Just across the water from Singapore, Pulau Bintan has some of the nicest white-sand beaches in Sumatra. While it markets itself as a high-end playground for well-heeled visitors from Singapore and beyond, there is some affordable accommodation too.
Top-end resorts huddle around the Lagoi area on the island’s north coast, in close proximity to Singapore. However, less exclusive options along the east coast around Pantai Trikora are equally nice.
Skip the pricey, all-inclusive Lagoi resorts and instead explore Bintan's cultural heart in the area around the island's largest town, Tanjung Pinang. A world away from ultra-clean Singapore, the noisy, dusty streets and mishmash of building styles exude a rustic charm.
Small boats run locals and visitors to Senggarang, where you'll find a Chinese village on stilts, and Penyenget, a small island with royal tombs, palaces, a mosque and a wonderfully rural atmosphere.