aside from malaysia, a part of indonesia is also quite near to singapore. batam, indonesia is located 20km south of singapore. it is a 1hour travel by ferry. after our videoke session in johor bahru, malaysia last lunar new year, my friend and i decided that we hit batam, indonesia next for a relaxing massage.
a week before our agreed date to go to batam, i kept on researching on some information about the island and how to go there. when we found out that the ferry plus the travel tax and terminal fee is quite costly, we decided to look for some package deals that we could avail. luckily, i found a 1day tour package deal in q00010.com. it is just 28SGD and it already includes a round trip ferry ticket, 1day tour, massage and seafood lunch. so, all we have to worry is the 28SGD travel tax and terminal fee and the 2SGD tip to the bus driver. but since we have to make a reservation 3days before the trip, we decided to move the date two weeks later.
we left the house by 6am in the morning since the travel agency instructed us to be at the port 90minutes before the departure time. At exactly 8:20 the ferry departed. Upon arriving in sekupang international ferry terminal, the line in immigration was already long. we arrived in batam around 9am but the tour began by 11am. if you are planning to go to batam, in immigration office, make sure that you don’t make too much noise, read the signs so that the immigration officers won’t get mad at you and the guards will not get yout passport and won’t hold you inside an office. that’s what happened to the group that was behind us. when we were already outside the immigration, we were having a hard time locating our guide. we have to ask several guides that were waiting outside the exit door. when we finally found our guide, she told us to wait in the corner or to go to the toilet first because she was waiting for the other groups to arrive.(my roommate and i suspected that the other remaining group was the one who was detained inside the immigration office. we never saw them again.) my roommate and i decided to go to the toilet first but by the time we went outside, our guide was nowhere to be found. we asked another guide again and he informed us that our guide was looking for the other group. when our guide went back, she then told us to follow her towards the bus.(the other group that she was looking was not with her when she went back. hmmm! i really wonder what happened to them.)
in the itinerary that the y.s. travel gave to us, it stated there that our first stop for the tour will be the maha vihara duta maitreya temple, but our tour guide informed us that for those people who availed for the massage package will be dropped off at the massage parlor and they will just pick us up after an hour while the others will head to the temple then to the batik store. honestly, i did not really like the massage. what i only enjoyed is the ginger tea and when the masseur told me that i am beautiful. nyahahahaha! true to what our guide told us, they went to fetch us after the massage was over. after the massage, we went to a series of shops. there was nothing really special to it. the only part that i like were the lapis cake tasting(my friend and i were the one who finished all the cake…hehehe…), seafood lunch and going to the miniature house in golden city. the places that we went to were just stores, there was nothing really special to it and it seems that the guide was in such a hurry to finish the tour. aside from that, the email indicated that the guide will be speaking in english, but majority of the time, she was speaking in chinese because there were three people who can’t understand english. pfft!
the tour finished at around 4pm. after dropping off the people who will be spending overnight in batam to their hotels, we were then dropped off at the sekupang international ferry centre. since, we will be boarding the 7pm ferry we decided to go to the nearby mall. to our dismay, we couldn’t find the entrance to the mall. because of that, we decided to just go to a cafe near the terminal and spend our last 20000rupiah.
i wasn’t really impressed with batam. it seems that i was just having a tour in a very far province in the philippines but the provinces in the philippines for me has more to offer than batam. if you plan to go to batam, don’t ever get a tour package. just go there and explore the town.