singapore and Indonasia is “On arival”?

  13. Aa's Mom · August 7, 2012

    yay! Love the photos!! Glad you are having such a fabulous time!! I definitely need to convert that currency to Indian rupees or dollars though!! 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · August 8, 2012

      Hehehehe thanks AaM 🙂 we do make use of long weekends 😉 ya, everything looks astronomical in Indonesia ! 🙂

      • Aa's Mom · August 9, 2012

        Thanks for the comment at my blog!

        I love black and another reason why I said it was because I want to break this stereotyping element that I see in the US. Over here, it really is, “oh, you’re a girl so you have to love this-and-this”! It’s true for boys too! My elder son’s favorite color is red but he doesn’t want to tell people because it’s a ‘girl color’!! Sheeshh!!!

  14. Me · August 7, 2012

    Oooohhh… wow the pictures are sooo lovely!

    I want leave badly now… I want to go here !!

    • kismitoffeebar · August 8, 2012

      What are you waiting for ? Just apply and trot off on a nice holiday 🙂 or ,aybe soe places nearby for a weekend trip ? 🙂
      Thanks dearie!

  15. Atrocious Scribblings · August 7, 2012

    I envy you for your ability to remember a trip in such vivid detail – beautifully narrated, could feel the excitement and passion in your write up.

    I repeat what I have said earlier – you write travelogues really well.

    Cheers 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · August 8, 2012

      Thanks so much AS 🙂 you make me look forward to your lovely words 🙂 you are so generous in saying all that really. Oh I totally soak up the experience and it just can’t be forgotten 🙂
      Thanks much for coming by AS 🙂

  16. The Girl Next Door · August 8, 2012

    First things first, I am J all over again! The pics are wonderful… I would love to make a trip to Indonesia someday..

    That was so sweet of the driver. So sweet. 🙂

    The souvenir village looks awesome! But the prices are indeed steep!

    Your post makes me long to visit a spa, too. It has been ages since I had a massage (one of the couple that I have ever had in my life – so sad)

    • kismitoffeebar · August 8, 2012

      Hehehehe – do the spa soon TGND 🙂 take the OH and do a couple thingy 😉
      Thanks so much. Ya, knew you wuld like the souvenir village ! The driver was ultra sweet. Yes, Indonesia is an easy trip to plan actually. I can help you 🙂

  17. Ritika · August 11, 2012

    I wish I could live at one those houses in the middle of water.
    It would be so awesome 😀 😀

    • kismitoffeebar · August 11, 2012

      Tell me about it Ritika :)) it would fantastic ! For a while at least :))

  18. Zie · September 24, 2012

    Hi.. so which part of the city that you get your cheap souveniers from? Can you tell me the street name maybe? TQ! 🙂

    • kismitoffeebar · September 25, 2012

      Souvenirs are best when bought in Tanjung Pinang market. I am not sureo f the street but there is a a series of shops on the second floor of a group of shops in the Tanjung Pinang market. Try there! They are not too cheap but definitely cheaper than buying them in Bintan Resorts 🙂
      Hope this helps!

      • zie · September 25, 2012

        Ic.. Tanjung Pinang Market.. is the ‘Pasar’ right? They also called it the famous Traditional Market is it? Coz I did some reading.. it seems they only have one market? Haha.. I hope I didnt go to the wrong place. TQ! 🙂

      • kismitoffeebar · September 25, 2012

        Yup I think that’s the one! 🙂

  19. Gita Listya A · December 22, 2013

    Wow those pictures look awesome! Thanks for writing about Tanjung Pinang. This is such a great article 🙂 Anyway, if you need more reference about Indonesia maybe you can also visit http://www.jakpost.travel, I also read some informative articles there. I hope it could be useful for you too.

    • kismitoffeebar · December 24, 2013

      Thank you Gita! 🙂 I will definitely check that article out !

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