Batam is so close to us that it’s going to be a walk of shame to say that you’ve not been there, especially when half of your colleagues and friends have gone to the place. And let’s not mention the tales about how nice and cheap it is that you’ve been bulldozed with.
But you’d have also heard stories of how people were ripped off in that beautiful island.
So before you step on a boat, you’ll need to know about the tourist traps and scams there. Here’re 14 tips so that you’ll come back with beautiful stories instead of horror ones!
Be Cautious of Waterfront City
Have you heard of Waterfront City, and been encouraged to visit that so-called “beautiful” place? Well, here’s the truth: the place is pretty much empty and dead now. There’s a bunch of resorts there, but really nothing much to see. Plan your trip to other places instead.
Be Cautious of the Cab Fares at the Ferry Terminal
You might be quoted a hefty sum of SGD$50 for a short drive that’ll take 15 minutes. It’s time to take your haggling guns out and ask for a fifth of the price. They’d probably agree to that and realise that you’re not a foreigner to be meddled with!
Be Cautious of Taxi Driver Rip-Offs
There’s one thing you must do before you step out of your hotel and into a cab. Ask the receptionist on what’s the average price of the cab fare for the location you’re about to head off to. Either that or Google for more information. This way, you’ll avoid being overcharged by unscrupulous taxi drivers.
Be Cautious of Expensive Bus Rides
A bus ticket doesn’t go beyond one Singapore Dollar, so avoid paying ten times the amount when you’re there. Someone just told you that it costs $10 and offers to help you buy the ticket? Forget it; he’s pocketing the $9.
Be Cautious of “Compulsory” Porter Service
Some porters might come over to you and tell you that it’s imperative that you take their services, and pay for them. Save your money and manage your luggage yourself. You’ve the strength to carry your luggage all the way to the hotel, I’m sure you can carry it up to your room.
Be Cautious of Locals Who Are too Friendly
When you get help from a local, they expect to be paid, and that too in Singapore Dollars. The best way to work around them is to have a local guide with you. But of course, not every local is like that: you’ll have to play by ear and spot those overzealous ones.
Be Cautious of Touters
Do not entertain the touters you see when you’re leaving. Head over to the ferry counter instead to get your ferry ticket sorted out, if not you’re going to pay double or even triple for your trip. This isn’t a Jay Chou concert ticket, my friend.
Be Cautious of Pickpockets
Always keep your purses, wallets and handbags close to you, especially in a crowded area. If possible, avoid carrying a sling bag.
Be Cautious of Your Travel Documents
Always keep your travel documents in your hotel room if there’s a safe. Travel with photocopies in hand.
Be Cautious of Using the ATM
Only withdraw your funds in small sums for your daily expenses, and go cashless when you can. Carrying tons of cash around is just asking for it.
Be Cautious of Your Money
If you can, get a money belt. They’re not really the most trendy thing on earth, but hey, you have to keep your money protected!
Be Cautious of Moving About in Nightclubs
Never leave your drink unattended, and gulp it down if you have to before you head to the washroom. You never know what has been added to it when you’re gone – if it’s still there, that is.
Be Cautious of Tap Water
Don’t drink tap water: this isn’t Singapore. Keep yourself hydrated with bottled water instead, as you’re certain the source is good.
Be Cautious of Bargaining
Don’t bargain on the price of a product if you don’t intend to walk away with it. It’s considered to be impolite and you’ll be considered of bad faith if you don’t close the purchase. Once again, this isn’t Singapore, whereby you bargain for fun.
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com in 2016 and revised on 8 July 2017.
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