The driver picked us up from Bintan Lagoon Resort and drove us in comfort to Bintan Mangrove. From the road, it was a short walk to the jetty. But considering how forested it looked, we slapped on loads of mosquito repellent before walking in!
The tour started with an explanation of the environment along Sebung River and the stops that we would be making during our 90-minutes boat tour.
We were shown the map of the river that we would be going along, and some of the wild life we can try to spot along the way.
After the briefing, we saw our boat coming up to the jetty!
We put on our life vests and headed down the jetty and onto the boat.
Along the way, we were surrounded by mangrove on both sides.
Not long after we left the jetty, we saw some houses on stilts ahead.
It was pretty cool checking out the fishermen’s huts.
There was even a seafood restaurant!
As the boat ran along, we saw the local fishermen out and about catching fishes using traditional methods. No fancy equipment.
We stopped by a charcoal kiln. The guide explained to us that the villagers used to burn mangrove wood inside this charcoal kiln to make coal. But nowadays they all use gas, so there was no need for coal anymore and this charcoal kiln was no longer in use.
Moving along, we came by a fruit juice stall, which I found pretty amusing because it had a Chinese signboard.
Anyway nobody was there selling fruit juice when we were there and it looked rather abandoned. It made me wonder if once upon a time, some villagers were here touting freshly squeezed juices to tourists on the mangrove discovery tour.
The real mangrove discovery began as we entered the estuary.
We were told to look out for wild monkeys and venomous snakes.
It didn’t take long before we spotted our first monkey! It was hilarious because we saw two monkeys actually. One of them ran off when it heard us. The other one stayed around and took a leak right in front of us. I wondered if one day, that monkey would decide to pee on tourists’ heads. Wahaha… You’ve been warned.
And soon after, we spotted the snakes. Two of them! When MF heard that the snakes were venomous, he was like, “Why are we staying here? Why aren’t we driving off??” Images of one of the snakes falling into our boat and everyone freaking out entertained my thoughts and fears. But thank goodness it didn’t happen.
As we moved along, the guide highlighted the three different types of roots we could find. This was the most common type:
And there were the ones which grew upwards:
And the ones that looked like ribbons:
The boat pulled over near a plant that the guide told us were attap chee. Okay, I grew up knowing this as attap chee, but I went to google and found out it was called nipah palm or Nypa fruticans.
He then went to scrap off some of the bark from a nearby tree and showed us that it was used to make batik paint! Cool!
Next, our guide also found some pitcher plants and told us that the villagers here used the sap from the pitcher plants for medicinal purposes. Apparently the sap can treat coughs.
We all had a chance to look into the pitcher plant to see (and smell) the sap.
We then saw some long bean lookalikes hanging right above us.
The guide told us they were mangrove seeds, and showed us how the plant reproduced and again passed the mangrove seed around for us to touch and feel it and have a closer look. After which, we threw the plant back for it to reproduce in the mangrove.
With that, we turned around and headed back towards the jetty, spotting some more (or were they the same ones – not too sure) monkeys and venomous snakes on the way back.
We enjoyed our Eco-tour to Bintan Mangrove and learned lots about the plants and animals that can be found in the mangrove habitat. It was especially cool to spot the monkeys and snakes. It was nice to get out of the resort for a bit to get in touch with nature. Together with our visit to EcoVillage Sengilling, these tours enhanced our Bintan experience so much more, compared to if we had just stayed within the resort.
Information on Mangrove Discovery Tour:
Weekday price: Adult: S$ 38.00/person | Child: S$ 25.00/person
Weekend price: Adult: S$ 45.00/person | Child: S$ 25.00/person
Tour price inclusive of 2 ways land transfer, fully guided tour, bottled drinking water, Insurance coverage
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