Day 2 – Batam to Singapore
We didn’t have to wake up early and we were not in a hurry to rush to anywhere this morning. Being on our own this day, we were happy we didn’t have to adhere to a scheduled itinerary. So we took our time and went for breakfast when we were ready. The king bed was nice and comfy and our sleep was good.
The restaurant wasn’t very crowded when we went there. The staff were once again friendly and helpful. We were served coffee and tea and we helped ourselves to the buffet spread which was pretty good. After two rounds at the buffet spread, we stopped. That was more than sufficient food intake for the morning. After this we went back to our room, rested for a while and then packed up to leave.
First we went to the café to collect our cheese cake we purchased the night before with a 30% discount after 7 pm. Next we approached front desk to check out and we settled our outstanding bill for our dinner and cake purchase. Since there wasn’t a crowd, we cleared our check out process rather quickly.
We were going to explore Mega Mall just across Batam Centre Ferry Terminal before taking a ferry back to Singapore later in the afternoon so we didn’t join the rest for the default return early afternoon with the free transfer from the hotel. Novotel Hotel does provide shuttle service to Nogoya Hill Mall and other nearby area once in the morning and another time early afternoon.
Their shuttle timing didn’t suit us so we took up the hotel’s arranged taxi at a cost of 80,000 IDR which was more expensive had we gone out to the street to flag down a bluebird taxi. However, we didn’t have to go through the trouble to negotiate with taxi drivers and the car provided by the hotel was very new, big, clean and comfortable. The driver drove very carefully as well. So we didn’t mind the extra cost for transportation to Mega Mall.
There was some traffic during the morning but we reached Mega Mall in under 45 minutes. This mall was quite modern and new. It was still a bit early and shops were just opening. We went to do some shopping at Matahari Departmental Store where there were offers usually during the weekends. This is one of our favourite places to shop for clothes and shoes.
After that we explored the mall before heading to a restaurant for lunch. We didn’t have time to visit the Hypermart as we had to make it back to the ferry terminal to catch our ferry ride back to Singapore. Besides, our hands were already full after shopping for these two days and didn’t want to carry more to make it back home without damaging our two cakes.
Going back to Batam Centre Ferry Terminal was pretty easy by walking on the overhead bridge from the second level of Mega Mall. Clearing immigration was a breeze and not long after we were onboard our ferry on the way to Singapore. As we crossed the Singapore Strait, the familiar sight of our beautiful city skylines came into view. Soon we were watching activities on the beach as our ferry got nearer to Sentosa Island and in another few minutes we were back to Habourfront Ferry Terminal.
Clearing immigration was trouble free again. We went to Vivo City and had a quick dinner before taking a train ride home from the Habourfront MRT Station. We needed to go home as soon as possible because we didn’t want our cheese cake to go bad since we collected it in the morning from Novotel Hotel. Thankfully, all was well when we reached home and the cakes were all good and everyone shared in the spoils of our shopping trip.
Batam is not a destination we are dying to go. It is just a short break to see the place and do some shopping. For some locals, Batam may be a favourite place to while away the time because they could spend like kings and queens over there.
Foreign visitors to Singapore may also want to take advantage of this cheaper destination to do some shopping and enjoy some activities while holidaying here. I have seen deals from Groupon and Deals.com.sg that cost around S$35 for a decent hotel stay that also includes most of the activities we went through these two days.
Including taxes and tips the total cost of around S$65 per person which provides a night stay in a hotel, a sumptuous lunch and a hotel breakfast plus ferry rides and land transfers in addition to the day tours is really a good deal. This offer is of course based on two persons on a twin share basis. Any more out of pocket expenses are just a dinner and other shopping items which are within one’s control.
For the same amount, you can’t go very far in Singapore for accommodations let alone tours and meals. So Batam is a viable alternative to extend a stay while holidaying here. Of course, unless you are from one of the Asean countries, you have to factor in visa cost too.
If nothing much is appealing for Batam as a destination, at least the ferry rides would offer an opportunity to see Singapore from the shoreline for picture moments as another tour option where taking a boat ride in Singapore is not going to be very cheap either. On the way back from Batam, spending time at Vivo City Mall for more dining and shopping would provide another side to a tour experience instead of simply spending time in most of the expensive touristy places in Singapore.
For those who travel light and hands not full with shopping in Batam, visiting the famous tourist island Sentosa may be a good idea. Walking across the Sentosa Broadwalk to Sentosa is free till end of 2015. If you don’t wish to walk, you may take the Sentosa Express train at Vivo City lobby at level 3 by paying S$4 for entry into Sentosa. Once inside Sentosa Island, the Express train and the shuttle buses to different locations in the island at the Beach Station are free.
If you have money to burn, there are many attractions to keep you busy and happy in Sentosa. Otherwise, exploring the island and enjoy taking beautiful pictures at different attractions can be just as enjoyable as well. Bring your own food and water if you don’t wish to pay for expensive meals but please don’t eat on the public transport system whether on the trains or buses. For more information you may visit the Sentosa website.
By the way, there is Giant Supermarket at Vivo City Mall where you may wish to stock up on essentials if shopping in Batam is not sufficient. From here taking a train ride to any other places in Singapore is also very convenient at the Harbourfront MRT Station to proceed to your next point of interest. Otherwise catching a train ride to the airport for a flight out is equally convenient as well. Enjoy your visit to Singapore!
Though Batam may not be a destination on the top of our list for places to visit, we do go back from time to time just to pass time over a weekend break. In fact we had booked a deal to stay in Novotel Hotel again and had made arrangement to get away in early January.
Unfortunately, on the night before our departure for Batam, I had to rush my elder boy to hospital as he had acute appendicitis. I tried contacting the travel agent in Batam to postpone the travel but to no avail. I appealed to Deals.com.sg for help and after several rounds of emails back and forth, the outcome was still the same.
So for those who intend to take up such offer, you have to ensure you can make it for the trip. Otherwise, be prepared to have your deals forfeited once bookings are confirmed if you are not able to make it for the trip. We lost S$90 for the two of us but at least we didn’t have to pay taxes and tips upfront.
Nevertheless, Batam is still going to be a cheap getaway for quite sometime where locals as well as foreigners in Singapore would take advantage of some long weekend to get away to have some fun.