Batam is a bustling small island near Sumatra that is famous as the special economic zone, industrial hub, and gateway to Singapore. However, there are also many things to do in Batam if you come as travelers, even if you do not plan to cross to Singapore.
Batam offers shopping venues, culinary centers, relaxation spots, and historical-cultural destinations, perfect for all types of travelers.
Here are top ten things to do in Batam Island (in no particular order), and how much money you should prepare for each experience.
1. Cheap Culinary Trips at Pujasera
If you prefer cheap, delicious local foods when traveling, Batam got your back. The island is famous for outdoor food courts called pujasera, which are similar to Singapore’s hawker centers. You can find pujasera at various locations, including near Batam’s famous Nagoya Hill Mall and Lucky Plaza. The foods vary from Indonesian and Chinese foods to popular local snacks and seafood dishes.
How much should you pay? It depends on the menu, but you can find fulfilling dishes as cheap as Rp20.000,00 or around SG$2,14 (Singapore Dollar) per portion. Even if you choose slightly fancier dishes, you still spend less than if you eat at a fancy restaurant.
2. Shopping Spree at Nagoya Hill Mall
If you ask about what to do during Batam trip, almost everyone will mention Nagoya Hill Mall. You can find everything such as food courts, arcade center, clothing stores, cinemas, hair salons, spa centers, supermarket, and many more. You can shop using both Indonesian Rupiahs and Singaporean Dollars; the latter is the unofficial second currency in the island.
Prices at Nagoya Hill stores vary, but you can find cheap and expensive products. For example, you can buy handbags for just Rp250.000,00 (SG$26,8), buy cinema tickets for Rp35.000,00 (SG$3,75), and have a fancy massage for 500.000,00 (SG$53,56).
3. Cruising at Barelang Bridge
Enjoy beautiful scenic view? Go to Barelang Bridge with a car. This bridge connects Batam and several other islands, presenting scenic views toward the sea. This is a great place to avoid crowds and noises. You can rent a car in Batam and drive straight to the bridge, but be careful if you visit in January, since Batam weather can be quite windy.
Barelang Bridge cruise is a low-budget trip, since you do not need to pay to enter the bridge. However, if you decide to rent a car in Batam, expect to spend around Rp500.000,00 (SG$53,56) per day.
4. Family Fun at Ocarina Park
Batam Ferry Centre is a place where people depart to Singapore (or arrive in Batam from Singapore by ferry). However, it is also a strategic place to find hotels, resorts, restaurants, spa establishments, and amusement center such as Ocarina Batam Theme Park. This is a great place to spend time with family.
Opened in 2008, the Ocarina has facilities such as a waterpark, kid’s playground, trampoline, a 3D cinema theater, Ferries Wheel, and many more. The entrance ticket is very cheap; around Rp10.000,00 (SG$1,07) for adult, and Rp5.000,00 (SG$0,54) for children.
5. Visiting Jabal Arafah Mosque
If you enjoy a cultural trip to religious sites, Jabal Arafah Mosque is one of the most recommended religious buildings to visit. While you still need to be respectful while in the area, you can enjoy the beautiful scenic view from the mosque, since the mosque is located on a hill.
The building is beautiful and surrounded by trees and cool air, which is very relaxing. There is also a sightseeing tower that you can climb by paying just Rp5.000,00 (SG$0,54), from which you can see Batam’s coastal view.
6. Visiting Maha Vihara Buddha Maitreya Temple
Buddhist temples (vihara) are also iconic parts of life in Batam. Maha Vihara Buddha Maitreya Temple is the biggest one in Batam, and even if you are not a Buddhist, you will find many good things here. You can enjoy the serene and peaceful atmosphere, and taste vegetarian foods from various stalls available for visitors in the temple facility.
Many people visit this temple because it offers delicious vegetarian meals, but the souvenirs are generally quite expensive. You’d better stick to regular gifts from cheap souvenir stalls in the town if you are cash-strapped.
7. Picnic in Melayu Beach
Batam Island has many beaches, so if you want to pick only a few during your trip, try Melayu Beach. This beach has mellow waves and friendly water. It is simply a perfect beach for a family picnic, especially with trees that provide shades. Melayu Beach has standard tourist facilities such as banana boat and food stalls in several spots.
The entrance ticket for this beach is Rp5.000,00 (SG$0,54), but if you want to try the banana boat, you must pay around Rp20.000,00 (SG$2,67).
8. Resort Delight at Marina Water Front City
If you prefer luxurious beach resort delight for your trip, Marina Water Front City is a great destination. This resort area has two luxurious hotels, water sport facilities, and boat rental. You can also visit Marina Beach, which is under the resort’s management. Enjoy beautiful view, seafood dishes, and glistening night view toward Singapore in the evening.
The entrance fee for the beach is only Rp6.000.00 (SG$0,64) per person, and you can just visit the beach without being the resort’s guest.
9. Relaxing Spa and Massage Experience
Batam is famous for having many spa facilities, and they are favorites among domestic and international travelers. Kalea Spa is located near Batam ferry terminal, and offers head-to-toe spa and massage experience, complete with Indonesian lunch. Majestic Spa is located at Nagoya Hill, and also offers many complete packages, including Balinese spa and hot stone massage.
Depending on the treatment, you can expect to pay at least 500.000,00 (SG$53,56).
10. Small Getaway in Putri Island
Putri Island is a small island located between Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. The island itself is uninhabited, but it offers a beautiful view, soft white sand, and clear water. You can bring snorkeling or diving equipment to this island and enjoy the small getaway trip, away from the bustling town area.
To go to this island, you must take a “pompong” boat ride from Nongsa Beach, which takes around 10 minutes. The boat fare is only around Rp30.000,00 (around SG$3,20).
The next time you wonder what to do in Batam, start from these ten recommended activities, especially if you only have short holiday time.