From rustic fishermen villages to super luxe resorts, there’s lots more to do on this island other than water sports and cheap massages. Here's proof.
 

It might not have the most pristine beaches or hip trendy cafes but this Indonesian island is still a great choice for fussfree weekend trip, especially if you want to escape the bright lights and the loud noises of fast paced city life. Here are six reasons why it’s worth a revisit.

It's super easy to get to

For starters, its close proximity makes it a great contender for a quick weekend escape. A ferry from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal will get you to Batam’s Nongsapura terminal in 35 minutes—that’s even quicker than, say, traveling from Changi to Jurong. Plus, an all-in round trip ticket will only cost you $46 on Batam Fast and with ferries plying to-and-fro almost once every hour between 8am and 8pm, you won’t have to sweat too much over a timing that works.


Fishermen village, Nongsa Beach

It's equal parts relaxation and adventure

One of the great things about Batam is that even though it’s so close to Singapore, it’s got a completely different vibe and pace of life, making it a great way to disconnect form our hectic lives. Check out the charming Fishermen Village along Nongsa Beach. The best way to get there is to get a cab and tell the taxi driver you want to go to the fisherman village. The 30-minute journey from Batam Center and will cost approximately 150,000Rp ($15). There, you can sip on a coconut at a rustic restaurant built on wooden stilts that sits on the shoreline while enjoying the cool sea breeze.

Alternatively, if you’re up for an adventure, chat up one of the friendly local fishermen and get them to take you out on their boat to the nearby Putri island. A return journey would only cost Rp10,000 ($1). If you’re planning on spending some time on an island, pack some food and a picnic mat as there’s only one restaurant on the island and doesn’t have fixed opening hours.

There's cheap and fresh seafood

Batam isn't famous for its cuisine, but there’s still enough going on to satisfy those taste buds. A major draw for Singaporeans is its cheap and fresh seafood. Golden Prawn always draws a crowd and offers the usual fare from fish and prawns to squid and gong gong at a fraction of what you would pay in Singapore—for example, a kilo of gong gong would only cost you about $6. Locals swear by the seafood restaurants at Piayu Laut. It’s an hour’s drive from Batam Center and is located by a kelong so you know that you’ll definitely be eating the day’s freshest catch. There, you can try Jawa Melayu Seafood Restaurant (Tanjung Piayu Laut), where a half kg of chilli crab will only cost you $7.


Otah

And tasty snacks to take home

Seafood aside, you can also stock up on tasty local eats like kueh lapis from Batam Layer Cake (Bengkong Laut, Jalan Sumatra No. 1, +66 77 8789-6364) and otah from Otak-otak. And of course, no trip to Indonesia is complete without sweeping the shelves of the hypermart at Nagoya Hill Mall for our favorite, Indo Mie.


Barelang Bridge, Tengku Fisabilillah

You can go island hopping...on foot

Yes, there are actually attractions worth checking out in Batam and the Barelang Bridge is one of them. It is made up of six bridges that link three islands: Batam, Rempang and Galang. The most popular bridge is the cable-stayed Tengku Fisabilillah and is quite an icon in Batam and it’s not hard to see why, with its impressive structure. Unlike Singaporeans who like hanging out at cafes, locals like hanging out at bridges in Batam so don’t be surprised to find huge crowds chilling by the bridge.

Another prominent attraction is the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple (Jl. Bukit Beruntung, Sei Panas, +62 7 7846-2901). It is the biggest temple in Southeast Asia and you’ll find plenty of statues of the Laughing Buddha dotted around its premises.


Montigo Resorts

There's a luxe resort to share with your friends

Montigo Resorts alone is enough to warrant a trip to Batam. To start with, it’s the island’s first five-star resort and each of the resort’s 88 three-storey villa comes with its own infinity pool overlooking the South China Sea, a large rooftop space and a sizeable bathroom with a glass-ceiling, allowing plenty of natural light. While there, book yourself a slot at the resort’s spa; its treatment rooms are housed in charming huts and offers massages, scrubs, body wraps and couples treatments. Now for the best part: the villas can sleep up to five people and the rates are pretty reasonable too, villas start from $371 per night.

 

ESSENTIALS

Getting there
You can get to Batam from a few different ferry terminals in Singapore, like from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and it will get you to either Nongsapura, Batam Center or Sekupang. Several ferry companies offer multiple daily services to and fro, including Batamfast, Sindo Ferry and WaveMaster. All-in return ticket prices typically cost just under $50.

Currency
$1 = 9506.20 Rupiah (Rp)

Visa
Singaporeans do not need a visa to enter the country and can stay up to 30 days.