As the largest city in the Province of Riau, Batam is an industrial boomtown, an emerging transport hub, and part of a free trade zone in the Indonesia–Malaysia–Singapore Growth Triangle.
The Port to Paradise
In recent years, Batam has emerged as a popular destination for visitors not only from Singapore and Malaysia but also other countries in Asia and Europe. Their goals? Experiencing
the first class golf courses, water adventures, duty-free shopping, rejuvenating spas and relaxing beach resorts, to the mouthwatering fresh seafood and delicacies.
How to Get Here:
Those travelling by sea, then ferries is the best way to go. There are frequent daily fast and convenient ferries connecting Singapore’s Tanah Merah port with Batam as well as between Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and Batam. The journey from Singapore takes about 40 minutes, while from Johor Bahru it is around 90 minutes. The island of Batam has six ferry terminals; they are at Sekupang, Waterfront City, Batam Center, Harbour Bay, Nongsapura, and Telaga Punggur.
For those traveling by air from major cities across the country, there are domestic flights direct from Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Pekanbaru, Jambi, Palembang, and Pekanbaru to Batam’s Hang Nadim’s International Airport. Among the Airlines that serve flights, to-and-from Batam is Garuda Indonesia, Lion Air, Sriwijaya Air, Citilink, and Wings Air. In addition to the domestic flights, Malindo Air operates international flights from Subang Airport near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Batam.
How To Get Around
To enjoy the many tourist destinations in Batam, there are several optional transports to choose from. Taxi is a common mode of transportation in Batam to go around and explore your destination. You can find them in strategic public spots, such as ferry terminals, airports, malls, etc. Be very selective though, registered taxis is highly recommended.
If you are the type that welcome adventure and exploration by your own self, then car rental would be the best choice to go around Batam. For those first timer traveling to Batam, it would probably be more convenient choice to get around the island by Tours and Travel Service.
Apart from the fine golf courses that attract golf enthusiast, Batam also attracts water sports enthusiast with the many sports club and resorts along the Nongsa Coast and Waterfront City. Fun outdoor activities the whole family could enjoy.
Batam is also famous for its Barelang Bridge, six sophisticated full swing bridges that connects three islands is an abbreviation of those three islands: Batam, Rempang and Galang. The total stretch of all six bridges is around two kilometers, and traveling from the first bridge to the last one should take around 20 minutes.
Those who seek some historical experience would probably enjoy a visit to some historical religious sites in the city center, Nagoya. Visit one of the largest Buddhist Temple in South East Asia popularly known as The Laughing Buddha Temple, Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya. The temple was built by the Chinese community in Batam and attracts thousands of Buddhist followers daily.
Then head on to another Buddhist Temple near the Nagoya City Centre, VIhara Buddhi Bakti Temple. The temple features astonishing modern Chinese architecture with its most attractive spot known as the sacred garden, located behind the temple. Stone sculptures, scriptures, Buddha statues are amongst artworks that enriched the alluring sacred garden.
Our Hotel Pick Near the Batam
Welcoming guests at their elegant studios and apartments, Panbil Residence Apartment Batam offers accommodations in Batam Center with free WiFi. Guests can enjoy the outdoor swimming pool and the fitness center at the property.
Batam is the largest city in the province of Riau Islands, Indonesia. The city administrative area covers three main islands of Batam, Rempang, and Galang (collectively called Barelang), as well as several small islands. Batam Island is the core urban and industrial zone, while both Rempang Island and Galang Island maintain their rural character and are connected to Batam Island by short bridges. Batam is an industrial boomtown, an emerging transport hub, and part of a free trade zone in the Indonesia–Malaysia–Singapore Growth Triangle, located 20 km (12 mi) off Singapore’s south coast and also part of the Indonesia–Malaysia–Thailand Growth Triangle.
According to Statistics Indonesia’s 2016 estimate, Batam has a population of 1,236,399, making it the third largest city in the region of Sumatra, after Medan and Palembang. It is the closest part of Indonesia to Singapore, at a minimum land distance of 5.8 km. During the 2010 national census, Batam was the fastest-growing municipality in Indonesia the decade prior, with a population growth rate of 11% per year. In 2017, the island suffered severe job losses, some 300,000 workers were laid off.
Batam Island was first inhabited by the Malays as the Orang laut in the year 231 AD. The island that once served as the field of struggle of Admiral Hang Nadim against the invaders was used by the government in the 1960s as a petroleum logistics base on Sambu Island.
In the 1970s, according to Presidential Decree number 41 year 1973, Batam Island is designated as a working environment of an industrial area supported by Batam Island Industrial Development Authority or better known as Batam Authority Board (BOB, now Batam Development Board (Indonesian: Badan Pengusahan Batam or BP Batam) as the driving force for the development of Batam, with the initial aim of making Batam the “Indonesian version of Singapore”. With the rapid development of the island, based on Government Regulation No. 34 of 1983, the Batam District (which is part of Riau Islands Regency) was upgraded to municipality status which has the duties in running government administration and society and support the development of BP Batam.
In the Reformation era in the late 1990s, with Law No. 53 of 1999, Batam administrative municipality changed its status to an autonomous region, namely Batam City Government to carry out governmental and developmental functions by involving BP Batam.
Batam is a roughly oval island with many bays, islets, and peninsulas, located west of Bintan Island, south of Singapore, north of Rempang and Galang, and east of Bulan Island. The Riau Strait separates Batam and Bintan. Batam Municipality covers 3,990 km², of which 1,040km² is land, a figure which includes some land reclamation. However, Barelang Island (not actually one but three, see above) covers roughly 715 km² of that 1,040 km², and Batam island itself covers only about 410 km² out of the total. The bulk of the municipal population resides on Batam island.
Batam has a tropical climate with average temperatures between 26 and 32 °C. Humidity on the island ranges from 73% to 96%. The wet season spans from November to April, while the dry season is from May to October. Average annual rainfall is around 2,600 mm.
The role of Batam City government takes care of all population administration and civil registration as well as Human Resources. In realizing the democratization and continuity of governance in Batam City, on January 5, 2011, the election of the mayor and the deputy mayor of Batam was. Ahmad Dahlan and Muhammad Rudi were elected Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Batam period of 2011-2016. The current mayor is Muhammad Rudi for the period 2016-2021, accompanied by Amsakar Ahmad as Deputy Mayor of Batam.
Batam Development Board (BP)
Agency for Free Trade Zone and Free Port of Batam, often abbreviated as BP Batam, is a government body under the Chairmanship of the Board of Regions (DK) Batam Central Government, which is chaired by Darmin Nasution, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs. BP Batam plays a role in land governance and investment in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Batam.
Batam City (Kotamadya Batam) is divided into 12 districts (kecamatan) – which include several adjacent islands such as Bulan, Rempang and Galang, as well as Batam Island itself. The whole municipality is thus often known by the abbreviation of Barelang.
In April 2012, Batam had a population of 1,153,860 inhabitants. The population is increasing rapidly, with a population growth rate of more than 8% per year between 2001 and 2012.
Today, Batam is inhabited by a heterogeneous mixture of people due to labor migration and desire to be close to Singapore; it is very diverse, some 2/3 of the total are migrants. The predominant ethnicities are Javanese, Malays, Batak, Minangkabau, and Chinese. As a municipality it exemplifies the national motto of “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” (Unity in Diversity). The location of Batam close to Singapore is conducive to the development of economic, sociopolitical, and cultural aspects of the local community.
Islam is the majority religion in Batam, followed by Christians, Buddhists and Hindus. Most of those who follow Islam are Javanese, Malays and Minangkabaus. The Great Mosque of Batam, located in the city center adjacent to the main square, the mayor’s office and the provincial Parliament, is an important symbol of Islamic religious life in Batam. Christianity are also widely embraced by people of Batam, especially those from the Batak people of Sumatra and migrants from Flores also from East Indonesia. The majority of the Chinese population practises Buddhism. A number of Viharas are located in Batam, of which Vihara Duta Maitreya is one of the most frequented, and is the largest Vihara in Southeast Asia with an area of 4.5 hectares.
Indonesian is the common lingua franca of Batam in daily use. Malay, Minangkabau, Batak, Javanese, and Chinese ethnic dialects like Hokkien and Teochew are also used. The usage of Mandarin and English are trending due to Singaporean influence, especially by expatriatess living in Batam.
Based on Presidential Decree No. 41/1973, the Batam Industrial Development Authority (BP Batam) was established to manage 415 square kilometer industrial complex in Batam City for heavy industry. Previously only Pertamina, the Indonesian state oil company, settled there with only 6,000 inhabitants. Shipbuilding and electronics manufacturing are important industries on the island. Being located close to the ports of Singapore, the speed of goods shipping and product distribution is increased, benefiting the island’s economy. With lower labor costs and special government incentives, it is the site of many factories operated by foreign companies.
Under a framework signed in June 2006, Batam, along with parts of neighbouring Bintan and Karimun, are a part of a Special Economic Zone with Singapore; this zone eliminates tariffs and value-added taxes for goods shipped between Batam and Singapore.In 2007, Law No. 44 was enacted to supplement Law No. 36/2000 in establishing Batam as a free trade zone for 70 years. BP Batam still manage the industrial complex. And in 2016, responsibility of industrial complex changed from Governor of Riau Islands Province to the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister as per Presidential Decree No. 8/2016.
Over 1.5 million tourists visited the city in 2015. Batam is the third-busiest entry port to Indonesia next to Bali and Jakarta. In 2014, around 58.8% of foreign tourists came from Singapore, 12.8% from Malaysia and 4.2% from South Korea.
Ferries connect Batam to Singapore, Bintan, and Johor Bahru (Malaysia). Five ferry terminals are on the island: Batam Harbour Bay Ferry Terminal, Nongsapura Ferry Terminal, Sekupang, Waterfront City, and Batam Center Ferry Terminal. Connections to Singapore are by way of Harbourfront and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminals run by Singapore Cruise Centre (SCC).
The most recent incident happened on 29 November 2015 when a ferry, ‘Sea Prince’, hit floating object(s) while en route to Singapore from Batam and began leaking. A total of 97 passengers were rescued on life rafts.
Signs showing a picture of a raised finger over a pair of lips have been placed in August 2014 at the Batam Centre International Ferry Terminal to request silence while queuing for immigration to hear names being called and clearly hear instructions given by the immigration officer. Some visitors have been sent back immediately on the first ferry available for flouting this rule. The signs are also applicable at other terminals, but they are not strictly enforced.
Trans Batam is the most reliable and the cheapest public transportation in Batam. It began to operate in 2005. Trans Batam is the second BRT system in Indonesia, after Jakarta’s TransJakarta. The price for one ride is Rp2,000 for students and Rp4,000 for the public. Trans Batam operates from 05:30 to 19:00.
Taxis in Batam are available almost anywhere, at ferry terminals, the airport, shopping malls, hotels, etc. More than 3000 taxis are in Batam. In the early 2000s, Batam commonly had Toyota Corolla taxis. Starting in late 2013, more than 95% of taxis are brand new using the Toyota Limo and Chevrolet Lova.
Hang Nadim International Airport is the island’s main airport, and has the longest runway of all airports in Indonesia. The airport was the largest airport in the Sumatra region from 1995–2012 with a capacity of six million passengers annually, and is now the second-largest in the Sumatra region after Kuala Namu International Airport in Medan with a capacity of eight million passengers. The airport has 4 pair of jetbridges and 2 single jetbridges. Hang Nadim International Airport is the hub for Lion Air, Batik Air, Citilink, and Malindo Air. BP Batam, which operates Hang Nadim International Airport, will build a new terminal with a capacity of eight million passengers per year for each terminal (16 million passengers per year in total for two terminals) in late 2016. BP Batam intends to build eight pair of jetbridges in the new terminal. Domestic destinations include Pekanbaru, Palembang, Medan, Jakarta, Padang, Surabaya, Bandung, Bandar Lampung, Balikpapan, Yogyakarta, Makassar, and many more. International flights currently include Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (operated by Malindo Air).
Due to piling works for touristic activity, sand mining, and logging for charcoal business, only 4.2% of Batam island is covered in mangrove forest, a great decrease from 24% in 1970. Originally, Batam Island had 41,500 hectares of mangrove forests.
Featured Photo by junhao82