Johor Bahru (JB) has always been the preferred day trip location of choice because of its close proximity and a wide variety of activities at super cheap prices thanks to an awesome exchange rate.
Recently, thanks to a group of like-minded friends, I’ve discovered yet another similarly fantastic day trip location – Batam!
How to get to Batam?
It is a quick 45min ride from Harborfront Ferry Terminal to Batam Centre. Compared to the experience at the Causeway, customs at the Batam Centre is comparatively smoother and faster. There’s plenty of scheduled departures daily from 7:40am to 9:40pm by at least 3 key ferry operators (BatamFast, Sindo Ferry and Majestic Fast).
Just head online, make a booking and payment. Tickets can be picked up at the ferry terminal on the day itself. Make sure you arrive on time so the boat won’t leave without you!
What do I get up to in Batam?
I spent my entire day (yes there’s that much to do!) in the Mega Mall Shopping Centre – just one overhead bridge away from the Batam Ferry Centre where we arrived. Just head up to the second floor, and there will be signs showing you the overhead bridge connection.
A&W and other food
Singaporeans love A&W – which brings back waves of nostalgia and memories of a childhood gone by. As such it was one of the first stops we made when we arrived in Batam Centre. Thoroughly enjoyed stuffing our faces silly with the famous curly fries, chicken, and root beer floats!
Other meals that we had included traditional Indonesian cuisine where you could pick and choose anything you like (quite like our economical rice stores). I highly recommend to get a warm bowl of oxtail soup to accompany any of your meals, you will not regret it!!
This was one of the main reasons my friends wanted to take the day trip to Batam so badly, and to be honest, I did not understand the reason why at the start until we reached the hyper mart at the mall’s basement, took a look at the price labels and instantly figured out why.
EVERYTHING IS LIKE 1/3rd THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING IN SG OR LESS.
Just take a look at a quick sample of my shopping haul from the past trip. These are the prices of all the items I bought in Batam. Definitely not prices you see here at your friendly NTUC or even Sheng Shiong.
Pampering – Spa Services to Hair Treatments
Since relaxation is also a very critical activity wherever I go, we also found a very reasonably priced wellness spa salon, Eska Wellness Spa Massage & Salon to indulge in. Apparently it is one of the more famous wellness chains in Batam and definitely for good reason.
They have spa, massage, facial, hair treatments, manicures, pedicure services all under one roof and all at very wallet-friendly prices.
I indulged in a 30mins back massage, a 1.5 hour hair treatment, manicure and foot massage, all for a jaw-dropping SGD 55! Boy can’t I wait to head back for more relaxing me-time.
Apart from Eska, there are many other hair salons/massage places all over the mall, so there’s likely to be a place for everyone!
With a modern cineplex in the mall, you also have the option to catch the latest blockbusters at a fraction of the price of catching them on screen in Singapore – we only paid SGD 4 per person!
Take a day or two off and explore Batam soon!
The abovementioned activities were just some I managed to squeeze within one day trip in one mall and there’s plenty more to be explored. After returning to Batam after more than a five year hiatus, I have found the place to be very much similar to Johor Bahru (in terms of the cheaper shopping and pampering rates) and is now topping my charts as a new alternative for a quick weekend getaway.
I am already planning my next trip back next quarter! Looking forward to explore the many other malls in Batam Centre next round.
Hope this provides some inspiration on what to do for your next trip into Batam!