Batam is the largest city in the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia, across the Strait of Singapore, the third-largest city in Sumatra region after Medan and Palembang, and the eighth-largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta Raya, Surabaya, Bandung, Medan, Semarang, Makassar, and Palembang.
Batam City is divided into 12 districts which includes several adjacent islands such as Bulan, Rempang and Galang, as well as Sei Beduk, Sagulung, Nongsa, Batam Centre, Sekupang, Batu Aji, Lubuk Baja, Batu Ampar and Bengkong at Batam Island itself.
It is connected by the Barelang bridge between Galang and Rempang islands.
The first impression that Batam gives to people is prostitution, mistresses and fraudster heaven. In fact, in addition to the above in Batam, you can also enjoy a charming seaside, tempting seafood, as well as low-cost services, such as massage, arcade gaming centre, hairdressing, Manicure & Pedicure.
One attraction after crossing the Barelang Bridge toward Galang is Barelang Fishing. There is the Saltwater Ponds Fishing for pond fishing lovers. You can also find fishing boats here to bring you out for deep sea fishing. Other attractions include the Barelang Seafood Restaurant and Kampung Vietnam (Vietnam Refugee Camp).
Sagulung is a residential area connecting Batu Aji and Barelang Bridge.
Sei Beduk where Bida Ayu residential area and Panbil Mall shopping are located.
Nongsa district (Northern part of Batam island) is where all the great resorts like Montigo Resort, Turi Beach Resort, Batam View Beach Resort, Rezeki Seafood Restaurant, Hang Nadim International Airport (Bandara Internasional Hang Nadim) and golf clubs are located.
Batam Centre has attractions like Mega Wisata Ocarina Batam, Masjid Raya Batam, Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Monastery and Batam Center Ferry Terminal, Mega Mall Batam Centre, Consulate of The Republic of Singapore and famous Diana Layer Cakes.
Sekupang is the main residential area for the local Indonesians. Other attractions like Mata kucing,Vihara Samura Dharma, Harris Resort Waterfront, KTM Resort Batam, and Sekupang Ferry Terminal are located here.
Batu Aji is also another residential area for the locals. It is home to one of the most crowded malls in Batuaji, SP Plaza (Sentosa Prime Plaza). SP Plaza is located in Jl. R Soeprapto is positioned just off the main highway that connects Mukakuning – Batuaji. SP Plaza mall district is connected to wet markets, shops, offices, business and industrial areas. There is also a Bigger water part in Batam here.
In Lubuk Baja district, you can find Nagoya Hill which is the largest shopping mall in Batam. Others include Diamond City (DC) Mall, Lucky Plaza Batam, Nogoya City Walk and Batam City Square Mall. It has attractions like mosque Masjid Jabal Arafah, temple Vihara Budhi Bhakti Tua Pek Kong, and the famous Pacific Palace Hotel. The Nagoya area is the most expansive estate in Batam. You can find a lot of nightclubs, discos, karaokes and massage centres here.
Batu Ampar is where the Harbour Bay ferry terminal is located. It has the quietest and empty shopping centre, Harbour Bay Mall, and Port of Batu Ampar.
In the Bengkong area, you can find many activities and attractions near Golden View Hotel. There is the Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, like the one in Jakarta a miniature park with miniature traditional houses. For those who love sports and enjoy racing, one can try Go-Kart, ATV arena and Paint Ball.
In addition to the above activities, there are also other light activities such as shopping at Golden Factory Outlet, or relaxing with a drink or a meal in the food courts or even enjoying seafood at the Golden Prawn seafood restaurant.
For karaoke locations: If families intend to go for affordable karaokes in Batam, there is one in Batam City Square Mall called The Monic Family Karaoke, and for just a few dollars, one can enjoy singing for two hours.
For massage locations: Massage lovers looking for budget massage locations can try the Sports Massage Center, its price is reasonable.
For Seafood: having seafood in Batam is about the same price as Singapore hawker centres. One can try Rezeki Seafood Restaurant as it is cheaper as compared to others but far from other tourist attraction.
For meals: eating in Nagoya is about the same price as in Singapore hawker centres. That is unless you travel further to Sekupang or Batu Aji.
Mini Medan: Batam has become a mini Medan after the economic growth and a lot of people from Medan move in, where the majority of them are Christians, so there are many churches for visit available.
There are two well known Taxi operators in Batam.
Silver Cab: +62 778-46-1000: first taxi service in Batam which runs with meters. It is one of the best alternatives to get around Batam particularly if you don’t know how to bargain for a cab. The fee is very reasonable, and cheaper to those non-metered taxis and of course runs with air conditioning.
Bluebird: +62 778-42-1234: Blue Bird taxis are available to serve the people of Batam city since January 30, 2013.
Alternatively one can also hire Private car in Batam for free and easy Travellers, the price is around S$80 for 8 to 10 hours.
You can try car rental also if you know how to use GPS.
There is also bus services in Batam where the price is around 50 cents per trip. If you know your way, it is not a bad idea but buses have no air conditioning, because Batam is relatively small. Recently, Batam’s local government started a bus service project known as the “Bus Pilot Project”. The blue colour bus travels from Batam Center to Batu Aji for Rp. 4.000, and Batam Center to Sekupang for Rp. 4.000. You just need to pay money before get off.
Most of the hotels run shuttle buses during the day to the ferry ports and to the main shopping malls. But there are none that runs shuttles to the airport. You can hop on a free shuttle bus (yellow in colour) from Megamall Batam Center to the major hotels in Nagoya or Jodoh.
Batam is also well-known with lots of fraudster, so whoever travel to Batam need to be extra careful with their money, and don’t believe too much in the local. Because Indonesian law is not as transparent as Singapore.
Here’s wishing everyone happy traveling to Batam.