Before I even start on the topic of me plucking up my courage and stepping foot onto a ferry, can I just say what a mess this past month has been. PFFT. We were required to undergo intensive course training for the past one month (and continuously for the next month to come) as part of the job, and had weekly assignments/tests that we had to grasp and struggle with the fast pace in order to do well (or maybe I should say, pass).
So from the beginning of the week when we are all going “WTF IS GOING ON?” to every Thursday when we start to mug for our assessment on Friday, and subsequently the “PHEWWWW” feeling on Friday evening when everything is over for the week… this is probably the best way to describe how some of us feel LOL…
LOL ok back to topic.
A while ago, Kaishi’s family invited me to join them on their family retreat to Bintan. For those of you who don’t know, I have a phobia of boats. Ever since in primary school when I went out to sea in Gold Coast to watch some dolphins playing around in the water and I ended up puking my intestines out, I never dared step foot on board any boat. I figured cruises were fine but pity I didn’t get a chance to go onboard one.
So when the invitation came, on one hand, I was quite excited about going to Bintan with them cos number 1, they are really a fun and lively bunch of people to be with. And number 2, every mother’s son has been talking about how nice Bintan is and how cheap things are there… so much so that I was thinking: HOW CAN THIS BE TRUE? I MUST SEE IT MYSELF!
And I decided to just “heck” and take it.
It wasn’t that bad actually. So for those of you who get seasick easily like me, don’t worry. Either get someone to knock you unconscious and revive you when you reach there (LOL), or just pop some sea sickness pills and you should be fine lah.
We reached Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal early in the morning where I met her cousin and the girlfriend. It was a blessing that we were scheduled for the 9.10 am departure on the newest boat in the Bintan Resort Ferries fleet, Wan Sendari. The 42 metre long and 11 metres wide craft takes a total of 300 passengers on both their Economy class and Emerald class (equivalent to Business Class). For guys who are wondering whether it’s similar to the Tekong Penguins we used to take, trust me, it’s way better than that.
If you ask me, I’d say the worst part of the journey is not the small bobs up and down along the way, but rather, the waiting for the passengers to embark at TMFT. It’s a seriously ARGHHHHH moment, especially to those who get dizzy easily because of the constant bobbing of the ship. TMFT is not sheltered in any way from the tides, so depending on your luck on how long you have to wait for the remaining passengers to board, you might or might not feel uncomfortable.
Time seemed to crawl slower than a bloody snail when we were waiting for passengers to board. We boarded, sat down, chatted a bit, and after a while when I thought it was already 20 minutes past and we were scheduled to pull out, I realized it has only been 5 minutes. ARGH. But fortunately, I survived lol!
The ride was pretty smooth, much exceeding my expectations I would say. You hardly can feel any bumps along the way (even when bigger vessels passed us). Take a walk around the interior of the cabin if you do feel uncomfortable, but do take note that the open air area at the back of the ship is not for passengers’ access.
If it eases your queasy stomach, there is a Deli on board most ships that sells hot dogs, buns and hot drinks (of course at an exorbitant rate).
The 45 minute journey seemed to past really quickly (or maybe it’s cos I was listening to music all along and didn’t really concentrate hahaha). For every island we passed, a question will pop up in my mind asking: IS THAT BINTAN?! LOL.
But when you finally get into the waters of Bintan’s port, you’d be surprised at how calm the waters are there. Hardly any shaking and bobbing of the ferry as it docked motionlessly and prepared for disembarkation. Of course, the “Business class” people will get the luxury of disembarking first, followed by us ordinary folks in Economy.
I MADE IT! *pops firecrackers and confetti* I survived my first ferry experience since that horrendous one in Australia hahaha.
The trip back to Singapore the next day wasn’t that smooth, though I didn’t get sick or feel uneasy. But as I mentioned earlier, TMFT is not sheltered from the tides, so we bobbed quite a fair bit and indeed, quite badly when we were disembarking at TMFT. So prepare for that if you get sick easily and the tide is high. But other than that, nothing much to worry. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the journey :)
I believe Bintan Resort Ferries have improved significantly over the years, based on the experiences that I gather from various friends and family members on their past journeys a while back. But for now, if you are really worried about the sea and getting sick, the best would probably be to avoid the monsoon seasons and maybe, take an earlier trip (the sea tends to be calmer in the morning, for some reason).
For more information, you can visit their website here, or head down to their office at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.