Affordable massage at Bintan, Indonesia

Clear blue water off the Kelong Restaurant at Bintan IslandBintan Island is the perfect getaway from busy Singapore if you want to take a quick break fast, cheaply and economically. Just 45 minutes by fast ferry from Singapore, you go from the hustle and bustle of a busy city to the peace and quiet of a blue water and clear sand tropical island.

However, landing in one of the hotel resort in Bintan Island can be expensive, as they have pegged all prices to Singapore dollars at Singapore cost of living! While you may physically be in Bintan, Indonesia, you are paying Singapore equivalent price for a meal, for a beer or even for a massage as long as you are within the premises of the hotel!

Here’s a tip for all massage enthusiasts to Bintan who wants to save some money. If you are prepared to forgo the luxury settings of a hotel spa and yet enjoy the nimble fingers of Indonesian massage ladies, go off the Bintan Hotels and head to the villages and towns!

If you are in the Bintan Hotel Resorts, take a 10 minutes shuttle bus and go to Pasar Oleh Oleh. In this small village just off Bintan Resorts, you will find shops, grocery stores, restaurants, hair salons and massage salons at local prices.

Tanjung UbanAlternatively, if you have more time, take a taxi (S$50) for 4 and go to the nearest town at Tanjung Ubad and enjoy old town Indonesian charm.

Here, you can find traditional Indonesian delicacies in local food stalls, local markets that offer fresh seafood to bring home, DVD shops offering the latest DVD discs and various local massage palors that will provide quality tourist massage services at local prices. Try out the popular Indonesian Massage or the Indonesia Coconut cream wash where coconut cream is used to both massage and wash your hair!


Pampered Weekend @ Angsana Spa at Bintan, Indonesia

Bintan Spa Resort

Angsana Spa at Bintan Island

Looking for a pampered and quiet weekend getaway? If you are in busy and bustling Singapore, just head to Bintan, Indonesia.

Bintan is an island off Indonesia that is a mere 55-minute trip away from Tanah Merah Ferry terminal in Singapore by fast catamaran. There is a scheduled trip every hour and it is common to see Singaporeans visiting Bintan on a regular basis for leisure and pleasure. In fact, we took the morning ferry ride and reached our hotel-resort before noon.

Bintan is a relatively large island that is typical of so many other outlying Indonesian islands. Unlike Bali which is world famous, Bintan tend to only attract visitors from Singapore and nearer countries only because it has not really gained international fame. The island has a indigenous population that is increasingly dependent on tourism. Resorts and hotels dot the island although the main cluster of resorts are concentrated towards the north of the island where the best beaches and sea-view is.

There are a few large and well-known hotel-resorts in Bintan and we had chosen to stay at the Angsana Resort & Spa, Bintan. The Angsana hotel chain is part of the Banyan Tree group although the Angsana chain is a lower price version of the high-end Banyan Tree resorts which is world famous for their spectacular and unique resort landscaping and design, immaculate service and ultimate peace and privacy.

Once we have settled in, we immediately went to check out the hotel’s spa. Afterall, my main purpose of this trip was to check out the well known Angsana Spa. As we walked into the reception, we could smell the frangipani aroma. It was so nice and soothing. The receptionist greeted us politely. She introduced their full range of head-to-toe treatments and we eventually booked a time slot for our massage for the evening.

There is also the Angsana Gallery where you can take home their range of specially blended massage oils, floral-based essential oils, and other spa and massage products. Angsana Spa own-brand fashion apparel, home furnishing, jewelery and accessories were also unique and available at an affordable price.

At Bintan, the Angsana and the Banyan Tree resorts share a lovely beach with powdery white sand and shallow, calm blue water. The beach was so wide and empty. We strolled down the beach and picked sea shells whenever we spotted a nice one. We then took a light lunch at the coffee house and went for a swim and sun-bedded by the large swimming pool. By the time we finished our swim, it was time for our massage.

We were led to our treatments rooms by our therapists. Wow, the outdoor pavilion is located on the rooftop of the hotel, overlooking the stunning view of the blue South China Sea. So ultra-romantic and the pavilion looks exactly like the picture on the brochure (See top-left picture). Even the shower where we took a bath before the massage was outdoor and open up to the clear blue sky!

The massage was so gentle and relaxing. Every stroke was carefully pressed on every part of the body by the ever so gentle Indonesian masseurs. Throughout the massage, we could feel the gentle sea breeze and whenever we opened our eyes, what we saw ahead was the blue South-China sea amidst swaying palm trees and sandy white beach! Oh…. what a life!

Time passed quickly and all too soon, our 90 mins massage treatment ended. The aromatherapy massage in the open air pavilion left us feeling completely relaxed and rejuvenated.

To round off the relaxed day, we had our dinner at the Pantai Grill in the evening where tables were set up on the beach, illumination was provided by crackling fire-sticks and chefs grill their best seafood dishes in the open air. You are literally enjoying barbecued seafood and wine on the beach with the sand beneath your toes and the sound of the crashing waves providing the accompanying ambiance.

What a great and fulfilling short weekend getaway!

Location of Spa: Angsana Hotel, Bintan, Indonesia
Size of Spa: About 4 open-air massage pavilions
Friendliness: Friendly receptionist and masseurs
Facilities: Swimming Pool, Sauna, Shower
Pricing: Minimum SGD90 for a 30min massage

Transport: Fast Ferry from Singapore or domestic flight from Jakarta, Indonesia.