Trikora

High tide at the beach, Trikora Beach One

Trikora is the collective name of the northeastern beaches on Bintan, Indonesia.

Understand

Until around 2000, the only tourist activity along Bintan's east coast was at Trikora Beach, a popular hang-out for local visitors from Tanjung Pinang as well as foreign back-packers. Since then, the back-packer scene has largely given way to larger developments and other tourist destinations that have popped up along the east coast (see below). For local day-trippers, Trikora remains a popular day trip though. Trikora is actually quite a long stretch of separate beaches, with beaches numbered from south to north as one to four (satu, dua, tiga, empat in Indonesian). The best known is Trikora Beach Four (Trikora Empat), which is the northernmost bit, right next to the "border" with Bintan Resorts. The beach is huge and all along the beach are basic shelters which you can rent from the close-by food sellers. If it is windy the waves can be right strong, swimming is prohibited during monsoon.

Get in

See the main Bintan article for details on getting to Bintan from Singapore or from elsewhere.

Once on Bintan, there are two routes to Trikora, either south from the main port Tanjung Pinang or north from Bintan Resorts. As taxis in the northern zone are much more expensive, most visitors opt for Tanjung Pinang. A cab from there to Trikora should cost no more than 150,000 IDR, or if you're good, you might be able to negotiate a better price. Many hotels offer free transfers, but these may involve quite a bit of waiting around.

Alternatively, if you're going solo or the group feels like enjoying the wind in their hair, hop onto a motorbike. Negotiate with one of the many ready takers outside the ferry station and make sure you settle on an agreeable price. This could range anywhere from S$10 to S$15 for the over an hour journey to Shady Shack or the recently opened Marjoly Beach near Kawal. The ride alone is a delight, with scenes of village life on one side and pockets of the amazing waters on another.

It is also possible to rent motorbike at the ferry terminal or elsewhere in Tanjung Pinang. Figure on around 100,000 rupiah/day.

Get around

To get around Trikora, you could bring your bicycle on the ferry - it's a 2 hour ride from either Tanjung Pinang or the Bintan resorts. For those seeking motorized transport, you can check with anyone at the harbor at Tanjung Pinang. You can arrange for a motorbike, minivan, or car, but it is essential that you negotiate your package beforehand. A motorbike should be possible for around 150,000 IDR and a car (+driver) would be anywhere between 200,000 and 400,000, depending on how long you wish to cruise around. A well-known local figure in the backpacker scene, Mr Lobo or Mr Sularto (see below), could also help arranging motorized transport.

See

Low tide at Agro Beach

The Trikora area is for beach-lovers who enjoy their sandy spots without the crowds. There are quite a number of beaches dotting the stretch, each with its own character and charm. However, tides are quite strong here, so the lovely beach in the morning may turn into mudflats by afternoon (or vice versa).

Some of the islands dotted along the East and South East coast are beautiful, as are the native villages along the east coast (esp Tanjung Berakit at the northern tip), and the traditional fishing communities on the delightful off-the-beaten track Southern islands called Pulau Kelong and Pulau Mantang.

Any of the resorts you stay with (or, of course, Lobo) will be happy to arrange for a tour of these places, except for the Southern islands, which are currently exclusively visited by Loola's clientele.

Local people everywhere are very friendly and some speak a smattering of English, especially the younger generation.

Do

Island hopping, jungle tours, kelong tours, fishing, picnicking, and volley ball. The larger resorts can arrange sporty activities and rent watersports equipment. Kite surfing has become more popular recently with young Singaporean (expats), especially during the windy season, from August to September, but you need to bring your own equipment.

If you feel like doing a bit of sport fishing, ask Lobo (or anyone else) to see if he can arrange for a boat to take the group out on a day trip. Kelongs (stilt mobile homes made for fishing) abound too and there's a chance you could get onto one to see firsthand how they get their catch. Local fishing boats with sail and paddles can be rented for as little as 50,000 rupiah/day from local fishermen.

Or you can stay with Sularto where bicycle rental, snorkeling equipment rental and volleyball rental are open for customers of Pondok Wisata Susy.

Stroll through a fishing village (there is one just north of Ocean Bay Resort) to watch the local fishermen motor out their uniquely Miyazaki-inspired fishing houseboat-vehicles to sea.

If all else fails, there's always the art of climbing coconut trees to master! The locals will be happy to share some tips!

Buy

Dried fish is good and fresh fish is better! Restaurants will cook your fish that you bring in at a price and will not in the least be offended.

Eat

Seafood! There are a couple of restaurants. They are quite cheap unless you go up-market.

Drink

Nightlife in this corner of the island is virtually nonexistent, although the larger resorts do have bare-bones bars. Bring your own from Tanjung Pinang and chill out by the beach. If you run out, the nearest place to buy more is at the little shops in the fishing village of Kawal, where the road to Tanjung Pinang turns away from the beach.

Most resorts serve beer but few have liquor.

Sleep

Several places offer both budget and mid-range accommodation. Those have been placed in the mid-range section.

Budget

Most backpacker hangouts can be found on beaches three and four.

Mid-range

Splurge

The following expensive resorts have their own islands.

Annoyances

The beaches are littered with tiny pockets of tar (from ships) which gets stuck on feet and hands. The best way to clean it is using oil such as Johnson's baby oil or just normal cooking oil. Don't use soap.

Sand flies can be a major annoyance on the beaches. They suck blood and will leave nasty and itchy marks for days. Sand fly activity is heaviest at sunrise and sunset.

The kelong resorts flush their toilet waste straight out in the ocean, which adds quite a pretty sight if you just did a No.2 before heading out to the beach.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 23, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.