Batam's proximity to Singapore has helped it to develop from a jungle covered island with mangrove swamps to an industrial hub. Due to the shortage of labour in Singapore, Batam has become the place for joint industrial ventures between the two countries. This has attracted workers from all over Indonesia to flock to Batam in search of work. This doesn’t sound too appealing for the adventurous traveler and you wouldn’t be far wrong as not many people decide to include Batam in their itinerary. Most travelers to the region choose Bintan over Batam.
That being said, there has recently been a drive by the Indonesian government to improve the tourist infrastructure yet the tourist facilities that are on offer in Batam are more geared towards the overworked Singaporean with dollars to spend. You can expect to find 5 star luxury resorts with world class golf courses.
The main town of Batam is Nagoya. This town is located pretty much in the middle of the island and to be honest, doesn’t really have that much to offer. However some travelers have found themselves for a night or so waiting for connecting ferries.
There are four main ferry terminals on Batam, one in a bay at the north west of the island and the other three are located directly on the north coast. The bayside waterfront ferry terminal has 14 ferries serving Singapore daily and will drop you off at the World Trade Centre in Singapore. If you want to head to the mainland of Sumatra then make your way to Sekupang which is located on the western most peninsula. There is also a Pelini boat that operates and will take you directly to Jakarta. You can find Pelini at Sekupang ferry terminal.
Batam really should be used as a transit to other destinations in Indonesia however if you do find yourself here, try to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the hospitality of the Indonesian people.