SINGAPORE — Most Singaporeans view Bintan as a convenient destination for a relaxing getaway holiday. And for good reason – Bintan’s wide range of resorts offer a comfortable time-out with family and friends just an hour’s ferry ride from Singapore.
But in recent years, Singaporeans have found another reason for visiting Bintan: to take part in its line-up of endurance sports events.
Already, the Bintan Triathlon has been going strong for 15 years. Ditto the Tour de Bintan cycling tournament (nine years), as well as the Ironman 70.3 Bintan (five years).
Enter the new kid on the block – the International Bintan Marathon, which had its inaugural edition in 2018, attracting about 1,200 runners around the region.
Run around scenic Lagoi Bay
This year, it will be held on 7 and 8 September, and its 21.1km half-marathon and 42.195km full-marathon routes will take participants around the scenic Lagoi Bay area.
They can enjoy the rustic charms of tranquil lakes and pristine greenery around the bay. The finishing point is right by the Lagoi beach, a refreshing departure from the usual concrete-jungle scenery of city marathons in Singapore.
Prakash Nair, general manager of operations for Bintan Resorts Cakrawala and event committee for International Bintan Marathon 2019, told Yahoo News Singapore, “Last year, we marketed (the marathon) without much fanfare. Yet, Singapore was the most represented country with more than 600 runners.
“This year, we aim to host up to 5,000 runners with the various categories for everyone.”
Enjoy a Bintan ‘run-cation’
A new category – the 3km Family Fun Run – has been set up to attract families to the marathon, which coincidentally is held during the September school holidays. It is a good bonding opportunity for parents and children, as they can enjoy the short vacation while having healthy fun during the run.
Indeed, Bintan Resorts is also encouraging marathon participants to enjoy a “run-cation”, whereby they can take the opportunity to stay a few days at the resorts, sample the island’s attractions and then take part in the races.
“They get to enjoy a vacation, and run at the same time,” Nair said. “With a plethora of accommodation options available, running enthusiasts and families can look forward to a good rest after their run.
“From upgraded glamping experiences with unique tepee-styled hotels and luxury villas with private pools to affordable beachfront and family-friendly rooms, there will be something that suit their fancy.”
New attractions, accommodations
In recent years, Bintan has added several new attractions and accommodations to cater to its growing visitor numbers.
For example, Treasure Bay Bintan – which was opened in 2015 – offers an extensive range of recreational and sporting activities around its stunning, 6.3ha Crystal Lagoon, Southeast Asia’s first man-made seawater lagoon.
Holiday-goers can enjoy wakeboarding at the lagoon, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rides amid nearby forests, and even karaoke singalongs at its event centre. They can also opt to stay right next to the lagoon at The Canopi Bintan and its luxurious glamping villas.
Nature lovers can head to Safari Lagoi and Eco Farm, a sanctuary for rescued animals such as sun bears, orang utans and Komodo dragons. It also has a wide variety of tropical crops like papayas, bananas and dragon fruits, as well as flowers such as lavenders and sunflowers.
Intrepid explorers can try the mangrove river tour, an enchanting one-hour boat ride deep into the lush mangrove forests. Or they can take a day tour to the town of Tanjung Pinang and experience the local morning markets, sea gypsy villages and historic temples.
There is more to come this year, including a marine life discovery park at Treasure Bay Bintan, and the stunning Duolos Phos, The Ship Hotel, a 104-year-old ship permanently docked near the ferry terminal that is being transformed into a hotel and maritime museum.
Transfer service for fly-ferry passengers
With the opening of the Changi Lounge at Jewel Changi Airport, a new intermodal transfer service will soon be available for fly-ferry passengers, allowing their baggage to be delivered directly from their aircraft to the Tanah Merah ferry terminal.
“Whether it is the exciting developments, pristine beaches, hidden treasures off the beaten path or sporting events, we want everyone to experience Bintan and witness for themselves all the beauty the island has to offer,” Nair said.
This article was the result of a trip paid for by Bintan Resorts Cakrawala.
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