My family booked our March vacation to The Canopi Resort, Bintan since last October and we had been looking forward to it since. This short trip seemed far-fetched back then. Yet, one school term is already over in a flash.
The Canopi Resort is by far the newest resort at Bintan. It boasts of a 6-hectare salt-water crystal lagoon available with all sorts of water sports and outdoor play. The rooms are also not alike to the typical resort-style wooden huts or low-rise buildings. Instead, the rooms are built like Mongolian tent style. Yes, with canvas fabrics.
Following few photos are my family monkeying around in the ferry moments after boarding. My sis and BIL were not in the photos as they were seated elsewhere. We bought the economy class tickets and it was just an hour’s journey. For your info, the Emerald Class passengers gets priority boarding at an additional cost of $44/pax (round trip).
The cabin inside the ferry is pretty spacious and thankfully cooling and clean.
I caught a cat nap during the ferry ride since I was feeling seasick even before the ferry departed Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
We reached the resort at 1130am local time after the hour-long ferry ride. Clearance through the customs was breezy as it appeared that guests going to The Canopi Resort have a dedicated “Immigration” station. We simply handed over our passports at the counter and walked through the hallway to scan our luggages. After which, we walked through another short hallway through some “mama-shops” and met up with the pick-up service. Not the best practice for security issues but it has always been the way immigration at Bintan and Batam worked.
It took us about 5 minutes drive to reach The Canopi Resort in the comfortable and clean van. That’s a plus! But we still do not have our passports. It was only returned to us at the resort after we were allocated our rooms. -.-
This crystal lagoon view invited us the moment we stepped out of the van which alighted us in front of the resort lobby.
The lagoon view was superb with an inviting man-made crystal lagoon to jump into. However what you are looking at now is definitely not what we we experienced. The weather was unbelievably hot. The sun was mercilessly glaring. I was squinting under shades and shelter and constantly tearing uncontrollably.
To the right of the lagoon are where all the “glamps” are located. “Glamps” are glamorised camps or tents which look like those Mongolian dessert tents equipped with creature comfort of air-conditioning and hot water shower at the attached outdoor bathroom.
Now, we arrived at the resort at about 1130am (local time is behind SG time by 1 hour). Since our rooms won’t be ready until 2pm, we took lunch at the restaurant which is just located next to the reception. More on the food later.
Our tortuous wait for our rooms continued after lunch. The heat and pretty much non-windy mid day weather slaughtered every one of us. Out of the four rooms under our booking, we were only given two rooms at 2pm and the remaining two at 230pm.
Point to note – don’t book the ferry to arrive too early or risk suffering like us. Our ferry booking was for boarding at 1110 am. An hour later would have been perfect. The ferry schedule is available for reference. Do pre-purchase your ferry tickets for the best time slots! Ditto for our return ferry. We booked our seats at 330 pm. Best to make your reservations an hour earlier as well.
An electronic wrist tag was given to each room. It is meant for charging of bills to the room and can be used for adventure games and water sports at WOW Experience, vehicle rental and expenditure on meals.
The Canopi Resort has 40 “glamps” with 3 broad room types – Lagoon View, Safari Tent (garden view) and Jacuzzi Room with private outdoor jacuzzi tub. They all look the same externally except for the outdoor furnitures given. The rooms with lagoon view had swing chair and bar table/stools. We had proper dining table and two chairs each.
Rooms are furnished with comfortable basics. However, having no fridge nor telephone is quite a major inconvenience. Just imagine we resorted to collating our requests or making enquiries only during meal hours because of the distance from room to front desk (to add, under the scorching sun). Nobody wants to walk out after the sun sets too.
The pillows provided a good sleep. Seldom can hubby and I sleep very well on our first night as we prefer stiff pillows. The bedsheets are very clean too.
The aircondition is mounted on the floor which makes sense to cool the 2+ metre of air space from the ground instead of keeping the ceiling cool. It is good enough for the strongest mid-day sun and it had been our life saviour for both days.
A writing desk with wobbly legs and uncomfortable wooden foldable chair is found in every room.
These are trunk-style bedside tables that do not come with any drawers. I found the uneven surface a little annoying with my water bottles toppling over in the middle of the night. Do not let the kids play with the bedside lamps, or for any matter, other lamps in the room. All the lamps and lights in the room come with LED light bulbs. We noticed this especially for our bedside lamps.
When we switched off, the LED light bulbs are still alight with just a little starry effect. It is pretty to look at but come to think of it, it could be that the appliance is not grounded to earth, hence electricity still “leak” even when it’s off.
There is ample running space in each room. To the far right, there is a comfortable and big day bed that is clean too. We had an extra bed for kids even though we don’t need it. But since payment is compulsory for additional child (with breakfast), we left it as a play area since I don’t allow my kids to play on the carpet floor in hotel rooms. That door you see leads to the outdoor bathroom.
Flanking both sides of the bathroom door are two cabinets which I honestly think that they are useless, both in looking good and in functionality. The cabinet doors dragged on the floor when opening. There are three latches to undo before I can open any door. One of them houses a digital safe. The other stores the kettle, some beverages and mosquito patches.
My favourite part of the room – outdoor bath. It is a relaxing and windy area for kids to water play when we take shelter from mid-day heat. There is no bathtub but the shower area is pretty big for two kids to have some fun. There were no creepy crawlies spotted throughout my stay, except for a handful of harmful black ants on the wall tiles and two tiny spiders. Being in the “outdoors”, I found it quite scary if I had to visit the toilet in the middle of the night. So I made sure the kids and I had our toilet break just moments before sleep. One would never know if any insect or lizard would suddenly attack right?! Hehehehe
The shower area has a nice rain shower that entertained the kids during their bath time.
The kids relished their water play time in the bathroom while we took shelter from the heat. Before that, they were looking like this below even though they brought books and drawing paper.
The bathroom amenities. Others like toothbrushes and sanitary bags are in the cabinets outside the bathroom which I only discovered during check-out. No shaving blade nor comb is available.
Both hubby and I loved the wash basin and tap for it’s nature-inspired look. It is also connected to the heater.
Each room is equipped with an umbrella and a portable rechargeable lantern for night walk, both of which I asked for since we got our keys but did not get attended to. I hope I don’t get charged for missing item 😕
My Favourite Part – Dining
Day 1 Dinner
We had BBQ right at the pavilion for dinner on our first night. Since we booked the four tents together, we have the luxury of enjoying the common space within our family as well.
We wonder why the pavilion is not sheltered though. The decking of the pavilion is also quite flimsy and soft. We are guessing that some guests would break a hole into the floor deck sooner a later during it’s lifespan. One thing to note is that the concrete slabs in the common area outside our tent was loosely laid with large gaps in between. The gaps were not grouted with cement. We had such a torture looking out for the gaps at night, especially when we had our BBQ. These gaps can easily cause a leg sprain or even worse, fracture.
There were no street lighting on the pathway nor around the pavilion. We hung our night lamps at the pavilion but couldn’t get enough lighting for our meal at the tables. So we had to put the lamps on the table later and suffered glare from the lamps while having our meal even at it’s lowest power.
When I was allocated a BBQ delivery time of 8pm local time (means 9pm Singapore Time), I offered to start my own fire but the staff would not allow and told me it’s dangerous. I found out why later when they managed to come over at 630pm. Have I mentioned that customer service at the resort was excellent?? They used a pile of chemical starters over the charcoal and even the staff who lighted it was scared doing it. Why? Because they were issued with a small handheld lighter. Of course dangerous la!!
The BBQ menu is available in sets for 2 pax or 4 pax. We ordered 2 x 4-pax set at a cost of Rp 800k per set. It worked out to be almost S$200 for 8 pax which in my opinion, is again costly for the amount and quality of food given but no choice since we are on holiday without much selections. The food was well marinated and tasty. There was no more beef for the night when we made our order (at 5+pm) but the lamb was delicious. The serving was also just enough for my family of 8A3C considering that only 7A ate BBQ food and I only ate a handful (no appetite).
I would say that if you love Indonesian flavours, you’d find the BBQ enjoyable as well. The marinate is mildly spicy but the young kids would not like it. I had forgotten to request for non-spicy meal. 😦 Thankfully the kids have instant noodles.
Each 4-pax BBQ set comes with 2 staple – steamed rice/fried rice or fried kuehtiao/mee goreng. We had a selection of everything since we ordered 2 sets but scurried to boil water for the kids’ instant noodles the moment we realized everything was spicy for them.
Day 1 Lunch
Lunch on Day 1 (during the long wait for our room) was pretty delicious and I would say the Italian cuisine was above normal standards and nicely presented too. Prices are all pegged to prices at Singapore’s cafes which is very expensive considering the location is in Indonesia. -.-
Bill for the above 3 main course items was about S$52 (exchange rate of 1:10,000 assumed for ease of calculation) and the bill went towards our daily room credit of S$80/room/night.
We also had our other meals at the resort since the room credit pretty much covers most costs. I will just post some photos for your information.
Day 2 Lunch was comfort food from home – instant noodles, bread and canned sardines.
Day 2 Dinner
Day 3 Lunch
As we were not able to get late check out, we had to quickly order our lunch at closed the bill even before our meal was served. This is because all expenditure is tagged to the electronic device issued for every room. In a way, kind of a rush but after settling the final bill, we had 2.5hrs to leisurely enjoy our meal then got bored to death waiting for time to pass because our ferry back to Singapore departs at 330pm.
I have no complains for every meal except my main course for departing lunch. Though not expecting it to be served on hotplate, I totally did not expect my Tenderloin Steak with Baked Potato & Sauteed Onion would turn out looking like the photo below. Oh well, no sauteed onions but fried onion rings – nevermind. How about expecting steak but served minced beef patty?
I was totally not in the mood to wait any longer for my lunch since I was ravenous. Hence, only complained to my hubby who was probably VERY HAPPY that I did not pick bones with the waiter. -.- The beef patty was pretty much edible, tasty though a little too salty. But it’s not tough to bite into. I simply found it ridiculous to call it a piece of steak. Don’t bluff a someone whose head is ruled by the stomach!
We don’t know what is what on the drinks menu. But what we had was satisfying and refreshingly good.
My brother ordered some mango thingy (non-alcoholic) and we didn’t know the name. Subsequent orders were all given by pointing to his glass. Hahhaa!
Daily Buffet Breakfast (Included)
Our Little Adventure
http://www.treasurebaylagoon.com F : Wow Experience at Treasure Bay
Guests have free access to the Crystal Lagoon. Remember to bring along your own inflatables and water guns. Safety vests are not provided for free-access play. Pls bring along your own safety vests for the children if they are not able swimmers as the pool can be deep at the centre. There are also no lifeguards on duty.
There were also a few large-sized inflatable floats like this below that is free to play. Check out further below for the Giant one at the paid area!
The Canopi Resort tied up with WOW Experience at Treasure Bay to host most of it’s land and water activities at it’s Crystal Lagoon. The games and activities are not cheap though. Charges can also be charged to room through the electronic tag mentioned earlier. Guests not staying at The Canopi, Bintan are able to access the activities with cash payment made directly to the operator. There is another public building at the far left end from The Canopi reception where the public can access WOW Experience. In a way, security can be compromised should the public stray from their activity area and walk the entire distance around the lagoon to trespass into the Glamps.
Anyway, here are just SOME of the activities available below. I’d be spoilt for choice if I were to be given free access to everything – to row, paddle, jump, glide or fly?
Play on this giant inflatable float below is chargeable by per hour per pax access. For 3 pax, it costs an estimate of SGD25 for an hour of play. This play is joined up by several inflatables using velcro straps to secure them together. Do be careful with the kids in order not to get accidental cuts. It’s best to also wear full-body swim wear for protection.
Once payment is made, participants are to go through a briefing and to wear safety vest throughout the entire duration of play.
This is the most boring ride in my opinion – a cruise in the Crystal Lagoon?? I don’t see any price list though and this boat is quite an active site throughout my stay. My hubby said it’s for the lagoon maintenance crew.
The price list for water sports to share :-
For other land sports and activities, refer to the price list below.
Aside from enjoying the Giant Watersports Park and free access at the lagoon daily, we also made an effort to bring the kids for a Mangrove Eco-Tour. My hubby and I last visited Bintan more than a decade ago. Our memories of the Bintan mangrove tour remains fresh all these years. It was that enjoyable to be amongst nature. Even though now that they no longer switch from the outboard motor to the battery-operated motor when we moved deep into the river source, the mangrove area is still pristine and clear waters can be seen at all times.
Getting ready for a pre-tour briefing by our tour leader. There were no children-sized safety vests available and the little ones had to make do with these. It is compulsory for every participant to put on a vest as well. Rental of vests is included in the charge for the tour and no extra payment is needed to be made.
Our tour guide was very friendly. Together with the boatman at the back, both of them struck friendly conversation with my family, attempt to name the swamp animals in Mandarin, and repeatedly spotted snakes for us to see. They also pointed out the types of plants available on both sides of the river. Introduction to their home environment is nothing scientific but they used their local knowledge to the best of their ability. The kids enjoyed their guided tour as well.
These snakes were just hanging in the canopy above our heads as we cruised under. It’s a good thing that they are asleep during the day! Yes the reptiles were this close above us.
The common black mangrove snake is venomous and mildly dangerous. There were so many of them!
We saw a lot more fishes and creatures but not so much of crabs and mud lobsters though. As the fishes were small and boat was just cruising by, I could not take a good photo to share.
The mangrove tour costs SGD25 for adult and SGD15 for children after discount, payable in Rupiah and directly to the operator. Yes, for our group of 6A3C, we were automatically given a discount though we would have “blur-blur” paid in full had they not offered.
We did our tour early in the morning at 9 am. The sun was constantly in our eyes on our way into the river source and it was quite glaring especially when we want to spot creatures. Maybe late afternoon slot at 4 pm would be perfect to enter the tour with sun from the back and exit the tour with sun in the face (but comparatively faster speed). Do be careful with your hat flying off as the boat will speed along the start/end of tour.
The tour lasted for about 45 min on the river. Give it a total of about 1.5 hours to complete the experience from resort and back to your room.
Casting aside minor issues and the expensive costs for a holiday so near to home, my family spent a great rejunevating weekend at the The Canopi with 2 nights of stay. Although fully booked, we hardly see any other guests at all except during meal times.
There were not much things to do after night fall. The kids spent some time blowing bubbles at the waterside after dinner. And we basically go to bed at usual hours after a round of movie in the comfort of our bed.
Surprisingly, there was not a single mosquito, sandfly nor gnats of sorts throughout my stay. Not at the resort, nor the mangrove. When it comes to insects attack, I’d be the first to know. Trust me. The place is very well kept and maintained with a worker raking the sand around the side of the entire lagoon starting from early in the morning.
Parking at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
Parking is charged at max of $20 per day for cars parked at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal. It totalled $48.56 for our car parked from Fri ~ 10am til Sun ~ 545pm. Compared to taking a cab from west side of Singapore, it is the most economical option for my family since hubby refused to take the 2-hr MRT ride with the young and our luggages. If you are coming from the other parts of Singapore, perhaps it might be cheaper to take the cab like what my sister did.
This is not a sponsored post. My family paid for everything we enjoyed. Thanks for joining us on SAys! Happy Mums. If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates. We hope to see you back again soon!
~ SAys! Shirley