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Rustic spots, cheap seafood, quaint sights - discovering the Bintan less travelled

Published on Mar 3, 2013 5:30 AM
 
Street scene at Akau Potong Lembu, an area in Tanjung Pinang. To many Singaporeans, the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan are all about beaches, massages and seafood. But a three-day trip to both places, each within 45 minutes of Singapore by ferry, uncovered a less-travelled, fun side. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

To many Singaporeans, the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan are all about beaches, massages and seafood. But a three-day trip to both places, each within 45 minutes of Singapore by ferry, uncovered a less-travelled, fun side.

It is in Bintan that I meet restaurant cashier Rudi Lim, 32, who graciously invites me, a stranger, to his modest house, which sits in a forest, surrounded by fruit trees such as rambutan and mango, and is accessed by a dirt trail. It is a world away from the air-conditioned comfort of Bintan's beach resorts that most Singaporeans are familiar with.

Still, I have also come to Bintan to stuff my face on fresh, cheap seafood, get a massage and generally have a good time.

One of the more memorable sights I see in Bintan: Tian Shang Miao at Tanjung Pinang. Once the home of the Chinese captain Chiao Chen in 1811, the roots and branches of a banyan tree have entwined themselves around it, supporting it.

 
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