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January 1, 2013

Batam, Indonesia - Travel Report

Batam is one of the 1700 plus islands of Indonesia, about 45 minutes ferry ride from Singapore, situated roughly 20 kilometers south. Originally a fishing island has transformed itself since 1972 to current state.

Quick Facts:
- Batam island is around 700 square kilometers, almost as big as Singapore island
- Has around 1.4 million population
- Since the year 2006 Batam island has been a tax-free island
- Main revenue generators are - a Panasonic factory, receipts from tourism (around 60 per cent of the tourists are from Singapore, followed by Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanse etc.)
- Though Indonesian Rupiah is the currency, Singapore Dollar is accepted at most places

Batam has five ferry terminals:
Harbourbay 
- Nongsapura Ferry Terminal
- Sekupang
- Waterfront City 
- Batam Centre International Ferry Terminal 

Picture of Batam Centre International Ferry: 


(picture courtesy: wikipedia)

Batam has a functional airport Hang Nadim International Airport with nearly all flights from domestic destinations with international flight between Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Batam.

Indian passport holders get a VisaOnArrival for USD 10 for a 10 day stay and USD 25 for a 30 day stay. 

One of the main reasons Singaporeans, Koreans and Japanese travel to Batam is because of the Golf courses that have come up in the recent years. Both beginners and professionals visit these golf courses regularly.

As of today, Batam has seven golf courses, some of them are pristine and of international standard: 
- Palm Springs Golf and Beach Resort
- Southlinks Golf and Country Club
- Tering Bay Golf and Country Club
- Indah Puri Golf Resort
- Tamarin Santana Golf Club
- Batam Hills Golf Resort
- Padang Golf Sukajadi


Two years ago when I visited Batam, it was almost decaying. But this time around I saw quite a bit of development in the city with a number of hotels being built and a number of shopping complexes resembling those of Singapore, coming up. 

Some of the places that we visited: Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple, one of the biggest Buddhist temples in South East Asia. Please note the usage Sanskrit words, names in the following pictures.













Vegetarians take heart. There is a reasonably big vegetarian restaurant serving good food within the complex.




As of today, Polo Ralph Lauren has three main manufacturing hubs - China, Indonesia and Srilanka. Indonesian unit is based in Java, but all over Indonesia you can find the Polo Ralph Lauren outlets, not necessarily owned by Ralph Lauren, selling goods at much cheaper prices compared to other international locations. However, the goods in outlet in Batam is not as cheap compared to the outlets in Jakarta where you can get a good polo t-shirt for around SGD 35 (approx Rupees 1,500). Visit to the show room is one of the tourism place.

Indonesia is famous for 'Kueh Lapis' roughly translated as layered cake. Singaporeans love to eat Indonesian Kueh Lapis. The one in the picture below is decorated with plum fruit. One of the tourist destination was to a modest home preparing Kueh Lapis in a large scale. 


 Javanese cultural show was another tourist spot:




A performer peeling coconut fibre with teeth.


Another performer eating glass.

(All pictures, except one, shot with Samsung Galaxy Note 8 megapixel camera)

For a quick vacation, Batam was a okay destination. Give few more years and given the growth Indonesia is witnessing, Batam could turn out to be a much sought after resort island. 

Finally a fact before I finish my post - many Singaporeans have their weekend wives in Batam :))




15 comments:

  1. Wow! Lovely pictures Ravigaru. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Beautiful shots, I think even I will visit this place sometime soon. Ralph Lauren products are unaffordable.

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    1. Thanks. Yes but also include Jakarta, Bali in the itinerary. Actually, Ralph Lauren quite affordable if you buy in Jakarta. A number of times I got it for around SGD 35

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  3. It sounds very interesting. I wish more tourist attractions were mentioned though, because it is very near Singapore which would make it easy to visit on the side. Thank you for the article, though:) Look forward to more detail. BTW, the photos are lovely.

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    1. There are not many tourist destination in this small island. It is being developed.

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  4. Astonishing place.... Nice captures.... Thanks for the post.....

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    1. Thanks. Not really an astonishing place as on date but could well be one day pretty soon.

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  5. Lovely pictures, makes me want to go there immediately!

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    1. Hold on for another year perhaps? In the meanwhile you should visit Bali, Jakarta first. Amazing places. Hindu temples and culture is quite visible in Bali island. Jakarta is a shoppers paradise with a number of ultra modern malls. Sanskrit words and especially Sita (Cinta in Bahsa Indonesia) are quite popular names.

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  6. Lovely pictures. Nice text. Enjoyed reading.

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  7. Lovely captures of the best moments from your trip, I didn't hear much about Batam before, but thanks to you for letting us know about this place.

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    1. Thanks...Batam is only to Singaporeans and in Singapore. As the story goes, many of the Singaporeans have their weekend wives in Batam :))

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  8. Wow! Lovely pictures Ravigaru. Thanks for sharing. That is what travelling is all about for me. Now I know where to go in Indonesia next time. :)
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