Welcome to the comprehensive review of Batam, an extraordinary city in Indonesia that’s replete with history, culture, culinary delights, and numerous attractions for every traveler. Batam, a city and island that offers vibrant life, scenic views, and warm, welcoming locals, is a destination that deserves recognition. In this review, we’ll delve deep into the intricacies of Batam, painting a vivid picture of the experience that awaits you.

From its humble beginnings to its modern visage, we’ll walk you through the history and distinctive features that shape Batam today. We’ll explore the island’s environmental health, its inhabitants’ unique personality, and the wide array of activities that the city offers. We’ll also present a gourmet’s guide to the best foods to try and the places to find them. Though every destination has its downsides, you’ll discover that Batam’s charm overshadows them. Lastly, we will provide practical tips for a safe and memorable adventure.

History of Batam

Batam, like many Indonesian islands, has a rich, intertwined history. Initially inhabited by indigenous Malay people, the island has seen influences from the Portuguese, Dutch, and British empires, all of which left their mark. But it was only after 1969, when Batam was declared an industrial area, that it began to experience rapid growth. Today, it is a bustling city, drawing visitors from around the globe for both its business prospects and tourism delights. The melding of cultures and influences has resulted in a unique, vibrant tapestry that shapes the Batam we know today.

Size and Appearance


Sprawled across an area of 415 square kilometers, Batam is the largest city in the province of Riau Islands. With a population of over 1.2 million people, it is a vibrant city, featuring a harmonious blend of modern architecture, traditional markets, residential areas, and pockets of greenery. Its urban skyline and the rustic charm of the coastal areas provide a picturesque juxtaposition, illustrating Batam’s growth and evolution.

Environmental Health

Batam places a great emphasis on preserving its natural beauty. The city boasts lush green parks, clean streets, and pristine beaches. However, like many urban areas, Batam faces challenges concerning waste management and air pollution. Yet, authorities and citizens have been actively addressing these issues, implementing waste management programs and promoting green transportation options.

Area Human Personality

Batam’s locals are known for their warm and hospitable nature. Their cultural diversity, rooted in the island’s history, contributes to their open-mindedness and friendliness towards visitors. The city is teeming with life, where both traditional and modern ways coexist, reflected in the vibrant arts scene, bustling markets, and thriving tech sector.

5 Best Things to Do in Batam

1. Visit the Barelang Bridge

  • Overview: The Barelang Bridge is a chain of six bridges of various types that connect the islands of Batam, Rempang, and Galang. It’s a marvel of engineering and architectural beauty.
  • Experience: As you approach the bridge, the first thing that strikes you is its majestic structure. The primary bridge, Tengku Fisabilillah, is particularly iconic. It offers a panoramic view of the serene sea and the bustling city, making it a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.
  • Activities: Apart from enjoying the scenic views, visitors often engage in leisure activities such as fishing. The area around the bridge also has several food stalls where you can taste local Indonesian snacks and seafood.

2. Experience Nongsa Beach

  • Location and Features: Nongsa Beach is situated on the northeastern side of Batam Island. Known for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, it is less crowded compared to other beaches, offering a peaceful retreat.
  • Activities: This beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. It’s also an excellent spot for water sports like jet skiing and parasailing. The sunset views here are particularly breathtaking.
  • Nearby Attractions: Around Nongsa Beach, there are several resorts and spas, where visitors can enjoy luxurious treatments and dining options.

3. Explore Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple

  • Significance: This temple stands as one of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, reflecting the cultural diversity and religious tolerance in Batam.
  • Architecture and Art: The temple complex is adorned with bright colors and houses several large statues of Buddha and other deities. The laughing Buddha statue at the entrance is especially notable for its size and the sense of joy it exudes.
  • Cultural Experience: Visitors can learn about Buddhist philosophy, enjoy the tranquil surroundings, and partake in vegetarian dining available within the temple premises.

4. Enjoy Water Sports

  • Variety of Activities: Batam’s clear waters and favorable weather conditions make it a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Activities include banana boat rides, jet skiing, snorkeling, and even flyboarding.
  • For Every Skill Level: Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced adventurer, there are activities suited for all levels. Many beach resorts offer training sessions for beginners.
  • Island Hopping: Additionally, visitors can rent a speedboat for island hopping, exploring the nearby islands and their secluded beaches.

5. Shop at Nagoya Hill Mall

  • Shopping Experience: Nagoya Hill is the largest mall in Batam, featuring a wide array of shops. From branded apparel to local handicrafts, the mall caters to all shopping desires.
  • Culinary Delights: Beyond shopping, the mall is also a culinary hotspot. You can indulge in a variety of local and international cuisines, including the famous Indonesian street foods.
  • Entertainment and Leisure: The mall also houses a cinema, a supermarket, and various entertainment options, making it a perfect place for families and groups of friends to spend a day.

These activities in Batam offer a blend of cultural exploration, relaxation, adventure, and shopping, making the island an attractive destination for all types of travelers.

Estimated Cost for a 1-Day Visit in Batam

Expense TypeBudget (USD)Mid-Range (USD)Luxury (USD)
Accommodation15 – 3050 – 100150 – 300
Food5 – 1020 – 5060 – 120
Transport5 – 1020 – 4050 – 100
Activities10 – 2030 – 60100 – 200
Total Estimate35 – 70120 – 250360 – 720
  • Budget: Involves staying in hostels or budget hotels, eating at local street food stalls, using public transport, and engaging in low-cost activities.
  • Mid-Range: Includes staying in 3-4 star hotels, dining in mid-range restaurants, renting a scooter or using taxis for transportation, and participating in moderately-priced activities.
  • Luxury: Encompasses staying in premium hotels or resorts, dining at high-end restaurants, private transportation, and exclusive experiences or tours.

 2-Day Itinerary in Batam: Photogenic Spots

Day 1: Batam’s Natural and Cultural Beauty


    • Start at Nongsa Beach for sunrise photography. The serene beach offers excellent lighting and calm waters for landscape shots.
    • Breakfast at a nearby cafe with sea views.


    • Visit the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple. Capture the vibrant architecture and statues.


    • Enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, offering opportunities for culinary photography.


    • Explore the Barelang Bridge. The architectural marvel provides a perfect backdrop for photography.


    • Dinner at a seaside restaurant, capturing the sunset.


    • Budget: Hostel in the city center.
    • Mid-Range: Comfortable hotel with scenic views.
    • Luxury: High-end resort.

Day 2: Urban Exploration and Scenic Views


    • Early visit to Batam City Square for urban landscape shots.
    • Breakfast at a local café, capturing the hustle of the city.


    • Head to the Tua Pek Kong Temple for its unique architecture.


    • Eat at Nagoya Hill Mall, offering a blend of local and international cuisine.


    • Visit Kampung Tua (Old Town) for its cultural heritage and photogenic old buildings.


    • Capture the city’s nightlife and lights. Perhaps focus on a rooftop view.


    • Same as Day 1 or similar.

This itinerary focuses on capturing Batam’s essence through its landscapes, cultural sites, urban sceneries, and culinary delights. It offers a mix of serene natural settings and vibrant city life, ideal for photographers and enthusiasts.

Famous Hotels, Resorts, and Foods


Batam is home to many luxurious resorts like Montigo Resorts Nongsa and Radisson Golf & Convention Center. Both offer world-class amenities, stunning views, and a great dining experience. For food, look no further than seafood. “Gonggong” (sea snails), are a must-try delicacy and you can find them at Kelong Seafood Restaurant, located at Harbour Bay.

What to Eat in Batam


Batam’s cuisine is an explosion of flavors. From succulent seafood to traditional Indonesian dishes like “Ayam Penyet” (smashed fried chicken), and “Otak Otak” (grilled fish cake), Batam’s food scene will never disappoint. Be sure to also try “Mie Tarempa”, a local noodle dish, best enjoyed at Selera Kita, located at Batu Aji.

Famous Foods and Where to Buy Them


Batam is known for its seafood, particularly “Chilli Crab” and “Black Pepper Crab“. These can be savored at Wey Wey Seafood, located in Harbour Bay. For dessert, “Goreng Pisang Cheese” (banana fritters with cheese) is a popular choice. Enjoy this at the well-known outlet, “Pisang Goreng Molen Purnama” at Nagoya.

Downsides of Batam

Despite its charms, Batam has a couple of drawbacks. One is the unpredictable traffic congestion in the city center during peak hours. The other is that while locals speak English, language barriers can occur, as Bahasa Indonesia is predominantly spoken.

Tips for a Safe and Memorable Adventure in Batam


When in Batam, respect local customs and traditions. Avoid drinking tap water and stick to bottled water. Try to avoid peak traffic hours for a smooth journey. Always check the weather forecast before planning any outdoor activities. And lastly, do not hesitate to ask locals for recommendations or directions; they are always happy to help.

Final Thoughts on the Batam Experience

Batam, with its rich culture, friendly locals, delicious food, and exciting attractions, offers a unique experience that seamlessly blends the traditional and the modern. It’s a destination that will leave an indelible imprint on your travel memories, inviting you to return and explore more of its wonders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we answer some of the most common questions about these popular areas 

Yes, Batam is generally safe for tourists. However, like any other city, it’s advisable to take standard precautions such as avoiding isolated areas at night and being aware of your belongings.

The best time to visit Batam is from May to September when the weather is dry and suitable for outdoor activities.

The official currency of Batam is Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). However, Singapore Dollars (SGD) are also widely accepted due to the island’s proximity to Singapore.

Visa requirements depend on your nationality. Visitors from many countries can enter Batam without a visa for a stay of up to 30 days. It’s best to check the current regulations before you travel.

Yes, English is spoken in Batam, especially in hotels, restaurants, and tourist areas. However, the predominant language is Bahasa Indonesia.

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