Batam City is the largest city in Riau Province. This city is made out of three islands, Batam, Rempang and Galang connected by the Balerang Bridge. This city is located strategically on the international shipping route passing the Malaca Strait near Singapore and Malaysia. Batam is known well for having various ethnic groups and for its significant development. Many languages are used in this city, mostly Minang, Batak and Javanese language. Indonesian language is still the main language, though.
There are many things you can find in this island, one of them is former refuge camp in Galang Island, Batam. Here you can see pictures, tombs, wrecked ships and other historical things. You can also see the majestic Masjid Raya Batam located at Batam center. This middle-eastern architectured masjid is unique. You wonâ€™t see any pillar here, making it look very spacious, and the dome is like no other: it is in a shape of a pyramid.
Thereâ€™s Maha Duta Maitreya Temple, the biggest temple in Southeast Asia. This temple is located in Sei Panas. Sei Panas is so close to both Singapore and Malaysia, making the temple is usually visited by both countryâ€™s citizen to do prayer or just look at this templeâ€™s majesty.
As Batam is close Singapore and close to the busiest shipping route in the world, the city is very much international orientated and very good for shopping. There are several shopping centers such as Batam City Square and Mega Mall which will offer you many international products from well-known brands. Thereâ€™s also Lucky Plaza in Nagoya, the biggest in Batam, which will offer you various kinds of electronic devices.
Batam also offers you some nature like Nongsa Beach and Waterfront City. You will be able to do water skiing, parasailing, wind surfing, canoeing, etc.
If youâ€™re in Batam, donâ€™t forget to taste the most favorite food in the city, Gonggong. Gonggong is typically from Batam, made of white snail and served with nut condiment. If you want to bring souvenisrs for friends and family at home you can buy many kinds of banana cake, dragon fruit cake, roasted bingka and bilis cake.
Batam is served by the Hang Nadim Airport.
Hang Nadim Airport (BTH) is the main airport on the Riau Islands and the most confenient way of visiting Batam or the surrounding islands. Numerous ferries can bring you to neighboring islands (including Singapore). Originally developed as an alternative airport for Singapore Changi Airport the Batam Hang Nadim Airport has adequate facilities and one of the longest runways in Indonesia, sufficient for Boeing 747s. Nearly all flights are domestic with direct connections to all major cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Pekanbaru, Jambi, Palembang, Pontianak, Yogyakarta and Bandung. Indonesian carriers Garuda Indonesia, Mandala Airlines, Lion Air, Kartika Airlines and a host of others provide the links. If you need to get on a flight from Singapore's Changi Airport, you must be on a ferry to Singapore at least four hours before departure time, preferable earlier.
Taxi from/to Hang Nadim Airport to the town will take about 25 minutes, with a cost of up to Rp 100,000.
If you are heading for Singapore best to go to the Batam Centre pier where hourly ferries head for the central Harbourfront pier in Singapore, the ferry will take about an hour but you need to pass immigration on both sides.
Flights from Batam to destinations within Indonesia are often cheaper then from Singapore. If you are coming from Singapore to catch a flight at Batam Airport best take the subway from the airport to Harbourfront where numerous ferries depart to Batam Centre. From there proceed by taxi (Rp.70.000) to the airport. Be aware there is an hour time difference.