Nikoi Island : Day #1, 6th Nov 2009
12:30pm – Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. Amazingly, it was a much better experience than the one we had at Seletar Airport. It was fast, and it was efficient. So, where are we going today?
Checking-in went smoothly, and before we knew it, we were on the Wan Seri Beni ferry to Bintan. Drizzled when we were on the way to the ferry terminal, but the weather was clear when we were on the water, which helped ensure a smooth ride.
The air-conditioned ferry was clean and in surprisingly good condition. Food and drinks are available. Interestingly, most passengers (more than half) are Caucasians. Mr Rabbit’s arm came off for a little while, and we had to scramble around looking for its tiny joint connector -.-” After an one-hour ride, we finally arrived at Bintan Island, Indonesia.
As we left the ferry, we noticed a staff carrying a sign “Nikoi Island”, and we learnt that we can enjoy the privilege of the VIP lounge, where we had express check-in service and our luggage would be retrieved for us while we waited in the lounge. Typically, the VIP lounge is only available to passengers travelling under the Emerald Class, but guests of Nikoi (even though we travelled under Economy Class) have special treatment!
This was followed by an one-hour ride to the jetty at Kawal if I’m not wrong, located at the eastern coast of Bintan main island. Each group of guests to Nikoi actually had a private car from Indorent. Comfortable and spacious! The chauffeur would take care of the luggage so we can sit back, relax and enjoy the ride through Bintan main island, taking in the scenery and the lives of the locals.
At the jetty, we (8 guests in total) hopped on another boat that took 30 minutes to reach Nikoi Island. However, since it was low tide when we reached Nikoi, it meant we had to transfer – again – onto a tiny speedboat that will stop at the shallow beach instead. Time to get our feet wet!
“Welcome to Nikoi!” Shouted the staff of Nikoi as they helped us off the speedboat. Reception was done at Yogi’s Beach Bar where we were given lemon-grass-ed wet towels and watermelon juice to freshen up. Mansud, Nikoi’s manager, introduced himself to us and gave a simple overview of things at Nikoi Island.
Oh. There was a MEGA spider who lives at Yogi’s Bar. Have fun!
We were then led to our beach house – #13 – and it was huge! Almost everything was made of wood. There are 2 bathrooms – one on the first level, and another on the second level where our room is. Also at the ground level were 2 sun-loungers, a leisure area with chairs and coffee table, massage beds, icebox, outdoor shower and also plenty of space!
Unpacked and made ourselves comfortable, after which we made our way to the ‘restaurant’ at 6pm for our first meal at Nikoi Island. The restaurant is actually the place where they serve your meals, and there are two to choose from. The kitchen is located in a separate area, which we won’t be able to see. Also, the kitchen is strategically surrounded by plants.
One thing about meals is that Nikoi’s staff will always ask you when you’ll like to have your lunch/dinner. One of the few things we ever had to think about while on the island. We were pretty hungry earlier on, having travelled for a couple of hours, so we chose 6pm for our first dinner.
Starter was seafood salad, main course was grilled chicken and lamb. Last of all, brownie for dessert. Well, I wouldn’t say the food was 5-star fantastic, but it certainly was fulfilling and satisfactory. In fact, never once did we feel hungry after dinner on our first night.
Meals on Nikoi is a communal experience. Each of the two restaurant has a 10-metre long (I think?) dining table, which means you’re very likely to be sitting beside other guests while you’re having your meals. Oh, and you get to put your feet in the sand too!
Among the guests we got to know was a middle-age couple from Holland, who are currently working in Singapore. The guy could have retired, but builds ships for a living! How cool is that? The wife I believe is involved with Friends of the Museums Singapore. We see them everyday, and it was nice getting to know them and for them to share their experiences.
Another couple from Wales had arrived on Saturday, and we quickly learnt that Nikoi was the second leg of their honeymoon, having previously spent 3 weeks in New Zealand. They were nice and friendly, and very humourous as well! There were others guests whom we’ve managed to talk to on the island, just not as much I suppose.
By now, the pattern is getting obvious huh? Our second resort this year, little or no Asians except for us again. And guess what? We absolutely love it this way! After all, we’re here to get away from Singapore, right?
Popped my one and only surprise for Shan after midnight. Even though I had already given her a birthday present before this trip, I managed to ‘smuggle’ a little present+ birthday card just to surprise her a little ~
Nikoi Island : Relaxed By Nature