(This is a postdated post. Trip took place in Nov 2011.)
My aunt bought a Deal.com deal to Batam but she could not make it at the last minute so Mom and I got to go for free!
The package cost S$68 per person for a 2D1N stay @ Harris Hotel Batam Centre, and it included a 2-way ferry service, buffet breakfast and lunch, and afternoon tea (Aunt had made all the reservations beforehand with the hotel after purchasing the voucher).
My grandparents were worried because they felt that Indonesia is not a suitable place for kids. But Mom is familiar with Indonesia because she has been in and out of Indonesia for work for 5 years and she speaks a bit of Bahasa Indonesian, so I think we'll be fine.
I was super excited as this was my first time on a ferry!
The Ferry Ride
Mom had to attend a wedding lunch so we took the 4.10pm Penguin ferry (now known as Sindo Ferry) on a Sunday from the Singapore Cruise Centre. We collected our boarding pass from the Penguin Ferry counter, and paid S$20 tax per person.
There were not many people onboard, and the swaying and the gentle rocking of the ferry made me sleepy. About 1 hour and 15 mins later, we arrived at the Batam Centre. Upon arrival, Mom went straight to the Penguin Ferry counter to book our return ferry to Singapore, as well as pay the Batam Terminal Fee of S$7 per person.
|Inside the ferry|
Harris Hotel Batam Centre
We cut across the ferry terminal carpark to the hotel which is beside the terminal. The hotel looks very cheery, and it has lots of one of my favourite colours - orange!
When we finally got to our rooms, Mom said the room looked like it was still work-in-progress. Our curtains could not block the whole window, the room was a bit dusty, and we were missing some toiletries and bedroom slippers. Mom later found out that a lot of the services and shops were still not ready.
|The strange curtains|
|Nice slippers, but it's not free to bring home|
Mom asked the hotel how much it would cost to take a hotel taxi to explore other malls or surrounding sights. I think I heard Rph 50.000 for a 2-hour hire which Mom said was too expensive, so we decided to spend our time at the Megamall opposite the ferry terminal instead.
Waroengs / Warungs in Batam
I have never seen a waroeng before, and Mom brought me close to see how they cook the food and what they sell. Mom said she has eaten at a waroeng several times in other Indonesian cities, and the food was tasty and very cheap.
We went to Restoran Solaria (Indonesian restaurant with nation-wide branches) for dinner first. Mom ordered mie bakso (meatball noodles), alpukat (avocado shake), and sweet and sour chicken rice for me (total cost - Rph 45.000). Yum!
We stocked up on tidbits from Hypermart, and Mom bought lots of the Indonesian tea beverage Teh Botol. Then, it's to Timezone for several rounds of arcade games. Mom said I could play here because it's cheaper than Singapore (Rph 2.700 per game), and only because we were on a holiday. It was my lucky day because Mom is very strict about me playing arcade games in Singapore.
The Ferry Home
Although it was a Monday evening that we made our way back to Singapore, the Batam ferry terminal was very crowded. I think we queued for more than 1 hour at this long snakey line outside the waiting room. Announcements for departing ferries were made in Bahasa Indonesian (I think), and it was quite messy and confusing.
Luckily, Mom got us onto the right ferry back to Singapore, but we had to sit on the upper deck which was open-roofed, and there were some people smoking. I didn't like it and Mom said we had no choice because the seats in the air-con area were all taken.
Notes from Mom
- Take the usual precautions for your own safety - don't wander around in unlit areas at night, or show off your valuables etc
- Do not lose sight of your child, and keep them close by
- Buy bottled drinking water or drink the complimentary bottled water provided by the hotel. Do not drink the tap water.
- Recommended that you change for Indonesian Rupiahs in Singapore
- Be careful when hailing taxis as most don't run by the meter and some are unlicensed ... best to use the hotel taxi or car
- Keep important telephone numbers handy - the Singapore embassy in Indonesia, the hotel etc. Calling the local police for help may not be of much use
- For other ferry options, click here