Having lived in Singapore for 8 years now, I have often heard people talk about how fabulous Nikoi Island was and how I had to try it out. So when a good friend decided to stage his 40th birthday there and invited us to come along, we simply couldn’t refuse.
After a the standard ferry ride from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in Singapore to Bintan, the welcoming staff from Nikoi greet you with a warm smile and whisk you away in a waiting car. The journey on road from the terminal to a private port across the other side of the island takes approximately 1 hour. Once you arrive at your destination, Nikoi’s private boat transports you to the island, which takes about 25 mins.
Get an upgrade on the ferry to Emerald Class. This way you get to acquire and pay for your Indonesian visa onboard and don’t have to queue up with the rest of the passengers upon arrival. Worth the extra!
ABOUT THE ISLAND
Nikoi is a 15-hectare private island 8km off the east coast of Bintan, Indonesia.
Considered as one of the best eco-chic resorts in Asia, the island is magically built to embrace its natural surroundings. The term ‘simple barefoot luxury’ is used a lot and it’s not difficult to see why. The pristine island is surrounded by white sandy beaches and stunning coral features.
A standout feature of the island would have to be the beautiful arrangements of larger-than-life boulders that seem to strangely defy gravity. Cocooned by the gorgeous banyan trees, the island is home to a wide variety of birds, butterflies and (very large) lizards.
Owned by a small group of expats who have been living in Singapore (and Asia) for some time now, the island was bought in 2001 and opened her doors to holiday makers in 2007. The owners wanted to create a high quality experience that was within striking distance to Singapore – and they surely did achieve this!
Each of the 15 villas on the island has a true sense of “Crusoe Chic”. A rustic feel that seems to blend into nature effortlessly. Handcrafted from driftwood with vernacular ‘alang alang’ grass roofs, the stilted structures are extremely spaces and come with modern bathrooms and a jaw-dropping balcony facing the ocean. The entire time we were there, the cooling breeze never gave us a moment to complain about the heat, while the stunning water views acted as a stern reminder that “life was pretty damn good”.
Pic: Nikoi Island
A flat daily rate allows you to enter the culinary program that dishes out 3 daily meals which are not only deliciously prepared but also fills you up to the brim. The island has two very large and open communal dining rooms – one for couples and the other for families. Both boast a handsome communal table made of solid driftwood and brings participants together to celebrate the meals at hand.
Pic: Nikoi Island
The menu is designed by the island’s head chef in advance and you get a choice to further curate it to best suite your mood. And yeah – they will keep brining the food if you want more! Menus change daily according to the seasonal availability of ingredients from local markets. Fresh seafood BBQ’d in front of your eyes coupled with an assortment of tropical fruits certainly captured my attention daily.
If you want to dine somewhere a little more private, the option to dine on your private balcony or even on the beach next to a bonfire is also available. In short, Nikoi is there for you, and not the other way around.
Pic: Nikoi Island
If travelling to Nikoi with young children, make sure that you prepare for the journey, as kids can get restless and bored along the way. Bring healthy snacks (you can’t buy on the island) and an iPad ☺
The accommodation is great and the staff are super friendly. There is something for every palate on the dining front and the educated staff knows about allergies and special dietary requirement, which is fantastic.
Unlike other pretentious eco-resorts, Nikoi Island leaves the attitude at the door and welcomes you in with a cheeky smile and a high five – exactly the way we like it.
See you soon guys and have my cocktails ready!