Batam Island - Dive Indonesia
Batam Island is part of Indonesia, and is located about 40 km south of Singapore. There are several hotels and resorts on the island, as well as plenty of tourist attractions, 7 international golf courses, shopping centers and restaurants, and a few nice beaches for swimming or taking the kids to.
SIGHTS & ATTRACTIONS
Most of the attractions that Batam Island has to offer to its visitors include fine beach resorts, natural wilderness, breathtaking landscape and exotic nightlife. Apart from the typical luxury, however, there exist several places that are among the landmarks of the island and are worth visiting.
- Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple is a major attraction in Batam as being one of the biggest Buddhist temples in South-East Asia. Located in Batam Centre the temple hosts one statue of Buddha as well as two other statues of the Goddess of Mercy. There is a souvenir shop and a restaurant within the temple’s district.
- Vihara Buddhi Bhakti Temple is a typical Chinese temple in the town of Nagoya. At present it is used by the locals for their daily prayers and religious rituals.
- Waterfront City is among the nicest resort areas on Batam Island. It is situated on the west coast and it mainly attracts visitors from Singapore. The resort is famous not only for its beaches but also for the variety of sports and water sports that are available there, including cable water skiing, Step 1 Go Karts and many others. Most of the hotels offer spa treatment and massages that continue to astonish their guests.
- Vietnamese Refugee Village can be visited in Pulau Galang. It was the home to many Vietnamese refugees who escaped from their county between 1972 and 2001 and sought shelter in Batam. The Indonesian government allowed them to live in the region, where they developed their own town by building a school, hospital, cemetery and temples. What is left of their lifestyle can still be seen almost intact in the area.
- Jembatan Barelang Bridge is actually a chain of bridges that connect the 6 islands of Batam. The view from all of them is magnificent and many tourists visit the bridges exactly for the sake of aesthetics and in order to take some pictures of the nature on the island.
AIRPORT or FERRY
Reaching Batam is possible by either flying there from Jakarta or Malaysia, or by using the ferry services that provide transportation from Singapore or Malaysia.
- Hang Nadim International Airport is an airport located at the east side of the island and serves mainly domestic flights to and from other Indonesian destinations. The airport is only 30 minutes drive from Nagoya, the capital of the island. The easiest way to get to the city centre is by taking a taxi. Taxis from the airport are not metered but the drivers have a list of destinations for fixed prices.
- Penguin Ferry and Batam Fast are the most frequent ferry companies that operate between Singapore and Batam every hour for a price of $ 30 and additional 3 dollars for insurances. There are five ferry terminals in Batam, the major one of which is Batam Centre. The journey takes about 45 minutes. Upon arrival you may be confronted with taxi drivers trying to offer you a ride to the city centre. Bargain the price before you agree to it.
Several means of transportation are available in Batam:
- The local buses operate in fixed directions and can be stopped on the street as a taxi. Make sure that the bus is going into your direction before you take it.
- Damri buses are the cheapest way of getting around, though unreliable from a frequency point of view. Fares start at Rp.1000.
- Taxis are metered but you should negotiate the price in advance because most drivers in Batam don’t use the meter. Unless you tell the driver you don’t want to share the cab, he will pick up other passengers. Prices for a shared taxi vary from Rp. 8000 to Rp. 10,000. It is also possible to hire the car for the whole day. Prices: around Rp.150,000 to Rp. 200,000 per day.
- Ojek is another cheap means of transport, namely a motorcycle taxi. Bargain the price before you get on. It is usually around Rp. 3000 Rp. 6000 for short distances.
The settlement history of Batam as well as that of its adjacent islands goes back to 231 A.D. as some Chinese chronicles state. The region has been under the influence of different kingdoms, beginning with the Malacca Kingdom from the 13th century. Later, in 1824 the Dutch and the English split the area and ruled it until it became under the power of the Riau Lingga Kingdom. The trajectory of the Batam history absolutely changed its way when in 1969 the island became a base for the oil exploration of a state-owned oil company. Two years later it was designated an industrial area and since the Batam Authority was formed in 1975, it has continually grown into a duty-free zone with expanding industrial business and great seafood for its visitors.