Saturday, August 11, 2012

batam on half a day

indonesia is a large archipelago that some of its islands extend just below singapore and interestingly, on its eastern side, it shares a big chunk of land with papua new guinea. bet you don't know that! but no worries, we're in the same boat! i also didn't know until i keyed in "indonesia" in google map. if you already knew it, good for you. really. there's no hint of bitterness in between these words. haha

well, batam is a tiny island in comparison to indonesia's other big islands and this minuscule island is just one of indonesia's 17,508 islands! yes, seventeen thousand! wow! it is merely a ferry ride away from singapore but quite strange indeed that i was only able to cross the border for indonesia just recently. a very contrasting point blurted out by my indonesian colleague. she said that i chose to fly to a more distant place than to get on a ferry to her country.

Harbour Bay Port, Batam, Indonesia

out from a random idea of getting a massage in batam, we were then a pack of four which consisted of me, my indonesian colleague, and my other two filipino colleagues.

Wave Master Ticket Counter, Harbourfront, Singapore

our rendezvous was at harbourfront ferry terminal in singapore, and it was supposed to be at 10AM but we only managed to get our tickets for the 12:20PM ferry. however, it was not due to the crowd because that was one normal weekend, as you can see in the photo above. it was just one of those few times that i realized traveling in a group could sometimes be more of a challenge than traveling in duo or even solo.

we were headed to the nearest port from singapore which only took 40 minutes, with our tough ferry bouncing off the moderately rough seas. we sort of turned back in time for an hour less because this side of indonesia is at UTC+07:00.

there were few passengers in both directions, way less than the ferry's seating capacity. it was a comfortable ride with the air-conditioning blasting off that made me wish outside had the same temperature.

Harbour Bay Mall, Batam

from harbour bay's port in batam, one need not go to the central area since there's already a nearby mall. i don't know though what are the things that can occupy your whole day here. as for us, we fit ourselves into a cab after my indonesia colleague negotiated with the driver.

there is a taxi stand right after you exit from the immigration check. our fare from harbour bay port to nagoya hill mall, which i presumed around the center already was IDR45,000.  it took about 10 minutes, cruising along narrow roads as we saw fleeting sceneries of what's batam. it felt like i was going home!

our cab driver was kind enough to drop us off at a spa but the rates were expensive for us and besides, they were fully booked for the day. we then, ascended on foot to nagoya hill mall which is literally perched on top of a small hill.

we were supposed to book for a certain spa near nagoya hill mall but their rates were actually more expensive than the rates in the forums. there are no published rates on their website and their rates could probably change every now and then, depending on their feel.

most of the spa establishments are at the back of nagoya hill mall with reference to its main entrance. and that's where i was in the photo above, apparently oblivious to the scanty crowd.

we chose the first wellness spa that we saw as we made our way across a busy road. i had a traditional massage for 1.5 hours and capped it off with a body scrub for half an hour. it cost me IDR234,300 including taxes. the massage was ok but i considered the scrub as my highlight. and because it was at the middle of the day, the traffic down the street didn't give us that calmness and complete serenity and the staff were even scurrying here and there outside the section where we were, with only dark curtains separating us. but anyhow, i loved their ginger tea after my massage!

Eska Wellness Spa Massage & Salon
Ruko Nagoya Hill Blok R4 - F4, R4 - F3A
Tel. +62 778 749 3866

Nagoya Hill Mall's Food Street

was it inconsiderate for us to visit batam on the first day of ramadan? i randomly picked the date though and unknowingly, chose the first day of fasting.

although there were still few stalls open at the food street in nagoya hill mall, we were only left with limited choices while fast-food was out of the question.

after a quick survey of the food street (which is inside the mall and not an actual street), we settled in citra pempek which seems to be a famous indonesian restaurant chain. at least we were not in KFC! haha

i didn't get the name of this banana-wrapped local snack. the plate was already on our table and to our disappointment, these were not for free.

Nasi Tim

because i was beyond hungry, i chose a very filling meal! nasi tim, consists mainly of steamed rice and chicken with mushroom. here's what the rest ordered.

A plate of Pempek. Yum!

Mie Ayam

Soto Ayam

One of my current perk up food, pickled chili!

Jus Pokat (Avocado Shake with Chocolate Syrup) *drooling now*

Our Humble Feast

The architecture is lovely!

my meal including a share on pempek cost me IDR38,000 which was a sweet deal already! with happy bellies, we lastly went to hypermart, a big grocery store inside nagoya hill mall. no, we didn't hoard our groceries there.

time went by fast that we headed back to the harbour bay port right after our mini stint in hypermart. we got the same rate on our return cab which had a bit of quirkiness to it. when we were about to make our descent down the hill, the driver had to repeatedly pull something near the footrest of the passenger seat. it surely caught us by surprise! after a while, we then felt a hint of air-conditioning. thank you for that thoughtful gesture, mr. driver.

Sunset at Harbour Bay, Batam

we made it to the 6:20PM ferry which would reach singapore almost eight in the evening. we had to get back that missing 1 hour after all.

thank you batam for that short but sweet stay.


Wave Master Return Ticket to Harbour Bay, Batam
SGD48.00 (Included in the ticket are the taxes and terminal fees.)

it's quite expensive considering the ticket cost already covers half of my entire expenses. but as i always like to think, no regrets. :)

one note on wave master's ticket counter in harbour bay, it's not near the departure area but it's inside harbour bay mall. the distance is a 5-minute walk in a hurried pace. the ferry terminal building is conveniently connected with a foot bridge to the mall. a porter was kind enough to lead our way.

we already bought the return ticket but we still needed to check in at the ticket counter. it was an open ticket though.

Wave Master Ferry Schedule to Harbour Bay

Rupiah Currency
that time, it was IDR7,300 against 1SGD. at least that was the rate of the money exchange in singapore's ferry terminal. 


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