We just got back from an amazing weekend in Indonesia. We’d been looking to escape the heat of Singapore for a quick trip when our apartment neighbors rang us up. “Hey we found a place called ‘Shady Shack’. You in?” Of course we were.
Getting to Indonesia is really easy from Singapore. We just hopped on a ferry and after about an hour we landed and had our passports stamped. Our driver ready to take us to Shady Shack was already waiting.
Bintan Island is known for it’s plush resorts, mostly right near the ferry terminal, but we decided to try out a secluded, more rustic island experience. We felt up for a more relaxing holiday anyway, where we didn’t have to share the water with tons of kids and families:)
After an hours drive through mountainous rural areas to the other side of the island, we arrived at Shady Shack and met up with our host, Lobo, who showed us our abodes for the weekend. This place is definitely high on the “roughing it” scale. Each couple had our own quaint fairly solid shack that had a room with a mosquito netted bed and a concrete bathroom with it’s own toilet (a concrete tub of water with a bucket is provided to do your own flushing). No sink or shower, but hey, who needs a shower when you’ll be in the ocean all weekend?
Just before we got there our friends had to tell me an awful story about their travels in Cambodia involving spiders in the night–not a good thing for me to hear. After seeing a spider on the outside of their shack I decided to sleep fully clothed and with the lights on the first night. No incidents, so felt a little better the second night. We fared better than our friends, who wound up with a rat rummaging around in their bags in the middle of the night!
That said, the location absolutely rocks. It’s truly an island paradise. Right out of an episode of Gilligan’s Island. The shacks are just feet from the beautiful sandy beach which is only shared by a few locals and a handful of other Shady Shackers. I noticed that all the other guests were European, not locals, or even Singaporeans. Not sure why? The water of the South China Sea is nice and warm. It’s also pretty shallow (suits me just fine) close to shore, and is perfect for snorkeling. At low tide all I had to do was walk out to the coral and rocks to get a glimpse of a few adorable clown fish guarding their reefy homes.
We tried a few dishes at the Shady Shack cafe that Lobo and his wife run (she does the cooking). We tried some simply prepared vegetable, fried fish, and rice dishes. We also took a walk to the small village down the road and stopped at a roadside stand where we sampled some fried banana and fried tofu with chili sauce. Yum.
At a place like this you really shouldn’t do more than swim, read, play cards (maybe), drink beer, laze around, drink more beer. The group next to us tried to play some frisbie and it stressed me out just watching them. Turn it off and relax, people. Can’t wait to go back, and hoping the creepie crawlies stay away.