Bintan's history is traced to the early 3rd century. The island flourished as a trading post on the route between China and India, and over the centuries it came under the control of the Chinese, the British, and then the Dutch when it was declared part of the Dutch East Indies through the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. In the 12th century, the Bintan island in the Strait of Malacca was known as the "Pirate Island" since the Malay pirates used to loot trading ships sailing in these waters.
Singapore, the closest major city, is a 45-50 minute trip by catamaran across the Singapore Strait from Bintan Resort area in the northwest of the island. The island has beaches with beach-front International hotels and resorts; the most prominent of these beaches is the Bintan Resorts set over an area of 300 hectares (740 acres) of tropical environment. The archipelago of the Riau islands is right opposite to this resort across the South China Sea. Indonesia is promoting Bintan as the next best tourist destination after Bali.