Batam is just across the sea from Singapore, so if you are looking for a weekend getaway to Indonesia, this is a good choice. Batam is a 40-minute speedboat ride from Singapore, and once there, you can enjoy a variety of activities that are much cheaper than many other places in Southeast Asia.
The island is famous for people coming here to relax and get away from everything, so it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia. You won’t find a ton of “spots” like historic sites, but you’ll find plenty of resorts, spas, restaurants and cafes, and if you’re looking for a lively nightlife here, there are plenty of options for some entertainment in the evening.
Another reason people flock to Batam is for diving or snorkelling opportunities, because if you want to explore the underwater kingdom of this part of Indonesia, the waters here are crystal clear and visibility is excellent.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Batam:
1. Enjoy water sports
One of Batam’s iconic attractions is water sports because it’s right next to the water.
In other places like Singapore, the coast for wakeboarding or wakeboarding can really add up, but in Batam you can enjoy these for a fraction of the price, and one of the best places is Batam Gondola Ski Park.
Some of the activities on offer here include canoeing, jet skiing, and even snorkeling, or you can check out other famous resorts like Batam View Beach Resort.
2. Visit Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple
This temple is one of the more peaceful ways to enjoy Batam, and if you want to find inner peace, this is the place to come.
Devotees here usually burn incense for good luck, and you can admire colorful and elegant Buddha statues and zodiac carvings located opposite the temple.
One of the best things about the temple is that there is also a cafe here where you can buy a variety of delicious vegetarian food, including buns and snacks in the shape of cute animals.
3. Go to Penyengat Island
There are many islands around central Batam that are ideal for day trips, one of which is the stunning Penyengat Island.
It’s not one of the largest islands in the area, and you can walk around it in about two hours, which means if you get here early, you can take a walk before sunbathing in the afternoon and enjoy a spectacular sunset .
One attraction on the island is the local mosque called Masjid Kuning (Yellow Mosque), legend has it that eggshells were used in its construction to make the walls stronger.
The island is also a good place if you want to see how the locals live in less touristy areas of Batam.
4. Eat seafood
Batam is also famous for its seafood, which again is much cheaper than Singapore or the rest of Southeast Asia.
Some of the city’s top seafood choices include Sei Enam Seafood Restaurant as well as Rezeki Seafood Restaurant and Harbour Bay Seafood.
If you’re looking for a signature dish, try the region’s famous chilli crab as well as snacks like black pepper crab and crispy squid.
There are other underwater delicacies, such as succulent prawns, and even freshly caught lobster, which is usually simply grilled and served with white rice.
5. Travel along the North Coast
A lot of people come to Batam just to visit the main tourist areas or take a boat to some of the neighboring islands.
However, if you want to explore further, consider a trip along the northern coastline.
One of the best ways to do this is to rent a motorbike or bike and drive through the gorgeous lush jungle with unobstructed views of the water on the other side of the trail.
The trail will take you along Durian Kang Reservoir and then along the beautiful Nong Sa coast, if you choose to bike, you can expect to drive about 30km from Nong Sa Village to the end of the line.
6. Sunbathe at Nong Sa Beach
If you are looking for sandy beaches in Batam, Nongsa Beach is one of the best places to go.
The beach has a relaxed atmosphere and is not as crowded as the rest of the island.
It’s also close to a range of amenities, and if you want to have dinner or a drink while watching the sunset, you’ll find plenty of restaurants lining the beach, which is a great place to go.
There are also spas nearby where you can paddle or swim.
7. Watch the sunset at the Barrelang Bridge
Barelang Bridge is one of Batam’s most iconic sights, and people flock to take pictures here in the early evening.
The bridge that actually connects the main island of Batam with the neighboring island of Garang is an engineering marvel as it majestically spans the waters between the two islands.
If possible, try to walk around the sunset for the best view of the water.
One of the reasons people come to Batam is for rest and relaxation, so there are plenty of spas where you can soak up the ambience and enjoy a range of soothing treatments.
Isabella Massage Parlor is one of the most well-known places for healing, although the wide range of options available throughout the city means you’ll feel energized and relaxed wherever you go.
9. Go scuba diving
If you are new to diving and want to get certified, Batam is the perfect place to get your PADI certificate.
Some of the best dive sites here are located off the coast of the main island of Batam, including Abang, Hantu, Ravin and Pedon.
From Batam, you can sign up for a course and then take a boat to the neighboring islands, where the visibility is excellent so you can see all kinds of underwater life, and this is the place to go for marine photography if you want.
If you’re already an experienced diver, you’ll also find a lot of fun here, thanks to the abundance of aquatic life in these waters, such as sharks, rays and turtles.
10. Play a round of golf
Batam is a golfer’s paradise and you can enjoy seven different ranges in and around the area.
These include Batam Hills Golf Resort and Palm Springs Golf & Beach Resort, or you can head to Padang Golf Sukajadi, the most famous golf course here.
In addition to enjoying a game of golf, all courses have bars and restaurants so you can grab a bite to eat or enjoy the sunset while admiring the idyllic sand dunes.
11. Travel to Bintan Island
Close to Batam, Bintan is known for its luxury resorts, with a plethora of delightful high-end resorts to choose from.
If you don’t have the budget, then you can consider staying overnight, or you can take a day trip to Bintan to enjoy pristine white sand beaches and azure waters.
Bintan is not as busy as Batam, and most people come here to relax at one of the island’s resident resorts, so if you want to get away from the crowds, this is a good option.
12. Check out the shacks in Tanjung Uma
Many parts of Batam are very modern, but if you go to the old villages, there are tons of historical sites to admire.
These include houses on stilts built over water, a stunning sight if you’ve never seen such a traditional structure before.
One of the best places to see these old stilt houses is the sleepy fishing village of Tanjung Uma, so if you are interested in local architecture and culture, this is not to be missed, it shows a completely different side of the island.
13. Have fun at Ocarina Park
A great place for the whole family, Ocarina Park is a large entertainment complex that also includes Ocarina Water Park.
The park has a range of iconic rides, including a large Ferris wheel, and you’ll find a range of rides for kids and adults of all ages.
There is also a 3D cinema in the park and you will also find many food courts where you can grab a bite.
Of course, if you’re looking for a place with an array of attractions, this is a great option.
14. Enjoy the nightlife
Batam is known for its cheap alcohol, especially compared to neighboring Singapore.
It’s also one of the liveliest areas in Indonesia if you’re looking for an exciting nightlife scene.
The main area of bars and clubs is known as the Nagoya Entertainment District or simply “NED”, where you can easily spend a night in town enjoying the local Indonesian beer Bintang or enjoying a cocktail.
Venues range from low-key lounges where you can grab a drink before dinner to larger nightclubs where you can dance into the early hours of the night.
15. Shopping at Nagoya Hill Mall
Batam is an island, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a ton of shopping malls to visit, in fact shopping is the number one pastime for many tourists here.
The Nagoya Hills Mall claims to be the largest mall in the city, and you can find a variety of items here, such as branded clothing and accessories.
Other malls include Mega Mall Batam Centre and BCS Mall.
Many malls also sell a large selection of typical handicrafts such as wood carvings and textiles, so if you’re looking to buy some gifts or souvenirs, you can shop under one roof.
Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Batam, Indonesia
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