Man at His Best

The Canopi, Treasure Bay Bintan

Esquire goes glamping in the great outdoors

BY LESTARI HAIRUL | Dec 1, 2015 | Travel

Photograph from Le Meridien

All you need is the great outdoors. And a luxury tent. With a chandelier. A huge king-sized bed, plush pillows and fluffy towels, an open-air bathroom, safari-themed interiors, a BBQ pit on the patio, and most importantly, air-conditioning—all a hop and a skip away from an artificially-treated seawater lagoon.

There’s nothing like glamping in nature.

It may sound like something that’s promoted in the last few pages of a gossip rag, but hear us out. This is where you’ll want to bring your mates on one of those rare, all-dudes trips outside of the inevitable stag-dos. Close enough to Singapore that it warrants just a weekender, or even one of those cheeky weekday breathers, it’s best if you pack your quick holiday to the brim with activity.

And man, oh man, do they have quite the selection. From ATVs and UTVs to scramblers, we have the bruises, the gashes and the still grime-splattered kits as telling mementos. Muddy jungle-bashing trails offer plenty of opportunity for bounding through the air in heart-stopping races full of inclines and tree obstacles. Then beat the standing slalom record of 45 seconds. Unfortunately, not ours. We merely won the craziest driver award. Close by is Treasure Bay Bintan’s own private mangrove reserve where you can temporarily wash off the red dirt and kayak down the river, occasionally slamming into some mangrove roots.

Then, if you are so inclined, there’s a seaplane tour waiting by the Crystal Lagoon. It’s the best way to see the whole of Bintan, and some say Singapore, provided the haze behaves. But alas, the XL-65 doesn’t entertain requests for aerial tricks. We tried.

Staying dry isn’t the only way to have fun, of course. In Crystal Lagoon, there’s a whole world of water sports and activities to exploit. Leave most of the tamer fun to the kids and the families; you’re heading straight to the cable ski. Or the jetovator, whatever tickles your fancy. And level up literally next year, with a bungee tower very close to the wake park. It’s a mess hall of diversions in a 6.3ha man-made lagoon that’s far more ecologically sound than your average swimming pool. Gulp down when you’re thrown into the water and you’ll realise it is as salty as it comes—just minus all the dead extras that clog the actual ocean. It’s seawater but filtered until crystal clear.

And when the day winds down, it’s drinks and a barbie at Bora-Bora. In the next two years, the whole outfit is set for expansion, with the addition of the swish Canyon Ranch Bintan, home to rejuvenation and wellness programmes, and the upcoming Chill Cove with yet more bars, restaurants and shops. But for now, it’s still relatively quiet.

All the better to race those Segways and electric scooters with.

For reservations, visit Adventure Glamping.

First published in Esquire Singapore's December 2015 issue.