Panglong Village is located close to Tanjung Pinang and is mainly occupied by the Sea Gypsies. This rustic village is an eye-opening experience as houses here are built on stilts and most of the occupants are fishermen who use ancient rituals and practices in their daily lives. Take a stroll and watch as time stands still here as local fishermen weave fishing nets and cast them out to sea.
Close to Panglong Village, you will find a small chapel after hiking through a forest trail. This chapel is known as the Grotto Santa Maria or the Santa Maria Cave and was originally built by a French pastor in the late eighteenth century. You will find a well-preserved statue of Santa Maria in the chapel as well as several other sculptures leading up to the cave from the forest trail.
The chapel is quite a sight as it is painted brightly amidst the lush greeneries of the forest, and you can walk around the area to discover different relics that are contributed by the Catholic community from Vietnam and East Timor over the years. If you come on a Sunday, you can even join the mass and meet new friends from the island — an experience that’ll leave you feeling inspired and motivated to reach higher goals!
Besides the cultural sights of Bintan Island, there is also much to do if you are adventurous and enjoy being with nature. Away from the beaches and crowd, the island is covered in lush tropical jungle with hiking tracks leading up to the Bintan’s highest peak: Mount Bintan.
At 340 meters, this is a manageable 3 to 4-hour hike suitable for everyone including beginners. Hikers will be rewarded at the summit with an incredible 360-degree view of the entire island — a must-do if you want to feel inspired and take in Bintan in all its tropical splendor.
Tanjung Pinang is the largest town in Bintan Island and is where most of the locals live. There is a lot to do here including visiting the traditiona