Batam is a small island located off Singapore's South Coast and is a central piece of Batam Municipality. Batam is located North of Galang, east of Bulan Island and West of Bintan Island, separated from Bintan Island by the Riau Strait. The term Batam can refer to the municipality, the city or the island. The beautiful island is slightly smaller than Singapore. Unlike other islands that are becoming more and more urbanized due to commercialism and increased tourism, Batam has retained its unique culture and rural environment. The close proximity to Singapore has opened many doors in terms of economic, social and cultural advantages. 

Because of the close proximity, many expats and Singapore workers will just take the ferry from Singapore to Batam to escape from urbanization and the concrete jungle. It’s a great place to seek peace and relaxation in contrast to the busy streets of urbanized Singapore. Notably, more than half of all tourists who visit Batam Island each year are from Singapore, with Malaysian tourists also visiting the island quite frequently. A 45 minutes ferry ride from Singapore to Batam sets a huge difference in setting and culture.

The recently declared free trade zone has done much to Batam island in terms of its tourism and economic prospects. The removal of protectionism and tariffs has benefitted the area greatly, and goods and services can now flow freely between Singapore and Batam. The main industries in Batam include Electronics and the construction of ships. 

There are five ferry terminals on the Island and the public transport available in the island, the Trans Batam bus service, is remarkable cheap and provides good value for money. Beginning in 2005 it is a very reliable and well run enterprise. Taxis are also readily available all over the Island with over 3000 cars available. Hang Nadim International Airport is the main airport on the Island, and has the longest runway in Indonesia, and is the second largest Airport in the Sumatra region. Over a million people visit Batam island each year and it's popularity is set to grow year by year. 

Tours and Attractions in Batam Island

Nagoya Hill Mall – This is one of the most popular attractions available on Batam Island. Much local cuisine is served at this Mall, such as Indonesian Layer Cake and Indomie Instant Noodles. There are also typical items for sale such as equipment for waters sports and currency exchange services as well as cafes and restaurants. 

Massage and Spa - Like a lot of Asian countries, there are a lot of relaxing Spa and massage options available on Batam Island. Massages in Indonesia are particularly affordable even compared to other Asian regions and the traditional Balinese massage is always available and a must try at a great price.

Water Sports - Water activities are a huge recreational hobby in Batam and include surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, parasailing and banana boating. Many of these activities are available on the Nongsa coast or the more secluded Melur beach. 

Cycle/Motorbike the North Coast – This is a more secluded region of the island and is the perfect location to go on a motorcycle tour. Spectacular views are available amid lush dense greenery and a sweeping view of the sea. The trail can be taken via Nongsa Coast and the Duriankang Reservoir. 

Explore the Nightlife – Food and alcohol in Batam are remarkable cheap. There are many drinking locales to avail of and Batam is a bustling center of activity. 

Try the Seafood – Fish is a standard part of the Indonesian diet given it's proximity to the sea. The cultural food offers something different while also being healthy( when not fried in oil) and very, very cheap. Seafood of all kinds is available from stalls including prawns, mussels, oysters, fried calamari, fried peppered crab, salmon and lobster. The KTM resort has a wide selection of higher quality seafood than that typically available at stalls, as well as including other attractions such as Karaoke, cafes, beautiful scenery, pool tables, alcoholic beverages and coffee shops.

Visit the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya - This is a Buddhist temple famous for it's laughing Buddha statues. A huge complex that also “features” an orphanage, along with vegetarian restaurants and food stalls. It is the largest temple in South Asia.

Barelang Bridge – Barelang Bridge is a must see attraction located only 40 kilometers from Batam city. It is a remarkable piece of construction and there is lots of activity on the bridge between street stalls and tourists.

Batam backwaters - For those who really want to get a taste of Batam culture and history it is an excellent idea to wander off the main roads and visit the locals as they live their lives away from the hustle and bustle of commercial tourism. It is always good to get a taste of what the living standards are really like aside from the commercialized regions. 

Other incredible journey to Batam Island include it's tax free products such as alcohol, cigarettes, handcrafted chocolate and perfume. Batam is also home to some of the finest and most luxurious golf courses such as the Tering Bay International. There are also a wide variety of cheap trinkets and souvenirs made by the locals and sold in stalls, which can be a wonderful reminder of the Batam culture and way of life.

Many weary Singaporeans get the ferry from Singapore to Batam to get away on the weekends, and with good reason. It is a beautiful destination with a vibrant nightlife, relaxing atmosphere and deep culture.