PLANNING YOUR TRIP & ISLAND STAY
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.