Thursday, April 12, 2012

Around SINGAPORE: Jaunt through Batam, Indonesia

Think you've had enough of Singapore already?

Why don't you take a breather to another country (and add another stamp to that passport of yours) for a day or two? *wink wink*

Batam is one of the numerous islands surrounding Singapore where you can quickly jaunt in and take on a whole new experience. Still at its infancy stage, but surfacing potential as a tourist island, Batam is a developing community where the most you can visit are the resorts.

If you're not there to golf or swim in pools, here are some activities you can do:

. Barelang Bridge . 
Barelang Bridge is a chain of six bridges that connect main Batam to the other 6 islands. Its name is a combination of the three islands (Batam, Rempang, Galang). The most popular of the chain of bridges is the Tengku Fisabilillah bridge, connecting Batam to Tonton island, and is an iconic photo pop which every tourist should not miss.

. Vietnamese Village. 
Galang Camp served as a refugee camp for Vietnamese who escaped the war. With only ruins of previous barracks and canteen, this compound maintains a museum showcasing documented photos of the boat people arriving the island through an old wooden boat to transport the refugees. (Entrance Fees: IRD 10,000 car, IRD 3,000 per adult)

. Pantai Melayu . 
Pantai Melayu is one of the many beaches in the Barelang Islands. It is a long stretch of beach lined by cottages. The waters are shallow (about 2 feet deep) even when you're a hundred meters from the shoreline already.

. Mata Kucing . 
If you like animals, then Mata Kuching is for you. It's a zoo in a forest setting. Enjoy the jungle scenery and commune with nature for IRD 50,000.

. Angkringan .
What's a trip to Batam without trying their hawker food? Then the go-to hawker is in DutaMas. We were told that the cleanest hawker stall is the one in Dutamas. Elsewhere, the vendors use their bare hands to pick up the food to serve you (can you imagine hand-held noodles?).

. shoot away. 
You really cannot miss visiting the resorts because there's nothing else to do. Even if we weren't there to check-in as guests, we freely roamed around to take summer-y photos of the resort. Two of the more popular ones are Harris (where we totally let slip the chance to engage in their water sports) and KTM (from which you can glimpse a view of Singapore's Marina Bay Sands).

Going to Batam from Singapore 
From Singapore, roundtrip ferry tickets can be bought at the terminal found in Harbour Front. From Vivo City, make your way to the sign that says "St James Power Station". There are various ferry services, but the one we took was Batam Fast.

Going around Batam
We could've taken an ojek (motorcycle) to go around, but as there were two of us, we opted to rent a car for IRD400,000 (Php2,000) the entire day. This is inclusive of fuel and driver services. We just had to feed our driver. We were picked up by 9am, and brought home 9pm. Should you wish to avail the rental service, just PM me.

Time Difference
It is important to note that there is a one hour time difference between Batam and Singapore. Keep this in mind as you schedule your trip.


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