Eating my way through Batam in 24 Hours

Batam is an Indonesian island less than an hour away from Singapore by ferry. Other than Malaysia, Batam is probably the next easiest place for you to make a quick getaway from Singapore without flying, and is immensely popular with Singaporeans who want a cheap, easy holiday with minimal travelling required.

Ask any Singaporean and they will probably tell you Batam is all about cheap seafood, or that it has an A&W because we are obsessed with curly fries and root beer floats for some reason.

Welcome to Batam

I’m one of those travellers who is always looking to go further, and Batam just seemed too close to home, so it was never quite on my radar as a must-visit spot, kinda like it’s larger cousin Bintan Island.

So when I was invited by the DFS Singapore folk to take a quick jaunt to this little island (we spent just about 24 hours in Batam) that I visited ages ago as a child, and was pleasantly surprised that it was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be.

A large part of that is thanks to our super knowledgeable guides – Tony from WOW Getaways who told us everything we wanted to know about Batam (seriously he was a bit of a walking encyclopedia), and local Batamian foodie Chandra aka Batamliciouz who brought our group around his home town and show us some of truly local dishes.

In case you want something more off-grid, why not check out Telunas Resorts which you can reach by taking another boat from Batam? It takes you about the same time to get to Bali but without flying and is a great island paradise. Or fly to secret beach paradise Belitung off the east coast of Sumatra.


How to get to Batam from Singapore

Batam Majestic Ferry Singapore
Majestic Ferry at Harbourfront Terminal with our lovely cable cars to Sentosa in the background

We took Majestic Ferry to Batam from Singapore’s Harbourfront Ferry Terminal, also known as Singapore Cruise Centre. The journey between Batam and Singapore is about 45 minutes and we disembarked at Batam Centre. From Singapore, you can head to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in the East to take the ferry to Batam Centre as well, but if you want to head to Sekupang in the south of Batam, then you only have Harbourfront as an option.

Round trip tickets for Majestic Ferry from Singapore to Batam were S$49 including terminal fees when I checked, though you can get cheaper prices from other ferry services that start from around S$25, but I have to say that the Majestic Ferry boat was pretty swanky and quite a new and nice boat. If you are not too picky about it, I was on BatamFast and I thought it was pretty decent. WowGetaways has a pretty good chart that tells you which ferry terminals you need to go to and what ferry services get you there.

And DFS shoutout because they sponsored this trip after all – they opened a new Duty-free outlet in the ferry terminal boarding area at Singapore Ferry Terminal, so if you are heading to Batam with your friends, it’s a good time to pick up your necessary choices of poison. Make sure you finish your booze overseas as you can’t carry it back into Singapore!

Harbourfront Ferry Terminal DFS
Grand opening!

Eating all the local Batamian Food

As I mentioned above, all I really knew about Batam before is that people went there to eat cheap good grub, so I was pretty lucky to meet one of the best people to tell you all about Batamian food.

Chandra is better known as Batamliciouz, a local guy who’s a one-man repository about all the food there is to eat in Batam. No matter where you decide to stay or visit in Batam, it’s likely that Chandra knows all about it.

Follow him on facebook and instagram for the latest updates – this guy looks like he’s eating awesome food all the time. Batamliciouz even has its own seal of approval – look out for the Batamliciouz stickers at the stall to know if it Chandra has been there and given it his thumbs up.

Batam Batamliciouz Chandra
Here’s Chandra with me holding one of the things people also love to buy and bring home from Batam – kueh lapis, a super delicious layered cake! This one was homemade by Chandra himself and was super delicious

What I’m saying is that this dude will be able to tell you all about what’s good to eat in Batam, much better than I will ever be able to, but in the meantime I’ll tell you about the places he brought us to and what I thought about them. I’m not much of a foodie but I did enjoy the local recommendations from someone who knows his territory inside-out. Also, he made us eat so much. I feel full just thinking about my time there.

Local Food Stalls

Street food is of course one of the things to eat here, and they have their own local Batam specials that you don’t really see in other parts of Indonesia or even nearby Singapore. He brought us to Acia Ikan Bakar which is a fairly easy to get to location in Nagoya that’s not too touristy. We had zi char – a whole bunch of home-styled dishes for sharing and we got to try something called Cha Kue, which is a dish you can only get here in Batam.

Batam Acia Ikan Bakar Outdoors
If so many people are there, it must be good right? There were a whole bunch of other stalls around as well, we sat indoors nearer the Acia Ikan Bakar stall
Batam Acia Ikan Bakar Seafood Grill
Mh seafood on the grill
Batam Acia Ikan Bakar Food
Yummy! Given their name Ikan Bakar, you know the BBQ fish here is definitely going to be top notch
Batam Acia Ikan Bakar Cha Kue
Cha Kue is like a mix of noodles and fried carrot cake – this stall is actually just outside Acia Ikan Bakar. You can get it with otah otah as well
Batam Acia Ikan Bakar Martabak
Martabak is this delightfully sinfully sweet pancake filled with a whole lot of butter and chocolate – this one has matcha kitkats and toblerone and nutella all melted into it. We bought this while leaving but apparently this isn’t ‘buttery enough’

How to get there: Acia Ikan Bakar – Inside Batam Park Complex, Nagoya-Batam.

Hipster Cafes

I’ll be frank – I never thought that Batam was a cafe sorta place, but should I really be so surprised given how many Singaporeans come here and how much we love our hipster joints? We visited a cool cafe called Chemistree with whimsical decor and lots of space, perfect to hang out in on a hot day. It’s like I fell into hipster heaven.

Batam Chemistree Cafe Interior
I like the openness of this airwell
Batam Chemistree Cafe Chillax
Chilling out, but the only view you have is of the road…

And ladies, watch out for the glass floor on level 2 – Super fun for your selfies and daring each other to walk on, but precarious if you are wearing a skirt.

Batam Chemistree Cafe Glass Floor
Walking on air (glass really)
Batam Chemistree Cafe Food
Some funky coloured food and drinks – these are pandan pancakes (now apparently the next hip ingredient) with gula jawa (a type of palm sugar) topped with ice cream
Batam Chemistree Cafe Indomie
But you know what everyone loved? Devilishly hot indomie mmh yum

How to get there: Chemistree Cafe – Jalan Raja H. Fisabililah No 12B – Batam Centern

Seafood at the Kelong

We couldn’t leave Batam without sinking out teeth into some amazing seafood. Chandra brought us to Kopak Jaya 007 for some good ol’ seafood on a traditional kelong, one of those wooden houses perched above the water. I really enjoyed the food here – seafood is totally my jam – the salted egg crab and the cheese crayfish were pretty awesome.

Batam Kopak Jaya 007 Entrance
All ready with rumbling tummies
Batam Kopak Jaya 007 Bridge
I love this wooden gangway entrance
Batam Kopak Jaya 007 Live Seafood
While waiting for your food, you can see how they catch and store the seafood so it’s kept fresh. I think these were some sort of shellfish
Batam Kopak Jaya 007 Chillout Nets
I also loved all the chillout spots around the kelong, like these floats suspended on nets above the water, and there were hammocks and more floats scattered all around as well
Batam Kopak Jaya 007 Crab
craaaaaaaaab
Batam Kopak Jaya 007 Seafood Spread
Not many photos because I was really busy trying to eat, and seafood is something you have to enjoy with your hands.

How to get there: Kopak Jaya 007 – Inside Tiangwangkang Old Settlement before Barelang bridge


What to do in between all that eating

We were only there for 2 days, and a large part of that time was spent getting to and then chowing down on all that food. We did take a little detour to go see the Barelang Bridge and enjoy a bit of a cruise on the water. The idea was to go take a closer look at the surrounding mangrove swamps, but the water was a bit too choppy for the little wooden boats that we would need to take, so we ended up just swanning about the boat and enjoying the view.

The Barelang Bridge is actually the collective name of 6 different bridges that connect the surrounding islands Batam, Rempang and Galang – which incidentally is why it’s called Ba-Re-Lang. The bridge we were closest to was the Tengku Fisabilillah bridge that connects Batam and Tonton island. The Barelang Bridge is pretty popular for avid cyclists, and kinda reminds me of a mini version of the Shimanami Kaido in Japan.

Batam Barelang Bridge Tengku Fisabilillah Close
From below the bridge. This is called a cable stayed bridge
Batam Barelang Bridge Tengku Fisabilillah
From a little further away
Batam Water Village House Row
Water villages with all the houses perched on water
Batam Water Village House
A closer look – these nettings are for fishing
Batam Green Island
It was such a pretty hot day, but the water was kinda choppy
Batam Barelang Bridge Young Coconut
The best way to rehydrate is with a sweet young coconut!

Where to stay in Batam

Most people who head to Batam like to do stay in a beach resort, but we spent a night over at the inland Radisson Golf and Convention Centre Batam. It’s a pretty swanky hotel with lovely rooms, and what I loved most was the balcony view overlooking the golf course and hills.

Batam Radisson Hotel Cocktail Hour
Cocktails in their lounge up high
Batam Radisson Hotel Room
Comfortable hotel room. They actually had a custom cake made to welcome us with our names on it imagine that
Batam Radisson Hotel Balcony Sunset
Watching the sunset from my balcony
Batam Radisson Hotel Pool Top
Overlooking the golf course and swimming pool

Do you have any tips for Batam? I only spent such a short time there, do share what other interesting things you can check out there!

This trip to Batam was sponsored by DFS Singapore.

Looking for more nearby trips around Singapore? Check out this post about its much larger cousin Bintan, a more exclusive private island resort nearby called Telunas Resorts, or see other interesting spots in Indonesia like Belitung or Flores.

14 thoughts on “Eating my way through Batam in 24 Hours”

  1. Wow…. that was my first reaction when I saw your food photos. The seafood looks damn delicious! I wonder how did you move around in Batam? Did you hire a local driver? I’ll likely include these places (Kopak Jaya 007 and Acia Ikan Bakar) onto my itinerary next trip.

  2. So much great looking food I love the idea of going on a trip with the main intention of eating, always think that food is one of the best reasons to travel!

    1. I don’t usually travel for food cause it’s always a very communal sorta thing for me – like how can you enjoy a spread like that seafood dinner on your own! But yeah that’s what I like about travelling with friends and family… eating all the awesome things!

  3. Awesome!! Where was this post when I needed it last year lol! Went to Singapore and wanted to go to Batam, but most people somehow advised me against it. This post about it sounds great thought and wish I would have gone! Thanks for sharing!

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