HomeBlogs Batam When one looks out from Singapore’s high towers across the Straits
onto the Indonesian islands, there the islands of Batam and Bintan
appear very inviting, basking in the sun. Lying less than one hour by
fast ferry from Singapore, the islands promise a completely contrasting
environment from that of busy metropolitan Singapore.
Batam and Bintan are only two of the more than 2,400 islands that make
up the Riau Islands province, stretching from Sumatra, rounding north
east all the way to the Anambas islands in the South China Sea.
The island of Batam today is the third busiest entry port to Indonesia
next to Bali and Jakarta. Situated so near to Singapore, it is a
favorite resort for residents and international toursts in Singapore who
wish to get closer to nature, relax for a short vacation of golf or
sailing, enjoy mouth watering fresh seafood, luxuriate in a traditional
royal spa, go shopping or just for family fun.
Although Batam, Bintan and the Karimun islands are designated an
industrial free trade zone, yet there are still plenty of wide open
spaces and hundreds of large and small untouched islands in the Riau
archipelago where one can have that feeling that one is entirely alone
on the island.
Twenty years into its hectic development, Batam has indeed become more
crowded, where business mixes with pleasure. With no less than six
ferry terminals , wide roads criss-crossing the island , an
international airport and clusters of industries, hotels and housing
estates, Batam still promises a leisurely weekend getaway offering
reasonably priced freshly caught seafood , fine golfing , plenty of
duty-free shopping , or an escape to a remote island ideal for trekking,
diving, snorkeling and lazy fishing.
Batam has six golf courses, a large number of good hotels for
businessmen in Nagoya town , beach resorts and Spas at Nongsa, and
shopping malls galore. Batam’s own Nongsa Point Marina has berthing
facilities for yachts , and sailing and diving facilities for those
wishing to explore Riau’s many islands.
The island of Batam itself is connected by six large modern bridges-
known as the Barelang bridges - to the islands of Rempang and Galang to
its south. On Galang are remnants of the Vietnamese Refugee camp now a
museum to the struggles for survival that the Vietnamese had gone
through, leaving their country in small, cramped boats to escape
brutalities at home.
There are six beautiful golf courses located just on Batam Island
alone. The Indah Puri Golf Resort is set in greenery and ringed by
water, and is designed by renowned golf architect Ronald Fream. Each of
the 18 holes of the championship course is distinctive with its own
The Palm Spring Golf and Beach Resort ranks as one of Batam’s most
popular courses with three nine-hole layouts. The Batam Hills Golf
Resort has an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Pro Max
Wexler. It is part of the Waterfront City development that includes
housing, a marina club, campsites and cable skiing. The Clubhouse has
picnic and barbecue areas, karaoke lounge, saunas, squash and tennis
courts, jungle and jogging treks, and a swimming pool. Other facilities
on the island include the Southlinks Country Club and the Tering Bay
Golf & Country Club.
Seeing the Barelang Filsabillah Bridges is a must for any visitor to
this island. The icon and pride of Batam, especially the first bridge
is beautifully designed, and constructed entirely by Indonesian
engineers, connecting Batam with the island of Tonton Nipah. The height
of this bridge is 38 meters, and is 642 meters long. There are six
bridges in all connecting Batam with Rempang and Galang to its south
giving one the feeling as if the Barelang islands are one large island.
When you proceed to Galang island, here you will find the Vietnamese
Refugee Camp. Here are the Ngha Trang Memorial Wall in tribute to the
boat people of Vietnam , and the Galang Museum.
Another Batam feature is the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya, one of the
largest Buddhist temples in South East Asia which draws thousands of
devotees and visitors daily.
At the Padepokan Seni art center in Sekupang you can see arts and
crafts from all over Indonesia, as well as various kinds of performances
that are staged every day for visitors and tourists. Desa Seni, is an
art village built to maintain, conserve and develop Indonesian culture
in Batam, and to manage a cultural institute where qualified
instructors conduct various shows and courses.
For duty free shopping go to Batam’s own Nagoya , the commercial center
of Batam. Here are shops, restaurants, hotels, spas, dance clubs,
karaokes, cinema bars, music lounges, shopping centers and plazas.
Shopping malls are available mostly in Batam are at Nagoya, Waterfront
City and Batam Centre. The most popular on Batam are the DC Mall, Lucky
Plaza, Centre Point, Batam Centre Mall, Robinson & Ramayana, and
At Nagoya, the major city center of Batam, are shops, restaurants,
hotels, spas, dance clubs, karaoke, cinema bars, music lounges and
shopping plazas. The Lucky Plaza and Jodoh Square. have shops and
boutiques selling Indonesian art and crafts, duty free goods, and
branded luxury items. Nagoya at night lights up as entertainment
facilities spring to life.
The easiest way to travel around in Batam is by taxi or rent a car which
are best called from the hotel’s desk, or have a travel agency arrange
your stay and transportation in Batam. Public buses are rare.
By Ferry to Batam:
There are frequent daily ferries connecting Singapore’s Tanah Merah port
with Batam as well as between Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Batam. The
journey from Singapore takes a pleasant 45 minutes.
The island of Batam has six ferry terminals, they are at Sekupang,
Waterfront City, Batam Center, Harbour Bay, Nongsapura and Telaga
Batam Center receives the most ferries from Singapore and Johor.
Ferries to Harbour Bay carry passengers wishing to go to Nagoya, Batam’s
business centre, while the terminals at Waterfront City and Nongsa
serve mostly tourists visiting resorts. At Sekupang are ferries that ply
between Batam and the main island of Sumatra and to the Karimun
islands. While Telaga Punggur is the terminal for ferries plying between
Batam and Tanjung Pinang on Bintan island.
Batam Fast and Penguin Ferry provide ferry services between Singapore and Batam Island.
click here for Batam Island – Singapore Ferry schedule, while Berlian
Ferries provide numerous daily ferries to Harbour Bay , formerly better
known as Batu Ampar. For information call the Harbour bay Counter at
+62 741 5100, or +65 6272 0501 at the Singapore Counter.
For Singapore side ferry departure and arrival check; www.singaporecruise.com/ferryschedule.aspx
Batam’s Hang Nadim’s international airport, located in the eastern part
of the island, receives mainly domestic flights direct from Jakarta,
Surabaya, Medan, Pekanbaru, Jambi, Palembang and Bandung.