Thank you Polaris for such a wonderful trip report. This is copied from another thread.
My trip: 29th Mar (Good Friday) - 31st Mar (Sun); leisure holiday
If you were to go Batam via Harborfront on a public holiday, my advice is to get the ferry tix online; in the case of BatamFast, you can print out the boarding pass e-ticket; hassle free,just remember to take the white cards at the BatamFast side counter (do not need to queue); alternatively u can get the white cards at the Batam ferry terminal too (but by then the crowd and the q will put u off) Singaporeans do not need Visa (VOA: Visa On Arrival) unless you are on work trip.. US$25 fyi..
As for the ferry terminals, depending on where you want to go, HarborBay; Batam Centre; Sekupang; Waterfront etc..
Nagoya area -- HarborBay ferry terminal nearest
Batam Centre -- Batam Centre ferry terminal
Batam Indopark, KTM resort etc -- Sekupang
Beach resorts -- Nongsapura terminal
Water activities; seasports -- Waterfont city ferry terminal
Basically what Singaporeans r looking for in Batam...
1) A&W: Our childhood..waffles, rootbeer float, curly fries...ahhhh... Batam got 2 outlets; one at Batam Centre Megamall; the other at Nagoya Hill Mall (NHM); However, do take note in Indonesia, KFC is more worth to try, the tenderness of the meat is yummy, unlike sg! Pizza hut is much more affordable and comes in more flavours compared to sg, yepz
2)IndoMie/Mee Sedup: NTUC sell so ex! In Batam, you can literally buy in cartons of 40 packets.. if u think is a hassle, transfer the packets into a bag and wun be so bulky anymore! Other than noodles, the sauce itself is available in the Hypermarts! Both NHM and Megamall got these Hypermarts and items inside are freaking cheaper! Imagine baby diapers at 1/3 of NTUC price! yupz
3) Spa/Massage: If you have browsed through this forum, massage can go Sports Massage or IndoThai.. while for spa.. go for SpaSecret or Isabella.. for spa on weekend/public holiday, do visit the online websites n make booking first!
4) Seafood: hmmmm...Due to Groupon etc, the once famous Golden Prawn 555 n 999 both cui alrdy, if you prefer zhi char style, go for Weywey seafood (near HarborBay) or Adi-8 (Komplek Anggrek Pamal Blok B No.6)... for kelong experience; go for Sri Rezeki
5) Food: Other than the fast food n seafood, there are ranges from Satay (20+ types).. there is a Satay club near Batam City Square (BCS), A2 food court which is also near BCS, mee goreng, padang cuisine, nice beef balls (opp of Megamall); the streetfood is nice but recommended to tag along a local if you dunnoe Bahasa Indonesian or Malay. At NHM, the recommended eateries/places are Grand Duck, Happiness, Ayam Penyet Ria. In fact there is a food street in NHM.
6)Kueh Lepis: Golden View that area do have some nice ones, but being a touristy zone, might be quite costly, NHM BCS Megamall these 3 malls have outlets with the testers for you to try before u buy.. Diana Layer Cake is nice! With thick butter taste, yet not so oily..
7)Seasports/Water activities: Waterfront city .. but may be quite costly since is tourist zone
8) Resort: Montigo is the best!!!
9) Beach: Turi has the nicest beach
10) Misc. travel location: Other than the big temple (Groupon day package usually have this in the itenary) and the Barelang Bridge (please go while the sky is still bright, night time dark nothing to admire); not much major attractions; basically as what many pointed out Batam is a place for eat shop spa massage ..and MOVIE, the Cinema XXI theater systems r comparable and surpass our SG ones!!! the sound system is marvellous! And if you happen to watch movie which u shud since movie tix is like RP30,000 (less than SGD$4), do get urself a Fries, yepz apparently it is the best Fries in Batam!!! Another activity u can do is... FIREWORKS... apparently at the basement of BCS, u can get them...as for whr to play them, maybe u all can ask Richard, 1 of the destination xpert in diz forum..
Concerns Singaporeans might have:
1)Internet access: Most hotels have free WIFI. For prepaid cards, they are pretty affordable, recommend the Indostat, RP50,000 (SGD$6.4+) can get u one mth plan! If you are at NHM, there is a Indostat branch just opposite of JCO (near the fountain area, you will c one "zebra crossing"
2)Taxi vs Driver vs ownself drive: Batam tourism flourished based on non-metered cab system and $ exchange.. so get used to the non-metered cab system.. Similar to Malaysia, we negotiate the price,haggle abit then get into the cab.. In fact if you are in hotels, they have their own transport services.. You will only require a driver if u are intending to cover many areas in 1 day.. Batam centre and Nagoya is just 15min driving distance apart and that do not need driver!!! but if you are intending to go far like the Waterfront or the Barelang bridge away from Nagoya, Batam centre area then u may consider hiring a driver.. Another thing is try dun get a cab in the middle of no where..
If you are driving yourself somehow, Batam does not have the coupon system (unlike Sg), haha hurray! no Summons! but then at every parking place, there will be a person kinda like the "carkpark attendant" of that place, so give him about RP2000 (SGD$0.25) after you parked and about to leave the carpark.
3) Safety: Batam is a relatively safe place; especially compared to JB i guess.. You are their source of income in Batam and sure they will not risk spoiling their reputation.. of coz that doesnt warrant u to flaunt your riches around; dun invite trouble for urself..
4) Money exchange: Almost everywhere is the same rate...but all better than Singapore unless those "popular" ones like those in Bishan J8 etc..
5) Ferry Terminal procedure: Try to check in like 1h before boarding/departure of the ferry and do take note that Batam time is GMT +7...For those using the E-ticket boarding passes from BatamFast, do use that e-ticket to exchange for the BatamFast (Batam site) boarding pass as they dun do the QR barcode scanning at their terminal check-in points..
6) Which ferry terminal? HarborBay is the nearest to Nagoya and only 2 ferries go there.. Prima Ferry and BatamFast; and one semi-active ferry provider.. so basically traffic is quite standard in HB as compared to BC terminal where pp dun just go back Singapore, there r pp going places like Malaysia etc so traffic is heavier!
7) Which Hotel? Nagoya wise-- If you just want proximity to NHM, will be The Hills, Noveno and IHotel.. Hotel nearest to HarborBay terminal is SwissBelhotel HarborBay (newest in Batam and pretty comfy! dun confuse with SwissInn and SwissBelhotel Batam) ; Pacific Palace Hotel is also of proximity to HB terminal.. for proximity to BCS, it will be BCC hotel where u can access A2 foodcourt easily and also the Satay club..
8) Which spa? Spa secret has a few prestigious awards; it uses atas Jacuzzi with nice ambiance ; Isabella offers transport and have some nice techniques ..
9) Chillout zones? There is a club known as No Name but can be quite messy, haha.. If you are staying near HarborBay terminal, there is a stretch of pubs nearby nice to chill out too..
10) Who to consult? The destination experts: Chandra and Richard are very experienced in Batam.. Chandra is in Nagoya area while Richard is in Batam Centre area... Other than them, Yihanz is also another Batam lover, he is a Singaporean that is out to try out the different hotels in Batam! How cool is that right!
Overall, Batam is a nice place to relax, try out cheap seafood and fast food, stock up on supermarket stuff, massage/spa (since Thailand too far).. the people here are pretty friendly and service oriented, no wonder the tourism industry here has been blooming! I heard that a typical Batam local earn about SGD$800 a month, so yah life is tough for them but they provide good service, and thus, do respect them!!! OK, and that ends my sharing session! Selamat Datang every1 !!!