Batam Riau is a small island in Indonesia, that happens to be about 20 kilometers from Singapore. One can make it there with a one-hour ferry ride from HarbourFront, Singapore. If you’re visiting Singapore, then giving Batam Riau a little visit for a day or two would totally make the vacation worthwhile.
Not only do the resorts here offer the best services from spa to watersport activities like snorkeling- The prices are also pretty reasonable. With that. let me tell about some of the best places to visit in the Batam Riau islands.
The Barelang Bridge
Barelang Bridge is about an hour’s drive from Batam Centre. Say you’re visiting Batam, then this should be the first spot you visit. Because if there’s anything that Batam is famous for, it would be the Barelang Bridge. Though there are 6 Barelang bridges, the first one you meet is said the be the main Barelang Bridge. However, the specific name for this one is Tengku Fisabilillah Bridge.
Avoid visiting the bridge on Sunday evenings- especially if you’re a tourist all on your own. On Sundays, street racing takes place on the bridge and the traffic gets heavier- so I wouldn’t recommend that. But when you do visit the Barelang Bridge, the view from up there is scenic. I get it. Even the bridge itself is iconic with its cables. But never forget to visit the grilled corn street stalls placed right after the bridge.
To me, the grilled corn there still remains the best corn that I’ve ever tasted. They come in a variety of flavors from plain sweet to chili sauce. The stalls are generally open at all times but the evenings would be the best time for it for good family time.
Nongsa Point Resorts
One of the main reasons people visit Batam is because of its calm atmosphere. Singaporeans come to Batam to take some time off their busy lives. So where do they stay? Batam Riau has a lot of resorts to offer its visitors, but to date- I’ve found Nongsa Point to be the most amiable one. It is a little expensive- I can’t deny that, but it’s totally worth it.
The resort covers a hill close to the beach with dozens of enormous furnished chalets. Most of them have a balcony with a floor-t0-ceiling glass doors overlooking the beach. It’s usually great to visit once in a while for family time. However, I go with my family… along with some other families. We usually take 5-6 cars and make ourselves comfortable there for the weekend.
They also offer yacht chartering facilities.
Golden Prawn- The Best Seafood Restaurant
As Batam Riau is an island very close to the sea, there are a lot of seafood restaurants here. Sure they are pricy. But they have a lot of varieties here, I can tell you that. Out of all of them, from the past 10 years or more, Golden Prawn is still the classic restaurant that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Though a little more expensive compared to other seafood restaurants, the way your delicacies are served make it all worth it. You can choose your own crabs before its cooked. The last time I went there, being an amateur that I still am. I chose the crab which seemed the biggest of them all and then it was served. It came out red and perfectly cooked sometime later on- it was a pretty amazing lunchtime- not to mention super fresh!
Now Golden Prawn actually has its small chain of restaurants around. Golden Prawn 933 is the one that lies over the shallow waters with the ocean view on three sides- if you’re there, then that is by far the best of them.
Abang Island- For snorkeling
I wouldn’t recommend visiting Abang Island if you are all on your own. If you do have a good guide along, then no problem. Why? The Abang island is about an hour and a half drive and another hour of boat ride away from Batam. Moreover, there isn’t a rigid ‘resort’ here. It is more of a homestay with the locals there. So it’s best if you can get well-acquainted with people around there.
Though there are a lot of spots in Batam for snorkeling, I think this is the best spot for it. Since it is located in a highly remote area, very few people visit it. That’s what makes the snorkeling experience all better. Even the water here is more clear than other snorkeling spots. For snorkeling here, it takes about 10-15 minutes boat ride to the right spot with shallow waters.
Here are other snorkeling spots that might interest you.
We went there in the evening and stayed there for the night. The next morning, we got up around at 7 and put our swimming gear on including flippers. The flippers and masks were given but we had to get our swimming suit. So don’t forget that before you pack your bags!(Here are some tips for Travel Packing) By noon, we were all exhausted and of course, super-tanned but boy was the experience amazing! I would go again if I could.
So those are all the places that are definitely worth visiting in case you ever happen to visit Batam. Singapore is surely a lot more expensive in terms of everything. So if you feel like you need to ease off a little- even if you are already on a vacation trip in Singapore, then Batam Riau would be the perfect spot to give a little visit and experience a change or to stretch your legs a bit without any worries.
Now, thank you, and have a safe journey! :)