Here is a short summary for anyone who (like me) have not been to Batam before, summarised from various blogs and websites.
Note that shopping malls in Batam are not huge and they don't (according to me, anyway) contain many exciting shops. The 2 biggest malls are Nagoya Hill Shopping Centre (biggest mall in Batam, near many hotels and popular resorts) and Batam Mega Mall (opposite Batam Centre Ferry Terminal)
Things to do in Batam
- Eat A&W. This fastfood chain has closed down a while ago in Singapore. I especially like their root beer floats, curly fries and oh-so-yummy buttery waffles with ice-cream. Their fried chicken is pretty good too! A&W is still very popular in Indonesia and can be found at both Nagoya Hill and Mega Mall
My 3 favourite items from A&W are... root beer float...
Waffles with ice-cream and chocolate sauce..
And curly fries!
- Eat seafood. Seafood in Batam is apparently very cheap, if you don't fall into a tourist trap. Golden Prawn Seafood Restaurant (5 mins by taxi from Batam Center Ferry Terminal) and Harbour Bay Seafood Restaurant (15mins by taxi from Nagoya Hill) are popular places for seafood in Batam. I didn't try them this time around though
- Enjoy a massage. I tried massages at Tempat Senang and Isabella (At Nagoya Hills) and I found both really good. A 3 hour spa session at Tempat Senang is about 75SGD and a 3 hour session at Isabella costs about less than half of that. However, whilst I had a really good masseur at Isabella, The Husband didn't enjoy his at all
- Enjoy a cream bath. "Cream bath" is a traditional Indonesian hair treatment. The cream is applied over your entire hair and scalp with a gentle head massage. This is followed by either wrapping your head with a warm towel or placing the top of your head in a steamer, all to encourage blood circulation whilst allowing the cream to "soften" your hair. During this time, your neck, shoulders and upper arms are treated to a tension releasing and stress reducing massage. Christopher and Johnny Andrean are popular places for cream bath in Batam and both can be found at Nagoya Hills and Batam Mega Mall
- Buy JCo donuts. These popular donuts are a lot cheaper than Singapore and many Singaporeans pick up some on their way home after a trip in Batam
A cup of drink at JCo comes with a sugar coated donut.
The donuts are good!
- Buy something from the supermarkets. I love visiting supermarkets in any place I visit to buy some of their local snacks. Batam's supermarkets are good for kerupuk (crackers) and Indomie Mi Goreng (Indomie is a brand of instant noodles by Indofood. Mi Goreng just means fried noodles)
There are many kinds of kerupuk.. my favourite are these slightly
bitter ones called Emping Kerupuk
- Buy Mandi Lulur. This is a kind of traditional Indonesian scrub - supposedly used as a pre-wedding ritual for Javanese brides. You can get them for about 2SGD a bottle from supermarkets or pharmacists at both Nagoya Hill and Batam Mega Mall. I bought a bottle home and will update again after I try it out
- Eat Indonesian food. I didn't have very fantastic ones outside of Tempat Senang, but I supposed there should be some really yummy ones out there. The food at Tempat Senang was great, albeit really quite pricey.
The mi goreng (fried noodles) is good - there is a very unique taste about these noodles.
I wonder if it's the taste of MSG... Hmph..
- Try an avocado drink. I think they blend it with sugar and add chocolate sauce.. Not exactly super yummy.. but pretty unique, this drink is available everywhere in Batam.
Of course, you can also do what I spent most of my time in Batam doing - relax and watch time tick by..