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Batam, Indonesia is a favorite destination for Singapore residents not because they find the place beautiful but because of cheap stuff to buy. It’s too near you can reach the island from Singapore for about 40minutes via ferry. I’ve heard a lot of stories of dissatisfaction from friends who have already been to the place, they even said it’s not worth it. Some even say Batam is awful, dirty and the people are uncivilized. I didn’t mind them though, I just wanted to see it for myself.

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 got crabs (chili and black pepper), cereal prawns, calamari, cap cay (Indonesian chopsuey). This cost us more than a million……… rupiah! Smile with tongue out (that’s about SGD140 or PHP4,700). My remarks on Kelong? Fresh, scrumptious, generous serving. Open-mouthed smile


2. VISIT HISTORICAL SITES. We didn’t really stop by all historical sites in Batam, some of them we only saw from inside our car (we were just too lazy to go out.. haha!). We only visited this Buddhist Temple built by the Vietnamese on Galang Island.



3. PHOTOSHOOT. We went to a beach a bit far from the town proper (more than an hour drive). The beach is in Barelang Islands, located south of Batam. Barelang, by the way, is consist of 6 islands connected by 6 bridges from the central area.

We stopped by several bridges to take pictures of the nice view.



From those bridges you can see a perfect glimpse of the islands..


4. PLAYING BY THE BEACH. There are lots of beaches along the shore lines around the 6 islands and there are several resorts too but Galih suggested a quite secluded beach where we can take good photos and just look around. I forgot the name of this specific beach though. Too bad the tide is low so we decided not to swim (it would be too tiring to walk far and find a deep spot to swim.. Smile with tongue out)




5. LAZE AROUND. It’s a secluded so we were the only people at the beach that day, hence, we had the chance to waste time just looking around and enjoy the scenery.



6. … AND A LOT MORE! (things that we weren’t able to do. eg. shopping, swimming, watersports activities in some private resorts, etc.)

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. Smile


It was just unfortunate that on our last day, his car hit a tree at the parking lot. Sad smile




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