Best Things to do in Batam: Batam is still growing with its travel industry. Tourism hotspots like Bali and Singapore are well-heard of while Batam is still offbeat – thus making for cheaper travel fares.
Batam Riau, similar to Bintan (another island), an Indonesian island(s), is 20 km or a ferry ride away from Singapore and is well-known for resorts, beaches, massages, and finger-licking authentic delicacies.
Apart from vacations, some history is prevalent like the Vietnamese camp on Galang Island, and religious spots like the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple. Honestly, the island is so small that it takes 3 to 4 days to get around and experience Batam.
This list of the best things to do in Batam picks only the authentic spots to visit here. I tried keeping the list small and focused.
Ways to get to Batam Riau
Flight and ferries are the only ways to get to Batam – and flight options are limited if it isn’t a domestic flight. While the Hang Nadim International Airport has flights coming in from many parts of Indonesia, including Jakarta, the only international flights available are from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
Ferry to Batam: As for ferries, I’d say this is the best and cheapest way to Batam. From Singapore, you can get to Batam either from the HarborFront ferry terminal or Tanah Merah. There is a handful of options among ferries with some popular ones being SindoFerry, BatamFast, WaveMaster, and Majestic.
Choose your ferry depending on your required time slot and where you wish to enter Batam. The five main ferry terminals in Batam are Batam Center, Marina Waterfront, Harbor Bay, Sekupang, and Nongsapura.
It’s great to get to the terminal nearest to your booked resort, but if you’ve nothing planned yet, I’d suggest the Batam Center terminal.
Best Things to Do in Batam
There are plenty of exotic things to do in Batam from watersports to late nightclubs. Yet, there are more soothing options such as visiting the Barelang Bridge or having a local snorkeling experience at Abang Island. Considering it all, here’s my list of the best things to do in Batam.
- Visit the Barelang Bridge
- Snorkel at Abang Island
- Eat local delicacies
- Don’t miss the Spa!
- Go for a morning dip at these beaches
- Tour the Vietnam Camp
- Relax at beach spots (Turi or Kiki Resorts)
- Check out Batam’s local breweries!
- Visit the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist temple
- Shop at a variety of malls
- Jungle walk at Mata Kucing (optional)
- Make a trip to Bintan (optional)
1. Visit Barelang Bridge
Barelang Bridge is an hour’s drive from Batam Centre and makes up for Batam’s most prominent landmark. There are 6 Barelang bridges – the first one is the main and most popular Barelang Bridge. However, the specific name for this one is Tengku Fisabilillah Bridge.
The bridge itself is iconic with its cables, but the view from up there is even more scenic. The cables in the backdrop make up for some Instagrammable shots.
Right after the bridge are a series of street stalls that serve grilled corn and coconut water and oh, don’t miss this out! They prepare some amazing flavored grilled corn with hot sauces.
While these stalls are open throughout the day, it’s best to visit in the evenings for the local touch.
2. Snorkel at Abang Island
Snorkeling has to be on the list of things to do in Batam! With the snorkeling spot in Abang Island being near a local village on the waters here, the only connectivity is boats – or Pompong Bot.
With such an off-grid spot in the Galang District, local sites offer itinerary packages charged per person where they pick you up from Batam center, take you to Abang Island, provide meals, and then also send you back.
They take you around the white sands of Abang Island and Petong Island for snorkeling spots. Being in a remote area, only a few people visit it.
Apart from snorkeling, it also gives a beautiful experience staying with the locals. Read about my Abang Island visit here.
3. Have local delicacies
Indonesian food in Batam is a must-try! The blast of flavors in any local dish is worthy. I recommend trying whichever dish you get your hands on! Be it the Ayam Rendang, Sate Ayam, Ayam Bakar, Bakso, and all the Nasi and Mie Gorengs.
Oh, and of course the authentic Nasi Padang (I recommend Sederhana). Most Indonesian cuisines are made up of rice, meat, fresh herbs, and spices.
Apart from the Padang, I urge you to try fresh seafood as well. Here’s my full list of food recommendations in Batam!
Have Seafood by the shores. When you see a restaurant with wooden planks for floors and lingering over the water, you’re bound to be close to seafood! Authentic restaurants like Golden Prawn 933 in Bengkong let you choose your crab, shrimp, and other fish straight from the aquarium before they cook it for you.
With so many people visiting Batam just for seafood, there are tons of places to eat from. The prices are pretty reasonable and always fresh. Some local spots known for seafood here are:
- Golden Prawns
- Cita Rasa Seafood
- Love Seafood Piayu
- Barelang Seafood (right after the first bridge)
- And Kopak Jaya Kelong Seafood.
4. Don’t Miss the Spa!
The spa is expensive. But not in Batam! A lot of visitors settle down at one of these massage and spa salons to relax here. After all, it’s Indonesia – you can’t miss an exotic massage on a Sunday afternoon.
When at Nagoya Shopping Center, you’ll see a bunch of these spas lined up around the complex. These are so popular that some trip packages from Singapore include the specific spots on their itinerary!
And the prices are pretty affordable here – it costs anywhere between SGD 20 – 40 per hour depending on the treatment spot and massage type while it can cost triple the amount in Singapore.
Some well-known spa spots here are ESKA Group Aesthetic, Sakura SPA, and IndoThai. Though there are various kinds, with rising popularity it gets hard to get a slot on the crowded weekends. More spas are now available to book online.
I found that Klook.com offers a range of spa and massage centers at reasonable prices. Here are some of my handpicked spas in Batam Riau. Pick your deal today!Klook.com
5. Take a Morning Dip in the Beach
Not many do this, but I have and it’s fantastic. Take an early dip in the beaches of Batam. You see, Batam lies in the backwaters, and the currents aren’t that strong.
The perks of a morning dip are the calm nature without the evening crowd and the mildly cool early waters.
The offbeat Mirota Beach on Rempang Island, an hour’s drive away over the Barelang bridge from Batam Center, is the cleanest beach I’ve come across. The soothing waters and the long drive itself make for a sweet morning.
It’s even better when you stay by the beachside resorts like Kiki Beach, Nongsa Point and Harris Resorts. But if not, some other recognized beaches here are Nuvasa Bay, Pantai Melayu, and Pantai Vio Vio. The entry rates are super cheap as well.
Another blog for you to read: India to Batam Riau Blog: A 23-hour journey
6. Tour the Vietnam Camp
Leaping back in time, Vietnam refugees fled on boats during the civil war of 1975 between Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. And voila, they landed on various islands of Indonesia! Some refugees died on the ships, and others survived.
With Galang Island in Batam being one of the islands they came to, the UN called to make part of Galang Island home for the refugees of Vietnam – Kampung Vietnam. Today, it stands as a historical tourist spot in Batam where you can drive around, visit the museum, and see the vehicles, hospitals, and buildings that were used back then by the refugees.
7. Relax at beach stays like Turi or Kiki Resorts
I suggest staying by the beach even though it’s a bit expensive. This makes a big part of the trip, you can’t miss these in Indonesia!
In Batam, there are a handful of resorts and hotels both beachside and in the city. Some notable ones are Turi Beach, Nongsa Point, and Harris Resorts.
To recommend – Nongsa Point, Turi Beach, Harris Resorts, and KTM Resort are some of the best resorts in Batam that have had great reputations for over a decade now.
I handpicked these hotel deals of these spots on Klook.com. It’s hard to get a room on the weekends so grab your stay below!Klook.com
Kiki Beach Resort is a new addition to the trending resorts in Batam.
Here they take you by boat from Citi Rasa port on Rempang Island to their private beach on Galang Island. What makes it sweet is that there’s no road connectivity and only limited stays, thus making it a sweet getaway. Many resorts are inclusive of some watersports like Kayaking.
8. Check out Local Breweries!
Bar-and-restaurant spots in Batam are still not that prevalent but there are plenty of spots to check out. The reason why I had to include this is because of one lowkey spot I caught hold of :)
FreshBeer Batam, a restaurant in a local alley complex in Batam Center brews its beer and is quite well-heard of by the locals. They also serve exotic cuisines of farmed crocodiles and snakes. If you’re into the sort, this spot is a must-try.
Most restobars in Batam are fairly new. To go bar-hopping, get Nagoya’s Harbor Bay to find a bunch of expensive bars lined up with live music venues. Some notable restaurants are BlueFire Restaurant, Port House Resto & Bar, and HW Dragon Bar.
Another bound hotspot is Arch Alley another branch of FreshBeer that now is a full-fledged restaurant with a rich classy ambiance and amazing beer ranges.
9. Visit the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist temple
It’s a long name but when you mention ‘Buddhist temple’, people will know it’s this one. Well, either this or Tua Pek Kong temple (another Buddhist temple). The temple, as the name suggests, tributes to Maitreya Bodhisattva who’s said to be the future Buddha.
Inside you’ll find numerous forms of Maitreya – from his baby form to holding the Chinese zodiac to large bodies of the laughing Buddha.
Also, don’t forget to check out the shops and the vegetarian cafeteria at the back! They serve amazing buffet-style delicacies. I found this cool blog with a walkthrough of the temple.
10. Shop at a variety of malls
You and I both know malls – gigantic places with shops, food, kids’ amusement centers, and whatnot. Shouldn’t be a backpacker’s place. But if you’ve got an extra day off, here are some malls to visit: Mega Mall by HarborFront, Nagoya Hill, Batam One, BCS (Batam City Square), and Mega Mall.
11. Jungle-walk at Mata Kucing (Optional)
If you’ve got extra time, then this can be another small day trip. But it’s purely optional and up to your interests – It’s not a full-fledged trek or hike, but more of a nature walk.
Located in Batu Aji, it also has a mini zoo with wild cats, orangutans, large birds like cranes and eagles, crocs, and even snakes! They have a large pond where you’ll find some large fish species like a meter-long gold arowana.
Mata refers to ‘eye’ and kucing means ‘cat’. Yep, the spot’s name is Cat Eyes. This isn’t very popular but if you’ve got time, visit it for a change. I remember going on 1-day cross-country trips through the jungles across rope bridges and large wooden logs.
12. Take a Trip to Bintan (also optional)
Bintan is also part of the Riau Provinces and is another tourism hotspot. Though it isn’t a city like Batam, there are more offbeat beaches and authentic experiences to check out in Bintan.
Some local things to check out here are the Blue Lagoon, FireFly River Ride, and Sengarang Water Village. The place also boasts many historical and religious sites. From Batam, take a tiny but adventurous local speedboat ferry from Punggur Ferry Terminal.
Again, this is optional as it is a whole additional trip of 2-3 days after Batam. You can perhaps keep it for the next time as well :)
Those are all the best things to do in Batam. As most tourists are usually Singaporean residents or come through the place, if you feel the need to ease off from the expense, then Batam Riau is the perfect spot to visit and stretch your legs without any worries.
Thank you, and have a safe journey! :)
*This post contains affiliate link(s) at no additional cost of the products to you. I recommend products that I trust.
Best things to do in Batam: Found this post useful? Do me a favor and pin it for later!