Living in Singapore is sure expensive. There are times that we made our escape to Batam just simply to have fun and with cheaper cost (this is important). In this post I’d like to share our usual escape routes.
We usually arrive in Batam early in the morning. We take the earliest ferry from Singapore to Batam Center, so we can have more time to spend there. Once we arrive, there will be our car rental guy waiting in the arrival. The rental fee is IDR 250,000/day exclude gas and driver. We prefer to drive the car ourselves so that we have more flexibility and freedom of where and when to go. Once they handover the car key, our adventures begin.
**Bubur Ayam Pak Djaja**
From Batam Center port, we usually directly go to Bubur Ayam Bogor Pak Djaja for breakfast. They serve breakfast menu like *bubur ayam* (chicken porridge), *lontong opor* (rice cake served with chicken in coconut milk soup), *kupat tahu* (ketupat and tofu in peanut sauce). The price range is IDR 25,000 to IDR 30,000 (around S$2.5 – S$3). Jon loves to buy *gorengan* (fried snacks) in a small stall just few steps in front of the Bubur Ayam eating place. It sells fried banana, fried tofu, fried cassava and many more. This breakfast spot is located not far from Batam Center port. Ok, it’s easier with a map. So, here it is…
Another breakfast food that you have to try is Mie Tarempa. *Mie Tarempa* is a local dish from Anambas, nearby island. It’s a noodle dish with special spices and various toppings. The menu ranges from boiled noodle to fried noodle, with seafood/meat/chicken topping. Our favourite is the appetiser called *Luti Gendang* (fried bread) with shredded meat inside. The price for noodle is around IDR 13,000 (around S$1.5), and Luti Gendang is only IDR 2,500 or around 25 cents/pc. You can’t have this dish for dinner, as the restaurant closes at 3 p.m.
My friend who lives in Batam once recommend us Ayam Taliwang. Ayam taliwang is a chicken dish, originated from Lombok, Nusa Tenggara Barat. Beware! it’s a very very spicy dishes. The recommended menu there is of course Ayam Taliwang. It is a grilled chicken served with *sambal* (chili) and raw vegetable as a set, and best eaten with plain rice. We ordered 2 Ayam Taliwang, rice and *plecing kangkung* (spicy water spinach dish). For the drink we ordered a fresh coconut and ice tea. It all costed us IDR 119,200 (around S$20).
**Yong Kee Fish Soup**
Fish soup is another must eat when you visit Batam. The well-known and most recommended place to have fish soup is Yong Kee fish soup. Located in Batam Center, this place offers wide range of menu which mostly are seafood. For us, one bowl of fish soup is enough for two. The fish is tender and the soup is yummy. Beside fish soup, they have wide range of menu that is typical Chinese food. One bowl of fish soup cost IDR 26,000 (around S$2.5)
We are fans of friend duck! Whenever we visit Indonesia, we make sure that we eat fried duck. *Bebek Slamet* is one of popular fried ducks franchise in Indonesia, and is our most favourite. The duck is well marinated, crispy outside and tender inside. Bebek Slamet serves variety of fried duck (the whole duck, thigh, chest, head, feet), vegetables, additional side dish and drinks.For those who don’t like duck, they also have chicken in their menu. For 2 fried ducks, 2 rice, 1 orange ice, and 1 ice tea cost us IDR 80,000 (around S$8).
Bebek Slamet located opposite BCS mall. For Muslim visitors, it has a small prayer room in the parking area.
Well, actually we found this place accidentally. I was browsing for steak restaurant in google maps and it directed us to this place. It seems that the steak restaurant is close permanently. Then, we saw an outdoor eating place with so many cars parking outside. Hmmm, then our curiosity (an hunger) brought us to end up eating at this place 😀
Although it’s not at a sea side restaurant, this becomes our favourite seafood in Batam. The seafood are fresh, as they have their own aquarium for the fish and friends. The last time we dine there, we ordered *ikan bakar* (grilled fish), *kerang tauco cabai* (mussels tauco with chili), *cumi saus tiram* (squid with oyster sauce), and *kangkung belacan* (spinach with shrimp paste). All that cost us IDR 205,000 (around S$20)
***other activities than eating…***
Besides culinary, there’re also several interesting places that you can visit in Batam.
Barelang bridge is the icon of Batam. The bridge connects Batam with other several small islands to its south, namely Tonton, Nipah,Sekotok, Rempang, Galang and Galang Baru (which, altogether are also known as the Barelang Islands area). The actual distance covered from the first bridge to the last is about 50km. Make sure you have enough gas in your tank, as there’s no petrol station there.
**Vietnam Camp Village**
Vietnam Camp Village was the Ex-Vietnamese Boat People Village Refugee Camp in 1976-1996. You can find the exact replica of one of the boats used by the Vietnamese people to cross the seas, escape from their homeland because of civil war. There’re also several buildings that remains, like school, church, prison, etc. Unfortunately the complex is not very well maintained. However it’s nice to know the history of this place. Be careful when you drive there. You may find monkeys crossing the road.
This mosque is not far from Barelang Bridge. The location is uphill, so you can enjoy magnificent view from the mosque.
I usually go to Nagoya Hill mall or Batam Center mall to do some groceries shopping in Hypermart. Whenever we visit Indonesia, groceries is a must as the price is cheaper compared to Singapore. As usual, I’d buy Indonesian seasonings, tea, snacks and many more. Groceries shopping can be done in several supermarkets in town. You can find them in almost every shopping center in Batam.
Another must do for Jon is having his hair cut. His usual place is *Pangkas Rambut Favorite 2* in the middle of Penuin Market, near Penuin hotel. It’s not a fancy place, but always full of customers. We only need to pay IDR 25,0000 (S$2.5) per adult, and IDR 17,000 (S$1.7) for child. For that price, Jon got his hair cut, a little facial massage, and moustache & beard shave. What a deal, right?
We usually end our Batam adventure by having a relaxing traditional massage. I don’t have any specific recommendation of massage parlour, but we usually have ours at Everyday Massage inside Nagoya Hill shopping complex. You can choose wide range of massage and spa. For us, 2 hours traditional massage is enough. One person will occupy one enclosed room with curtains and aircon. You can choose the therapist too. I ask for female therapist and Jon will ask for male. The price for 1 hour traditional massage is IDR 100,000 ($10) and 2 hour traditional massage is IDR 140,000 ($14).Pretty good deal, right? Oh, and please leave a tip for the therapist for a ‘thank you’ gesture.