Batam, Indonesia

Once part of a maritime sultanate, the islands of the Riau Archipelago are now a zone of major economic activity, and Batam has been developed into a major industrial satellite of Singapore and is popular with weekend visitors from there. Most come for its golf courses, beaches, duty-free shopping and seafood. Ferries and hydrofoils ply the waters to and from Singapore almost hourly, from sunrise to sundown.

The best travel tips for visiting Batam

Batam is surrounded by clear waters and white sands; among its most popular beaches are Nongsa Beach, Waterfront City Beach and Melur Beach.

In the city, numerous spiritual and architectural sites celebrate the island's history and heritage, including the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist temple, Tua Pek Kong temple and the Barelang Bridge.

Being a duty-free zone, shopping in Batam is appealing. Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall is one of the largest on the island. For those seeking activity and adventure, there’s plenty of snorkelling, diving, golfing and hiking.

Need some help planning? Maybe our Indonesian local experts can help you out!

Tua Pek Kong Temple in Batam island © Shutterstock

Tua Pek Kong Temple in Batam island © Shutterstock

Top attractions and things to do in Batam

From sparkling beach life to ancient temples, Batam has something for everyone. Here are the top attractions and things to do in Batam.

#1 Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya

This striking Buddhist temple is one of the largest in Indonesia, and is known for its blend of traditional Buddist and modern architecture. The main prayer hall features a statue of the Maitreya Buddha, considered to be the future Buddha in Buddhist tradition. The statue is 25m tall and is surrounded by smaller statues of other Buddhist deities.

Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya is also a cultural hub that hosts various activities and events throughout the year, such as meditation classes, Dharma talks and Buddhist festivals. The temple’s vegetarian restaurant is worth sampling.

#2 Tua Pek Kong temple

This Chinese temple is one of the oldest and most revered spiritual sites in the city. It is dedicated to the deity Tua Pek Kong, who is said to protect sailors and fishermen. His statue is inside the main prayer hall.

The temple's architecture is a mix of Chinese and local Indonesian styles, and features colourful embellishments and intricate carvings. The temple is particularly popular during the Chinese New Year, when it hosts various events and celebrations.

#3 Barelang Bridge

The Barelang Bridge is a chain of six bridges connecting Batam, Rempang, and Galang. Each of the six has a unique design and spans different parts of the strait; the name "Barelang" is derived from the names of the three islands.

The Bareling Bridge has become a popular tourist attraction in Batam, with many visitors coming to admire the views of the strait and the surrounding islands.

#4 Nongsa Beach

Nongsa’s white sands, warm clear waters, lush greenery and stunning sunsets make for an unsurprisingly alluring combination. A few waterfront resorts here even have private beaches, where visitors can bask in a more exclusive experience.

Nongsa Beach is also a popular spot for water sports – kayaking, jet skiing and parasailing are all available.

Nongsa village, Batam island, Indonesia © Shutterstock

Nongsa village, Batam island, Indonesia © Shutterstock

#5 Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall

Nagoya Hill is one of the largest and most popular shopping destinations in the city, with a wide range of stores, restaurants, cafes, and entertainment options. The mall is divided into several levels, with each level dedicated to different types of products and services.

Find everything from clothes and cosmetics to electronics and furniture. Familiar International brands include H&M, Uniqlo and Samsung. There’s also a cinema, karaoke rooms and an arcade.

Best areas to stay in Batam

Batam has a variety of accommodation for a range of budgets and tastes. The best areas to stay in Batam include:

Nagoya

Known for its bustling atmosphere, shopping centres, and nightlife, Nagoya is also home to numerous budget and mid-range hotels, and can be a good choice for travellers on a budget.

Batam Center

Batam Center is ideal for those keen for easy access to transportation – plus a quieter atmosphere.

Nongsa

Nongsa is a popular area for those after a more luxurious and secluded experience, with several high-end resorts and private beaches.

Waterfront City

Waterfront City is a newer area of Batam, located on the western coast of the island. It is home to several upscale hotels and a golf course.

Check the best accommodation in Batam.

Best restaurants and bars

Batam is known for its seafood and local delicacies, such as otak-otak (grilled fish cake) and sate (grilled meat skewers). From traditional street food stalls to upscale restaurants to International fast food joints, the hungry visitor is never short of options.

Here are the best places to eat in Batam:

  • Golden Prawn Seafood Restaurant Delicious seafood and waterfront views.
  • A2 Foodcourt The popular hawker centre in Nagoya has a wide variety of local and international cuisines at affordable prices.
  • Rezeki Seafood Restaurant Well-frequented by locals, this is a great choice for seafood in Batam Centre.
  • Warung Mak Beng This small, family-run restaurant located in Nagoya is known for its fried fish and sambal sauce.
  • The Coffee Story This popular coffee shop chain in Batam is known for its delicious coffee and fresh pastries.
The beauty of the sunrise on the Fisabilillah Barelang bridge, Batam Island, Indonesia ○ Shutterstock

Barelang bridge, Batam Island, Indonesia © Shutterstock

How to get around

The best way to get around Batam is by taxi but there are a number of cheaper options too.

By taxi

Taxis are widely available in Batam and are a convenient option for those who prefer a private and comfortable mode of transportation. It is recommended to use reputable taxi companies and negotiate the fare before getting in the car.

By bus

Public buses are a cheap and convenient way to get around Batam, with several routes covering different parts of the island. However, buses can be crowded and may not be the most comfortable option.

By motorbike taxi

Motorbike taxis, known as ojeks, are a popular mode of transportation in Batam, particularly for short distances. However, safety may be a concern, and it is recommended to wear a helmet and negotiate the fare before getting on the bike.

By car

Car rental is a popular option for those who prefer to drive themselves and explore the island at their own pace. Several car rental companies are available in Batam, and it is recommended to book in advance.

How many days do you need in Batam?

The number of days needed to explore Batam depends on your travel plans and interests. If you are interested in experiencing the island's beaches, water sports, and outdoor activities, a 2-3 day trip to Batam would be sufficient.

This will give you enough time to explore popular attractions like the Barelang Bridge, the Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall, and the Batam Miniature Park. If you're planning to take day trips to nearby islands such as Bintan or Singapore, you may want to add an extra day or two to your itinerary.

Tip: our local experts can help you plan your dream trip.

Vacation on a tropical island resort in Batam Indonesia © Shutterstock

Vacation on a tropical island resort in Batam Indonesia © Shutterstock

Best time to visit Batam

The best time to visit Batam is during the dry season (May to September), especially in terms of weather. Temperatures sit at around 30°C, and things are generally dry and sunny.

However, it’s worth remembering that this is also the most popular time to visit, and things can get pretty crowded. To avoid the crowds and still enjoy good weather, visit from March to April and October to November.

Monsoon is generally from November to February. Heavy rainfall and the odd thunderstorm can be expected.

Find out more about the best time to visit Indonesia.

How to get here

Most people will travel to Batam from Singapore using fast ferries but the island has its own airport as well.

By air

AirAsia, Garuda, Sriwijaya and Lion Air have flights from Jakarta to Batam. Hang Nadim Airport is on the eastern side of Pulau Batam.

By boat

Ferries frequently zip back and forth between Singapore and the Riau islands. Crossings from Singapore’s Harbourfront Centre (the main terminal) take 30–60 minutes, depending on the type of boat and destination in Batam. There is also a boat from Malaysia to Batam Centre. Ferry operators include Batam Fast, Majestic Ferry and Sindo Ferry.

Learn more about how to get to Indonesia.

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updated 14.03.2023

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