Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weekend trip idea: Batam

Batam brings to mind weekend rendezvous with mistresses, cable skiing, cheap seafood and basically a getaway from the hustle and bustle of Singapore with friends or with your significant other.

The island is just a short 60min ferry ride from Harbour Front terminal in Singapore. You can get your tickets from Batam Fast and exit tax will set you back S$20. Upon arrival, you’d be greeted with a small DFS store. If you’re planning to get drunk, do stock up at Singapore’s DFS prior to exit.

Holiday Inn Batam is an all-suites hotel and 1 of the 2 more recognised hotels in Batam (the other being Harris Hotel). The hotel provides a bus service (albeit just a 5min ride from the terminal) and check-in includes a welcome punch. Per pax for a 2-bedroom pool facing suite shared among 5 is approx S$70. Suite has 2-bedrooms and 2 restrooms as well as a living area and kitchenette.

View from the balcony *I apologise for the quality of the photos. They were taken with my Blackberry

What to do in Batam
Afternoons are best spent in town at Nagoya Hill Shopping Centre (bit like Johor Bahru's Jusco or Sim Lim Square). Ladies will enjoy shopping at the hypermart here as sanitary napkins are dirt cheap at S$1-3. Foot/body massage (S$15-20 per pax) can be done in the vicinty of Nagoya and you can indulge in some Old Town Coffee as well.

Dinner in Batam is a tricky affair. Cab drivers will insist on driving you to "Golden Prawn" for dinner. Should you refuse to eat at Golden Prawn Seafood Restaurant, they will REFUSE to board you. Some excuses they give are that your alternative dinner venue is not open till 8pm etc. Just walk away and say you'd wait till operating hours start. Someone WILL budge and offer to drive you to your chosen dinner venue. Not wanting to fall into the typical tourist trap, Harbour Bay Seafood Restaurant was chosen as an alternative. For 5-6 dishes including prawns, dinner will se you back S$14 each. Prawns are the size of shrimps so don't expect any mainland tiger prawns.

Cab is the only way to go as Batam is not well-lit at night. Do agree on the price of travel prior to boarding as drivers here are unscrupulous cheats. Exit tax from Batam is S$7 each, payable at the terminal.

Hotel: Holiday Inn, Batam
Hotel Review: clean, spacious and professional hotel
Weather: 26-30c (hot and humid like Singapore)

1 of the smaller bedrooms and the living area
Posted by fongie on 11/18/2010 10:44:00 PM in , , , , ,