Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 3 - Elementary school visit in Bintan

*Yawn*. A brand new day! I popped my head out of my shell at approximately 9am and head into my pool for a quick morning dip.

After having breakfast at Treetops, I was picked up by the team from the Bintan Conservation Lab, headed by Henry our Lab Manager. We were going to bring our Seedlings children to a local elementary school. If you have read a previous posting of mine, Seedlings is Banyan Tree’s group-wide initiative to build capacities in young people within local communities.

This visit, two Seedlings participants were going to speak to the elementary school children on local wildlife and encourage conservation of our environment. This would help the Seedlings youths gain confidence in public speaking and develop leadership qualities that will hold them in good stead in the future.

The elementary school children seemed fascinated with all the photos of local wildlife and kept interrupting to ask questions!

After the hour-long session and answering many questions, we said ‘bye’ to the many happy children, with plans to come back soon.

On the way out, we visited an Angsana Tree recently planted in April 2009 by the chairperson of the CSR committee, Ms Claire Chiang. The tree looks to be doing well too!

We took a drive back to the resort, happy that our morning was well-spent and fruitful. Back in my villa, I ordered some food, and went back to bobbing around the pool, getting ready for sleep and a long rest as I would be leaving Banyan Tree Bintan the next day, back to swimming around in the South China Sea as us turtles do. Stay tuned for my next stop and new adventures!

Day 2 - Exploring Banyan Tree Bintan.

The next day, I took a slow walk around the resort. Gosh, the villas soar above the ground on platforms, and the trees sure were huge.

During an engaging tour of the grounds, I learned from our guide Halik, that during development, the villa locations were determined by the trees! Following the traditional fishing villages on Bintan, our villas are built on stilts, under the canopy of the jungle. Architects spent days on site, planning the location of every structure, to avoid sacrificing as few trees as possible and building villas around older trees.

Halik mentioned that to preserve Bintan’s natural environment, landscaping was kept to a minimum, and most boulders were left where they were. One of our swimming pools within the resort was actually carved out of rock!

It’s wonderful to know that we have minimized the impact of our natural environment while building a spectacular resort.

Day 1 - My First Visit to Banyan Tree Bintan!

Phew! I’ve finally arrived on the shores of the Bintan Ferry Terminal. Did you know? Banyan Tree guests have VIP express customs clearance, which made clearing customs and immigration a breeze!

Nestled above a secluded bay in the north-western tip of Bintan Island, Indonesia, Banyan Tree resort is the epitome of luxurious living, offering an exclusive villa lifestyle amidst natural surroundings.

After an affectionate greeting by the Front Office team, I was warmly received by the associates from the Banyan Tree Conservation Lab led by Mr. Henry Ali Singer, and checked into my gorgeous 2-bedroom Pool Villa by the Villa Manager.

As it was dusk and I was bushed after the long swim, I decided to order the In-Villa BBQ and treat myself to a sumptuous meal that wasn’t made up of the usual seaweed that is part of my natural diet.

Two efficient, friendly Banyan Tree waiters were in my villa within half an hour, armed with
fried rice, potatoes, beef, fish, lobster, and huge prawns. Amidst swaying palm trees and the gentle sound of waves, I had the most delicious, relaxing dinner. This sure beats seaweed!

After dinner and a glorious hour of floating around in my pool, I went to sleep in my lush bedroom, looking excitedly forward to the next day, as I will spend the day with guys from the Conservation Lab.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Our inaugural distinguished lecture by Banyan Tree Global Foundation!

Last Thursday, 20 August 2009, Banyan Tree Global Foundation successfully organized its first with over 300 participants enjoying the lively and thought-provoking lecture.

Ms. Claire Chiang delivering the opening address

Mr. Nihal Kaviratne delivering an inspiring lecture

The lecture on good corporate citizenship was delivered by Mr. Nihal Kaviratne, prefaced by Ms Chiang, and moderated by Mr. Stephen B. Young. Mr Kaviratne is the former Senior Vice President of Development & Environmental Affairs for Unilever Asia, and recipient of the CBE – Commander of the Order of the British Empire; and Mr Young is the Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table and also the author of the book “Moral Capitalism”.

After the talk, members of the public engaged in a lively discussion with the three panellists and our Q&A would have gone on forever if we didn’t run out of time!

Also a key objective of this event was to provide a platform for like-minded individuals, whether new to the concept of responsible business practice or already practicing, to network and share best practices. Our 7 exhibitors were on hand to give attendees more information to aid them through their CSR journeys.

- Ammado, a stakeholder engagement platform
- APABIS, an online platform for network building
- Caux Round Table, an international organisation to promote moral capitalism
- CSR Asia, a consultancy service on CSR; Mentoring Partnership International, a non-profit organisation on leadership development
- Mentoring Partnership International (MPI), a non-profit organisation on leadership development
- Social Innovation Park (SIP), a not-for-profit organisation incubating social entrepreneurs and innovators
- Qi, a multi-media platform for inspiring people.

I thoroughly enjoyed the lecture and even more inspired to make a difference. Bookmark and sign up for our newsletter to stay in touch with us and be kept updated on all our future events. Hope to see you at the next one!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Take a photo with me!

Sandfilled versions of me are found in all Banyan Tree hotels and resorts worldwide as a welcome gift during your stay. Take a photo of me with you, and send it to, and I'll post it up on my Facebook photo album!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Banyan Tree's Seedlings

In 2007, Banyan Tree launched Seedlings, a group wide initiative to support communities by building capacities of young people. A concerted effort to harness Banyan Tree’s core competencies to support enhanced long term prosperity within communities, Seedlings aims to guide youths at risk of societal exclusion to achieve what may have otherwise remained beyond their means. The effort starts with mentorship, continues with scholarship, and completes with internship as a means to provide young adults with the motivation and means to complete their education and successfully enter the labour force as adults.

For the full story, visit our Banyan Tree Global Foundation Seedlings page here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My first blog post!

My name is Felidhoo, but my friends call me Felly. The story of how I came to be in is my profile, but as only one in hundreds of baby sea turtles make it to adulthood, I feel truly lucky to be afforded the luxury of swimming around the oceans of the world.

Now, I'm the resident globe-trotting Green Sea Turtle of Banyan Tree, here to bring you news and updates from all our resorts around the world.

Visit my page here!

I'm also found on Facebook, and Twitter. Stay tuned for more updates, news, and adventures from Banyan Tree!