Most of us have definitely done 1-day or even 2-day Batam tours before. Just about an hour away from Singapore by ferry, you can enjoy a day of fun with your family or friends on this Indonesian island having seafood, playing games like go-karting and shopping to your hearts’ content.
And let’s face it: the exchange rate of the Indonesian rupiah from our Singapore dollar is too attractive to pass up. If you are planning to head there over the weekend for some time away from our concrete jungle, you may want to take some notes from this guide I’m about to share with you on where to go and what to do in Batam.
Of course there is always the easier way with pre-arranged guided tours but you may not get to experience Batam properly through this method sometimes.
Always try and take an earlier ferry over
Try to take the ferry that departs at about 8.20am as you have to factor in about an hour for the ferry to get to Batam. As this is also possibly the peak time for most travellers to Batam, it is recommended that you pre-book your tickets and arrive early on the actual day to make payment and secure your seats.
Upon arrival, get a taxi from the taxi counter located just outside the ferry terminal
There will be several taxi drivers hounding you to get into their cabs when you arrive at the ferry terminal. To be safe, approach one of the men manning the taxi counters that are conveniently located just at the exits of the terminal. I usually prefer to get metered taxis but if you can settle on a good price with a non-metered one, that’s fine too.
If you are not hungry for lunch yet, go go-karting!
Head for some exciting activities like go-karting if you are still not feeling the hunger pangs for lunch. Go-karting in Batam is relatively cheap at just about S$15 for 10 minutes and it’s good fun for families and friends. For those who prefer to take it easy, there is also a miniature village next door where visitors can walk through and take photos with kampung style residences no higher than our waist.
Get a good rub down
After the excitement, go for a good Balinese massage at GO! Massage. A clean, decent spa with really affordable prices and services, you can opt for just a traditional massage or go for more spa-like services that include scrubs and aromatherapy too. This will definitely set the mood for a nice, leisurely lunch and shopping and a good sleep that same night.
Proceed for a hearty seafood lunch
There are several seafood restaurants on the island but the one that is most revered is the one we know of as Golden Prawn. This kampung style seafood restaurant serves up the freshest catch and has the lovely view of the river which you can enjoy while relishing your delicious lunch.
After lunch, it’s time for some shopping to walk it off. Depending on how much time you have left before you depart back to Singapore, you can choose to head to either BCS Mall (Batam City Square) or Mega Mall Shopping Centre. BCS Mall is a slightly smaller shopping mall that has just 3 levels of shopping for clothing, electronics and accessories.
There is also an arcade and karaoke at the 4th level for those who wish to indulge in some gaming or want to sing their hearts out for 2 hours at a very reasonable price of just about S$8, excluding drinks.
If time is a factor, you can also head to Mega Mall Shopping Centre which is the closest shopping mall to the Batam ferry terminal. There are 5 levels of shopping to be done here for everything you can think of, from fashion to electronics to appliances and more. The ground floor is a hypermarket where you can do some grocery shopping.
There are also many restaurants and cafes in this mall, one of which is A&W, where many Singaporeans flock to because we don’t have it anymore. Ah, the root beer float and curly fries!
Bye bye Batam
The best time to get a ferry back to Singapore would be around 5pm. Always remember to be early and to get through customs at least 45 minutes before your ferry’s scheduled departure.
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