Abang Island Snorkeling: There are many places for snorkeling experiences in Indonesia. The closest authentic snorkeling spot to Singapore is in Abang Island. I call it authentic because apart from the snorkeling.
One thing I loved about Abang Island was getting to stay with the real locals by the seashore. Sounds like your kind of holiday? Climb aboard on Abang Island snorkeling!
We’d been to beaches, resorts, and banana boat rides, but never to a rural island just for snorkeling! It was an exciting beginning as we packed up our cars.
Before we get into the itinerary guide on Abang Island Snorkeling, here’s why you should visit it in the first place.
Why visit Abang Island in Batam
Being young and living in Batam back then, I never realized I was living right by an underwater paradise. But now I do.
With Indonesia comprising 76% of its geographical area as water, it has some of the world’s largest and beautiful underwater life, aquatic species, and water resources. Not to mention it being one of the most popular scuba diving destinations. Thus explaining its popularity for tourism.
However, Bali is the most famous vacation island for most travelers. What most don’t know is that most of Indonesia’s rich aquatic world and deep forests are still offbeat places. Abang Island is one such offbeat part of Indonesia.
To folks looking to explore Indonesia as travelers, this place is a must. When you visit Abang Island, you’re really traveling. As tourism is still young here, you get to meet the locals and understand their way of living on the water better.
And yes, the most important part, with Abang Island being a remote part of Indonesia, not many people visit it. Untouched by the majority of flocking tourists, it makes it a quiet blissful spot to visit. The underwater life of hundreds of species and corals to witness. A treasure to keep to yourself.
Abang Island is one of the best and closest spots for Snorkeling close to Singapore. And it’s cheap!
Abang Island Snorkeling – How to Get there?
Before we get into the whole trip, Abang Island being the spot stowed away from many, it’s tough to find contacts to book your package tour. We’ll talk about the tour package soon.
Abang Island is a part of Batam Riau.
From Batam Center, it’s a one-and-a-half-hour drive to get to the south of Batam (Over the Barelang Bridge). From there, there’s no path for driving. You need to book a boat to take you to Abang Island – this is a motorboat big enough to hold two families.
It’s also called Bot Pompong. Well, every boat has its skipper. It’s a 12-kilometer ride to Abang Island on the boat.
How to Get to Abang Island from Batam?
- Drive/Hire a taxi from Batam Center to the South of the Riau Islands: Pass over the Barelang bridges and to Galang Island.
- Get on your booked boat (Bot Pompong) to take you to Abang Island.
- Ride 12 kilometers on the boat to get there.
For better guidance, you can opt for a snorkeling package where they pick you up right at Batam Center and take you straight to Abang Island.
As we lived in Indonesia for years, all of our families have been in and around beaches here for a long time. Thus it wasn’t difficult for us to find Abang Island with our own vehicles.
Abang Island Snorkeling Package
With the locals of this island being remote, it’s a little tricky to find Abang Island. Here’s an unbiased site to check out snorkeling packages.
While the page mentions a one-day trip to Abang island, I recommend staying a night with the locals for a night. We stayed at Abang Island for a night and started the snorkeling tour in the morning. We got to experience a night away from the busy world. A night with almost no network.
With the humidity and no air-conditioning, we sat at the edge of a narrow pathway outside our homestays with our legs dangling by the waters. It was a night to remember!
To those who wish to only opt for the 1-day trip, look for accommodations in Batam Center.
Accommodation in Batam
With Batam Riau close to Singapore and having great beaches, there are tons of resorts and homestays to pick from. Pick the ones close by the beach. KTM Resorts, Nongsa Point, and Turi Beach are some of the most popular and authentic resorts for ages.
These are all beachside resorts. Here are more resorts and hotels on Booking.com along with their prices. Go for the beach sides!
Search for your preferred stay here:
Budget accommodation: For fellow travelers looking for budget accommodation, check out Hostelworld. Recently, a few cheap stays in Batam have been set up and listed on HostelWorld. Check them out here:
Things to pack for Abang Island
- Three sets of summer clothes: Two sets for the night stay and the next morning snorkeling. The last for change of clothes after you return wet.
- Sun protection products: I recommend sunscreen lotion when visiting Indonesia. After all, it’s a tropical country on the equator line, and the sun has great potential to damage your skin here!
- Swimwear: Simple swimwear attire should do. Since they provide you with the snorkeling mask, flippers, and other basic snorkeling equipment, you needn’t worry about it.
- Camera: Oh this is optional alright. But to the photography enthusiasts, you’d be missing out a great deal without a sweet camera!
Abang Island is best to visit when you’re staying in Batam Riau. Thus I’d recommend booking a stay in Batam. Check out Turi Beach Resort on HostelWorld. I’ve been there myself, it’s great!
Within an hour’s drive and the boat ride, we made it to Abang Island by evening. We stayed there for the night.
We began with the Abang island snorkeling the following morning.
Abang Island Snorkeling – Stay for a night
It’s an island but we didn’t stay much on land though. Even our stays were on shallow waters away from the shore.
We were more in stilt houses- the kind of house that I’d love to stay in again! These were houses raised above the water level with the help of piles.
We moved around to other houses with narrow pathways built either of wood or concrete.
This small village lies in the water! We’d accommodations booked before our arrival there. It was a stay with the locals. The people there were hospitable. We had three small stilt houses booked.
For dinner, one of the families that were conducting us invited us over to their home. There was fresh fish for the night! We didn’t have trouble communicating with the locals as we already knew Bahasa Indonesia.
Here’s a list of common Indonesian phrases to learn for travelers that’ll come in handy when visiting Indonesia.
Spending the night at Abang Island
Being used to air-conditioning, it was a bit tough sleeping without it in the room. There wasn’t much ventilation in our rooms either.
We didn’t complain much about it though. We didn’t want to sleep much anyway. After an hour of trying to sleep, we decided to get out of the homestay. Besides, there was a bit of a mosquito problem. So don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent for the night stay just in case.
We sat down outside on the edge of the narrow pathway facing the sea with our legs dangling over the waters. Now the sea level was higher and the waves hit against the piles harder.
The lust of cool breeze outside and the whispers of the waves wouldn’t let us back in. And so we sat. We sat there for hours, chatting about all the stupid things we did back in our childhood.
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At last, let’s talk about what we were here for – Abang Island snorkeling!
Start the Morning with Snorkeling
When we woke up, it was already late. We’d overslept and everyone already had their swimsuits on. So we gobbled up noodles provided for breakfast. And off we went to the core of our trip there – snorkeling!
After fumbling around with the sizes of our flippers and swimwear, we got ’em and entered the boat again. They took us to shallow waters nearby smaller uninhabited islands where we’d get the best snorkeling experience.
And so was it the best snorkeling! We were first in the shallows where we could feel the land beneath us.
Then with the life jackets on, we were guided a little deeper.
All we had to do was lie on our faces with the snorkeling masks on. And we’d see the world of fishes beneath us. Starfish, Sea Anemones, Corals, you name it- they were all there!
The waters being clear made the colors of the marine ecosystem beneath us more beautiful. Even under the blazing sun and the thousands of sea urchins waiting to prick us underneath, it was worth the sight.
However, the sea urchins played their part in perfecting the elegance of life underwater, didn’t they?
Conclusion – Heading Back Home
After hours of snorkeling, we got back to our homestays by noon. After lunch, we packed up to leave. On our way back to Batam on our boat, we could’ve talked about the snorkeling experience, but nope. We were way too exhausted!
Super-tanned and exhausted, all we needed was a big night’s sleep. We didn’t even bother speaking to one another. We all knew we’d enjoyed our stay and Abang Island snorkeling.
Say you haven’t snorkeled yet and wish to spend an evening close to the seas and nature, then the Abang Island snorkeling experience is waiting for you!
- Note: Some people don’t like getting sun-tanned. And the heat in Indonesia is harmful to your skin. It’s best to take precautionary measures and apply sunscreen before you go.
Other travel blogs for you to check out:
- Places You Shouldn’t Miss in Batam Riau, Indonesia
- Perfect Bali Travel Blog
- A local guide to Batam Riau Islands, Indonesia
- Nandi Hills Travel Guide from Bangalore
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