Saturday, 15 December 2012

Batam 2012 (071212 - 081212)

Approximately a little over a week after the Tanjung Pinang trip, I hopped on to another ferry proceeding to Batam! With my beloved poly friends of course. (:

Arriving at Harbourfront Ferry Terminal an hour before departure, we had time for our breakfast and make our last minute preparations before checking in the 0840 BatamFast ferry. When booking the tickets at their counter, in my opinion, I felt that the staff serving me was rather rude, and seemed like she is reluctant to work. However, thats beside the point today.

Exchange rate was at SGD$1 = IDR$7810

DAY 1:
First time back to Batam after so long! I think the last time I went Batam was during my kindergarten days? Thinking back, my impression of Batam was a fishing village initially!

As Batam was an hour behind us, we reached Batam at 0840HRS Batam time. The shopping malls weren't even open by then! We loitered around the Batam Centre Terminal, buying stuffs like bubblegums and settling down for our first meal in Batam. Eating local delights like Ayam Penyet, Beehoon Goreng, etc.

After our meals, we went on to catch a cab to First Factory Outlet, to purchase the locally made "AA" grade shirts. Brands like Burberry, Polo Ralph Lauren, Fred Perry, etc were in abundance there. Bought two Burberry shirts each costing IDR$210,000 (SGD$27).

After shopping, we headed over to the more famous shopping centre in Batam, the Nagoya Shopping Mall. There, we had our lunch, the long-forgotten A&W, something not to be missed while you're in Batam.

Shopped for local delicacies, while experiencing their local culture. Contrary to beliefs, I think that the local people are kind and helpful. There was an incident where my friend dropped his wallet on the ground, and the locals just reminded him, instead of taking it and walking away. Probably that's one of the reason why many Singaporeans prefer to go to Batam for a short weekend getaway.

We shopped around and looked at their wide array of imitation goods displayed openly on the counters. We bought quite a number of their imitation perfume, costing about IDR$35,000 (SGD$4.50) each.

Checked in to our hotel at approximately 2PM. Being about 15mins earlier for the check-in, the room wasn't ready for us yet. The staffs were kind enough to inform us and we took a seat while some of us walked around, enjoying the Christmas decorations and design of the hotel.

Christmas decorations - made up of toilet rolls and empty bottles

We stayed in The Hills Batam Hotel. As none of us have tried staying in the suites before, the four of us decided to book a suite from to try out the experience. The price was about SGD$120, which makes it about $30/pax. 

Consisting of a living room, a bathtub inside the toilet, a queen-sized bed, and a LCD tv, there is really nothing much to be wow-ed. However, considering the fact that we're in Batam, the fact that we could get such facilities was considered a plus point. 

Rested in the room till about 5PM, we showered and went out for some additional shopping and dinner. While the guys and the girls separate from each other to do their own shopping, Kenneth and I went to try out their dessert while waiting for the girls to be back. Tried the Chocolate Ice Kacang, the taste was rather sweet, yet making you wanna gobble down more. 

However, one incident which happened was the blackout of the entire level which we were having the dessert. Looking at each other, we thought to ourselves, "okay fine, this is Batam", HAHAHAHA.

Next, we proceeded back to the hotel to place our items and went off for our seafood dinner at Golden Prawn 555 Restaurant. It was situated just next to the Golden Prawn 933 Restaurant. 

We ordered a small plate of vegetables, two medium-sized crabs, a medium gong-gong, as well as a medium plate of deep-fried calamari. Together with drinks, the cost of the dinner came up to IDR$575,000 (SGD$74). I feel that it was rather expensive, considering that we only have four persons, and we are in Batam. However, not to deny, the seafood was really fresh. 

Back to the hotel, where we played cards and rested for the night. 

Oh yes! Did i mention that we bought some satay from a roadside stall to try out before our dinner? 

The satay was garnished with two types of gravy. Anyway, the pictures dosen't look appetising, which make it look like the human faeces. And really, it does taste like SHIT. The sauces have a funny taste to it, and the meat was kinda difficult to chew. 

DAY 2:
Couldn't really have a good rest and decided to sleep in till 0900. Went to wash up and we decided to sing k! Checked out the hotel and deposited our barang-barang at the reception. As the karaoke wasn't opened until 1100HRS, we decided to walk around and take pictures of the surroundings. 

Crossing the road was a battle against life & death. There were no traffic lights and the vehicles would not give way to you. 

Batam's style of toilet-bowl restaurant

The roadside stalls

At only about SGD$13, we were provided with one small room (which can house 6-8 singers) and three hours of singing! As it was a weekend, additional orders such as drinks and food had to be ordered separately. 

Lunch was the famous pontian Wanton Mee, the only non-Halal restaurant I have seen in the past one day.

Scuffling to make last minute purchases before we depart for Singapore, we tried out the arcade and the fish spa. 

It was an open departure ticket from BatamFast, which means that we can book the allocated timings to return to Singapore simply at their counter at Batam Centre Terminal. Arranging for the 1740HRS ferry takes only about 5 minutes! 

Boarded the ferry with a heavy heart and we vowed to be back again! 

Recommendations: imitation products such as spectacles, watches, perfume are of wide abundance in Batam. They are priced at a price so cheap that you can't resist. Places to visit would be Nagoya Shopping Mall, Golden Prawn Restaurant, First Factory Outlet, Batam Centre Shopping Centre. Of course if you're a believer, there's lots of temple over there as well. Prices of food can be around the same as Singapore, thus, make sure that you compare the prices before consuming. 

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