Phew. Finally had the time to sort out the pictures taken during my Batam trip about 2 weeks ago and start on writing about Day 1 in Batam here.
Batam had always been one of the destination to consider whenever planning for a weekend getaway. Reason being (1) It is cheap as compared to any other places (even Malaysia's getting more and more expensive) and (2) It is very near (About 45 minutes ferry ride. You don't even need to endure the long hour road trip etc..)
BUT, I had NEVER thought of staying overnight there, less said 2 nights. I had always portray Batam to be somewhere just for massage and seafood and nothing much thereafter. So when we booked our trip for 3 days 2 nights, I wasn't really looking forward to it. So not looking forward that I only changed SGD 100 for 3 days 2 nights there
But boy was I wrong! I had a lot of fun in Batam during the 2 nights stay there and surprisingly, everything was nicely planned though not really according to our initial plan but, it was all just nice. In fact, there wasn't enough time for more shopping, we only went for 1 shopping mall that's all. And $100 was NOT ENOUGH!
Please excuse the tired and pale face because I decided to let my skin take a rest from the make-up during the trip.
So, Cam and I met up during the Labour Holiday to look out for some travel package suitable for our weekend getaway planned during the Vesak long holiday at People's Park Complex. Initially, we wanted to go Genting, or somewhere in Malaysia, but anywhere in Malaysia were FULLY BOOKED. So we got no choice but to finalize on Batam which apparently, were the only one available during the holiday peak period.
We booked the trip via Five Stars Tours in the People's Park Complex and the guy name, Alvin Teo, were extremely nice and helpful in helping us with the booking. He is also extremely patience because we were rather indecisive and given that both Eugene & Vone were not around so we had a really hard time finalizing the trip via telephone calls.
After about 30 minutes, we finally finalize on Batam and Alvin was the one who recommended us Holiday Inn at Batam. We initially wanted Spa Villa which I've blog about it earlier, and because it is cheaper. But Alvin tell us to go for Holiday Inn instead as it is an international hotel and it is much better than Spa Villa. And he was so right! More on that later.
So we booked the trip at about SGD 175 per person which include the following;
- 2-way ferry tickets (Sin-Batam-Sin)
- Meet & Greet services at Waterfront Ferry Terminal
- 2-way land transfer (Waterfront-Resort-Waterfront)
- 2 nights stay at 2 bedroom suite, Holiday Inn Batam
- Daily Breakfast
Exclusive of fuel and tax surcharge of SGD 20 to be paid upon collection of ticket at the counter and SGD 7 to be paid before departing from Batam at the last day.
It was quite a steal given that we were given the 2 bedroom suite inclusive of daily breakfast as well. Wooo.
We met at about 9.45am at the Harbourfront Shopping Centre and boy, it was SO crowded. Everyone is going on a holiday during the long weekend and we were told to check-in early to avoid overcrowding which in turns leads to us missing our ferry. And we really nearly missed our ferry phew.
Luckily, we managed to board in time.
On board Sindo Ferry to Batam. Sindo Ferry will stop by 2 terminal namely Sekupang and Waterfront Terminal. We need to alight at Waterfront Terminal, which is the 2nd stop, so it took us 1 hour to reach Batam instead of the usual 45 minutes.
Reached Waterfront terminal after an hour. The immigration there cleared kinda slow and there were basically only 1 counter open for "All Passports".
As soon as we exited the Immigration counter, a mini combi and a staff from the hotel is there to welcome us and fetch us to the hotel.
And to our surprise, Holiday Inn Resort is only about 3 minutes, no, about 2 minutes only, drive away from the Waterfront Terminal. We can even walk to the hotel, probably would take us about 5 - 10 minutes depending on the speed we walk. It is very very near!
Angry bird welcoming us at the Hotel Lobby. *Laughs I thought the angry bird fame had long subsided.
And a welcome drink at the counter beside the check-in area which makes me feel very welcomed at the hotel.
The drinks changes every day and it was very very nice and they only provide juices.
We were there at about 12pm (Indo time. They are 1 hour behind us) and the official check-in time is at 2pm. So we just wonder around the hotel and took some pictures and I immediately fall in love with this place as soon as I step out of the lobby.
Love the nature & green concept of the hotel and the little hut along the pavement. And each hut differs, some are souvenirs shop while some are restaurant. Cool beans.
And then another surprise awaits us,
Ah yes, they have games room! Pool table, computer, board games, and they even have wii and xbox! What better way to kill time other than playing games in the games room!
And what makes it even awesome is EVERYTHING.IS.FREEEEEEE!!!!
And they even have a whiteboard on the wall so Vone went on to write our names on the whiteboard lol.
It was quite fun also because we were the only group in the games room. At about 1.30pm, I decided to check with the counter if our room are ready as we were getting kinda bored already, and very happy to know that they were ready! So I quickly told them and off we go to check out our room and to put our luggage
The hotel lobby and rooms were separated at Holiday Inn and our room were situated in another block just directly opposite the Lobby.
And check out our 2 bedroom suite .....
I was pleasantly surprised and very satisfied with our room. The room were totally beyond our expectation. Definitely recommended if you are heading to Batam. The main door were heavy unlike the one I stayed in Bangkok which added a tinge of security and the air-con were very strong and the rooms & toilets were clean. Basically, I love Holiday Inn Resort!
After settling down our stuff and freshen up a bit, we went to the lobby to book for a slot to Nagoya Shopping Mall the next day. Yes, Holiday Inn Resort provides free shuttle service to and fro to Nagoya Shopping Mall and BCS mall. You have to book a slot with your preferred scheduled timing with the counter so as to avoid the shuttle service from fully booked.
Right after, our plan for the day was to go for our seafood lunch at Harbourbay Seafood Restaurant located at Harbourbay lol.
Took the Holiday Inn taxi to the restaurant as we feel it is much safer but of course, much more expensive. The pricing were all written on the board at the taxi counter outside the hotel, so don't worry about getting scam.
The taxi used to fetch us to Harbourbay.
We decided to skip the usual tourist restaurant like Golden Prawn 933 and head to Harbourbay Seafood restaurant as suggested by Cam. She went there previously with her colleague and quite like it and since we totally had no idea where to go other than Golden Prawn plus we were all so hungry by that time, we agreed to Harbourbay.
And luckily we chose Harbourbay Seafood because ALL other seafood restaurants at Harbourbay (Yes, the place for seafood is also call Harbourbay) were closed! They only start their business at evening time and we were there at around 3pm in the afternoon.
Took the seat next to the open space of the restaurant near the sea area.
The oh-so-dirty looking sea.
Not sure what are they laughing at.
One thing I realise, the people in Batam doesn't know how to speak English AT ALL. Strangely, they do know Teochew and maybe Malay. Their main language are their own Indonesia language and Teochew/Malay is probably their 2nd language. Although very very rarely you will bump into someone who somehow knows how to speak Chinese a bit and very very very rare to met someone who can communicate in basic English.
Luckily for us, we understand basic Malay and can somehow communicate in Teochew since my dialect is Teochew, so communication isn't a huge problem for us.
And the feasting begins!
The very old and huge coconut that is so not appetizing. I prefer young coconut than the old want because the flesh is so much tender. Oh and, the coconut is serve warm wtf.
The free crackers serve as a appetizer which is very yummy.
This is the BEST.FRIED.RICE.EVER! Eugene love it so much that he can be the ambassador for the fried rice. He has been talking about how good the fried rice is the whole time after his first bite and for the rest of the trip. I swear the fried rice was so good, the taste was just nice, just, awesome!
Here's a shot of the fried rice ambassador trying to tell you how good the fried rice is.
Cereal prawns which don't really have the cereal taste. It taste more like an artificial cereal in my opinion but I have to admit, the prawns were very fresh.
My first time trying Gong Gong and I don't really like it though. Prefer La-La and cockles over any-shell else.
Baby Kai Lan
After the goodness gracious fried rice, here comes another oh-so-delicious steamed fish. I'm so sorry I forgot the name of the fish, it should be grouper? Not sure.
But this is also one of the highlight of the lunch that day. The fish were very very fresh, tender and juicy! In fact, all the seafood served in Batam were very fresh.
We ordered two crabs under their "Super Crab" category namely Black Pepper crab and Salted Egg Yolk crab which both in my opinion, were not very fantastic. Although yes, again, tasted very fresh. I guess the problem lies with the sauce in the crab. The black pepper doesn't taste like black pepper and the salted egg yolk taste wasn't strong enough to taste like salted egg yolk. Sigh
In case you were wondering, super crab meaning a larger and a more expensive crab than the usual normal want.
Then, we feel that we were not yet satisfied with all the seafood indulgence so we decided to order another plate of La-La and it was very good! Being a spicy food lover, this is probably one of the best dish that day although to be honest, the sauce tasted like chili crab sauce. =|
But nonetheless, I still love the plate of La-La.
Unlike the La-La in Singapore where you get almost 50% empty shells in the plate of La-La, the one at Harbourbay Seafood serve 100% non-empty shell La-La!
And not sure if we are very lucky or what, the restaurant is actually having a 50% promotion on ALL seafood during the day we went! So for all the above plus drinks cost us at a total of IDR 552,475 which is at about ..... $71.75 only!! Cheap of what!!??
It cost us at about only $18 per pax omg. We all agree that given the price of $71.75, we could only probably afford to eat the crabs in Singapore (depends on where you eat) excluding all other side dishes. If you choose to eat at high class seafood restaurant like No Signboard or Jumbo, $71.75 should only afford you 1 crab. No joke.
FYI, I got my exchange rate at SGD 1 : IDR 7,700.
After our meal, we decided to shop around the Harbourbay area since there were quite a lot of shop houses there. And yes, that's a Polo Ralph Lauren you see there.
As unbelievable/skeptical as it may sounds, the Polo Ralph Lauren shop in Batam ARE authentic except that it is made in Indonesia rather than it's origin country.
That is why the Polo Ralph Lauren sold in Batam are much more cheaper as compared to any other ones but rest assured that it is definitely authentic.
Not a fan of Polo Tee so I didn't get anything there though it is indeed a lot more cheaper.
By now I can ensure that we are really lucky that day because Baskin Robbins is also having a 1-for-1 promotion. Yay!
Wander around the shop houses and all of us had a bottomless pit stomach that day because right after our seafood lunch, we each got ourselves Ice-cream and/or desserts and manage to find a really nice area to sit down and chill which is the swing!
Totally non-edit. The sunlight was just nice shining bright above them when I captured this photo. Very dreamy and very beautiful.
Right after our desserts, we hop on a cab and head over for our next plan of the day. Surprisingly, as soon as we hop on the cab, we did not talk a single word but the taxi driver knew immediately that we were Singaporean. Weird.
Anyway, we wanted to go for some water-sports like para-sailing and I found out from Mr.Google that Harris Hotel seems to provide water-sports. BUT, the taxi driver told us that the water-sports in Harris hotel had long shifted to elsewhere and he bought us here instead (the above pic).
We got down the cab and went back after 2 minutes because the only sports available is Cable Ski and the water were very very dirty. So we got back the cab and head to Harris Hotel.
Harris Hotel is just 5 minutes drive away from our Holiday Inn Resort and didn't know that the Cable Ski area is just directly opposite Harris Hotel -.-!
Some of the Facilities in Harris Hotel. Harris Hotel do provide a lot of facilities as compared to our Holiday Inn Resort. Holiday Inn Resort don't even have Bowling to begin with but if you ask me, I still prefer Holiday Inn Resort.
So we saw an advertisement pasted on one of the wall about Air Soft Gun Battle at the Hotel and Eugene's immediately suggested us to go with it. We girls were rather reluctant because (1) we don't know how to play and (2) we are just not into those gun battle thingy and what's worst is, Eugene kept on telling us that it will be very painful if we got shot by the "bullets". Since we couldn't fulfill our plan for water-sports activities and there were basically nothing to do for the day already. we decided to go for it!
To book the Air Soft gun battle, head to the Bowling center and make a purchase there. For 200 bullets, it cost you SGD 25 per person. Yes, they charge in Singapore dollars.
After you have made your payment, head back to the indoor air soft gun as shown in the above pic to get changed in your battle outfit.
Cool of what!? I seriously did not expect to be this fully armor from head to toe and I really can't imagine myself wearing army uniform lolol. There is no need to take off your clothes, just wear it over your top as you are going to take off immediately after the battle.
And the uniform and shoes were seriously very big for me. And the helmet and stuff, don't expect it to be very clean or odour free. I got a pimple on my forehead right after the battle though. And I was already sweating even before the battle starts. Imagine yourself fully armor with 2 layers of clothes running around under the hot sun.
Ahh well, just have fun and enjoy while you're on holiday.
A shot before we start our battle. It was 3 girls vs 1 guy that day!
In case you were wondering, two people would follow you into the battlefield. One of them helps to take picture with your camera and the other gave you instructions during the battle. Very satisfy that they have the help-you-take-picture services.
Oh and the gun is really heavy, to me. Maybe because I am not use to holding a "gun". I need to lift up the gun unlike Eugene who can hold the gun very swiftly and easily.
Leggo! And this is one of the guy who follow us in the battlefield. Didn't know they use my camera to take a picture of themselves lol.
We (girls) were all hiding behind the partition the whole time and nobody dares take the first move because we all don't know how painful it will be and we really don't know how to play, seriously. Eugene on the other hand kept on shooting and moving towards us making us all panic.
There was a time when I stand up to see where he was through the windows, I was shot right smack in the middle of my face. And I was the first to get eliminated in the first round =/
That's me taking a break from the helmet to breathe in some fresh air and looking at the rest of them battling against one another lol. Needless to say, Eugene won the first round.
And it was really NOT painful at all! I don't know how to describe but it was really nothing. Though you can really feel the ball hit on your skin but it is really not painful. No swollen skin whatsoever so rest assured because remember, you are fully armor!
So this time round, after knowing the feeling of getting hit by the the air soft gun. I got daring on the 2nd round. Instead of hiding, I now run forward but still, I suck in aiming. I shot a probably of 30 bullets and none hit Eugene fml.
Aftermath of an Air Soft Gun battle gives an awkward, funny, somehow dumb looking position but still looks kinda cool shot to me. Lol. This shot was actually suggested by one of the guy who followed us in and I guess he has been helping a lot of tourist take pictures so he somehow gets kinda professional already. He even bends down to take this shot for us lol thank you!
It was really fun! Everyone who are intending to head to Batam should really try this! If you have a big group, it will be much more fun and interesting! It was definitely one of the unforgettable and amazing experience throughout the whole trip. Like I said, life's only once, be adventurous.
Our tired looking face right after the battle. Next up, it was bowling time!
If I'm not wrong, the bowling cost around SGD 3 per person per one game?
Apparently, Cam's the champion that night.
All of us were told by our parents that Batam are kinda dangerous at night after 8pm so all of us decided to be good during the trip and head back to hotel kinda early every night. Afterall, it is not our country so ..... And also there were basically nothing to do at night.
Researched online and apparently, quite a number of people recommended Chitato potato chips, a local product in Indonesia. So I bought 2 packs from the Hotel convenience stall back to the room and it was so not nice. Not recommended. Calbee and Jack n Jill is still the best. And don't ever purchase anything from the convenience stall in the hotel because they charged at an exorbitant price. I bought the potato chip at IDR 22,000 each at the hotel and the similar one at a local stores in the shopping mall cost only IDR 7,000 each. Notice the huge difference.
Anyway, ended the night with snacks and movies. Surprisingly, they provide a lot of channel for the television in the hotel room including HBO and etc, we catch movie after movie every night before heading to bed. International hotel is indeed international hotel. Good.
I'll be back for Day 2 soon. Stay tuned!