I’ve often wondered how explorers must have felt chancing upon seemingly magical islands in their travels. Nikoi Island, off Bintan in Indonesia, is perhaps the closest I’ve come to experiencing that kind of travel ecstasy in Southeast Asia.
The journey to the island is a perfect prelude to the island experience. After the regular ferry ride to Bintan from Singapore, you are fast-forwarded through a special immigration to a one hour drive through the winding road and greens of Tanjung Pinang, to Nikoi’s personal jetty, to a one-hour speed boat ride on rough and breezy seas. If I understate it, arriving at Nikoi Island feels like you’ve entered a whole other world.
Think beauty. Think isolation. Think perfection.
Nature is the recurrent theme on the island. The chalets are purely made of wood, with not an inch of concrete, and some original tree-barks used as pillars & foundation. The openness of the rooms to nature is immediately striking, and in some way, leads to an openness of thoughts too. You can let your doors remain open at night, with the waves soothing your every dream.
For me, the monsoon season meant little sun and lots of wind, and an extremely stormy sea, aka just the way I’d like a beach holiday to be. We sailed and kayaked on high tide, thrilled to feel welcome even by the angst of the waters. That memory fills me with an urge to transform it into poetry.
The jetty on the far end of the island is a piece of heaven, perhaps even a chunk. Each evening, it greets you with a fierce wind and fierce waves. As the sun starts to set, you can witness from this jetty, the entire sky turning a magical blue and blending with the color of the sea. It’s magnificent. It makes you want to close your eyes, feel the wind, and never leave.
I could afford a visit to this sheer beauty, only thanks to a contest I won on Nikoi Island’s Facebook page. Below is a video I created for the contest, purely based on my imagination & the pictures I saw. I can gladly say that Nikoi is all that I imagined and so much more!
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I’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star.
In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life.
Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.