After a hearty Indonesian dinner in Kota Sebung, we ended Saturday night with a surprise birthday cake for mom. My younger brother arranged for it to be sent to our room. In fact, this whole holiday was his idea and his doing. The staff at the Angsana resort, especially Nelly and Khun Kai, really took very good care of us.
We bought some plastic beach toys (spades, buckets and shapes) at Pasar Oleh Oleh, a small touristy kampong-style bunch of shops in town. In Cantonese, we call this kind of tourist trap "one eye see all". A wikitravel entry calls Bintan resorts "a colony of Singapore in all but name" and it is pretty accurate. Heck, most items are priced in USD or SGD, and even the hawker centre in town has hygiene ratings like Singapore's, ranging from A to D. There was even a poster declaring the food free from Bird Flu ("Our chickens are from Brazil").
The kids got up early on Sunday morning and we let them play on the beach. Joy didn't like the sand too much, and it took her a little while to join her siblings on the beach and in the waters.
The beach was fairly clean despite the monsoon season. We were blessed with very good weather, with only a short shower or two on the first day and none on the second. There was a person cleaning the beach and raking up leaves and debris, which also accounted for the cleanliness.
Isaac and his cousins built little structures with the shapes and spades we bought, and Faith just enjoyed the sensation of sand running through her fingers. I made the kids and maids put the live gong-gong cockles back in the water, telling them it would be a pain to bring them home (not to mention a little environmentally unfriendly).
The kids swam in the pool after their beach time and this was enough to knock them out for the afternoon, leaving the wife and I to go for our spa appointment with my youngest brother.
We got our Ibu's Secret massage (fancy name for a deep tissue massage in Balinese style, with an oil which is supposed to be good for your skin), and we chose to have the open-air veranda overlooking the pool and beach for our session.
The 90-minute session was really 60 minutes of massage and 30 minutes of "calm time" where you get to drink your ginger tea and enjoy the view. So if you want a longer massage, you need to choose the 120-minute one (90 minutes of massage and 30 minutes of ahem, "calm time"). Service from the spa staff was excellent, and pampered us.
I spotted some mountain bikes for guests to use parked outside the hotel. Pity I did not have as much time, I would have gone for a nice ride with the wife. They even provided helmets. The bikes were a little old but two of them were 7 or 8-speed Treks. Not bad leh.
In the lobby area, there is a PC for internet surfing and more importantly, free wifi access. So I sat in the lobby with my N95, doing my updates and checking email. Upload and download speeds were very decent.
The kitchenettes in our suites were handy for reheating food we could not finish from meals, and to make cup noodles for snacks. You do want to take some of your own food along if you don't want to eat hotel meals all the time, or make your way to town for makan.
We spotted monkeys along the way to town, even a baby bat which fell out of a beach umbrella we opened. For swaku Singaporeans who are used to our concrete jungle, being surrounded by this much nature was refreshing.
We enjoyed our family outing so much, we were already talking about a next trip somewhere else, maybe somewhere in Malaysia. Preferably without seasickness for the kids. Another tempting idea was also to come back to Bintan without the kids, just the wife and I, chilling on our own.
Anyway, I am glad my younger brother took the initiative to organise this, and dragged our lazy asses to this island for some family time.
(More photos at my Bintan Flickr photoset)