The resort island of Batam belongs to Indonesia, just an hour south of Singapore’s shores by ferry. It’s one of the popular weekend getaway destinations for the Singapore populous I suppose, promising a quiet seaside respite from the concrete jungle, cheap duty-free shopping, and relaxing massages. Ottie and I spent days researching on which island we wanted to visit (contenders being Bintan, Bali, Phuket)… or should I say, I spent multiple days fretting over our travel plans until Ottie put a stop to it by basically saying, alright we’re booking this hotel, now let us not worry about it until we get to it.
And so it was that we booked a 4D3N stay at Harris Resort Waterfront via Expedia for a grand total of SGD $203 inclusive of taxes. Pretty worth it if I must say so myself. There were, of course cheaper deals in the area, but we were looking for a quiet place to vegetate and so this seemed the best fit.
I also procured our ferry transportation from Singapore to Batam through Groupon for a slightly discounted price of SGD $35 per person for a 2-way journey through Pacific Ferry. Buying from Groupon tends to stress me out, since there’s a lot of terms and conditions tacked on to the discounted prices. But the only thing that I had to worry about was to send an email to Pacific Ferry with my requested departure date and time from Singapore. The office assured me that I’d be able to book my return date and timing at their branch at the ferry terminal in Batam, which we did immediately upon entry since we knew how many days we wanted to stay for.
We took a cab from Sekupang Ferry Terminal straight to Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall, since we were famished. The cab driver charged us a flat fee of 90,000 IDR (SGD $9) for the journey. It seemed reasonable considering that he would have to bear the burden of ferrying us under such turbulent weather.
A significant portion of the journey saw us travel through incredibly flooded roads. Here, the waters went as high up as the curb – Ottie and I even felt the rushing waters through the cab floor at one point! Our cab driver had to take a few longer routes to escape the worse-off portions of the roads. It was such an adventure.
We dined at the crowded May Star Restaurant on a lark. The food there was amazing. Very much worth the 212,300 IDR (SGD $21) bill:
The only item that lacked was the 铁观音 (Tie Guan Yin) tea I ordered, which tasted a tad funny.
Hunger sated, we hailed a cab from Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall to Harris Waterfront Resort for a flat fee of 150,000 IDR (SGD $15):
Complimentary stuff. They refilled the bottles of water every day, which was very much appreciated. We also made sure to tip the guy who serviced our rooms to spick and span conditions, especially since we’d always leave our room after housekeeping at noon.
We went to explore the rest of the facilities, and I was wowed by the beautiful rooftop massage beds at H’Spa. We didn’t get a massage though, it was pretty expensive (compared to those in town). I’m also ridiculously ticklish.
We finally settled for dinner at their main cafe after exploring the small resort. Surprisingly, their thin-crust pizzas are one of the best we’ve had. We got ourselves an All Meat Pizza for 110,000 IDR (SGD $11), which was perhaps slightly cheaper than what you’d find in Singapore. We heard that eating at resorts were expensive, but in fact it’s all relative. The same pizza could probably go for way cheaper in town, but absolutely-speaking, it was still quite affordable.
Lightly-toasted bread was served complimentary with every meal. We were so drawn to them that we requested for more slices whenever we dined at their cafe because the bread was just too yummy. The friendly waitstaff even went along with our request for a small plate of olive oil for us to dip our yummy bread in. They must have thought that we were crazy gorging on bread like so for the four days that we were there.
Finally, here’s what I wore! We didn’t know what our plans were for the day, so I dressed for a pool-ready outfit which could just as easily be worn to places that sported a distinct lack of chlorinated water. It’s not the first time I’ve worn a bikini top as a bra, and I doubt it’ll be the last – laundry day can be unexpectedly uncooperative sometimes.
Here, have one of my failed attempts as I wriggle myself into a bastardisation of a bodyroll. Ironically, we spent a good portion of the day tuned to MTV Asia, where multiple Kpop songs were featured. We don’t even watch TV at home. Also, I got muscle aches in various places from an afternoon of body roll attempts. There is a reason why I do not dance. :P
Outfit photos assisted by Ottie.