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A Guide to Batam

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Old 06-05-2013, 05:25 PM   #1
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A Guide to Batam

I spent a lot of time researching for what to do in Batam for a short 2D1N trip. I thought it'd be a waste not to put it up. Here are some tips on getting around, where to go etc.

Deals aren't as cheap as they seem. For most, you have to add $27 ferry terminal fees to the listed price, so you don't exactly save on them. Moreover, you have to stick to their itinerary and tip their drivers. They take you to the Polo Outlet shop, the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple, Batam Chocolate House etc but honestly, I wasn't interested in any of those. I wanted to go where the locals go and do some sightseeing.

I booked a deluxe room for $60/night at GGi Hotel. Then 2 return ferry tickets for $94. That makes $154 for a 2D1N trip for 2, $77/person.

Nothing to see in Batam? You'll be mistaken. A series of 6 bridges connect several islands near Batam to each other, and the view is fantastic. I only went to 2/6 bridges because I set out late. Go there for the sunset! The drive there is about 40mins. A vendor in Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall Food Street introduced me to Ab. He drove me to Barelang Bridge and back for only 200.000IDR ($25). A nice man, quiet but very helpful. I was so happy with his service I gave him 50.000IDR more. You can contact him at 0812-8670-529.Other drivers offer at least $60, min 1 day.

I did dinner at Harbour Bay Walk, Wey Wey Seafood Restaurant. It's not as fancy as the famed Harbour Bay Seafood Restuarant, but I prefer it as it is more laid-back and less lit; great for stargazing. The band is great. 4 charming young men, talented and not too loud. They set the perfect mood for a seaside restaurant. The food was cooked well but not fresh! How come?! It's a pity because you can tell the chef is skilled. I rejected one of the crabs because it smelled like ammonia. Thankfully, the lady serving us totally made up for it. She bravely went through other parts of the crab and was not afraid to try for herself. After agreeing that the dish was not up to par, she offered to replace it. My dinner mood was dampened but not destroyed. While the restaurant should definitely step up on their livestock (some fish in the tanks looked almost dead) they did the rest well. We ordered prawn, mee goreng, vegetables and crab and our bill was only 216.000IDR.

For after-dinner drinks, I hopped around the hotels and bars. In Planet Holiday's The Summit, the band was performing for tables, chairs and waiters. Other places were more dead than the fish in Wey Wey Seafood Restaurant. We found ourselves in Harmoni's NoName Bar where there was a good crowd, 50.000IDR drinks and a talented band that did covers of Katy Perry and One Direction, then moved on to sappy ballads. We were desperate to find a rock bar and trotted down a lane of raunchy bars to find one, but failed. Should have just stayed at NoName.

The next day started with a massage at Isabella Massage House. 7/10 for massage but the prices are exorbitant and the service is awful. I paid $42/person for a 1.5hr foot, hand and shoulder massage. A walk down the street got me to Eska, offering the very same massage at less than a third of the price in Isabella. Eska, according to reviews is great for massage too.

To get a real view on Batam, go down to Jodoh Boulevard, where there's a very happening night market selling pirated DVDs, clothes and food. It's less hectic in the day, but still fun to tour. Keep your wallet safe, wear shoes you can throw away and it's best if you are accompanied by a male. Still, it's a great photo opportunity, just make sure you triple bind the camera to yourself.

The streets in Batam aren't very walkable, but we walked it any way. Be alert and keep your eye on people who might be tailing you. Fortunately we didn't get harassed. Some friendly people tried to make conversation, we just replied them in few words but never stopped walking. And remember to invest a body scrub to get rid of all that dirt from vehicles and the street!
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Old 10-05-2013, 02:53 PM   #2
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Just to check with you.... Did you alight at Harbour Bay or Batam City Centre for your trip?


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Old 11-05-2013, 12:22 AM   #3
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Harbour bay is nearer to Nagoya
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:19 PM   #4
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Hi, can anyone guide me? TIA!

I'm thinking of going for a short getaway to Batam for some shopping and massage, so thinking of going to Harmoni Suites, hotel looks really nice, but I don't really know how to go about doing it.

If i book hotel from Agoda, then buy ferry tickets myself, will I be able to get ferry terminal transfer? Or should I go to travel agency?

If i buy ferry tickets, should it be Harbour bay?

Which Massage place is great ? I saw the Isla place, is it nearby?

Thanks guys!
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:01 PM   #5
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Hi, can anyone guide me? TIA!

I'm thinking of going for a short getaway to Batam for some shopping and massage, so thinking of going to Harmoni Suites, hotel looks really nice, but I don't really know how to go about doing it.

If i book hotel from Agoda, then buy ferry tickets myself, will I be able to get ferry terminal transfer? Or should I go to travel agency?

If i buy ferry tickets, should it be Harbour bay?

Which Massage place is great ? I saw the Isla place, is it nearby?

Thanks guys!
Hi, are you staying in harmoni suites near to Nagoya? If so, harbour bay will be nearer. You can call harmoni suites direct to reserve a room or book through their hotel website. As for transfer, just grab a taxi at the ferry terminal for about 40000 rupiah (make sure you let them know which harmoni suites)

For massage, I went to Everyday massage which is just outside Nagoya hill shopping mall, the massage price is decent. If you got more cash to spend, you can go Isabella massage which I personally think its not worth the money there. There are plenty of massage in that area so check it out.

Enjoy
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:49 PM   #6
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Hey, thanks for the replies! Anything I should look out for so as to not get chop or any safety issues especially I'm travelling with just my GF?
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Old 12-05-2013, 11:14 AM   #7
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Can hotel near batam centre still can receive Singapore Telco signal so I no need buy a data sim?
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:36 PM   #8
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Hey, thanks for the replies! Anything I should look out for so as to not get chop or any safety issues especially I'm travelling with just my GF?
If you want to have Seafood and go there by taxi, be firm with the driver if not they will bring you to what 933 Golden prawn or some other restaurant and quote you very high price for the cab fare
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Old 13-05-2013, 03:10 AM   #9
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I went to the bridges. Even been to their museum!

U can read more about it here (with photos some more): You are gonna love me ♥: Batam Trip
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Old 13-05-2013, 03:12 AM   #10
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Can hotel near batam centre still can receive Singapore Telco signal so I no need buy a data sim?
I can receive at almost anywhere in Batam. Mine is Singtel.
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Old 13-05-2013, 12:27 PM   #11
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My friend is planning to visit Batam next month. He will be staying in Swiss Belhotel HarbourBay. Is there any watersports activity like parasailing or something nearby? or can you advice where i can find this or some good beaches to visit
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Old 13-05-2013, 02:28 PM   #12
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$42 for massage in batam is very pricey!
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Old 14-05-2013, 02:26 PM   #13
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My friend is planning to visit Batam next month. He will be staying in Swiss Belhotel HarbourBay. Is there any watersports activity like parasailing or something nearby? or can you advice where i can find this or some good beaches to visit
If your friend is looking for water sports, he can head down to Waterfront City. The taxi ride will cost him 100.000Rp onwards. There's no beach at Harbour Bay (I didn't see any at least) just seafood and pubs by the bay.

I wasn't very interested in Waterfront City because it's really built for tourists. You can find some activities and prices on wikitravel.
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Old 14-05-2013, 04:07 PM   #14
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If your friend is looking for water sports, he can head down to Waterfront City. The taxi ride will cost him 100.000Rp onwards. There's no beach at Harbour Bay (I didn't see any at least) just seafood and pubs by the bay.

I wasn't very interested in Waterfront City because it's really built for tourists. You can find some activities and prices on wikitravel.
May I know how long the journey takes to Waterfront City from Harbour Bay? What are the activities advised for in Batam on a 2D1N program?
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Old 15-05-2013, 10:23 AM   #15
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my massage at isabella is 5x for 3hr of body massage not sure why is e foot priced at 42 lol
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