I’ve always been on the lookout for hotels and resorts follow eco-friendly and sustainable practices. There are several luxurious resorts that support ecotourism and sustainability but many of them aren’t full-fledged eco-resorts that adopt a minimalistic approach to minimize waste and lower carbon footprint.
Would any hotel guests, like yourself, be willing to exchange comfort for a zero-waste and eco-friendly travel experience just to protect our environment? I guess that’s a huge hurdle which stops most leading hotels and resorts from taking the first step to go green. On the other hand, there are others who believe in the ‘inconvenient truth’. Are there places which go all out to protect the earth? Mutiara Beach Resort is one resort that values sustainability. I wouldn’t have known about this eco-friendly guesthouse if I had not search for ‘eco-friendly accommodations’ in Bintan on Google. It’s a well-kept secret, I must say!
I knew I had to check out this eco-friendly eco-resort which is just a 50-minute ferry ride away from Singapore so that I could share with you guys my experiences in this eco-resort. I didn’t know what to expect but I went there with an open heart and mind – all ready to explore this lesser known side of Bintan.
Mutiara Beach Guesthouse is located along Trikora Beach, towards the east side of Bintan. It is about an hour car ride from Bintan Resorts Ferry Terminal. To get there, you can book ferry tickets via Bintan Resort Ferries through their website.
From the ferry terminal, you can head over to Indorent Taxi counter to book a taxi which brings you directly to Mutiara Beach Guesthouse.
After cruising along the long winding road, we finally reached this hidden paradise. Do note that the roads are quite bumpy so if you have motion sickness, do prepare some medicine or take a nap during the car ride.
And when it comes to unspoiled natural beaches, you got to be prepared for mosquitos and sandflies. It was really thoughtful of them to actually provide mosquito repellent. You can find these packets of ‘Autan’ mosquito lotion at the lobby area and your rooms.
The entrance to the beach resort is marked by orange flags and this place is pretty huge. We did a checked-in at the lobby where they served us with some refreshing iced tea before bringing us to our room. We stayed two nights at the River House which is quite near the Aroma Spa. By the way, Aroma Spa here at Mutiara Beach Resort is quite an attraction here! Many guests have written positive reviews about the spa and that was probably one of the main reasons why I wanted to check out Mutiara Beach Resort here in Bintan.
We stayed two nights at the River House which is near Aroma River Spa. By the way, Aroma Spa here at Mutiara Beach Resort is an attraction here. Many guests have written positive reviews about the spa and it is also one of the reasons why I wanted to visit this resort.
We had lunch at their in-house Warung which is just beside the lobby because we both were starving! Their menu is quite extensive and they’ve got several vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes too. A must-try is their oven-baked pizzas which were so surprisingly tasty. We never knew that a Kampong-style warung can whip up decent Italian pizzas.
For lunch, my friend had Nasi Goreng Istimewa while I had Nasi Ayam Penyet. The food there is pretty decent. You could practically choose to dine anywhere within the resort. They are pretty flexible when it comes to this. Their humble trust-worthy staff would try their best to meet your needs. The service here is commendable.
Nasi Goreng Istimewa
Nasi Ayam Penyet
They serve fresh coconuts which are loaded with a lot of juice.
The beach is just a minute walk away from the River House which we stayed in. It’s nice staying near the shores where you can hear the gentle waves crashing against the shores.
Mutiara Beach Resort also has their own Beach House where they store some of the sea sports equipment. They offer several sea sports activities like sea kayaking but we didn’t have the time to try it out during our stay.
There’s an area for you at the Beach house to read books, play some board games or have some drinks at the bar area.
Throughout the whole resort, you will also find sturdy hammocks where you can lie comfortably in it and swing along with the sea breeze. Unfortunately for the both of us, it has been raining since we came here and the mozzies were coming out from every corner. Thankfully, we did not encounter any sandflies. Phew! I rather get bitten by mosquitos than any other insects.
The wooden hut we lived in has this beautiful bamboo-made facade. There are a couple of bamboo chairs with cushions where you can sit and chill at the veranda. The dustbin is also placed there.
Room facilities are kept minimal. The bedding was simple and the mosquito net hovering above the bed helps to ward off any insects which might otherwise fall onto our mattresses. Towels and blankets were provided. And there’s a separate toilet and shower area at the back of the hut. It’s a pity that I had forgotten to take pictures of the toilets but they were very clean. Shampoo and body soap were also provided.
Towels and blankets were provided. And there’s a separate toilet and shower area at the back of our hut. I had forgotten to take pictures of the toilets but rest assured, they are well-kept and clean. Shampoo and body soap are also provided.
There’s also a wooden wardrobe with hangers where you can hang your clothes and a desk area where you can find the power socket. Mosquito coils and mosquito repellents are also provided.
Wifi is available in both the lobby and the rooms. The signal is quite strong and we had no problems tapping on their wifi to get connected with our families and friends.
The room amenities were very basic and generally very clean. They do provide housekeeping too but you will need to leave your room keys with them and inform them that you would like your rooms to be tidied up. You can also get them to change the bedsheets or towels too. Our bedsheets were quite damp on the first night as it was raining heavily during the day and it was humid that evening so we got them to change our bed sheets the next day. They changed our blankets and pillow covers too.
Since it was raining while we were there on our first day, we decided to just spend our afternoon in the resort. We had some tea, fruits and apple crumble for tea. I enjoyed the freshly sliced fruits there because they taste really sweet. And surprise, surprise. Their homemade Apple Crumble with vanilla ice-cream was really lovely. So if you’re there, do order their pizzas and desserts.
After our afternoon tea, we decided to check out the Aroma River Spa. Apparently, you don’t have to get onto a sampan to enter the River Spa because you can literally walk across the bridge to get to the spa within minutes. But if you wish to sit on the sampan, you can get ferried across from the resort lobby to the river spa in about 5 minutes.
There are also four resident dogs here at this resort and they love to hang out by the wooden bridge. They are tamed and they don’t really bother you even as you brushed past them. They act as the guard dogs of this resort because they are always on the alert. You could sense that they are always on the lookout for any trespassers and they will only bark if they find something amiss.
At Aroma River Spa, they only provide body treatments like body massage and scrubs using natural spa products. We went for a relaxing 45-minute foot massage at Aroma River Spa. Each of their spa huts has got two beds so it is great for couples.
Similar to the guesthouse, the spa facilities here is also very basic and minimal. They do have spa boutique which sells some spa products and knick-knacks.
The spa masseuse there were very polite. And it was nice doing spa out in the open space where you can hear the sounds of nature as you lay relaxed on the bed.
For dinner, we had some salad and Hawaiian pizza which was toasted to perfection. And as expected, they were a few ‘uninvited guests’ with us at the table. We sat at one of the attap-thatched tables which happened to have two huge lizards chilling at the rooftop. Lo and behold, one of the lizards actually felt flat onto our plate of salad. Thankfully, it did not land on our pizza. What an encounter!
The next morning, we had some lovely crepes with banana and shredded coconut flesh for breakfast. I highly recommend that you order their fruit juices which are 100% fresh and natural.
Thankfully, it wasn’t raining on the second day of our trip so we hired a driver to bring us around Bintan. We paid about 600,000 Rupiah to hire the driver for 6 hours. Our first stop was Santa Maria Cave where there is a small church and some statues of Mother Mary there. The place seemed rather deserted so we left the place after taking a few shots.
The highlight of our trip is the boat ride to White Sands Island. We had to take a 15-minute boat ride to the island. You will need to purchase the boat ticket which also includes the entrance fee to the island. It costs about 150,000 Rupiah per pax excluding government tax and other charges.
The motor boat ride to the island was a treacherous one as the tide was high and the waves were quite strong. I kept praying for safety while I was on the boat. Thankfully, we made it across to the other island in one piece.
We were so thankful for the sunny weather that day.
You wouldn’t want to be flung out of the boat into this open sea.
The island itself was so beautiful and I could understand why it was called White Beach Island. The sand is so white and fine! The waters are so clear and blue. This beach is also famous for the swing near the seafront. But the swing was submerged in water due to the high tide. However, they are a couple of swings on dry land where you can take beautiful pictures on it against the beautiful alluring backdrop of the beach.
This beach is famous for the wooden swing near the seafront. But the swing was submerged in water due to the high tide that day. However, they are a couple of swings on dry land where you can take beautiful pictures on it against the beautiful alluring backdrop of the beach.
Can you spot the famous White Beach Island swing in the sea?
We also visited the 500 Lohan temple which features 500 different life-sized figurines of Arahats (or the ‘one who is worthy’ according to Theravada Buddhism. The temple looks quite majestic but we didn’t stay very long there as there isn’t much to explore.
After the temple visit, the driver drove us to a shopping centre at Tanjung Pinang where we had our lunch before heading back to the resort. It was already late evening and we decided to have dinner at the resort. We ordered pizza along with a brownie. The Brownie was amazingly quite good as well. We ended our trip to Bintan on a good note.
Overall, it was quite an eye-opening experience for the both of us who were so used to living in our modern houses. I love the fact that the resort goes all out to reduce the carbon footprint. That is why there isn’t any television in the room and there is no hot shower system in the bathroom. The water isn’t very cold so our bodies got used to it after being in the shower for a while. There might be some insects at the shower area too since it is so close to nature so don’t be too alarmed if you see one. The only qualm I had is the Muslim prayer calls that echoed from the mosque behind the resort. The first prayer call starts around 5 am in the morning and it did wake me up. I guess the best solution to this is to put on ear plugs. Other than that, it is quite an experience to live sustainably in a kampong-style resort where there are more insects than humans!
Mutiara Beach Resort
Jalan Trikora Km.55