TWO MINUTE DRIVING LESSONS // Bintan Island, Indonesia

I was an avid reader as a child, and would spend hours lounging around my room reading like it was a sport. Since reading became part of studying at university, reading for pleasure has significantly fallen off my radar, apart from the occassional book that I spend three months reading. Spending two days on the beach at Bintan Island saw Chris and I both devour a book as we lay around our accommodation. We unwittingly only had one book each, so we ended up swapping once we both finished!

When we weren’t reading, we would wander along the quiet beach, chat about nothing over a beer, or gaze out over the water. There really was something so relaxing and slow about this place.

We did eventually leave the beach for a quick trip up the coast… on a scooter! Our hosts had a scooter which we could hire for around $10 AUD for the day. Neither of us had ever driven a scooter or motorbike in our lives, however our host reassured us it was incredibly easy and that the roads were quiet at flat. After a two minute lesson on how to turn the scooter on, and a quick test run up the driveway (with a couple of random police officers who were lounging around watching us) we were off! Chris took the first drive while I held on for dear life.

We drove north along a quiet and relatively flat road, keeping our speed fairly low and taking in the countryside. I was too busy clinging on to take photos! We stopped once or twice along the way, but otherwise we just took in all the sights – empty resorts (Ramadan!), quiet beaches, and fishing villages. We must have stuck out has hopeless tourists as we received quite a few waves along the way!

We turned around after about an hour, when we reached this jetty. At this point I should also mention all my photos are now from my iphone – I failed the remember that my brand new camera required a separate battery charger and instead bought the cable I used for my old camera! I was kicking myself for this, but decided not to let it get in the way of our holiday.

I had a turn driving on the way back, and was surprised to find that I actually quite enjoyed driving. I am typically an anxious mess about trying new (risky) things, but the quiet roads and the feeling of zooming along on the countryside won me over.

The small sign for our accommodation.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out on the beach, reading and playing with some of the twelve cats that shared our home.

Chris was initially skeptical about me touching them, as they looked a bit sad and feral, but eventually the little kittens won me (and him) over. I love the above photo of this fat old cat – so grumpy!

Our Airbnb house was simple and quite typical of rural Indonesia – no flushing toilet!

If you are planning an escape from Singapore and don’t want to wind up in a resort, I could not recommend this Airbnb more. It was such a tranquil escape!

Plus, the beach is A+ even if it isn’t great for swimming.

This is the only photo I have of Tanjung Pinang, which I snapped from our car on the way back to the ferry terminal.

Bintan, you stole our hearts!

– Reanna

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