Theme Preview Rss


Spore Cruise Centre -> chocolate house -> Kueh Lapis factory + Ling Star Bird Nest -> Kuda Lumping (Cultural Show) -> Sari Bumbu Indonesia Buffet Restaurant ( Lunch ) -> Local dry food Product Store -> Polo Ralph Lauren Factory outlet -> Universal Massage / Batam City Mall ( JC supermarket) -> Batik Factory outlet and 1st factory outleet -> Harmoni One Hotel

We collected the boarding pass the week earlier as we stayed quite far from the Ferry Terminal @ SG ( Harbourfront ). We presented our booking confirmation code and passenger particulars ( Name, Passport Number ). It's good if you can bring along either actual passport or photocopied version of your passport as they need to verify your particulars. Payment of SGD$20/pax is made at pacific ferry counter ( Level 3 ) before you can collect your boarding pass. You do not need to collect it personally, someone can collect on behalf of you as long as booking code and passport details are presented.

All particulars is printed on the departure card. Do check your name and Passport numbers before leaving as if there's any discrepancies, it has to be amended at the counter, while for the rest of the details like Address, phone number, you can change it by yourself.

White card to fill before departure
Back of the boarding pass
The QR code on the back of the boarding pass is for you to scan when you enter the boarding gate. The perforated part will be tear away by the ferry operator.

Tour sticker
Apparently 'Best Batam' is the largest tour agency. We see a lot of people with this sticker on that day, there's another with 'Batam168' written on their sticker. You will be given the sticker the same time when you collect the boarding pass. Do paste the sticker on only when you reached sekupang terminal ( Batam). As it is not very sticky, and if you happened to lost it, there's no replacement and the tour guide over at Batam will be looking for people with this sticker to identify the members in the tour group.

Best Batam have like a fleet of bus/vans, their itinerary should be the same, the only difference is the ending stop - your accommodation place. You should be able to spot someone from 'Best Batam' after your cleared Batam customs. They can be identified easily by their uniform. They will help you find your tour guide as long as you tell them your booking confirmation number and hotel.

Alright so back to departure from Singapore, our deal package includes pacific ferry ticket.

Pacific Ferry Schedule

You have to check for your ferry details from this screen. By right, you are supposed to enter the cruise departure hall only when your ferry details is displayed on the screen. However we went in earlier and its seem fine as theres no security guard at the gate area. However there will be another holding area in which I will elaborate later on.

Actually if you have collected your boarding tickets like days before, you can just reach around 1 hour before your departure time.

Information Signs

Money Changer @ Harbourfront Ferry Terminal
If you have yet to changed any Indonesian Rupiah before your batam trip, you may still change at this money changer however do note the rate is not very good. It was 1SGD:7860 RP. We changed earlier in SG Raffles The Arcade at 1SGD:RP8065.

Raffles Place The Arcade has always been our favourite place for changing currency as they offer very competitive rates. As Indonesian currency has been depreciating, it seems that Batam has a better exchange rate than this money change @ Harbourfront.

In view of the depreciating Rupiah that our tour guide, Florence agree too, I would advise you all to change lesser rupiah and bring more SGD instead. Most places in Batam accept SGD. Refrain from changing too much Rupiah as it is very hard and less worth to convert back to SGD if there's any leftover Indonesian currency.

Singapore Cruise Centre
Holding Area - waiting to board the ferry
That's the holding area where everyone is waiting for that TV screen to display the Gate. Apparently theres 3 gates but only 2 were opened. We expected this many people since its a Saturday morning and it is sort of the peak period when Singaporeans go Batam via online deal package.

FYI, there's DFS (Duty free) Goods for sale too at the holding area - after your cleared SG customs.


Queue up when you see your ferry details displayed on the screen. Though you cant pass through the gantry ( scan QR code of your boarding ticket ), cos you are still unsure which berth is your ferry at which will only be displayed at a later time. Many people will be queuing already. And when you queue be sure to queue around the front area cos apparently people just cut the queue. Those that queued at the back will have to wait for a long time before they can walk to the boarding point.

It is free seating though theres seat number reflected on the boarding pass. This thus explains the kiasu-ness since people tend to want to grab a good seat ( near the door / near the window ). Haha this include my family too but we got queue okay?

Boarding onto ferry is opened around 15 minutes before ferry departure time.

Pacific 1! Our ferry

Walking on the floating platform to the ferry where ferry personnels will tear the perforated area of our boarding ticket

People queuing up to board the ferry

They were playing some action movie but the audio was really bad.
Wide aisle in the ferry
We love this ferry as it feels so new and spacious. There's even space for us to put our handcarry baggage at the side!

The ferry departed slightly past 8.45am.

Off we go!

Weather wasn't good that day. It poured :(

The ferry ride lasted around 50 minutes.

We reached Sekupang Ferry Terminal (Batam) at 8.40am Batam time.
Batam is 1 hour behind Singapore. The timing for the remaining post will be in Batam time unless specified.

Rainy rainy weather!
Pantry area in the ferry
No one really use the pantry area haha. There isn't a need too since the ferry ride duration is so short.

See the plate above stating 'M.V Pacific 1'? It states that that ferry was built in 2012. This explains why it is so comfy and new! In contrast our ferry back to Singapore on Day 2 was built in 2008, and it was less spacious and hot :(

Batam customs was flooded with Singaporeans. Theres originally 2 counters manning Singaporeans queue, 1 counter for Visa visitors and 1 for Indonesia Passport. However as there's too many Singaporeans and the queue extended to the jetty, in the end the counter manning Indonesia passport clear Singapore passports too.

We cleared the custom at around 9.25am only.

Upon clearing the customs you will have to search for people wearing the 'Best Batam' clothe. They will bring you to your tour guide. Our tour guide, Florence and Indonesian is very helpful and friendly!

We have to pay SGD $7 /pax departure tax fee to her, boarding ticket, white card to her so that she can arrange for our return ferry ticket. She told us our bus number - 7232, and we went off to find our bus while she wait for other fellow tour members.

Bus Boarding bay
We waited for another 30-40minutes and everyone in the tour finally boarded the bus.

Interior of the 40 seater coach
The coach was actually quite comfy :) Our tour guide Florence gives a brief background info about herself and Batam and went on to tell us the rough itinerary. She speaks in fluent chinese and Bahasa Indonesian. She does speak English too.

Along the way to Chocolate House!

Chocolate house is around 20 minutes drive from Sekupang Ferry Terminal.

Marketing Slogan: Come Batam will not complete without chocolate

There's a few other tour group there went we reached. Apparently Chocolate House is a must visit stop for tour packages.

Our tour guide, Florence told us that the Imported chocolates like Hershey are more expensive. While those manufactured in Indonesia is cheaper. There's samples provided in store, however those local chocolate products that we tasted doesnt seem satisfactory. Personally we feel it's like those cheap chocolates that we can get in Singapore however it's going at quite an expensive price like R.P 35000 (SGD 5) for one very meagre pack of choco.

6 bars of hershey for RP 136000 ( SGD 17 ).

It was very crowded making it very hard to move around. Looking at the prices, we decided to head out of the shop. It was still drizzling that time.

Just opposite the Chocolate house, theres a vendor selling Keropok.
Keripik Batam Island @ Chocolate House
They offered us generous samples of the keropok. They are made from tapioca, theres spicy, barbacue, Banana and some other flavours.

The keropok is going at RP 25000 ( SGD 3.5 ) for one pack ( as seen on the counter ). We bought 2 packs, 1 BBQ the other Banana chip.
Not a lot of people bought from them. The seller told them the same price too when other tourists when over expressing interest. We didnt bargain for a lower price, since firstly we do not know how to communicate with them well using their language, secondly, there were 4 men manning the store when we were there. They appear intimidating.

Banana Chips
It tasted normal. However apparently we realised this is the cheapest chip we can get. As later on in the journey, we went to a dry local product store and the prices are much more expensive considering the quantity.

The bus then went over to the Kueh Lapis Factory. We reached there at around 12.15pm.

Freshly baked Kueh Lapis!
Homemade Kueh Lapis in progress
Florence told us that the Kueh Lapis here ( Best Layers Cake ), is freshly baked daily, and they uses butter instead of margarine as compared to the kueh Lapis you can obtain in shopping malls.

We did believe her initially but started to have doubts after we went Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall the next day and saw many Kueh Lapis shop selling Kueh Lapis made with Margarine or Butter. Those made from butter, their prices are slightly lower by like SGD 1/2. Which we believe is the commision given to the tour guide for introducing us to this Kueh Lapis manufacturer.

Oh and Kueh Lapis is referred to Layer cake in Batam!
Original Layer Cake
They have different flavours : Original, cheese, pandan, cinnamon, prunes, chocolate, mocca and Durian.
They provide plenty of samples too but we still prefer the original one. It is really good as compared to some of the kueh Lapis we have in Singapore. Their's very fragrant and the texture is moist.
Best Layers Cakes
However, I was unable to access the website address provided on the box.

In case you are interested, we took a photo of the price chart for the various Layer cakes on sale.
Price chart
Payment can be made in SGD or Indonesia Rupiah. But tour guides prefer payment to be made in SGD. They are 'bake-to-order' layer cakes. So Florence will collate our orders and tell them, and they will bake and deliver to wherever we are. We got our orders towards the end of the day around 4+pm.

Just beside the Layer Cake factory is 'Ling Star Bird Nest' shop where my family had our bird nest Soup here. We opted for Bird nest when we bought the deal package while the rest of my tour members opted for massage. While we are drinking the bird nest soup, the rest of the members were still contemplating over which layer cake flavour to buy while some went up the bus already.

The bird nest soup comes in cold or warm. We ordered warm since the weather was quite chilly that day.

Our SGD 10 bird nest soup!
We pre paid when buying this Batam online deal, thus we just need to tell Florence when we are ready to have it, then she will make arrangement with the store. We can either take away or have it there.

But of course good things have to be eaten on the spot right?

We didnt have to wait long for them to serve us. And I must say, all 4 of us agreed that this bird nest soup is worth the SGD 10. We get plenty of bird nest! They even included pandan while brewing the soup, making the whole bird nest soup more fragrant! We recommend this to people who don't opt for their massage package!

Next up, we headed to watch a cultural show - Kuda Lumping which is 5 minutes bus ride away.

Cultural show - Kuda Lumping
Florence told us that the performers do not receive any salary from performing. All they get is tips from us audience/tourists.

They perform for individual tour group. In another words, theres no fix time schedule. They perform once there's a tour group. 
Guess what they are gonna do!
Tearing the coconut husk with their bare teeth
Another wow performance is when the performer ate glass pieces in front of us. It just feels like eating biscuit to him.

jumping through the fire circle
They did quite a few daring tricks and the whole performance lasted for a nerve wrenching 7 minutes. We were quite amused by their performance and gave them tips at the end. Usually around SGD 20c / pax of tip is adequate according to Florence.

Next up, is our Indonesia Buffet Lunch @ Sari Bumbu Restaurant!

It's a 20 minute bus ride away, and we reached there around 12.25pm.

Interior of the restaurant
The food choices is pretty limited.And the dishes are cold. It's okay an easy meal there but definitely the taste isn't exactly fantastic. Varieties are quite cheap and don't expect seafood or fish.

There's a restroom at the restaurant backyard.

Pasta place beside Sari Bumbu Resturant
Surroundings around the restaurant
Our Coach for city tour!
Harmoni One Hotel
Amidst the less developed surroundings of our restaurant in Batam, opposite is this grand building. We believe that its some grand hotel or some grand embassy. Our guide did not tell us though, that this is Harmoni One Convention Hotel - which is the place we are gonna stay!

Street vendors selling fruits and honey outside the restaurant
They are selling the mangoes at quite an expensive price of RP50000/kg. My family bought 4 mangoes to try as we thought these are local products and they are not sold at tourist attraction so the price should be reasonable. It cost us RP 100000 ( approx SGD 13 ). We thought the mangoes must be fabulous since its considered pricey as compared to Singapore's retail price.

However, do note, we highly discourage people from buying these mangoes as we realised most of its flesh is rotten when we slice it open. Apparently we are not the first victim. Fellow tour mate also mentioned that she bought mangoes from local street vendor previously and its rotten despite the outer flesh being alright.

Mango that we bought
After lunch, we left for Polo Ralph Lauren factory outlet. Some of the t-shirt prices are cheaper than the Ralph Lauren shirt in SG. It cost approx SGD $51 for 1 simple polo tee shirt. They accept cards/SGD or Indonesia Ruiah too. The t-shirts are all made in Indonesia but the products are authentic.

We then went over to the Local dry goods store which sell all kinds of keropok ( Cooked/uncooked ) . I wouldn't say they are exactly cheap but prices are reasonable. They provide sampling in the store. On a side note, the store helpers only know very basic English.

Some Keropok that we bought
We spent R.P 85000 for the dry food products. They gave us 20 percent disc so overall we paid only RP 68000. We bought 3 packs of keropok - fish ( RP 20000), prawn ( 25000 ) and the spicy keropok ( RP35000 ). We just have to quote our tour guide's name and they will give the discount while one of the tour personnel will record our transaction. We believe that's for billing the discount to the tour company.
Actually, we feel that the keropok is cheaper in Batam hypermart than these tourists dry food local food products store.

We then went off to the massage parlour for people who opted for the massage when they purchased the tour package. In my tour group, my family is the only one who didnt opt for massage but bird nest. We alighted at the massage parlour together with them and head of to the Batam City Square mall ( BCM ) opposite for shopping while they go for their 1hr/2hr massage.

Along the way, our tour guide, Florence provided us with the option of dinner. As supposedly our day tour ends before dinner time. However as our hotel is quite out of the place, they provide a 7 course seafood with transport to and fro destination at an additional SGD 18.

A few of our tour members opted for that but most people didnt.
Massage Parlour - Universal Massage
Here's the name card of the Massage parlour in case you might be interested!

The basic package of extra $10 for massage which was added when we purchase the tour package online only includes basic body scrub and massage. However Florence keep advertising this Aroma Massage which last 2 hours. This is available with an additional $30 sgd / pax. She emphasised on the benefits of Aroma Massage as they uses good quality 'ingredients' like high quality butter and how beneficial it is for your body. We are not sure how effective is that but if you are keen for massage do bring more SGD there so you may opt for this add otherwise you might regret since massage services in Batam in generally cheaper than in Singapore.

So back to us, people who didnt opt for massage we have a tremendous 2 hours of retail therapy. And I must say its great!

Initially we feel that 2 hours in a shopping mall might be a bit too long however as Indonesia is having great sale in lieu of Ramadan, everywhere clothes, food and accessories are going at a cheap price!

BCMall with JC Supermart
If you are interested in getting a hair cut, and you have time to spare, you may do it in BCM!

Price list of a hair salon
For non-malay friends, Gunting means hair cut while cuci means wash. A basic Haircut cost RP 25000 which is around SGD $3. While a hair cut, wash and blow cost ard SGD $6 only! If you are looking for cheap hair cut, here's the place to go to!

We didnt try their hair cut services personally since none of us have the need for it. However if your concern is the skills of the hairdressers, apparently the salon looks like a normal salon in Singapore shopping mall and there's certificates of the hairdresser skills pasted on the glass door of the salon.

Bowling and arcade - highest level
in the mall
We were shocked at the prices of the typical restaurant food in BCM. It's like cheaper or same price as the hawker food in Singapore. However the ambience here is great and the furnishing is so much better! We finally understand why people often say that food in Batam is very cheap!

Price list of Gadeno New York

Price list of Kangen Cafe
You can get like a hot plate beancurd at approx SGD 3-4 as compared to singapore's zi char pricing of close to SGD 10. Okay, perhaps you want something more classy. Do read on and see what we have for dinner towards the end of the post and you will be even more amazed at how much we paid for to dine at a classy restaurant in our Hotel!

As usual, we tend to survey around the shopping mall first and leave the supermart and department store to the last to shop. They have this department store - Golden Truly that is somewhat like singapore's metro/BHG. It occupied 2/3 storeys in the mall and it was having Ramadan sales! August is definitely a great period to visit Batam if you are coming here to shop. However do note their fashion taste is somewhat a little differing from Singapore. However if you are looking for sports apparels, basic tees, or other accesories - household goods, do shop in Batam! We saw Reebok sport apparels going at below SGD 10 and the material is pretty good! I believe it is authentic too since it is sold in a departmental store.

Basic 'I <3 Batam' tees of various patterns going at below SGD $5. We bought a sandals for my dad while my sis bought a pair of slippers. We got the sandals at a steal of around SGD $5 as it is going at a discount of more than 70%. The style is more towards Malay however if you are not too picky it is a good grab! The pair of sandals is from an Indonesia Sports brand going at ard SGD $7 however the quality is pretty good!
Everything was bought from the departmental store - Golden Truly. We paid by card as we didnt really have sufficient Rupiah since we didnt expect we will buy a lot of things here. They accept visa/mastercard if your purchase is above RP 60000.

Oh and fellow female readers out there, pay extra attention! Female sanitary pad are VERY affordable in Batam!

This is what we got!

Our female hygiene loots!
See that pink Laurier super maxi at the back ( 30's) it cost approx half of the price in Singapore. Rp 13700 which is approx SGD $1.70

They sell other brands too like sofy, laurier, Kotex.. Those popular brands! Normally Singaporeans will either buy in supermarket or Singapore Chinatown ( Swanson ) to buy sanitary pads since they are cheap. They import from Indonesia too! So by buying from Indonesia, it would definitely be cheaper since you are getting your supplies directly, less one middleman. The quality is assured too since its the same product as you used in Singapore!
Receipt for our purchase in the supermart
We got the pooh Baby wipes too at less than SGD $1 for our trip to Korea in August!

Time past very fast in BCM since everywhere is have sales in the shopping centre and that means shopping!

We gathered back outside Universal Massage at 4.30pm (Batam time) to meet the rest of our tour group people who went for the Massage instead.

We then head off to our last destination before we check in at our Harmoni One Hotel. Our last destination consist of 1st Factory outlet and a Batik Outlet which is just across the road. It's a 20 minutes drive away.

1st Factory Outlet that sell all sorts of branded goods like Zara, Forever 21, Burberry..
They sell Hardrock Cafe tees too at around SGD190 before 50 percent. Burberry Shirts are lesser than those sold in typical Burberry stores. According to our tour guide these are authentic shirts that are being smuggled by the Indonesia government ( corruption ) and somehow it evaded tax thats why it is able to be sold at such a cheap price. However honestly, I would prefer to buy these branded tees at either premium outlets or their official retail stores. As the varieties displayed there aren't those commonly seen and a look at the zara dresses on sale there doesnt seem to be the ones we see in official Zara stores in Singapore, in terms of material and appearance. Do consider before you purchase any goods there. Most of the members in my tour group didn't buy anything there though.

Surroundings in Batam near 1st Factory outlet store 
Along the street we saw a typical food eatery place and it was surrounded with cloth. According to our tour guide Florence, it is their act of sensitivity to hide any sights of food for their Muslim friends till they break fast.

Batik factory outlet
There's a Batik factory outlet opposite the 1st factory outlet. The batik apparels are sold at RP 80000 ( SGD 10 ) for a set. They are quite nicely made!

Street Vendor
The traffic is pretty bad there. Do cross the road with caution!

streetside seafood eatery
We have 30 minutes there before we head off to check in at our hotel which is another 30 minutes drive. Harmoni One is located at the quieter part of Batam. It is not in the city. Travelling to other shopping malls like Nagoya Hill requires a 15-20 minutes taxi ride.
Harmoni One Name Card
Hotel Lobby
The hotel is very spacious as a whole and I must say it is very grand as compared to its rural surroundings. However we personally dislike their way of check in. They do not have a proper check in counter like what other hotels normally have. They only have 3 counters made of makeshift tables and chairs and there's no proper queuing system. Everyone just gather around the table and pass their passport and check in document to the person seated at the counter. They have poor command of English too! :( Check in took around half hour.

Superior Room - the most basic room.
Since we have 4 person, we were given 2 rooms. There's no connecting rooms for superior rooms. Only deluxe have. Our tour guide, Florence recommended our tour group to upgrade to deluxe if we want bigger or connecting rooms for an extra SGD 15.

Inside our room
We didnt opt for the upgrade as we feel this arrangement is alright. We were given two rooms on level 2. There's only 5 levels. The lower it is to level 1, the better Wifi reception we get. Since there's no wifi in the room, free wifi is only provided at the hotel lobby.

Our windows overlook an external corridor. There's renovation going on. For your own safety, it would be advisable to lock the window from the inside before you sleep to prevent people from breaking in in the middle of the night.

Washroom - bathtub separated from sink area

It was around 7pm (batam time) after we settled down. We read on blog posts prior to our Batam trip that Harmoni One hotel provides shuttle bus to other shopping malls FOC. However after asking Florence, the next bus that depart from the hotel is 8.30pm. There's no return transport after that and we need to get a cab back. We decided we might not have much time to shop over there since by the time we reach shops might have closed and we are not too sure how the taxi function over there. 
Thus we decided to settle for dinner at our hotel's restaurant. 

However our hotel placed a rough taxi rate at the carpark area.  In Batam they have local and tourists rate. The rate reflected in the hotel is tourist rate which is normally more expensive. Sometimes bargaining doesnt really work unless you know how to speak Bahasa Indonesia.

Sample rate chart from Harmoni One Hotel to the various destination
They do not go by meter but by a fixed rate that both the driver and passenger agreed on before boarding the taxi. We took the taxi on the second day. So do look out for our post on Day 2 as we tell you the difference between official taxi and private taxis!

As Harmoni One is quite a new hotel in Batam, most of its restaurants are not fully opened. There's only a chinese restaurant and an indonesian style restuarant where we will be having our international breakfast buffet the next day.

We settled for the chinese restaurant - Lim Garden after seeing the brochure distributed to us and in our hotel room. It is located near the entrance.

Brochure pg 1
Brochure pg 2

Brochure pg 3
The prices seem reasonable like a set menu of 5 dishes for 4 person cost around SGD 26 ++. We decided to give it a try!

Look at how posh the restaurant interior is!
It is a typical banquet restaurant like what you see on the first page of the brochure.
Since a few dishes in the set menu is not towards our liking, we decided to choose ala carte.

Chinese Tea
Wanton Soup ( left and right )and Hot & Sour Soup ( in the middle )
The wanton soup isn't exactly tasty but the wanton is good enough! The Hot&Sour soup is great!

Salted egg chicken
Hot plate tofu and kang kong
What I like about lim Garden is that they allow diners to choose their way of cooking vegetables and their noodles. Let say kang kong, they allow you to select different ways of cooking - steam/stir fry/belacan .. While for noodles they also allow different ways of cooking - noodles soup/fry/etc. Prices remain the same.

Seafood noodles
Tissue provided
We love how tissues are provided on each dining table overseas. We have been seeing this trend in Taiwan, Batam and even Korea, but not in Singapore.

Nice chandelier in Lim Garden
Surprisingly though its dinner time, there's not a lot of diners. A total of 3 groups of diners in the restaurant only which makes approx 70% of the restaurant still vacant. The food took awhile to come though but its piping hot!
Receipt for 4 pax dinner
We spent approx SGD $34 for 4 pax at Lim Garden. They charged 10% government tax as compared to Singapore's 7% GST, and 10% service charge.

After dinner we wandered around the hotel and used the wifi before heading back to our rooms and call it a day. We went to the front entrance of the hotel and this is what we took.

Photo captured by yours truly
Advertising image
Haha! Except for the lighting it looks quite similar! What you see is really what you get at Harmoni One Convention Hotel!


Their service is really good. It was raining in the day when we had our city tour. Without saying, the helpers and bus driver took umbrella and sheltered us to our destination, even if it means going to and fro considering there's quite a lot of us.

Like the image above was taken after the kuda Lumping cultural show, and the workers sheltered us all the way to our bus.

Their actions is worth commending and all of us really appreciate it!


mani don said...

thanx great post

benny's Blog said...

Please contact us to have a private car rent reservation in Batam.
Whatsapp / Line : +62 812 83 999 510 / +62 812 75 88 6536 (Benny Lim)
Email :

June Ong said...

Hello guys, i am June, this is nice sharing, I would like to share also that you can download ezBooking App to book your ferry tickets from Singapore to Batam, I test it already, it is cheaper than ticket counter, for more information you may visit

Post a Comment