Batam Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
I seldom get to travel with my family due to a variety of reasons (lack of time, commitments etc) so the best option is to go on short day tours to nearby locations over the holiday period. And luckily for us in Singapore, we have many places in nearby Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand to escape to. Having never been to Batam (which is a common island for Singaporeans to holiday in, do watersports and visit spas), I decided to book a day tour for myself, the sister and the mother.
At this point I would like to add that I do not like travelling with a tour group unless I have to. I dislike going with groups of people together on huge buses and being shepherded around by a guide screaming, "We don't have much time!".
This time round however it made more sense to sign up with a travel agency for their guided tours as it was way cheaper than if we were to book our own cabs. And also Batam is not that safe for foreigners to go wandering about on their own. As we were an all girl group, my mother was pretty paranoid and insisted that it was better to go with the guided tour. And so we did.
After a ferry ride, we landed on Batam early in the morning, ready to begin our city tour. Our tour group consisted of about 40 pax, from various nationalities - mostly Asian. Our guide for the day was a pretty cool Indonesian, who asked us to call him Harry Potter since his real name was pretty close to that! A great tour guide makes all the difference!
Our first stop was to the large statue of Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy).
Next up, the tour attempted us to get our bodies moving by bringing us to the flying fox and Go-Kart circuit. Nobody on our tour was keen to try the flying fox (there were not many young people in our group). Me and my sister were determined to Go-Kart though, even if nobody wanted to. And so for SGD$15 per pax, we got our adrenaline rush and raced around the track. I tried to be a speed demon but my skills reflected my driving abilities in real life - I'm a road hazard! By the time we were done, the whole bus was waiting for us, having completed their walk-through of the Indonesia-Batam Miniature Park.
After a less than satisfactory seafood lunch at Golden Prawn 555 Seafood Restaurant, we watched the kuda lumping cultural dance performed by the locals. Actually the highlight was mostly a man touching fire and eating glass. Although very much a tourist gimmick, I donated some money as I don't think it must be easy for the performers to earn a living here. In fact throughout the whole tour, as expected we were brought to all the touristy shops such as the Polo shops, selling Polo Ralph Lauren items and the bags factory outlet selling imitation branded bags (which I must say were pretty good quality). Although I'm a shopaholic, none of these things interested me. I was really turned off by the end of it all as we were brought to 3 Polo shops! I never want to see another Polo shop again!
We managed to visit the Thoa Pek Kong chinese temple, which is the oldest in Batam.
We ended the day with a relaxing aroma massage at a spa followed by shopping at Batam City Square mall in Nagoya town.