Flight from Jakarta (Soekarno Hatta) - Batam (Hang Nadim) by Batavia Air , Garuda Indonesia , Mandala Air , Air Asia
30 minutes of Airport Transfer if you're from Changi International Airport Singapore. (please contact us to arrange special pick up in Changi International Airport)
HarbourFront Ferry Terminal is the departure terminal if you are from Singapore.
45 minutes ferry duration from HarbourFront Singapore - Batam Centre
Please see the ferry schedule from HarbourFront Singapore - Batam Centre and see the ferry schedule from HarbourFront Singapore - Sekupang
Ferry fare HarbourFront - Batam Centre - HarbourFront is S$16/person, with Singapore seaport tax S$20/person and Batam seaport tax S$7/person. Total fare: S$43/person
Duration from HarbourFront - Batam Centre: 50 minutes
You may also take a direct ferry from Stulang Laut Johor Bahru, Malaysia to Batam Island or You can also take a flight from Subang Jaya Airport to Hang Nadim Batam Airport (visit www.fireflyz.com.my to book for your flight to Batam)
From The Zon - Stulang Laut International Ferry Terminal, you can get a way to Batam Centre Ferry Terminal.
Do bear in mind that ferry departure is very on time and make sure that we are checking in half an hour before departure time.
Duration from Stulang Laut - Batam Centre: 90 minutes
Visa-free entry countries
Nationals of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippine, Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Chile, Morocco, Peru and Vietnam are given visa-free entry facility for maximum of 30 days
Countries / Nationals that require Visa-on-arrival (VOA) are as follows:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark
Egypt,n, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan
Kuwait, Laos, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Monacco, Netherlands, New Zealand
Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar Republic of China, Russia, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa
South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America
The visa on arrival is USD 10 for 7 days per entry
WITH regular ferry services from Singapore to Batam from 7.55am until 9.30pm it is possible to make same-day ferry crossings from flights arriving at Changi up to around 8pm (Singapore time). Later arrivals will require an overnight stay in Singapore before making the ferry crossing next day. You also will need to overnight in Singapore if you are planning to take an
early flight out of Changi (before about 11am Singapore time). The first ferry out of Batam is at 6.05am local time from Batam Centre or 6.45am from Harbour Bay (with Singapore an hour ahead that means departures at 7.05am or 7.45am Singapore time). Travel time, immigration clearances at Harbour Front Ferry Terminal in Singapore and a taxi to the airport will require up to two hours.
YOU NEED a passport valid for at LEAST SIX MONTHS from your date of entry. Travellers from MOST Western countries (currently 63 countries) can obtain a single entry Visa on Arrival for 30 days ($US25). This can be extended by a further 30 days without leaving Indonesia. To extend youyr Visa in Batam you need to go to the Immigration Section in the Sumatra Promotions Office at Batam Centre (third floor). The cost is 250,000 rupiah for the Visa and 60,000 rupiah administration fee (note rupiah not dollars).
Bearers of passports not entitled to a Visa on Arrival must obtain their entry Visa through an Indonesian Embassy or Consulate prior to travel – check with your travel agent or nearest Indonesian Embassy.
NOTE: The thirty-day Visa actually entitles you to a stay of only
TWENTY NINE nights!
If purchasing a Visa on Arrival try to ensure you have US or Singapore dollars available. Rupiah are not accepted. Visitors from ASEAN countries which have reciprocal arrangements with
Indonesia are issued a FREE 30-day tourist Visa on arrival. You may be asked to show you have a return ticket to your country of embarkation (Singapore), though this is very unlikely.
THE ELECTRICITY supply in Batam is 240 volts with bulky three-pin power plugs in the British style. You will need a transformer if you wish to operate 120 volt appliances.
Most hotels have connection adaptors available to accept plugs widely used in other countries or you can readily purchase them very cheaply at Batam electrical or department stores (about SGD$2).
THE INTERNATIONAL telephone call prefix for Indonesia is 62 and the area code for Batam is 0778. If calling from outside Indonesia you drop the zero (viz to reach Smiling Hill in office hours dial +62 778 450 183).
Similarly with cellphone numbers. From overseas dial the country code and then the telephone number dropping the initial zero. In Indonesia cellphones or mobile phones are referred to as handphones. If the letters “hp” precede a number it denotes handphone.
International Direct Dialling telephone links to the rest of the world are readily available but international telephone calls out of Indonesia from hotels or handphones are expensive. You can save money by going to a “Wartel”. These are privately operated public telephone offices with competitive rates and you will see them dotted around the streets.
The main access codes for landline overseas calls out of Indonesia are 007, 017 or 001. You can save a lot of money on handphone calls to overseas numbers by using the access code prefix 01017 which connects you to a VOIP service. The connection quality is usually good but can vary.
The best way to stay in touch when in Indonesia is to buy a local pre-paid SIM card for your handphone. Let the folks back home have the number in case they need to reach you and also give this number out to the people you meet. Use your home country SIM to periodically check for messages.
Once you make some contacts here then be prepared for some heavy SMS traffic. Indonesians, especially the young women, are heavy users of the Short Message Service (text) as it is effective and inexpensive.
BATAM’S INTERNET SERVICES have improved greatly with higher speed ADSL and wireless connections progressively taking over from the old dial-up systems. The ADSL services can suffer from congestion due to the heavy volume of users and are dependent on having a landline phone connection.
The services are generally adequate but still fall well short of the high-speed broadband access available in nearby Singapore or in most major Western countries. Providers are recognising the market opportunities and wireless Internet access at higher speeds is gradually becoming available. There are many Internet Cafes scattered around Batam and they are popular with locals. shopping mall offers FREE Internet access from two wireless Hot Spots for those with laptops. We also have a desktop or a laptop computer with ADSL connection available FREE for guests without their own laptops.
BATAM IS tropical all year round with temperatures ranging from an average minimum of 25 degrees to an average maximum of 34 degrees Celsius (77 to 95 Fahrenheit). The middle of the day usually is hot and humidity ranges from 73% to 96%. Hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and offices and most taxis are air conditioned.
The annual average rainfall is 2,600 mm (about 105 inches) with the wet season extending from November to April/May and the dry season from June to October. The dry and wet season descriptions are relative – it still rains between June and October though usually not so frequently. The most concentrated rains tend to fall during November and around April.
Fortunately a lot of the rain falls overnight or in the early mornings (before sunrise). Storms typically occur in the early or mid-afternoon. Even in the wet season tropical downpours on any given day usually will be preceded and followed by periods of sunshine.
FOR THIS CLIMATE you need casual light clothing and you will NOT need jackets or coats. You should make sure you bring swim trunks (difficult to buy bigger Western sizes here).
Many visiting Western men wear smart shorts and short sleeves or T-shirts during the day and this is quite acceptable in hotels, bars and public places.
(If you do not have these items as part of your wardrobe at home you can readily buy good quality shirts, shorts, slacks and T-shirts in Western sizes at Batam’s department stores and specialty outlets relatively cheaply.) If you have a stop-over in Singapore off-the-hook clothing of this kind in Western sizes can be purchased very cheaply at the Mustafa’s Department Store in Little India (it is open 24 hours).
Long pants may be advisable in Batam during the evening hours, particularly if you are sensitive to mosquitoes or other biting insects and will be spending time out of doors (for example at the excellent open-air food markets).
If you are planning business calls or wish to visit Government offices then you MUST wear long trousers and a collared shirt. To do otherwise is to insult the people you are visiting and in some cases you may even be refused admittance to official offices. Batam is a place where you can be a slack vacation slob with regard to dress if you wish. But human nature being what it is the world over you will have an edge with the people you meet and in bargaining with traders if you take the trouble to turn yourself out more smartly.
MAKE SURE of the swim trunks and your digital camera. If you already have an English-Bahasa Indonesia phrase book or dictionary then bring it. If not then wait until you arrive as you can buy one cheaply here. Some of the new electronic translators are excellent and convenient to carry with you – they are not only useful but can be the source of a lot of fun, especially if you meet Indonesians with only a smattering of English. A very adequate electronic translator will cost about $US15.
Gifts : You can become a hero if you take the trouble to pack a few inexpensive gifts to give to the people who please you. Particularly popular with the young women and children are small stuffed toys representative of the animals of your home country. Packaged foodstuffs, chocolate (of good quality) and jewellery, particularly any small thing in heavy gold with a potential emergency resale value, will win you huge points. Do not bring expensive perfumes – they are available cheaply here and will not be really appreciated.
THE LOCAL CURRENCY is the Indonesian Rupiah. Approximate indicative interbank exchange rates as at Agust, 2012 were:
1 GBP = Rp 14,400
1 $US = Rp 9,380
1 EUR = Rp 11,660
1 $AUD = Rp 9,090
1 $SNG = Rp 7,250
However, in the current international financial climate you should check current rates for yourself. Go to www.xe.com. There are many money changer booths around the commercial districts of Batam where you can convert foreign currency like $SNG, $US, $AUD, EUROS or GB Pounds at fair exchange rates.
Any US notes will be very carefully scrutinised unless new and some may be rejected. Often you will be offered a lower rate for lower denomination notes. Australian dollars and Euro notes also can sometimes be problematic with smaller money changer outlets. The rates offered generally will be below those shown above but not unduly so and changers usually are prepared to bargain a little. Many of the major Indonesian banks on Batam (CIMB Niaga, BNI, BCA, Permata and others) have modern conveniently located ATM machines linked to the Maestro, Cirrus and Visa Plus international networks where you can withdraw funds from your card account at home or obtain advances on your credit cards. Typically an ATM limits you to from Rp 1.5m to Rp 3m per transaction (you usually can make additional withdrawals but you pay an additional transaction fee for the further funds).
You save on transaction fees by using ATMs which allow a higher withdrawal limit. The Permata, BCA and Mandiri and CIMB Niaga banks have machines dispensing up to Rp3m in Rp100,000 notes offer this. The ATM inter-bank exchange rate is usually more favourable than offered by the money changers, offsetting some of the transaction fee. Most ATMs offer a choice of English or Indonesian instructions. Avoid changing money at your hotel or in bars or nightclubs. You almost certainly will be ripped off on the exchange rate.
You also will incur extra costs and considerable inconvenience if you use Travellers Cheques. In fact Travellers Cheques are unpopular with traders and money changers and often will not be accepted at all (you usually have to go to a bank to cash). For convenience alone Travellers Cheques should be avoided. Indonesian traders and service providers like cash. Expect to be charged a premium equivalent to the card service fee (typically 3%) if you offer a credit card for anything but major transactions, such as hotel bills.
BATAM ISLAND has an utterly undeserved reputation in some quarters for being a “hotbed” of violence, gangsters, drugs, gambling and danger. Much of this impression has been created by sensationalist media reports in sanitized Singapore where some of the Powers That Be look disapprovingly at having a full-blown low-cost good-time playground at their front door and try to scare their timid nationals into staying at home.
There also is a view in other parts of Indonesia (particularly among those with conservative Muslim moral values) that Batam is a “loose” and “dangerous” place.
The reality is that Batam, and Nagoya in particular, does have a measure of crime, danger, drugs, sex, and gambling (though organised gambling has been shut down since February 2005) like just about any other sizeable city in the world, particularly those with a vibrant entertainment district. But unless you seek it out you are most unlikely to be touched by it.
There are seedy areas and a few no-go districts and a lot of poor and unemployed who will steal or commit other crimes to survive. Homes are locked with grated windows (just as they are in places like the inner suburbs of Sydney or American cities) and there are security staff around shopping centres, public offices and hotels.
But overall Batam is much less dangerous and frightening than the inner areas of many of the cities of the United States, Europe other Asian countries and even some other Indonesian cities.
A mugging here will make front page news. Can you imagine a minor street crime making the front pages of a newspaper in Washington DC, New York or even Sydney?
A WESTERN VISITOR who exercises reasonable prudence and common sense is unlikely to have many problems. All you need do is follow the standard rules for any foreign destination:
WE ALWAYS ADVISE visitors to practice safe sex. However, we also are aware that many visitors and local residents routinely do not do so. Medical people we have consulted say there is a low incidence of HIV Aids in Batam but it is present.
There are periodic cases of gonorrhoea (clap) and it reportedly turns up fairly regularly when sex workers go for medical screenings. There have been some reports of genital herpes. In the event that you do contract a nasty STD there are efficient testing and treatment facilities in Batam and modern antibiotics are available from Batam pharmacies (apoteks).
BATAM AND NAGOYA in particular has plenty of well-stocked pharmacies or drug stores (apoteks) where you will be able to obtain most of the medicines or other products you may need, usually without having to provide a doctor’s prescription. The supermarkets also are well stocked with sunscreens, insect repellents, lotions, elastic bandages, condoms and other likely needs. They are not expensive.
Apart from your regular prescription medicines, medical items worth bringing with you might include:
However, all of these items are readily available over the counter from Batam apoteks (pharmacies) and often in very inexpensive generic forms. A recommended outlet is Budi Farma in Nagoya (not far from Lusy’s bar). The Pharmacist there speaks a little English and is very helpful.
IN THE EVENT that the worst happens and you do need medical attention, Batam has health facilities superior to most regional areas of Indonesia with medical clinics, capable general practice medical practitioners, diagnostic laboratories and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment for those with the means to pay.
In the event of a truly serious medical problem there is also the assurance that all the facilities of modern Singapore are just an hour or so across the water.
The range of hospital and associated specialist medical services available on Batam took a quantum leap in mid-2003 with the opening of a modern new private hospital, the Rumah Sakit (hospital) Awahl Brothers to serve the well-off members of the local community and the well paid ex-pats who previously often went to Singapore for medical attention.
A first class semi-private ensuite hospital room (2 beds) equipped with TV etc can be available for Permanent Residents or Work Permit holders for as little as 500,000 rupiah a day. For around 800,000 rupiah you will have your own VIP ensuite room with a sofa bed so your visitors can stay by your side.
Charges will be higher for Tourist or Business Visitors presumably because the Hospital is not entitled to recover Government subsidies for nonresidents.
The hospital operates an ambulance service for trauma and medical emergency transportation and there is a helicopter pad for emergency evacuations to Singapore for specialist attention. A full range of modern diagnostic equipment is available to the panel of specialist and general practice doctors who work out of the new facility.
IF YOU HAVE US$, $SGD, GBP (Pounds Sterling) or EUR (Euros) you will be delighted at how far they will go on Batam.
A haircut with shoulder and scalp massage will run to around US$2.50. Or you can go the whole hog and also luxuriate in a half hour “cream bath” hair conditioning treatment and a scalp massage for around US$5. A 1½ hour traditional or Thai massage will cost about $US13.
Batam is a duty free zone so there is plenty of cheap shopping to be had in the big new shopping malls and department stores of Nagoya and Batam Centre, especially for clothing, electricals, CDs, VCDs, DVDs small electronics equipment (cellphones, digital cameras), jewellery, luggage and leathergoods, watches, perfumes and foodstuffs. There are excellent examples of Indonesian arts and crafts at very competitive prices if you take the trouble to look.
Be aware that many of the tapes and CDs will be pirated. Many of the cheap pirated DVDs also may be of very poor quality or restricted by regional codes programmed into overseas DVD players. If you purchase these pirated items you may run into problems when returning through Singapore or reentering your home country.
Also do not be tempted to try to take home bigger electrical or electronics items – you probably will have trouble with Customs in Singapore. This is in part because in recent years many Singapore people have taken to day trips to Batam to take advantage of the cheap shopping.
Many generic medicines also can be purchased very inexpensively in Indonesia. If you are regularly using medications for a chronic condition then you may want to check out the prices here and stock up.
Liquor is heavily taxed in Batam and all of Indonsia and is relatively expensive. This is a place where you certainly should pick up your favorite bottle from the Duty Free store on entry. Remember, however, that you will need to drink your duty free in your room or other private or unlicensed location - you cannot take you bottle to licensed premises as this would jeopardise the licence holder.
IT IS A BIG ADVANTAGE to be able to speak a little Indonesian, but it is by no means essential. Many ex-pats have lived permanently in Batam for a period of years speaking English only. There is usually someone in most official offices or big stores who speaks at least basic English and some who speak it very well.
Most staff at all the big hotels speak some English and many taxi drivers have good English. If you run into a situation where you cannot be understood there is usually someone nearby who speaks English who will cheerfully help you out with translations.
It can be helpful to carry a phrase book or one of the new electronic dictionaries (see also Things to Bring page 4 above).
Many of the young people speak some basic English, and some are quite fluent, particularly those who have lived and worked in Batam for some time. They often will be a little shy for fear of making mistakes but in private you usually will be able to converse to some degree.
Again the phrase book or dictionary can help greatly and this form of personal communication can become fun.
If you are prepared to go with partners who speak little or no English it will widen your choice immensely. If you can manage some Indonesian the possibilities are even better.
Keep mind that most Indonesians undertake some English studies at high school and almost all really want to learn to speak English. They will be grateful for any help you can provide them.
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