Batam Island is a part of the Riau Island Province in Indonesia. Batam is an island, a city and a municipality which means there are plenty of things to do and see.
While it is not large in size, Batam Island offers many things to do and see while on vacation. Batam Island is a part of Indonesia, but because it is so close to Singapore, the two cultures can both be found on the island. The official currency on Batam Island is the Indonesian Rupia, but the Singapore dollar is also widely accepted.
To help you plan your vacation to Batam Island, here is a list of things to do and see.
What to do in Batam Island
1. Relax at the beach
Batam Island is like most other places in Indonesia: known for its beautiful beaches. Nongsa Beach on the north coast is very popular, as is Waterfront City on the west coast.
2. Eat delicious seafood
The island of Batam is quite naturally surrounded by water and the ocean around it is teaming with fresh, delicious seafood. Even better is that the local seafood is very affordable. The waterfront promenade of Batam City is home to well-known restaurants Golden Prawn Seafood Restaurant and Harbour Bay Seafood Restaurant. On the menu you can find crabs, mussels, prawns and other local delicacies.
3. Treat yourself to a massage
For the quite reasonable price of 200,000 Rupia, or $15 US you can get a traditional Balinese massage or Thai massage. Batam Center in the city in particular has a great selection of spas that cater to tourists. Relax after an intense surfing session or after a hike up a local volcano.
4. Quench your thirst
One of the best things to do on Batam Island is to find a local bar and have a drink. Beer and other alcohol is relatively cheap, especially compared to nearby Singapore. Sitting and relaxing is an essential experience on Batam Island.
5. Have fun on the water
Around Batam Island you can indulge in numerous water sports including parasailing, windsurfing and kayaking. Snorkeling is also a popular activity. The northern Nongsa coast is home to many resorts that offer water sports. Surfing is one of the main tourist attractions and there is no shortage of beaches that offer intense waves to fuel the sport.
6. Have fun on land
If you need a break from the water, head inland where you can experience even more adventures. There are many places for go karting and even paintballing. If possible, find some locals to see where the local hotspots are.
7. Play golf
Batam Island is home to world class golf courses and it would be a shame to pass up on them. On the northern tip of the island is Tering Bay International Golf Course and was actually designed by legendary golfer Greg Norman.
8. Bicycle along the coast
The northern coast of Batam Island has some of the best mountain biking opportunities that offer breathtaking scenery you can experience at your own pace. Trails alternate between the jungle and the seafront. From Turi Beach it is a 30 km bike ride through Teluk MataIkan, down the coast through BatuBesar and then finally ending up at Tering Bay Golf Course.
9. Understand Batam’s cultural history
In Batam City, near the Pacific Palace Hotel, you can find fisherman villages made of stilt houses as a reminder that tourism is just one way that people on the island make money. Here you can find modernity juxtaposed with poverty; an important reminder to understand an entire culture when you visit some place new.
10. Explore nearby islands
Perfect for a day trip, there are numerous ferry rides from Batam Island to connect with other, smaller islands. 20 minutes from Batam is Bintan Island, which has beautiful beaches and plenty of natural beauty.
South of Batam is Galang Island and here you can find the famous Melur Beach, a little piece of paradise.
An important part of the culture on Batam Island is dance, and you can find it just about anywhere. While there are many popular night clubs, traditional music can be heard in certain ceremonies around the island.
Places to see in Batam Island
12. Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple
One of the must see places to visit on Batam Island is this Buddhist temple, famous for its laughing Buddha statues. These relics come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. One of the largest temples built in South Asia, it has an orphanage, vegetarian restaurant and different food stalls.
13. Vihara Budhi Bhakti temple
Also known at Tua Pek Kong Bio, this temple is in the north of the island and one of the top places to visit on Batam Island. It features modern Chinese architecture and a sacred garden behind the temple. There are sculptures, statues and even tables in the garden where you can relax with a cup of tea.
14. Barelang Bridge
The southern part of Batam Island is connected to Rempang Island and Galang Island by a series of six bridges. Together they are called Barelang Bridge and are an architectural marvel. The bridges total 2 km in length but are spaced over 700 km of land area.
15. Go Shopping at Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall
If you want the best shopping experience on Batam Island, then make sure you visit Nagoya Hall in Batam City. You can find clothing, golf apparel, but most importantly, food. Sample all of the best Indonesian cuisine including noodles, called indomie or layer cake, called kueh lapis. You will be sure to find a good bargain at this mall.
There are many activities to do and places to see on Batam Island, and all of them will help you understand the rich culture of Indonesia. Try your best to see all of the island to understand what makes this tiny corner of the world so special.