If you have gone on holidays with different sets of friends, then you would know that there are two types of travellers: the ones who plan way in advance and those who are willing to drop everything at a moment’s notice for a spontaneous trip to just about anywhere.
Whichever group you’re planning to holiday with this National Day weekend, Batam has you covered. About an hour away from Singapore by ferry, it is an easily accessible destination with a long list of activities that you can organise itineraries around. Still convincing your friends to drop their personal and work obligations for a quick getaway? Fret not; you will still be able to experience the best of Batam at short notice with the help of this guide.
Here’s a list of experiences that will make you want to book the next ferry out of Singapore to the picture-perfect Indonesian island:
Splash and surf
What’s a holiday in Batam if you don’t hit the waters? The island is oft-overlooked as a beach vacation spot, but it is home to some beautiful tropical beaches that are perfect for a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Hit up the popular Nongsa Beach, located in the northeast of Batam, 20km from Batam Centre, to lounge on soft, white sand, cool off in pristine waters and soak up a view of Singapore’s skyline, which can be seen from the shore. Nongsa’s location in a protected bay means that it sees close to no waves, making it ideal for a leisurely swim and a beautiful spot for a picnic with your mates.
For more fun in the sun, head to the inflatable water sports park Aqua Adventure Track at Seaforest Adventure, an integrated recreational area in Nongsa where you can hop on swings, scale a climbing wall, zip down slides and bounce on a 3m-wide trampoline.
Chase sunsets over Barelang Bridge
Did you even go to Batam if you don’t see its iconic Barelang Bridge? The chain of six bridges connects Batam Island to two nearby islands, Rempang and Galang. The word ‘Barelang’ is derived from the names of these three islands.
Make for the Instagram-worthy bridge when the golden hour strikes. Gather your friends and pack a snack or two to enjoy while you take in the stunning sunset views. As evening approaches, drive along the bridge to witness blue skies dissolve into blazing hues of orange and red.
Treat yourself to a shopping spree
Indulge in one of Singapore’s favourite pastimes — shopping. Whether you are looking for luxury items or bargain buys, Batam’s shopping malls have them all. Shop for international branded goods at Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall, which is less than a 20-minute drive from Batam Center International Ferry Terminal. Once you have worked up an appetite, stroll down an indoor food street for a wide selection of restaurants, fruit stalls and bakeries.
Traditional Indonesian souvenirs abound at Kampung Oleh-Oleh, a shopping district about 10 minutes from Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall by car. Stock up on handmade trinkets like key chains, bags, wood carvings and batik clothing for family and friends back home.
Go on a feast
Foodies will relish Batam’s sea-nsational offerings. The island has a variety of seafood restaurants that serve local favourites such as fresh fish, chilli crab and shellfish at wallet-friendly prices. While here, don’t miss out on Indonesian dishes like mie tarampa, spicy noodles with shredded codfish; ikan bakar or charcoal-grilled fish; and cha kue, an ingenious combination of kway teow, yellow noodles and radish cake.
Get yourself a massage
Nothing beats a soothing massage after a long day of exploring. The good news is that there is no shortage of spas in Batam. Pamper yourself at one of Batam’s many massage centres. Most of them offer a wide range of treatments, from Balinese traditional massage to facial treatments and foot reflexology, to rejuvenate your body and soul.
Whether it’s for the upcoming holiday or a weekend getaway, there’s plenty to explore and do with your best buds in Batam. Make it a trip to remember by checking off this Batam bucket list.