Bintan is the largest island of the Riau archipelago which is made up of over 3.000 islands. The island itself has less traffic congestions compared to the other parts of Indonesia. Public transportation is also limited to taxis and angkot. The local bus service is not reliable. Most of the resorts in the north are located within close proximity of each other, with shuttle bus services connecting them. Apart from taxi, which is the most convenient from of public transport, are scooters or motorcycle and car rentals.
The most reputable nationwide taxi company is Blue Bird, unofficial ones are black and don't have a sign but do have a taxi light. Blue Bird usually has a tad higher rate compared to its competitors that starts at 0.38 USD depending on the distance. Other safe taxis to choose from are Express taxis, white, or Silver Bird taxis. Silver Bird is operated by Blue Bird usually found at most luxury hotels and at the airport. These are considered as limo cabs that ranges from black and stylish Mercedes Benz C200s to Camrys.
In Indonesia, it is the passengers who are paying for the toll fees. Regardless, taxis are still the best option in getting around the city. Also, taxis are a fast and efficient way to get from point A to point B, which is what you will want to do. Always remember to avoid unmetered taxis and to stay away from fake Blue Bird taxis. Drivers intend to imitate these taxis by painting their taxis blue and placing logos similar with Blue Bird's logo. There are taxi drivers in the harbor of Tanjung Pinang waiting for passengers. Avoid these taxis and make your own taxi arrangements directly from the hotel where you will be staying.
Mikrolet or Angkot
These are minivans or minibuses that are found all over towns and cities in Indonesia, which goes by a lot of names as either ‘mikrolet’ and ‘angkutan kota’, ‘angkot’ for short. Without meters, it is really not recommended for foreigners. These minibuses have standard routes but do take a long time in waiting around until they have a complete cargo of passengers and then set off driving around to let people and their packages off. Usually jam packed; lots of luggage could be a problem for passengers. However, these are economical with fares ranging between 2,000 IDR to 5,000 IDR, which is less than a dollar. Further away destinations may cost 40,000 IDR.
The local bus services are often unreliable with bus stops mainly unmarked. The main bus terminal is located at Batu Tujuh, on the outskirts of Tanjung Pinang, taking you to Kijang, Trikora and Tanjung Uban.
On the other hand, there are shuttle buses that are provided by major hotels and resorts at a charge. Guests will be picked up from the resort lobbies of Nirwana Gardens, Angsana Bintan, Club Med, Ria Bintan; and even at Plaza Lagoi, BBT Ferry Terminal and Pujasera.
Renting a car is a great idea in getting around in Bandung and go to some nearby cities. If you plan an extensive traveling around, it might be a good idea to rent a car and driver. A car with a driver can be hired 8 to 10 hours a day (any extra time is an extra fee) if the car is hired for a day. If renting for 3 or 4 days, then it is necessary to haggle a bit and negotiate a fee to keep expenses as low as possible. Renting a car for a day usually costs 30 USD to 50 60 USD per day. One option is to rent a MPV for 30 USD. This type of vehicle is a Mitsubishi Grandis/Toyota Kijang that can accommodate up to 7 passengers and comes with air-conditioning. For tourists who wish to rent a car, one must have a national or international driver's’ license. There are car rental counters available upon arrival at the airport. Another option is to book in advance online to reserve for a car.
One needs an international driver's license to drive around Indonesia. If it's not available, there is a “1-day licensing" for foreign visitors. There is a fee of around 100,000 IDR to 150,000 IDR or 7.50 USD to 11 USD and they'll take a photo and issue a temporary 1-day license that can be used all over Indonesia. There are also licenses that can have longer validity with higher cost.
There are many tour operated services with guides that take people to visit different places in the area. These day tours can be a full day or half day rental. Lunch and entrance fees to the different venues are inclusive together with a driver and guide. These guided tours cost around 600,000 IDR or 45 USD. There are cheaper rentals, but the group will have to pay for the different entrance fees to places, meals including the driver, and whatever other extra costs arise from buying souvenirs or tickets to see shows.
For solo backpackers, motorcycle rentals are the best option. The rental rates are between 5 USD to 35 USD per day, which depends on the motorcycle model. There are also rental companies that offer weekly rates ranging from 60 USD to 150 USD. The usual models for 5 USD are the Yamaha's Miho and Nuvo and Honda Scoopy, Vario, and Supra. There are high quality motorcycles including a Honda Tiger for 10 USD and a Kawasaki KLX for 20 USD.
You need to have a license, though you'll rarely need to show it except if you're driving without a helmet and caught by the police.