Since my friend is sort of addicted to online deals, she got us package for S$39 each (inclusive of overnight stay in Swiss Inn Hotel with complete meals and RT ferry tickets) then we paid for surcharge and other taxes. Total price I think is more or less S$80 each. It appeared to be reasonable, however, we got some difficulties with the travel agent that was really disappointing. But we did not want to ruin our vacation so we just let it slide (I’ll make a separate post on that delinquent agency next time).
Anyway, it was nice that we were accompanied by my friend’s (Bojel) Indonesian friend (Galih) working Batam (but a native of Palembang). They are both members of couch surfing, a social networking that specializes in travel. If you are a member having plans of going to a certain place/country, you can contact any of the members residing in that place and see if he can accompany (or even accommodate at home) you and tour you around. We only expected that he was going to meet us at the port since we we were a group of 5 and he only knew Bojel so technically it wasn’t his responsibility to accompany us all. He picked us up from the airport, brought us to our hotel to check in and leave our baggage then he toured us around the island. Good thing he is an on-call basis employee (works for a Telco as a Network Engineer) so he was with us for 2 days.
There’s a lot to see and do in Batam aside from the usual mall-hopping and shopping (plus dining at A&W at Megamall.. haha!) that most tourists do. Here is a list of our activities that might help if you have plans of going to the island.
1. FOODTRIP. We went ate at Restoran Kelong, a seafood restaurant that’s more like paluto or dampa in the Philippines.
We stopped by several bridges to take pictures of the nice view.
We were really fortunate to have a host who has a car and volunteered to drive us around the city at no cost that’s why we were able to see the spots that are not usually seen by tourists. So for those who would like to visit Batam, I guess it’s best to rent a car and tour around. Gas is even cheaper there, we only spent less than a hundred thousand Indonesian Rupiah (about SGD14 or PHP400) for our 2-day roadtrip within the island.
Batam isn’t that bad, as what most tourists say. In fact, it’s just as beautiful as some of the islands in the Philippines. It’s just a matter of how adventurous and keen you are in knowing more about what to see, what to eat and what to do in a certain place through thorough research.
By the way, here’s our awesome host, Galih.