Bintan Island: Scuba/Snorkeling

Old Aug 9th, 2004, 11:56 AM
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Bintan Island: Scuba/Snorkeling

How is the Scuba/Snorkeling from Bintan Island? I will be spending the weekend there and would like to do some underwater exploring. I'm an intermediate diver, but I haven't been recently. Also, I will be traveling alone, so I'll need to go with a dive service where I can have a buddy. Thanks!
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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 01:33 AM
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Neither the snorkelling nor the diving are at all good around Bintan. The island is basically in the middle of the shipping lane in the Singapore Straight. There is little or no live coral left and visibility is very poor for diving. Please don't waste an opportunity for glorious snorkelling and diving which you can find in SE Asia by going to Bintan. The island is a weekend retreat for Singaporean men and their mistresses, not a beach resort like you might except, despite the hype. (Sorry, I lived in Singapore for 5 years so can speak from experience. . .)

I see from your other posts that you are going in September. AT a min8imu, consider going to Tioman Island, where the snorkelling is pretty good, and you can hire boats and go to offshore islands and reefs.. You can get there by fast catamaran boat from Singapore, a pleasant trip. You can also fly from Singapore in about 45 minutes. I am not a huge fan of the Tioman but it is vastly better than Bintan.

My first recommendation would be to go to Rawa Island which is a bit north of Tioman, but if you only have a weekend that might not be convenient, as it will take loner to get there. IMO this island has the most beautiful small beach in SE Asia. There is one little hotel, not 5 star, but perfectly comfortable with a great staff. OK snorkelling from the island, even better to go out by boat to other islands and reefs. Take a look at rawasfr.com. To reach Rawa, you could drive from Singapore (3 hours, you can charter a taxi) and then take a ferry for about 1 hour. They can set you up for diving with either a dive master or a buddy. If you haven't dived in a while and are diving in the South China Sea, you probably are better off with a dive master, as currents can be strong in some areas.

You might also consider the Koh Samui area in Thailand. I would put Bali high on the list, but again if you only have a weekend it probably is not worth it.



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Old Aug 10th, 2004, 11:58 AM
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Thanks for the info. Unfortunately, I only have 2 full days. As such, I'll need to pass on Bali. Based on your feedback, I'll also pass on Bintan Island. I've also heard the diving is excellent at the Terengganu Marine Park. The travel time by air may be prohibitive, however. What do you think?
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Old Aug 11th, 2004, 01:32 AM
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The islands off of the coast of Kuala Terrenganu have excellent snorkelling and diving. You can fly to Kuala Terrenganu, but unfortunately I think most flights from Singapore go via KL or another Malaysian city, making the trip a bit long for two days, as you still have a ferry ride of at least an hour in front of you after you land. Take a look at Malaysia Air (www.malaysiaairlines.com) and Singapore Airlines (http://www.singaporeair.com/saa/app/saa) for schedules. Once in Kuala Terrenganu, you can take a taxi to the pier in KT or points north/south and can get boats out to the various islands. I believe the ferry would take about an hour to get to Redang and a bit longer to get to the Perhentian Islands. I don't know any resorts on the islands (I have always done live aboard trips). There was a thread on the Redang Beach Resort on Redang recently, looks fine, my only caveat is that the hotel's own website says that there is major construction going on (they are adding 100 rooms), so it could be noisy. The group that runs that hotel, the Berjaya Group, also operates other hotels on Redang and near by islands. Take a look at berjayaresorts.com.my

You might check the following sites for hotel reccs and information on getting to the various islands:

perhentian.com.my
www.visitmalaysia.com/main.html

With only 2 days, you should look into flying to Tioman from Singapore, or taking the high-speed catamaran or a combination of the two. The Berjaya group has at least 2 hotels on Tioman, and there are lots of budget options as well; the Lonely Planet book for Malaysia (and possibly their chat room Thorn Tree Posts and lonelyplanet.com) is a good source; I have always found their "high end" hotel recs to be good value for money.


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Old Aug 12th, 2004, 04:13 AM
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ed, if you are closed to singapore during your travel and worried about travel to terengganu or tioman island in malaysia, try sibu island (beautiful resort), rawa island and etc. lots of singaporean go there and is nearer to singapore. look for sibu island resort at google. enjoy!
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