Crystal clear blue waters, pristine beaches, crystalline white and powdery sand … Now, that is our ideal of a dream vacation. What comes to mind immediately is the picture perfect island paradise of Bora Bora or Maldives. Having watched so many travelogues on TLC, I can only imagine how exciting and romantic it must be to live in 1 of those luxurious water villas perched above the turquoise waters that opens up to the open lagoon!
Alas, reality strike and it hit upon us that we are, unfortunately, not rich enough to splurge on an outrageously expensive getaway to the breathtakingly beautiful atolls and islands. Hence, we had to fulfill our dreams of staying in an overwater bungalow at the (really) budget resort located in the rustic South-eastern part of Bintan. Minus the hefty price tag, azure blue waters and exclusive service, a short and cheap getaway to the laidback Yasin Bungalow in Bintan sounds just the perfect vacation for budget-conscious people like us to get away and enjoy the beauty of doing nothing.
Name of resort: Yasin Bungalow
Accommodation: Deluxe Sea Wooden Bungalow
Cost: $38/night, excluding $10 return transportation from ferry terminal
* Love it: A hidden gem tucked in the off-the-beaten-track part of Bintan. Staying in an over-water hut and being treated to such a fantastic view of the open sea. Receiving warm hospitality by the service staff. Having the luxury of doing nothing and simply enjoy the time passing by. Experiencing a sense of rustic tranquility at only a fraction of its price.
* Hate it: A very basic and no-frills resort that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you cannot stand coming home to cold showers, a toilet bowl that uses a pail system to flush and a room that is shared with bugs and lizards, then perhaps a night stay at Yasin might be deemed as a nightmare for you!
♥ Day dreaming about having our very own island (Let me tell you a secret – As poor as I might be, it has became an occasional habit for me to check out on the various “Islands for Sale” websites, in hopes that I will be able to purchase one of my own… Someday!) as we walked to the nearby rocky island located off the resort. For a good 20 mins, the entire island was ours as the boy tried to entertain me with his flairing skills and me preferring to explore the rocky atoll with a camera in hand and cam-whore. LOL!
♥ Having dinner with the boy at a little wooden hut that faces the sea. Located just a stone throw from Yasin Bungalow (5 mins walk), this little family-run restaurant offers both tourists and locals alike a chance to dine with a view. We ordered ourselves a plate of maggi mee goreng, nasi goreng, sambal kang kong, gong gong (love seafood!), 1 pint of beer and 1 glass of ice lemon tea and to our utter surprise, the total bill only came up to around SGD$13! While we were dining, we were also lucky enough to spot local families playing with miniature fireworks that burst into flames in the midst of darkness! Quite a romantic sight, indeed.
♥ Waking up to the phenomenal view of the sun rising above the horizon, giving the boy a light kiss on the cheek before falling back to sleep
♥ The highlight of our short trip to Bintan – An excursion to the picturesque White Sand Island (also known as Pulau Beralas Pasir). So, we might not have been able to visit Maldives or Mauritius but we had White Sand Island all to ourselves (other than its only inhabitant – a guy selling drinks and its very friendly dog that greeted us once we came on-shore)! Spent the precious hour frolicking and swimming in the azure blue sea. Who would have ever thought that it is actually possible to come across such a beautiful island in Bintan! Simply, a little piece of paradise! 🙂
Cost: $20/pax for 1 hour at White Sand Island, inclusive of a 10mins speedboat ride from the sister resort, Bintan Agro. Transportation from Yasin to Bintan Agro is free and can be arranged at the reception.