There are many places for snorkeling experiences in Indonesia. The closest authentic snorkeling spot to Singapore is in Abang Island. I call it authentic because apart from the snorkeling: one thing I loved about Abang Island was getting to stay with the real locals by the seashore. Sounds like your kind of holiday? Climb aboard on Abang Island snorkeling!
Snorkeling: How to Get to Abang Island
Before we get into the whole trip, Abang Island being the spot stowed away from many, it’s tough to find contacts to book your package tour. Here’s an unbiased tour package post I found that can guide you further to book.
Let’s first see where is Abang Island. It is a part of Batam Riau.
From Batam Center, it is one and a half-hour drive to get to the south of Batam (Over the Barelang Bridge). From there, you cannot drive. You need to book a boat to take you to Abang Island – this is a motorboat big enough to hold two families.
It is also called Bot Pompong. Typically, every boat has its skipper, don’t worry about driving it. It is a 12-kilometer ride to Abang Island on the boat.
We packed up and were ready to go by afternoon along with a few other families.
Note: Abang Island is best to visit if you’re staying in Batam Riau. If you aren’t or a passerby from Singapore, then I’d recommend booking a stay in Batam. Check out Turi Beach Resort on HostelWorld. I’ve been there myself, it’s great!
Within an hour’s drive and the boat ride, we made it to Abang Island by evening. The plan was to make a stay there for the night.
We began with the Abang island snorkeling the next morning.
Stay in Abang Island before snorkeling
It is an island but we didn’t stay much on land though.
Even our stays were on shallow waters a little away from the shore. We were more in stilt houses- the kind of house that I would love to stay in again! These were houses raised above the water level with the help of piles. We moved around to other houses with narrow pathways built either of wood or concrete.
This small village lies in the water!
We had accommodations booked prior to our arrival there. It was a stay with the locals. The people there were hospitable. We had three small yet cozy stilt houses booked. For dinner, one of the families that were chaperoning us on our stay invited us over to their house nearby.
There was fresh fish for dinner, what else could one ask?
Spending the night
Being used to air-conditioning, it was a bit tough sleeping without it in the room. There wasn’t much ventilation in our rooms either.
We didn’t complain much about it though. We didn’t want to sleep much anyway. After an hour of trying to sleep, we decided to get out of the homestay.
We then sat down outside on the edge of the narrow pathway facing the sea with our legs dangling over the waters. Now the sea level was higher and the waves hit against the piles harder. The lust of cool breeze outside and the whispers of the waves wouldn’t let us back in. And so we sat. We sat there for hours, chatting about all the stupid things we did back in the days.
Damn, did we come too far from talking about snorkeling in Abang Island? Let’s get back to it.
Start the Morning with the Snorkeling!
When we woke up, it was already late. We had overslept and everyone already had their swimsuits on. So we tried to gobble up noodles provided to us for breakfast. And off we went to the core of our trip there- for snorkeling at Abang Island!
After fumbling around with the sizes of our flippers and swimwear, we got ’em and entered the boat again. They took us to shallow waters nearby smaller uninhabited islands where we could get the best snorkeling experience. And so was it the best snorkeling experience! We first were on the shallow parts where we could feel the land beneath us.
Then with the life-jackets on, we were guided a little deeper (we took those off later anyway).
All we had to do was lie on our faces with the snorkeling masks on. And we’d see the world of fishes beneath us. Starfish, Sea Anemones, Corals, you name it- they were all there. The waters were crystal clear, which made the colors of the marine ecosystem beneath us even clearer. Even under the blazing sun and the thousands of sea urchins waiting to prick us underneath, it was totally worth the sight.
However, the sea urchins played their part in perfecting the elegance of life underwater, didn’t they?
Heading Back Home
After hours of snorkeling, we got back to our homestays by noon. After having chicken and white rice provided for lunch, we packed up to leave. On our way back to Batam on our boat, we could have all talked about the snorkeling we did in the morning… but nope. We were way too exhausted to do that!
We were super-tanned and exhausted. All we needed now was a good night’s sleep. So we didn’t even bother speaking much to one another. We all knew we’d enjoyed our stay and snorkeling in Abang Island deeply. There wasn’t a question about it.
Note: Some people don’t like getting sun-tanned. And the heat in Indonesia is harmful to your skin if you’re new. It’s best to take precautionary measures and apply sun-screen before you go. Here are some products I’ve used myself that worked out well for me.
If you haven’t snorkeled yet and wish to spend an evening close to the seas and nature, then the Abang Island snorkeling experience is waiting for you! Tell me about it if you do go there sometime!
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