Indonesia is an archipelago comprising thousands of Islands and one its island is Kota Batam. Batam is located south of Singapore which lies less than one hour by fast ferry from Singapore. How to Get There: The easiest way to go to Batam from Singapore is through a fast ferry. From your hotel, go straight to Harbourfront Centre and look for the Harbourfront Ferry terminal. As mentioned in my previous blogs, Google Maps in Singapore is very accurate so better use it frequently. The Ferry terminal is situated inside a huge mall. There are a number of Ferry operators from Harbourfront to Batam Centre:
- “Penguin” Now known as Sindo Ferry (Tel: +62-778-467574 in Batam Centre; +62-778-321636 in Sekupang; +62-778-381280 in Waterfront City; +65-62714866 in Harbourfront). S$23/34 one-way/return (May 2013). Virtually hourly ferries to Batam Centre and Sekupang, fewer ferries to Waterfront City.
- Batam Fast (Tel: +62-778-467793/464666 in Batam Centre; +62-778-325085/6 in Sekupang; +62-778-381150 in Waterfront City; +65-62700311 in Harbourfront). Also hourly ferries to Batam Centre, fewer ferries to Sekupang and Waterfront City. S$26/34 one-way/return (May 2013).
- Indofalcon (Tel: +65-62783167 in Harbourfront). This company does not operate to/from Sekupang
- Berlian/Wave Master (Tel: +65-65468830 in Singapore). Frequent service to Harbour Bay. Services to Batam Centre cost SGD$38 for a return ticket.
There are actually a number of Batam One Day Tour Packages from Singapore but unfortunately we were not able to book in advance. Hence, we just booked our roundtrip ferry tickets at the Ferry terminal and had a DIY tour in Batam. We chose Wave Master which cost us SGD38.00 for a roundtrip ferry ticket. I highly suggest availing package tour as it is cheaper and hassle-free.
Facts to know about Batam:
- Batam is a 45-minute travel from Singapore by a fast ferry .
- All Batam ports are visa-free and visa-on-arrival ports of entry so always bring your passports with you.
- Batam currency is Indonesian Rupiah (1IDR=0.0034PHP) but they also accept Singapore Dollars. Nonetheless, we exchanged our SGD to IDR. Money changer is available in Batam Ferry Terminal.
- Batam Indonesia is 1 hour behind Singapore.
- The easiest way to travel around in Batam is by taxi or rent a car as public buses are rare.
Getting around Batam
We planned to commute in Batam but upon asking the help desk officer, he told us that it is better that we just rent a taxi for 3 hours. There are ample taxis in Batam, but there are no standard color schemes: however, licensed taxis have yellow license plates, while unlicensed ones do not (and are best avoided). Good thing that help desk officer aided us in getting a taxi to tour us around Batam. The price was a bit appalling as it cost IDR100,000 per hour; but upon converting it to peso it just cost us PHP 340 an hour. Be sure to get a taxi from a hotel or from a help desk officer as some priced tourist high and may cost you much money. Luckily, we had a good driver. We have a list of tourist spots in Batam but due to time constraint, we just checked some. We are planning to tour the city for three hours so that we can arrive back at Singapore before 5:00pm as we scheduled our FunVee Night adventure on the same day.
Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple
This is the biggest Buddhist Temple is Southeast Asia. Built in 1991, this temple has a very strong religious value which matches with the message of Buddha Maitreya, which is message of universal love.
Batam Golden Prawn 555
Seafood Golden Prawn is a fresh seafood restaurant in Batam where selections of top dishes are served. From the name itself, the foods are fresh as you will be selecting your dishes from their pond and decide how you want it to be cooked. What we bought was a buttered garlic shrimp that cost us IDR 57,000.
Tua Pek Kong Temple
Tua Pek Kong or also known as Vihara Budhi Bhakti is touted as the oldest Buddhism temple in Batam. This is not in our tourist attraction list but our driver mistakenly/intentionally took us here. We said we want to go Batam Miniature Park but he took us here instead. We in fact told him that this was not the place we want but he insisted so we never argued with him anymore. Nonetheless, the place was quite pleasant.
Next, we went to Batam Chocolate House where a number of chocolates are sold. Frankly, the chocolates here are not that cheap hence we bought nothing. Hahaha. The place is something different from what I expected. It is just an ordinary chocolate store though.
After which, we went straight to Batam Ferry Terminal and catch the 4:00pm ferry back to Singapore.
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