Frequently asked questions

Welcome to our FAQ page. We are an unusual, exotic, secluded and private island resort and hence attract some unusual questions. We think we have most of them answered…

We have over 100 questions answered below.

If your question has not been answered here or elsewhere on the website we’d be surprised, but would be happy to answer it if this is indeed the case. Please submit it via the Enquiries Form

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What is the weather normally like?
The weather is the same as in Singapore but remember you will be ‘on the beach’ ie outside. The ‘winter’ months can be pleasantly cool after dark.

What is the best time of the year to go?
Anytime is great! Being 30 miles north of the equator means that the weather doesn't change that much throughout the year. The winter monsoon (very mild at our latitude) blows from the north, starting at the end of November until early February and brings cooler temperatures. The summer monsoon – very gentle and from the south - starts in April/May.

Is the beach good for swimming?
We have a fantastic white-sand beach on the west of island. Even at low tide it is possible to walk through a channel in the coral to reach deep, clear water and, should you desire, the swimming pontoon.

What happens when it rains?
Rain does happen! If a squall comes through (a ‘Sumatra’ - presaged by lightning over Bintan Island) it will normally last about 45 minutes. Our staff will drop the blinds. We have foul-weather gear on the boats.

I've heard of your resort before but I thought you were in Malaysia?
There is an island off the west coast of peninsula Malaysia called Pangkor or Pangkor Laut to be exact. We are called Pangkil or Pulau Pangkil Kecil (Small Pangkil Island) in full and we are in Indonesia, very close to Singapore.

I have a nautical map of the Riau islands and there appears to be more than one Pangkil?
Correct. Our full name is Pulau Pangkil Kecil. ‘Pulau’ means ‘Island’ in Indonesian. ‘Kecil’ means ‘Small’. Pulau Pangkil Besar (‘Big Pangkil’) is 2 km away from us and can be visited. Another Pulau Pangkil can be found 12 km south-west of Tanjung Pinang and there could well be others! As far as we know, ‘Pangkil’ is just a name and doesn’t mean anything in Indonesian.

I own a 42 foot yacht berthed at Raffles Marina. Are you considered to be a good cruising destination and can you handle visiting yachts? Can we dine on-shore without staying overnight?
The area is outstanding as a cruising yacht destination and yachts have visited. We discourage anchoring to avoid damage to the coral, however we do have anchor points. Unfortunately we are not able to provide meals unless you have hired the whole island. As a private island we do not allow visitors ashore without prior permission.

How far is Pangkil from Singapore, Bintan and some of the other places you mention?
The straight-line distances (ie ‘as the crow flies’) are, from Pangkil:
Bintan 6 km (the closest point)
Murbai 8 km (our picnic island)
Pama 9 km (one of our jetties)
Kawal 11 km (one of our jetties)
Mapur 11.5 km (a large island with good diving)
Kijang 12.5 km (the southern port on Bintan)
Suka 12.5 km (our other resort island)
Lina 13 km (another one of our islands)
Tanjung Pinang 29.5 km (the largest town on Bintan)
Lagoi 49 km (the northern end of Bintan)
Singapore 93km

What activities do you have on the island?
Pangkil is ideal for relaxing: reading in a hammock, sun-bathing by the fresh-water pool, having a massage, kayaking around the island, walking on the beach or swimming in the sea. We do have a volleyball court and a boules set as well as two Lasers (sailing dinghies). The numerous secluded beaches, jungle paths and unusual rock formations are often woven by parents into elaborate treasure hunts for kids which have been known to include the swimming pontoon and tree house. The more adventurous have been known to kayak, sail or even swim to neighbouring islands. We encourage guests to use the speedboats or launches to explore other island or even have a picnic on Pulau Murbai a tiny deserted jewel that we own just for such trips. After dinner, relax with a coffee and a glass of wine around a beach bonfire or turn up the music to kick-start your fancy dress party!

Do you have a wakeboard?
No and nor do we have a banana boat or jet skis. Our guests overwhelmingly prefer the Pangkil tranquillity as it is.

Do you have a football or a frisbee?
No, but you are welcome to bring your own.

Is it feasible to bring my windsurfer to Pangkil?
Yes. We are more than happy to transport windsurfers however your limitation may by the public ferries (from Singapore to Bintan). We suggest you check with the ferry operators as to the feasibility of transporting bulky equipment.

I am a certified diver. Is diving possible?
The region is not known for its diving, and if your last diving trip was in Grand Cayman, Truk Lagoon or Palau, you will probably be disappointed. Pangkil is not geared up for diving and the water can, at times, be a little murky. Having said that, there is a reasonable dive, at the top of the high tide, off the rocks at the northern-end of the island. The diving off Pulau Mapur is supposed to be quite good and you could certainly use Pangkil as a base to reach Mapur and other island in the region. We can, and have, organised tanks before but you will have to supply your own weights and divemaster/buddy. If you are really keen and experienced we can set this up. Alternatively you might try Mr Yann Amenbar on +65 9479 3309 who organises diving in the region out of Batam View Hotel.

What type of fishing is available and should we bring our own rods?
We discourage fishing from the island as we try and keep the fish for the snorkellers. You are however more than welcome to take one of the speedboats or the launch on a fishing expedition. The boat crew may be able to show you some good fishing spots off Pangkil or neighbouring islands or rocky outcrops. The Indonesian fisherman often fish just off Pangkil. We have a few rods, but Indonesian-style fishing usually involves dangling a line and hook off the back or side of a boat! If you’re a serious angler we suggest you bring your own rod and tackle.

Do you supply bait?
Yes, we’ll supply squid and shrimp at no extra cost.
Is television provided?
We do not provide television reception on the island. The majority of our guests prefer it this way. For special events (Olympics, World Cup Soccer etc) we are able to arrange for a temporary installation at a cost of $400 for the weekend. Please enquire in advance.

How many people can you comfortably fit on the island?
This depends on the composition of your group and how well they know each other ! We have 9 separate dwellings (‘driftwood palaces’) including the gazebo by the pool and the tree house, hence we can accommodate 18 adults in complete privacy with each of the couples in a king-size, four-poster bed. There are however 13 four-poster double beds and 2 double ‘day beds’ (which can certainly be used to sleep on) across these 9 palaces. We also have 6 wooden-framed single beds which can be moved around and many of the palaces with 2 double beds have magnificent wooden benches which can be made up as comfortable single beds. There is more overflow accommodation in the form of numerous hammocks and large tents. So it’s not uncommon to see groups of up to 25 or even 30 adults. A typical family group might be 5 or 6 families, 12 adults and 14 or 15 kids. INSEAD MBA students regularly squeeze in 40 people.

Which house would be best as we will have an infant with us?
Driftwood Palace Number 2 is the closest one to the Main House (where most of the meals are served and where people tend to congregate). If you have a baby monitor it will be in range to the Main House. This palace has 1 double bed and a small adjacent room suitable for cots or mattresses for small children.

What are the check-in and check-out times?
Provided there are no guests before you, you are generally free to arrive on Pangkil as early as you like. Similarly we don’t enforce a check-out time if there is not a group arriving on the day you check out. Realistically the public ferries to and from Singapore are the limitation. You’re unlikely to arrive on Pangkil (from Singapore) much before lunch and will generally need to leave Pangkil around mid-afternoon in order to catch the last ferry back to Singapore. In the rare event that there is an overlap, we’ll allow two groups on the island for an hour or two, usually over lunch and if both groups agree. Another option is for the arriving (or departing) party to visit Pulau Murbai, our picnic island, for lunch, thereby avoiding the other party. In general, weekend groups have precedence over weekday groups.

Do the villas have air-conditioning?
The driftwood palaces have ceiling fans as well as smaller fans mounted inside of the mosquito netting of all of the four-poster beds. Additionally all the palaces are on stilts, well above the ground, and close to or on the beach and so take full advantage of the prevailing breezes. Our guests find this more than satisfactory and often use the blankets provided. We recommend that guests bring a long-sleeved shirt as the evenings can be refreshingly cool.

Are there en-suite bathrooms?
The majority of the driftwood palaces have their own flushing toilets and fresh-water showers in detached bathrooms at ground-level, no more than 5 paces from the individual palaces.

The houses in the photos do not appear to have any doors?
The driftwood palaces are, by way of their construction and orientation, extremely private. No one can see inside and they can be closed using the blinds and canvas flaps for privacy or to keep out rain. Some of them actually do have proper doors.

Can I rent your villas individually?
We only rent the island as a whole and the basic price per night applies to a minimum of 10 people even if you have less than 10. There are incremental charges for more than 10 people.

Is there hot water on the island?
Yes. All showers have hot water.

Are the palaces with 2 king-size double beds in separate rooms?

How long does it take to get to Pangkil?
From Singapore to the Pangkil beach has been done in 2 hours 40 minutes (via Lagoi, at night, midweek). If you are caught in the visa queue at Lagoi on a Friday night at 8pm it could take you as long as 4 hours to get to Pangkil, so we strongly recommend that you do not catch the last ferry on a Friday night to Bintan. In fact we don't pick up from Lagoi but rather a different port called Tanjung Pinang.

Where is Lagoi?
Lagoi is a geographical area encompassing the north-west part of the island of Bintan around the Bintan Resort Ferry Terminal (correctly known as the Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal). Lagoi also includes the village of Teluk Sebong as well as the Bintan Resorts such as the Banyan Tree. We use ‘Lagoi’ to refer to arrivals and departures at this end of Bintan as opposed to journeys to and from Tanjung Pinang, the largest town on Bintan and a different ferry terminal entirely.

Can we travel at night?
Yes. Our launch crew are competent night sailors and regularly navigate the short trip to Pangkil in the dark. Arrivals on Pangkil close to midnight and departures before dawn are not uncommon.

I have a flight leaving Singapore on Sunday at 11:50 am. Can I make it or do I have to leave Pangkil on Saturday?
The first ferry from Tanjung Pinang to Singapore is currently at 07:00 (local time, GMT+7). Factor in a 1 hour time difference and a 1 hour 40 minute ferry ride and you should be at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT) at 09:40 (Singapore time, GMT+8). TMFT is very close to Changi Airport and you could easily be there by 10:00 or 10:15 at the latest, plenty of time to make your flight. You will unfortunately have to leave Pangkil at about 05:00 (06:00 Singapore time) which will of course hurt. Our staff and boat crew operate at any time of the day or night if necessary.

Can I arrive from Batam?
Yes. There are regular ferries and bumboats between Batam and Bintan. It is best if you catch one to Tanjung Pinang and we can pick you up there. Batam also boasts Hang Nadim International Airport (BTH) which is an alternative to flying in to Singapore’s Changi airport.

Is your launch safe?
Yes. Our launches are sturdy Indonesian vessels. We have a crew of 2 or more usually 3 to run each launch. We have life-jackets (adults and kids sizes) and a two-way radio. The crew have mobile phones (which have signal all the way to the island) as a back-up measure. We also have a covered speedboat in the fleet as well.

Are additional transfers possible to Pangkil?
A single land and launch trip from a ferry terminal on Bintan (either Lagoi or Tanjung Pinang) to Pangkil and back is included in the Basic Island Rate. We are more than happy to pick up your group in two parts, AM and PM for example, but each additional one-way trip costs S$200 (for the group, regardless of the size).

You’re meeting the first wave of our group at 5pm. Could we have a second pick-up at 8pm?
Probably not. These times imply that you’re arriving at Lagoi. Firstly we do not pick up at Lagoi (although you can catch a taxi to the south of Bintan). Secondly, we generally need a minimum of 3 to 4 hours between transfers to the island so that the launches can retun, refuel if necessary etc. Under these ‘minimum-gap’ conditions a standard charge of S$200 for each additional transfer applies. If however your group does arrive in 2 or more batches in close succession (ie closer than the limits above), then we reserve the right to charge more for the transfer as we will have to hire Kijang (4WD) taxis to make this work.

We have open tickets from Tanjung Pinang to Singapore on Penguin Ferries. How do we reserve and confirm seats?
When you arrive in Bintan, our staff will ask you for your return or one-way ticket back to Singapore, as well as your white Indonesian immigration card. Regardless of your port of departure, they will confirm your seats for you while you are on Pangkil and give you your boarding card and immigration card before dropping you at a ferry terminal. The Pangkil staff will also pay the S$5 departure tax (applicable for TP only) for you. If you are unable to secure a one-way ticket for the return journey via TP in Singapore, please tell our staff when you meet them. They should be able to buy tickets for you (subject to availability). A service charge may apply.

What happens if we miss the last ferry back to singapore?
Our staff will give you plenty of warning as to what time you should leave Pangkil. They are not however trained to nag and it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure you have packed, settled your bill and made it out to the launch on time. It happens less than once a year that a group misses the last ferry. The choices are to return to Pangkil and stay a night if it is available, to stay in Tanjung Pinang or at the Bintan Resorts. It is possible to catch a bum boat to Batam and from there a taxi and then ferry to the World Trade Centre in Singapore as the last ferry from Batam departs later than the last ferry from Bintan. Be warned: This is an expensive option so its best not to miss that last ferry!

Is it possible to charter a helicopter to Pangkil?
ST Engineering in Singapore runs a helicopter service. They can fly from Seletar to Kijang Airport (Bintan) where you would clear immigration before proceeding to Pangkil. The bad news is this costs about S$5,500 return (for a 6-seater).

How much do you charge for two people for a weekend?
If there are only two of you, it will still cost our 'basic' rate which assumes a minimum of 10 people. You will get the entire island to yourself but this is obviously not as cost-effective as having 10 people. If however you are part of a larger group, then you should speak to your group organizer and see how she/he is splitting up the total cost.

How much do you charge for maids?
S$200 for a weekend. If (say) there are only 8 adults and 2 maids, the maids and the other adults are considered to be part of the 1 to 10 person basic charge and there is no additional cost.

Are there any extra charges?
You will need to pay for:
- Ferry tickets from Singapore to Bintan and back
- Visas (waived for many ASEAN nationalities)
- Drinks. We have an extensive collection of beer, spirits and wines, all at reasonable prices. We charge for alcohol and soft-drinks, but not tea, coffee or water
- Massages, fireworks (if any)
- S$5 departure tax and ticket reconfirmation fee

Three meals per day are included, but there may be a nominal charge for an additional meal if your group arrives before lunch on the first day. We also charge an extra S$200 (per additional one-way land/launch trip) if your group does not arrive and depart together. There are also additional accommodation charges (over and above the basic island rate) if the size of your group is more than 10 people.

What is included in the price?
You are free to make full use of the island and its resources. This is all included in price. We can organise a picnic on a neighbouring island, a sunset fishing trip or even a bonfire on the beach! A non-exhaustive list of what’s included in the Basic Island Rate is as follows:
- Accommodation for 1 to 10 people
- All land and launch transport from Tanjung Pinang to Pangkil (one return trip per group is included)
- Welcome drinks
- Three meals per day (everyone loves our food!)
- Unlimited coffee, tea, snacks and bottled water
- Use of all of the driftwood palaces (bathroom towels and linen is supplied)
- Use of the fabulous fresh-water pool
- Beach towels
- Use of the tree house and viewing platform
- A volleyball court
- A boules set
- Use of our sailing dinghies. We have 2 Lasers.
- Use of our sea kayaks. We have 6
- Snorkelling equipment
- Indonesian-style fishing trips. We will even supply the bait!
- Day-trips to explore other islands

I would like to bring my family of four to your island for two nights during the week. Do you have a special rate for such a small group?
Generally we only rent out the island to an entire group at the Basic Island Rate (which is flat rate for 1 to 10 people). It is however worth filling in the Enquiry Form as we sometimes have other such enquiries, media visits or other activities not shown on the Bookings Calendar which might allow us to host you on the island.

What currency do you use?
Singapore Dollars (SGD). You should be able to travel all the way from Singapore to Pangkil and back without having to use Indonesian Rupiah.

Is the charging done on the lowest-cost basis?
Absolutely. The basic (and minimum) island cost covers 1 to 10 people (usually). The most expensive categories of guests are used to ‘fill up’ the basic ‘pool’ of guests. The remaining adults, maids and kids are then charged at the prevailing rates. For example if you have 10 adults and 10 kids, we will not apply the Basic Rate to the 10 kids and then charge you incremental rates for the 10 adults. Rather, the 10 adults are covered by the basic rate and we will charge for the additional 10 kids as this is the lowest-cost option.

We have booked Pangkil for the weekend. Two of my group can only make it on Saturday morning. How will they be charged?
The first 10 people are charged the Basic Island Rate. This assumes a two-night stay. Additional guests are only charged for the number of nights stayed. We have a single night, weekend, adult rate.

I called the ferry company and was told we need to pay 10,000 rupiah upon return. Is this included in the package?
There is no departure tax from the ferry terminal at Lagoi. Bizarrely there is a departure tax from the scruffier ferry terminal at Tanjung Pinang which is indeed IDR 10,000 (Indonesian Rupiah) per person. This is approximately S$2. Our staff will usually pay this for you and add the cost (in Singapore Dollars) to your final invoice on the island. There is often a S$3 ticket reconfirmation fee. Expect to pay a total of S$5.

Can you hold the island for me until my friends get back to me?
No. The only way to secure the island is with a S$2,000 deposit. If we’re convinced that your cheque is literally in the mail or that you are heading down to the bank to effect a transfer of funds within the next 48 hours, we will hold the island for you until we receive your deposit.

But you held Pangkil for someone else we know without a deposit?
Even our regular guests are required to put down deposits. At our discretion, we will sometimes record ‘expressions of interest’ particularly for bookings 6 to 12 months out. In effect you will then have a ‘non-binding, first right of refusal’ over the island and we may be able to email you when we receive another request for your particular weekend or dates. Please note that this system is neither perfect nor guaranteed and you are still encouraged to send your deposit as soon as you can.

I am trying to organise a weekend on Pangkil but have never done this before. Can I ask my proposed group to send you their individual deposit cheques?
No. We require a single deposit cheque or transfer of funds (which may obviously come from someone other than the Group Organizer).

Is your website up to date?
The website is updated weekly.

Do you accept credit cards on island?
Yes. We limit to 3 credit cards to be used in one trip.

How will I know when my reservation is confirmed?
Your reservation is only certain when we have received your deposit (and if it is a cheque, after it has cleared). We will notify you at this time.

Can we visit the island before we book it?
Certainly. You’ll have to get yourself to Bintan but we will pick you up there and take you to the island and back at our expense. The island is indeed private and we will obtain the permission of the guests in residence at the time. There is however a S$500 cost for a day-trip and these are usually limited to Fridays.

Do you have any brochures?
There are a number of ‘soft copy’ brochures you can download from this website. We don’t usually stock printed brochures.

Can we meet with you to discuss booking the island?
We have a part-time office in Singapore which our guests occasionally visit to drop off funds to be guaranteed of securing a booking (or to pick up items lost on the island following a trip). Our Singapore-based office however operates on a part-time basis and our staff are generally not able to meet with you personally. We also have an operations office in Tanjung Pinang (Bintan) but it is not open to the public.
Can we increase or decrease the number of people after the deposit has been paid?
Yes. Indicative numbers at the time you book are useful. Final numbers are needed a week before your trip.

Can we increase or decrease the number of people after the deposit has been paid?
Yes. Indicative numbers at the time you book are useful. Final numbers are needed a week before your trip.

Do you cater for children?
Absolutely! We are set up for children (of all ages!) and have them on the island all the time. We have cots and high-chairs as well as spare beds for the bigger ones and children’s life jackets.

Do you have a special children’s menu?
Our cooks are used to producing less spicy (or even non-spicy) food for children. We have two dining tables in the Main House. Some families seat the kids separately. Others organise an earlier sitting for the kids.

Can the children eat at a different time to the adults?

How many cots do you have?
Four. They come complete with mosquito nets.

Do you have babysitters or should we bring our maid?
We have a number of female staff who will volunteer to baby-sit. We charge S$20 per child which goes directly to the babysitter. You are also welcome to bring your maid. We charge $100 per night for maids.

Do you charge for children?
Infants (less than 3 years old) are free of charge. Children (3 to 12 years old) attract the children’s rate and anyone older than 12 is charged as an adult.

Do you have buckets and spades for the kids?
No. You’re welcome to bring your own.

Am I able to sterilize bottles for my infant?

What type of food do you serve?
We normally serve Western and Indonesian-style dishes. These include grilled or barbequed fish, squid, prawns, beef and chicken as well as curries of all description. There are side dishes which include fresh garden salads, pasta salads, boiled/steamed leafy greens and grilled aubergine/egg plant (an island favourite). Prawn and tofu kebabs appear from time-to-time as do satay sticks. Our home-made salad dressing is much appreciated as is our freshly-baked bread. We serve fresh fruit, mango sticky rice and sometimes sago as well as home-made cakes for dessert (the almond cake has now been perfected). Everyone is uniformly complimentary about the food.

Can we cook ourselves?
You are quite welcome to cook for yourselves if that is what you want to do, but our cooks are pretty good, so you might as well sit back and enjoy the sunsets ! We welcome visits to the kitchen by people with food allergies or guests who would like to teach our cook a new recipe. Try us with requests but it would help if you speak Indonesian otherwise you’ll have to work through one of our translators.

Can you serve Halal food?
Yes. Our cooks are all Muslims.

Are meals included in the price?
Three meals are included in the daily rate. They can be any three meals (for example dinner, breakfast, lunch OR lunch, dinner, breakfast). You can eat as much as you want and when you want. If you arrive before lunch on the first day and leave after lunch on the last day you will have had one more than three meals per day. For this there is a nominal charge.

Do you provide snacks?
You can effectively raid the kitchen whenever you want. Banana fritters, rice cakes, prawn crackers, spring rolls and other fantastic snacks will often appear at the pool or the main house in the afternoon. There is usually a large jar of cashews or almonds at the Main House. If you’re after the healthy option ask for fruit. Just let our staff know if you’re hungry and when and where you’d like your snacks and they’ll do their best. There are no extra charges.

Do you cater for vegetarians?
Absolutely. Give us some advance notice and we promise to delight.

May we use the fridge?
Yes of course. If you’re planning on bringing a French Camembert to go with your Waterford Crackers, then you are most welcome to store it in our industrial-strength fridge.

Can you cope with a nut allergy?
We have had adults and children with nut allergies on the island before and they survived. This being Indonesia (a country famed for the use of peanut sauces), the best way to ensure that there are no nut derivatives in the food, is to work with our cook. You're welcome to go right into the kitchen (in fact we suggest this before the preparation of each meal begins) and see what they're preparing. You’ll have to take our English-speaking Customer Service Manager with you as our cook does not speak any English. Our staff are very good and will try their best but with the language difficulties we suggest you remind them before every meal and double check on everything.

Can we bring our own wine?
We have an excellent, reasonably-priced wine collection and would prefer that you didn’t bring your own, however if you do we will charge a $S15 corkage charge per bottle.

We have a few drinkers who are worried that there may not be enough spirits/beer for the long holiday weekend? Should they be concerned?
No. Our boats regularly visit the island when there are guests, bringing water, fuel and additional supplies. You cannot drink us dry but we look forward to the challenge!

We drink a lot of Vodka Tonics and Bloody Marys. Do we need to bring any mixers?
We stock soda water, tonic water, ginger ale, pineapple juice, orange juice and tomato juice. They tend to be local or regional brands (eg Schweppes tonic water).

Should we bring our own beer or soft-drinks?
No. We stock most of the major soft-drinks including diet colas. Soft drinks cost IDR 25k per can and beer IDR 40k (Bintang, Tiger, Heineken & Carlsberg) and IDR 50k (corona).

Is there a real coffee maker on the island or do you use instant coffee? We have a few coffee snobs coming (me being one of them) and I can bring my own press if needed?
We serve strong plunger-style Indonesian coffee. Everyone seems to like it. We do serve tea, however if you’re a tea snob our selection is limited and you may want to bring your own.

Should we bring bottled water?
We offer complimentary bottled water produced in Indonesia.

Is fresh milk available?
No. We use UHT milk.

My son is allergic to milk. Should I bring my own soy milk?
Yes. If in doubt bring what you need. We don’t usually carry soy milk.

What do you do if there is a serious injury?
There is an excellent well-staffed hospital in Kijang (the southern port on Bintan). Our speedboat can reach Kijang in about 20 minutes if necessary. Our staff members on Pangkil and Bintan have mobile phones (and two-way radios) and will arrange for the hospital staff to be ready to receive the injured guest. We have been extremely fortunate to date that the only serious injury requiring a visit to the hospital was a boy who cut his foot requiring stiches.

Is it safe to swim?
Absolutely. Open-water swimming is encouraged off the beach near the Main House. Naturally common-sense suggests that parents supervise their kids, that no one should swim after having consumed alcohol and that swimming at night is not advisable. If in any doubt, have your friends (or our staff) follow you in the kayaks or a speedboat. Stone Fish are found all the way from Australia up to the South-China Sea. We suggest you do not step on the coral or rocks and stick to walking on the sand to get to open sea. At certain times of the year there are jelly fish. The seasons are short and we have jelly fish ‘wipes’ in our first-aid kit. We have never had a serious injury from the jelly fish. We recommend that you always use reef-shoes to walk on the reef.

How far is it safe to swim?
Guests swim out to the swimming pontoon all the time. A few have swum around the entire island before and some extremely fit guests have swim to Pulau Pangkil Besar (‘Big Pangkil’) about 2 km away. We don’t advise either of the latter-two options, but if you insist, please alert our staff and have them follow you in one of the speedboats.

Do you have security guards on the island?
Our male staff members patrol the island at night. We have a purpose-built light tower with an intense quartz-halogen light used to illuminate our boats and the main beach throughout the night. This has worked well to date warding off curious fishermen.

Are there pirates in the area?
Rest assured, we are on top of security arrangements. The whole of the area to the south and west of Bintan is quiet and there have been no disturbances or any hint of unpleasantness. We are known to the Indonesian Navy (which has a base at Kijang) as well as the Chief of Police. Our General Manager is Indonesian and was born in Bintan and hence has his ear to the ground (or should that be water) with regards to maritime security in the area. If there was the remotest possibility of harm to any of our guests at any time we would immediately advise you not to travel.
There certainly is ‘marine thievery’ in the Riaus (for example the Philips Channel to the west of Batam), but this is a long way from Pangkil. Violent attacks on ship are rare and many of those reported in the media happen many hundreds of kilometres from Pangkil. Increased cooperation between the governments and navies of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as well as some recent victories by the Indonesian forces in capturing ‘pirates’ will lead to improvements in the safety of the entire region.
We have prudently developed contingency plans in the highly unlikely event that there are attacks at the ferry terminals, on land en-route to a ferry terminal, on our launch at sea, or if there is civil unrest in Bintan while guests are on the island. We do not expect to ever have to activate these plans as the area really is very safe.

I was extremely nervous when transiting through Tanjung Pinang last time. Why do you still recommend departures through this terminal?
Tanjung Pinang is a buzz of activity. If your only experience, previously, of Indonesia has been the antiseptically clean and isolated Lagoi (Bintan Resorts) area, then TP and its ferry terminal will seem scruffy, lively and busy. This can be disconcerting the first time but it is very safe. If it wasn’t we would not recommend it as the departure terminal. Most of the people on Bintan come from other parts of Indonesia (such as Java).
Tanjung Pinang is a relatively rich town by Indonesian standards and most people are there to work, and work hard. Of course like any busy transport hub, anywhere in the world, watch out for pick-pockets and make sure that either you or our staff have your luggage at all times!

Do we have to worry about malaria?
There is no malaria on the island. We are fortunately also free of sand flies. There are a few non-malarial mosquitoes, but we provide mosquito coils and insect spray in the driftwood palaces as well as mosquito nets. We also regularly ‘fog’ to keep the mosquito population under control. We do however suggest that you bring your own preferred brand of insect repellent.

We were hoping to arrive early but the Bookings Calendar shows that there will be another group on the island?
We don’t tend to know what times other groups will arrive or depart until a week or two before their trips. With the current public ferry schedules, it is not possible to overlap for more than 4 hours (maximum). If there is the possibility of an overlap we encourage the departing party to catch an earlier ferry and the arriving party to catch a later one. Overlaps are therefore rare and seldom exceed an hour to two. Either of the two groups is welcome to visit one of our other islands, Pulau Murbai for a picnic on the way to or from Pangkil.

We’re having trouble getting visas in advance as the Indonesian Embassy is demanding proof that we’ve booked. Can you help?
Certainly. Some nationalities (the Irish and the Spanish for example) need visas in advance from an Indonesian Embassy. The bureaucrats sometimes demand a letter from us. Let us know your Full Name; Passport Number; Nationality; Group Organizer’s Name & Trip Dates and we’ll send you either an email or a Word document composed by us. Print this out and take it to the Indonesian Embassy and it will keep them happy. It does not have to be signed by us.

We are trying to work out whether or not to travel via Lagoi. How much does the bus ride from Lagoi to Tanjung Pinang cost?
Pangkil strongly recommends that you travel to and from Tanjung Pinang (TP). If you need visas for Indonesia you CAN NOW obtain them on arrival at Tanjung Pinang. The Pangkil land transfer (from Lagoi or TP) is included (but limited to a single trip (in both directions) for the group. You’ll have to do the sums yourself but:
A visa in advance (in Singapore) is more expensive than a visa on arrival (at TP or Lagoi)
A return ferry trip from Singapore to TP is generally cheaper than a return ferry trip to Lagoi
A one-way trip via TP can save as much as an hour compared with a one-way trip via Lagoi
If you come in via Lagoi it will cost you S$60 for a taxi to get to the south of Bintan to meet our launch.

I need to receive an important telephone call on the island from my company. What number should they ring?
We are proud of the fact that we do not have a fixed-line telephone and a fax. We do not have a radio and certainly no daily newspapers. Mobile phones do however work provided you and your carrier have roaming agreements for Indonesia. We have a mobile phone booster on top of the kitchen and you may need to be at this end of the island to initiate or receive a call. Sadly we bowed to pressure and installed a 32" LCD television screen and satellite TV in May 2010.

Do you have satellite TV?
Yes. We bought a 32" LCD TV in May 2010, in time for the World Cup (football). We have had satellite TV installed as well.

What voltage is the power supply? What are the connection points or plugs like?
The power is 240 volts from UK/Singapore 3-prong power sockets.

One of our group will not know if she is able to come for the weekend until the Friday of our trip. Can she confirm on the Friday, or do you need more warning?
Most of our food is bought fresh in Bintan and taken out to Pangkil on the morning of your trip. To plan menus and organise the land and launch transport we ideally need to know the size of your group and your ferry time(s) a week before your trip. Small changes to the number of guests closer to your date of departure are fine. In this case, if she is planning on being on the same ferry as the rest of you, you can let us know on the Friday. If she needs an extra transfer (because she is on a different ferry to everyone else), you will have to let us know on the Thursday at the latest as it takes time to reorganise our land and launch schedules. If she is vacillating between a late Friday and early Saturday ferry, you can sort this out on Friday on the island.

Who will meet us in Bintan?
One of our English-speaking Customer Service staff members or possibly our General Manager will meet you just after Immigration. Don’t panic, they’ll find you!

Should we buy duty-free goods?
We don’t sell anything on the island. We don’t stock tobacco products, so you may want to buy your own. We have plenty of alcohol on the island. We charge S$15 corkage per bottle if you bring your own wine and S$25 for spirits.

Should we buy snacks and drinks for the journey?
The ferry to Lagoi has a slightly better selection of food and drinks than the ferries plying the Tanjung Pinang route. Don’t get your expectations up though. The good news is that the food on Pangkil is outstanding. We will provide a hot meal even if you arrive at midnight, so try not to spoil your appetite for your first Pangkil meal. We usually provide complimentary water, soft-drinks and beer on the launch. We will often also do this on the bus, particularly for evening trips.

One of our group is prone to sea-sickness. Should he be worried about the launch journey?
No. The launch travels through sheltered water for much of the trip and the water is rarely rough. At all times land is visible. Our intrepid boat crew sometimes fail to appreciate that large swell (which is rare) can frighten guests and so they may forget to hand out the life jackets. Please ask for them if you feel you need them.

How do you break down the final bill for each family?
How you sort out the costs amongst your group is up to you. It really is swings and roundabouts. The Tree House, the Main House, the Big House & #1 are different in size and style to #2 to #5, however they all have their own unique charm. If you want to make minor adjustments in how you charge each person, couple or family, it is entirely up to you.

When is the final bill presented?
The final bill will be presented to the Group Organizer an hour or so before your departure.

Is it possible to charge the drinks to each room or family?
Not really. We have an honesty system. You and your group may help themselves to soft-drinks, beer, wine and spirits at any time, day or night. At the end of your stay we count the number of cans and bottles consumed and measure the number of centimetres of spirits consumed (in their bottles). We don’t have bar people as such mixing or dispensing drinks. How you divide the drinks bill is up to you. Our staff will help you draw up a paper-based ‘tick’ system for the individuals, families or Palaces, but these systems rarely work exactly and the Group Organizer may have to do a little ‘horse trading’ with her group to reconcile the individual consumption patterns with the total. You may choose to have all alcohol and drinks removed from the bar areas and placed in the kitchen (where we have staff around the clock). The staff could then serve the drinks upon request. To date no one has ever done this as it would, in our opinion, detract from the simplicity of Pangkil.

Can we hand over the remaining accommodation balance in Singapore to someone before we go? Then all we’ll have to settle on the Sunday is the bar bill?
It is mandatory to pay the balance of your accommodation charges one week before you leave Singapore. We also suggest you transfer a 'kitty' to cover drinks. This will show up as a credit on the island. It minimizes the need to carry SGD cash to the island.

What time do we have to leave?
We don’t have check-out times unless there is another group arriving and it is rare for a weekend departure (typically on a Sunday) to overlap with new arrivals. So you can leave as late as you like subject to the buffer times you need to make your ferry (2 hours if via Tanjung Pinang & 3 hours if via Lagoi).

Can we decide to stay longer on the island when we are there?
Provided there is no one staying after you that week, then yes you can - with about 24 hours notice - decide to stay longer on the island.

Do you have a shop on the island?
No. So if you want marshmallows or chocolate to go with your coffee around the fire you’re going to have to bring such items yourself.

Do you have live music on the island?

I have a birthday surprise in mind. Do you have a microphone and a music system (or even a karaoke system)?
Some guests have managed to work out how to plug MP3 players (including iPods) into our sound systems. We do have a microphone but do not have a karaoke system.

Do we need to bring our own towels, soap and shampoo or do you operate as a hotel?
We provide towels and there should be liquid soap/shower gel in the bathrooms, but we recommend you bring your own toiletries.

Are the staff on the island there to wait on us hand and foot? Will a butler be provided for each cabin?
Even for large groups there will usually be more staff on the island than guests. They are there entirely for the benefit of your group and will follow you in the speedboat if you go kayaking, take you on picnics to other islands, clean the driftwood palaces each day, prepare and serve you meals and work behind the scenes to keep the electricity working and the island stocked with fresh water. They are however trained to be discrete and will not disturb you unless you have asked for specific help. Remember - you have hired the whole island and what you say goes!

We have a colleague who injured his leg while mountain climbing. We want to ensure that facilities are easily accessible to him. Which Palace would you suggest that we put him in?
All the accommodation is above ground and requires the navigation of ten or so steps. The steps are however wide with sold hand rails. Our staff can if necessary help carry your colleague to his Palace. The only vehicle on the island is a small tractor which tows a small cart. While not designed to carry guests with limited mobility, our staff would be more than happy to improvise by strapping a solid chair on to the cart for trips from the Main House to the pool area.

How far apart are the palaces?
Far enough apart to be very private!

When I visited the island last year your staff put on a wonderful firework show at the lagoon. Is this a possibility?
We are usually able to procure fireworks. Packages range from S$150 onwards. Discuss these with the Island Manager when you arrive.

Could you tell me if you have blenders to make frozen drinks?
We do have a blender. Please ask the staff if it is not out on the bar.

Can we ‘trust’ the ice?

Are beach towels provided?
Yes. All laundry is done on Bintan so we ask that you use no more than one beach towel per day.

Is it possible to have a campfire?
Usually. At certain times of the year a combination of high tides and sand patterns mean that there is nowhere suitable for a fire. This happens rarely.

Is there a CD player?
Yes but we suggest you bring your own CDs. Another option is to bring an MP3 player and plug it into our sound system.

Can you provide a corporate trainer?

Can we be invoiced for the balance after the trip?
No. Unfortunately we aren't set up to invoice guests after a stay. We accept SGD cash or a single SGD cheque on the island. We suggest your company pays the full accommodation amount before the trip and that one of your group then settles (and expenses) the final amount.

What time are meals as I need to plan our conference program?
We suggest that you knock up a program schedule for your stay to suit your needs, including preferred meal and coffee-break times and include any special requests. Our staff will fit in with your program.