Forty five minutes away

That’s how long it takes to reach this Indonesian island, south of Singapore. Batam.

Memories of Batam before this trip – two distinct trips, poles apart. One day trip to a plastic moulding facility on a hot sunny day, passing through parched empty lands. And another an overnight disco -hopping reverie that left my ears ringing through the next day.

Well I was back again two Saturdays ago courtesy of Vicky’s well laid plans. It was raining when we got to Sekupang, located on the north western tip of Batam. We were greeted my Mitra, Matt and Andrew, who then promptly whisked us off on a short tour of the island before taking us to lunch at the old Batam town. Our lunch stop was an ordinary-looking chinese coffee shop, much like those you find abundantly in Malaysia towns. Then came our treat, two fish dishes – Sup Ikan (with delicious yam-sweeetened soup) and Fish Curry (not the asam type). This was enough to whet our appetite for more of Batam.

With full stomachs, we headed next towards Batam Center. I must admit that the island now look better with more planted trees and the rain did help by providing a cool island breeze. Shopping was next on the cards. Don’t expect great bargains but some of the labels are indeed cheaper compared to Singapore. We both bought a pair of jeans each.

Our home for the night was at the Holiday Inn, located at a remote corner of the Island, near the Waterfront City ferry terminal. For about $110 a night, this place was a steal. F1 visitors should consider this alternative accomodation if they find Singapore too expensive in September (but first they have to find a way back to Batam at night). Once we checked in, we took to the bed for a short afternoon nap.

For dinner, we were introduced to more of the local seafood. Andrew picked out live white-shelled crabs and crayfish from the small tanks while Matt lingered to play with the rest of the crabs. Prawns and fish were later added on and we feasted on a splendid seafood dinner.

The next day, we got to enjoy a slow breakfast buffet at the poolside before heading off to take our 11.40 ferry back to Singapore.

A big thank you to our host. This trip has gave me a chance to see a side of Batam not commonly revealed to day-trippers. Maybe we’ll come back for more … I hear there are roads leading down south to the smaller islands …

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Photos of Holiday Inn, Batam

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