The weekend getaway started with a feverish morning originating from a sore throat. Coupled with a lack of precheck on the boarding timing, we started to move fast when we knew from the email booking that we needed to be there 1.5rs before our 1110am departure.
Quickly I continued to pack the last minute items while mommy cooked the lunch to be packed for the journey to Nikoi Island. We were all set to move by 910am and drove about half an hour to Tanah Merah ferry terminal. Parked at carpark A, we went to check in behind a long line of people checking in for the Bintan Resort Ferries. I quickly went over to the forex to exchange SGD50 at rate of IDR9400 for 1SGD before we getting our tickets and checking in the luggage at the next counter, without additional charge.
We proceeded to go through the checks and immigration which was quick and entered a crowded waiting area with snaking queues for boarding. We had about an hour left to boarding and so we went to Killiney for breakfast, sat at one of the few tables that weren’t cleaned up, probably because of the crazy amount of people there. People sure loved to cruise out of Singapore on a weekend.
This was a different experience we had since our last trip with K as we had booked the Emerald class and had a separate lounge to sit in and did not have the problem of looking for space to sit. As K was almost 3, we didn’t think that we had to pay that much more for space and settled with joisting for space, like the rest of the public.
Mommy took the job of ordering food while I kept K company at the table with his new Lightning McQueen toy. He had an episode of wanting to go to toilet to take a dump that I had to leave the bags at the table quickly as mommy was still in queue but when we arrived at the toilet bowl, he said no more.
After our breakfast of toast with kaya and butter accompanied with the boost of caffeine from the coffee, mommy went to line up while K and I went to sit at the waiting area seats. It was indeed a good strategy as we were one of the first few to board and had the chance to sit right in front where we could see where the ferry was heading and the giant screen in front.
The seas were pretty calm thankfully, reducing the numbers of up and downs, and K had drank up a bottle of milk. There were puke bags available and I was having it on standby for fear of puking incident. We didn’t have to use it although he managed to burp instead of puke. Alvin and the chipmunks were on TV for that short ride to Bintan island and K took the last 10mins of the ferry ride walking around the vessel.
After disembarking, we realized that we were going to queue for a while with so many people in queue, much unlike the last time in Emerald class where they had the priority to get off first. Luckily for us, there was an express option for people going to Nikoi Island as a lady staff stood with a sign to Nikoi Island brought us to the front of the queue of immigrations and even waited on our behalf at the belt for our checked in luggage while we go through the security checks. We had the chance to use the lounge for free mineral water and restroom before our ongoing drive, which was meant for the Emerald class. This was not a bad deal.
It was a seamless transfer as we were handed over to the driver whom brought us to a MPV for our 1hr drive to the next jetty. Having given K his smelly smelly, he soon fell asleep on the 1hr car ride (when he didn’t on the ferry as the smelly smelly was inside the luggage and he needed that to go to sleep). I took the opportunity to catch some shut eye since I was busy with K on the ferry whereas mommy had her rest on board already. The car, as far as I knew, went through uninteresting areas of vegetation and small villages made up of sparsely spreaded short concrete houses before hitting the coast. I had my data roaming on, as I had subscribed the night earlier, with the concern that there was no WiFi on Nikoi Island. The data roam package wasn’t overly expensive as I had initially thought it to be, 3gB for 30days usage for SGD30, and since we have another trip at the end of the month to Hong Kong, we could still utilize it. I was looking forward to some Pokémon Go action, but was seriously disappointed with the lack of gyms and pokestops being few and far between.
Not long before we drove into a private boat pier. K woke and was a little dazed while I quickly used the restroom before boarding a big speedboat, 20mins trip to our final destination. The speedboat went quickly on the water, going past some floating houses before powering through the small waves. K was ok throughout and we disembarked with a lovely welcoming sight of the white sandy beach.
The staff immediately escorted us to the bar where we had a cold towel and a welcome drink and did the check in and getting information on what was available in this tiny private island. K had the liberty to go around playing sand (it was almost everywhere) and we proceeded to the lunch area afterwards.
Mommy didn’t booked the full board, as it was quite expensive, about SGD100 per person per day and was expecting to order a la carte but there wasn’t such options. We had to pay the set meals option anyway since there were no other restaurants around. The lunch consisting of appetizer and main course of fish which was very tasty, and definitely of a restaurant standard. There were however many flying insects that went around, something expected when staying close to nature. We had also informed on what we wanted to have for dinner if we didn’t want what was offered on the menu, and they could make adjustments. They could even prepare for K something different and we ordered steamed fish, broccoli and rice for him, thus reducing the need to cook.
We were escorted back to our villa and it was a double storey open concept villa with 2 toilets. The ground floor was totally opened without any doors, had its own hanging bed and sun decks and another bed shed facing the sea while the second floor had another toilet, a balcony, 2 side beds and the main bed in the middle. It was simple yet luxurious. There weren’t any TVs and air conditioning and the electricity was powered by solar. But there was WiFi, pretty strong one and it was throughout the island.
We spent pretty much of the time in the villa, K lazing around at all the beds there were, especially liking the hanging one. I seen a large monitor lizard lurking as it headed towards the sea. K then proceeded to play sand as we had brought the scoops and shapes and he made a mess of himself throwing sand everywhere. There wasn’t a telephone (totally forgotten that the staff could been reached via Whatsapp) and so I had to walk to the bar to request of ice so as to have them placed in the ice box to keep some of the vegetables that we brought cool.
The second floor was particularly unsafe for kids and we had to keep a watchful eye on him. The balconies and the side walls were low and falling was possible if kids climb over them or could slip if they got too close. We kept reminding K to stay away from the balcony.
He spent the remaining daylight hours playing his Lightning McQueen toy, preference over going to the Kids club which I had the chance to pop by to see when I was out looking for ice but there wasn’t any activity ongoing then (next activity was treasure hunt). That we went to bath for K, a little challenging with only the rain shower that didn’t have a high water pressure and trying to get rid of the fine sand in his hair.
Mommy cooked some soup for K before taking a bath when K suddenly had to pee, and peed in his pants before we could get to the toilet. Gave him a quick wash before putting on diapers for him and then we went out for dinner.
It was only 630pm Bintan time and it was already dark. We brought along a hand torch from the room and because there weren’t any street lamps, the paths were lighted by oil torches but wasn’t bright enough. The hand torch helped and we made our way to the dining place at no time.
Dinner was served and again the food didn’t disappoint, only grouse was the black pepper on my medium well was a little too much for my throat to bear. K had his broccoli and fish mixed with the soup mommy cooked and mommy had chicken fillet that was more that she could finish. We ended the dinner with strawberry ice cream dessert, K didn’t like it surprisingly.
We went over to the beach where there was supposedly a bon fire happening where kids could go over there to heat up their mashmellows but then it started to drizzle, disappointingly. We borrowed a huge umbrella and proceeded to the kids club where there was a movie screening happening at 730pm. Kids could then gathered in front of the screens on giant bean bags. We sat there for a while but K wasn’t that interested and we headed back to the villa after some 20mins.
Turn down service was done for our villa where the mosquito nets were set up and the mosquito coil burnt. I didn’t really felt the threat of mosquitoes the whole time I was here though. The night routine of cleaning up pots and pans followed by bathing. K again bumped his head against the wooden rounded railings around the villa while losing his balance when jumping on a pillow.
I went over to the bar to get some hot water as the flask cover was broken and we couldn’t boil any. The issue was immediately resolved and housekeeping brought a new flask over, minutes after I arrived back at the villa. It was initially hard to get to sleep as it felt a little warm, even with a small fan just above our bed, within the mosquito net. Then before we knew, we were all snoozing.