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Whats there to do/see in Batam

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Gerriventure
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Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby Gerriventure » Fri, 11 Dec 2015 2:34 pm

Hi,

Found out from some of my workmates that many Singaporeans often visit Batam for a short vacay.
But what exactly is there to do/see there?

Im considering to go for a short vacay either to Johor Bahru or Batam. Any recommendations?

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby JR8 » Fri, 11 Dec 2015 7:52 pm

The draw to both seems to be cheaper shopping. For example going to Batam and bringing back say 6 months supply of toiletries/bathroom staples can fund the whole trip (IME).
I can't say I like either place much at all. There is little to do apart from shop, and the F+B is mediocre IMO. For those staying in a hotel, I'd suggest a) finding one located near or preferably next to the main place you intend to shop, and b) trying to find a hotel with decently (independently) rated F+B outlet/s.

p.s. However little you intend to take, make sure you have enough luggage-space to cart back all the stuff you might buy! Also take a roll of sellotape to secure-down all the lids on shampoo bottles etc :)
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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 11 Dec 2015 11:20 pm

There are a handful of things to do in Batam. A lot of people go there for a golfing weekend. If you take the ferry to Nongsapura (leave from Tanah Merah), there are a few pretty decent hotels where you can relax, eat pretty good food, swim, or sit on the beach. I like the Nongsa Point Resort. Turi Beach is OK too, but getting a little long in the tooth.

There are a couple of pretty decent seafood restaurants on piers in Nongsa Village... you will need a local driver to take you there... the map shows the road nearest the water... that's where you need to get to... there are a couple of places on long piers... I like the smaller one. https://www.google.com/maps/@1.1911157, ... a=!3m1!1e3

A place where a lot of Singaporeans go for the weekend is Batam View Beach Resort. This place isn't going to win any prizes but it is kind of a fun place, with live band on Saturday night, decent outdoor buffet Saturday as well.

If you leave by ferry from Harbor Front, you end up at one of three ferry terminals in Batam... I'd choose Batam Center. A taxi takes you into Nagoya where there is Novotel and Harmoni, amongst others. Mostly shopping. However, there is also quite a wild night life in the bar area, if you are so inclined to meet ladies who will "lub you lon tine".

Worth the rental of a car and driver is a trip down the Riau islands south of Batam. Six large and majestic bridges (it really makes you wonder who paid off whom to build such large bridges in the middle of nowhere) take your through all the islands. It s very scenic, with thousands of smaller islands all about... it makes one realize how easy it would be to disappear in the area. https://www.google.com/maps/@0.8913094, ... 4995,11.2z

Batam City is a manufacturing center, a lot of clothing, although Nagoya is as well. Thus, Batam is not very "touristy" in that sense... but worth a weekend or two to explore.

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby thismyvoice » Sat, 12 Dec 2015 8:05 am

A word of advice. Be silent when queueing at Batam immigration. The officers there are doing serious work and do not like to be disturbed. Flout the rule and you can be refused entry.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2728844/Keep-quiet-ll-kicked-country-Ferry-terminal-s-noisy-visitors-DEPORTED-whisper-standing-immigration-queues.html

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby Gerriventure » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 11:06 am

Hey there!

Thanks for the great tips! Guess I'll plan for a weekend trip to Batam this coming weekend.
Another quick question - Would it be better to just join a tour group or go solo?

Any tips? (:

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby Gerriventure » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 11:07 am

thismyvoice wrote:A word of advice. Be silent when queueing at Batam immigration. The officers there are doing serious work and do not like to be disturbed. Flout the rule and you can be refused entry.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2728844/Keep-quiet-ll-kicked-country-Ferry-terminal-s-noisy-visitors-DEPORTED-whisper-standing-immigration-queues.html


This is very interesting!

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 11:09 am

And very true! I've seen it happen.

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 12:31 pm

thismyvoice wrote:A word of advice. Be silent when queueing at Batam immigration. The officers there are doing serious work and do not like to be disturbed. Flout the rule and you can be refused entry.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2728844/Keep-quiet-ll-kicked-country-Ferry-terminal-s-noisy-visitors-DEPORTED-whisper-standing-immigration-queues.html


It really depends where you are coming in... and... I've never seen such behavior... and I've been to Batam hundreds of times. Mostly to Nongsapura... these guys were all cool... less often to Harborfront... tends to be crowded at times... what pisses them off are people who are not prepared... never heard an issue about silence. And, a few times through Sekupang as well... nice and friendly folks.

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby ScoobyDoes » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 3:33 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:And very true! I've seen it happen.



Seen a few people moved to the back of the queue as an instant punishment though usually after a bit of a warning first. The guys take their peace and snooze time seriously.......sorry, they do work hard, at least the guys at the counter. I normally have to wake up the guy in the office to get access with my APEC card.
'When Lewis Hamilton wins a race he has to thank Vodafone whereas in my day I used to chase the crumpet. I know which era I'd rather race in.'

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby JR8 » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 4:17 pm

Gerriventure wrote:Hey there! Thanks for the great tips! Guess I'll plan for a weekend trip to Batam this coming weekend. Another quick question - Would it be better to just join a tour group or go solo? Any tips? (:


First time I visited I was on a day-trip with a tour group. I was the only non Chinese person on the coach. Perhaps the only non-pensioner too. The day was spent:
a) *constantly* on the move. 'Admiring' the sites of Batam from inside the coach as we bombed all around. 'Hurry hurry we have to shop/spend/consume here, then must hurry to our next stop'.
b) shopping for 'local handicrafts'
c) shopping for local food products (pref ones that are illegal or taboo in other countries)
d) shopping for fake Ralph Lauren tat.
e) eating 'auspicious' Chinese seafood.
f) shopping. And eating some more, and hurrying.
The whole conducted by the tour guide in Chinese.

It had a certain novelty factor. I got to see how the Chinese enjoy spending a day of 'leisure'. In retrospect though (25+ years later) I never had a moment to stop, observe, and/or consider. It didn't matter really what country I was in, as the only country-specific aspect that came into play was how cheap the otherwise (vs SG) expensive stuff we were all pushed to buy was.

So, the trip, in retrospect, was more a lesson in spending a very long day of total non-stop consumption with a group of 30-40 Chinese people on holiday, not one of whom spoke English. Is that what you have in mind? :wink:
If you have any desire to set your own pace, to have a moment to stop and think, to not be consumed by making and/or saving money with every breath drawn, then I would DIY it, as I have done on all subsequent trips over there.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby Gerriventure » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 5:00 pm

JR8 wrote:
Gerriventure wrote:Hey there! Thanks for the great tips! Guess I'll plan for a weekend trip to Batam this coming weekend. Another quick question - Would it be better to just join a tour group or go solo? Any tips? (:


First time I visited I was on a day-trip with a tour group. I was the only non Chinese person on the coach. Perhaps the only non-pensioner too. The day was spent:
a) *constantly* on the move. 'Admiring' the sites of Batam from inside the coach as we bombed all around. 'Hurry hurry we have to shop/spend/consume here, then must hurry to our next stop'.
b) shopping for 'local handicrafts'
c) shopping for local food products (pref ones that are illegal or taboo in other countries)
d) shopping for fake Ralph Lauren tat.
e) eating 'auspicious' Chinese seafood.
f) shopping. And eating some more, and hurrying.
The whole conducted by the tour guide in Chinese.

It had a certain novelty factor. I got to see how the Chinese enjoy spending a day of 'leisure'. In retrospect though (25+ years later) I never had a moment to stop, observe, and/or consider. It didn't matter really what country I was in, as the only country-specific aspect that came into play was how cheap the otherwise (vs SG) expensive stuff we were all pushed to buy was.

So, the trip, in retrospect, was more a lesson in spending a very long day of total non-stop consumption with a group of 30-40 Chinese people on holiday, not one of whom spoke English. Is that what you have in mind? :wink:
If you have any desire to set your own pace, to have a moment to stop and think, to not be consumed by making and/or saving money with every breath drawn, then I would DIY it, as I have done on all subsequent trips over there.



Goodness! So basically its just shopping shopping and more shopping? But what is there 'authentic' to purchase in Batam?
Haven't they got a tour solely for heritage / sightseeing rather than just shopping 70% of the time?
Is there no option for an English speaking guide as well?

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby JR8 » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 5:26 pm

Gerriventure wrote:Goodness! So basically its just shopping shopping and more shopping?


Yeah, interspersed with eating... pretty much!

Gerriventure wrote:But what is there 'authentic' to purchase in Batam?


Authentic fake Ralph Lauren? That's probably made in China :lol:

Gerriventure wrote:Haven't they got a tour solely for heritage / sightseeing rather than just shopping 70% of the time? Is there no option for an English speaking guide as well?


My impression was (and is) that Asians aren't really interested in their own heritage. Unless there is some immediate personal tangible gain to be got from it; i.e. monetary, rather than say knowledge or insight.
In your shoes I'd do two things...
i) Read the travel ads in the weekend ST, and see how any day or weekend trips to Batam are described.
ii) Look at the forums on Lonely Planet (IIRC the sub-section is called 'The Thorn-tree'). See if you can find some reviews of Batam, and what any independent travellers there did.

Last time we visited, maybe 2yrs ago, we DIYd it. Took the ferry from Harbourfront. Had a hotel within walking distance of the wharf at Batam. We were also within walking distance of a couple of malls, then another day took a taxi to a jumbo-mall on the edge of town. The trip was pretty much focused on eating, and buying stuff that cost less than in SG. I don't really recall getting to do or see anything authentically Indonesian... apart from witness the bonkers traffic perhaps.

[Sorry if I sound dreadfully cynical. I've been 3-4 times now and as you can tell I have no reason to wish to return again...]
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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 10:31 pm

Gerriventure wrote:Goodness! So basically its just shopping shopping and more shopping? But what is there 'authentic' to purchase in Batam?
Haven't they got a tour solely for heritage / sightseeing rather than just shopping 70% of the time?
Is there no option for an English speaking guide as well?


It's hard to figure out what "heritage" is found on Batam. There are still lots of sleepy kampongs along the coastline where the primary source of income is fishing, augmented with jobs at the hotels and golf courses. If you want to see these, you best rent a motorbike and ride through them. About the most exciting thing to happen in Batam in decades was when the Singapore airlines A380 lost an engine over Batam and parts of it were found all over the island.

Historically, Batam was occupied by the Japanese during WW II, and the main town is still called Nagoya. Textile manufacturing is a prime industry in Nagoya and to a lesser degree, Batam Center, hence, the shopping. There are also ship and oil rig building and rigging facilities on the northwestern part of the island.

Essentially then, Batam has moved from an entire kampong based economy to rather ratty looking industrial base, with some tourism at the coastal resorts. I don't know if you call this 'authentic' or 'heritage', and I have enjoyed visiting all parts of Batam just to see what it is like.

You can find an English speaking car and driver for reasonable amounts, but generally, to make this happen, you will want to spend a weekend at one of the hotels I mentioned (or in Nagoya) where the hotel staff can get you set up.

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Re: Whats there to do/see in Batam

Postby JR8 » Mon, 14 Dec 2015 11:36 pm

OMG - So that is why Nagoya Hill Mall is called that! Wow, I hadn't joined the dots there before your explaining it :-O
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