PLACES – HOTELS AND RESORTS
Benan Island And Benan Island Resort
By Phil Foo
Sometimes we just want to get away from it all. The pressures of going after goals, meeting deadlines, hitting objectives, etc. can be really daunting. A healthy recommendation is to take a break and go for a holiday. Some head for the hills where it is usually cooling and nice. Some head to the beaches for some sun, sand, and sea. Should you be looking for a beach to go to, checkout Benan Island, in Indonesia.
Located about half an hour to forty-five minutes from Batam’s Galang Baru Island is Benan Island; a little paradise. Benan Island is a small cozy island made up of a fishing village, and one resort; the Benan Island Resort. This cozy island is an awesome place to just chill and get away from the hustle and bustle of any city.
[ This makes the beach ideal for those who just want to relax in the clear waters, do some snorkeling, and / or do some fishing… ]
Fishing village on stilts – Benan Island.
Quiet And Relaxing
The island is generally quiet throughout the day. Walking about the village, one will get to see how life goes on at the village with children running about, chickens leading their young in search of food, etc. The atmosphere is really laid back. It is as if time has not caught up with the folks that call Benan Island home. This makes this little island a fantastic place to go to for some rest and relaxation.
While there is one tiny bed and breakfast place on the island managed by one of the residence, there is one proper resort on Benan Island. That resort is the Benan Island Resort that is located on the southern tip of the island. Being located on a narrow tip offers Benan Island Resort one advantage. Sunrise and sunset chasers can get both of them here within the grounds of the resort.
A restaurant and homestay at the fishing village in Benan Island.
A hen and her chicks going about their daily lives at the fishing village.
Benan Island Resort
The main beach of Benan Island Resort faces east allowing guests to enjoy and experience the sunrise. On the west of Benan Island Resort which is just some 10 to 15 minutes’ walk from the main beach, is a mangrove area by the sea. Here one can watch the sunset in a most relaxing manner. More on this later.
Chalets And Glamping Tents
Guests here at Benan Island resort have two types of accommodation to choose from currently. There are comfortable air-conditioned chalets and tents that come with comfortable beds and plush mattresses. While most may prefer the wooden chalets, those who prefer a feeling of outdoor adventure would probably prefer to stay in the glamping tents.
Sunrise at the main beach of Benan Island Resort.
Sunset at the back beach where the mangrove is at Benan Island Resort.
The wooden chalets come in various configurations with the general ones being two single beds (a single mattress can be added). The glamping tents can accommodate up to four single plush mattresses. I find the glamping tents to be interesting as they allow us to activate more of our senses since tents do not have thick walls.
[ a long wooden walkway brings guests to a platform where guests can sit back and relax out at sea… ]
Anyway, the main difference between the tents and the chalets is that those who prefer to stay in the tents will have to make use of common bathrooms and toilets. The chalets come with en suite bathrooms and toilets. So, for those who prefer the convenience of an en suite bathroom and toilet; chalets are the way to go. Less adventurous but at my age I personally prefer the convenience.
The entrance of the Benan Island Resort.
Chalets at the Benan Island Resort.
Things To Do
The sea is definitely an attraction here with its clear waters and greyish white sand. The beach is also relatively flat, going out quite a good distance. The beach is lined with rocks that provides shelter to fish and other marine life. This makes the beach ideal for those who just want to relax in the clear waters, do some snorkeling, and / or do some fishing.
Balconies of the chalets. Notice the beige coloured tents after the chalets.
The beach and part of the green area at Benan Island Resort.
Apart from the beach and sea, there are large green areas to do tele-matches, teambuilding, etc. here at the main area of the resort. Of course one can also organize a picnic on the green fields or at the beach. Our group enjoyed a fun tele-match during our stay here. The place certainly is a safe place to hold events or games for groups.
At The Back
Apart from the main beach, the area at the back has a wooden walkway that allows guests to walk about and explore the mangrove area. Guests will get to observe the flora and fauna that call the mangrove home. They include various crabs, shells, fishes, and shore birds. Those who enjoy photographing nature will certainly want to spend some time here.
Mangrove on the left and right of the wooden walkway. There is another wooden walkway that goes through another area of the mangrove.
The long wooden walkway that leads to a platform built out at sea. Here one can relax and just take in the peaceful atmosphere.
The long wooden walkway also brings guests to a platform where guests can sit back and relax out at sea. This platform is where guests of the resort arrive or leave the resort aboard the resort’s ferry. The ferry can only reach this platform when the tide is high enough, hence it is seldom used for the purpose of dropping off and picking up guests. Instead, guests usually disembark at the jetty located at the village and arrive at the resort on bikes with a cart.
[ One of the delicacies here on Benan Island is “siput gonggong” (dog conch)… ]
Since it is seldom used as a place to embark and disembark, the resort owners have installed nets at the platform here to allow guests to relax on. They are like hammocks hanging just above the water, offering a very relaxing experience. I personally find this to be an awesome idea after having experience the peace and calmness just lying there.
Me relaxing on one of the nets while a friend took a photograph. Such a peaceful and calming experience.
This platform is where most will go to observe the setting sun and all of its wonderful golden colours. Photographers will certainly not want to miss this; observing and photographing the sun and the atmosphere as the cooling breeze blows. One thing to note is that the platform does move a little. This adds to camera shakes and soft photos, nothing most photographers cannot handle.
Dining And Entertainment
The Benan Island Resort has one dining area that is located between the main beach, and back or mangrove area. During our visit the food served was really good. One of the delicacies here on Benan Island is “siput gonggong” (dog conch) that has sweet meat with flavours of the sea. Benan Island is also known to have some of the larger sized dog conch.
Super delicious siput gonggong. The siput gonggong here is bigger than those found in Batam, and also waters around Johor.
The Beach Bar, an awesome place to hangout with friends.
At the main beach there is the Beach Bar that sits a few feet above the sea depending on the tide. Fresh coconuts, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and beverages are served here. There are also tidbits that one can order. The one tidbit that I personally love is the very delicious yam chips. They are sweet and salty; without being too overpowering. Just enough to please my taste buds.
Fun At The Beach Bar
Here at the Beach Bar guests can sit back and relax with friends. There is a karaoke system here for those who would like to practice one’s vocal cords. For those who enjoy watching the moon, this here is a lovely place to watch the moon and to photograph it especially when the moon is full. Do note that the Beach Bar does move a little too, and photos may be soft especially with low light.
The Beach Bar at the main beach.
Karaoke at the Beach Bar.
Apart from the usual bar things, I did one other thing here. Some friends saw fishes swimming about below the Beach Bar and alerted me about them. I ran back to my chalet, got my fishing tackle, and did some fishing. They were a bit tricky to catch at first. I managed to get them to take the soft plastic bait but they kept giving me the slip. After trying various methods, I finally landed a good size mullet.
[ Anglers will have an awesome time here; an awesome place to holiday with family… ]
Mullets are fun fish to fish on light tackle. They have small mouths hence hooking them was tricky if you do not know what fish they are. They also have soft front jaws that can easily break. Setting the hook and playing them requires the angler to be gentle. I only managed to catch and land them when I switched down to smaller hooks and using only the tail of my soft plastic baits.
A friend and fellow traveler relaxing at the bar.
Me and a mullet that I caught fishing from the Beach Bar.
Relax And Refresh
While the Benan Island Resort is no five-star resort by hotel industry standards, it is an awesome place to go to should you want to get away from the busy city life. Still not a commercialized holiday destination; Benan Island and Benan Island Resort are definitely good places to go to for some relaxation of the body, mind, and soul. The quietness and peacefulness alone makes a visit here worth every penny.