Wikitravel captures it better than other Batam's websites you'll find in the internet, which try to promote Waterfront City as a place of excitement and fun. There is nothing, literally nothing, worth the drive and the time in this ghost tourist establishment at a 30-minute drive from Nagoya, except a couple of "cathedrals in the desert" kind of resorts, which I wouldn't know why to travel to and spend money at.
We came here from Nagoya in the day hours with the intent of spending a couple of hours at the beach and all what we found was a murky beach with a depressing view, nobody around but few locals staring at us like we looked like coming from another planet, closed shops and restaurants. We barely got off the taxi for a walk then in few minutes got on our way back.
In the end, the drive was the most interesting part of coming here since it gave us chance to observe life in the island outside the major tourist town while passing through a number of villages.
Taxi Fares at Ferry Terminal
Upon arrival at the Ferry Terminal in Nagoya, we were quoted at the taxi stand outside the terminal 50 Singaporean Dollars (SGD) for what we knew it was going to be a 10-minute drive. The price sounded ridiculous even without knowing the fares of the Island, we offered 10 SGD and the driver accepted the deal. On the route back the day after, using a metered taxi, we paid in local currency the equivalent of 5 SGD for the same 10-minute drive.
If you look like a foreigner, it is likely you will be quoted silly rates arriving in at the Ferry Terminal, where taxi operators rely on your ignorance of the fares of the place. Take note it should cost you only few SGD to get from the Ferry Terminal to anywhere in Nagoya and no more than 10 to 20 SGD to get to anywhere else in the island.
Don't get ripped of by the taxidriver!
If you are heading back to your resort, you have to take a taxi. Taxi drivers will try to ripp you off and charge about 50% more than ususal.
Unique Suggestions: Maxe sure you know the (tourist-) price for a taxi ride. Ask your hotel staff for it. Count your fare in rupiah and make a lower offer for your taxi driver.
Fun Alternatives: There are some local busses (white, with blue stripes) which ride all over the island. It's best to have your hotel name written in Bahasa, as these guys speak barely english. The price is much less than a taxi, but prepare to walk from the main road to your ressort.
Don't get ripped off on the bus!
Busdrivers will try to cheat you by charging 10 SGD per person (istead of roughly 1 SGD).
Unique Suggestions: Don't pay more than a few dollars. After arguing for a couple of minutes, we could leave the bus without paying more than 5 SGD per person (which was still too much).
Fun Alternatives: Bring rupiah and don't pay more than the locals.
Visa on arrival
Visa on Arrival cost 10 USD. Where is the point in using USD when every visitor is coming from Singapore anyway? Anyway... if you don't have USD with you you can also pay in SGD, with an exchange rate of 2 instead of 1.53!
Unique Suggestions: Every visitor should carry 10 USD with him.
Fun Alternatives: Bring USD with you.
Forced porter service at Batam Centre ferry termin
When we checked in few luggage at Singapore Harbourfront terminal, hardly did we know that we will have to pay IDR 10 K for each luggage while collecting the same at Batam centre Ferry terminal. This was an absolute rip off scam. We could have simply avoided checking the luggage at Singapore had we known this. We were arguing with the porter regarding this when an officer intervened. He said it is a normal procedure and we had to pay up. No choice
Fun Alternatives: Dont check in the luggage. Better carry it with you
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FOOD in Nongsa Point REsort
If you're travelled from Singapore, try to get all the drink such as beer, liquar and etc in the duty free shop in Tanah Merah Ferry terminal. You'll be shocked by the price of a beer at this Nongsa Point resort.
Friendly Locals - be careful!
Other than the hotel staff, try not to trust the other locals. Any help from them means they expect to be paid in Sing Dollars, otherwise be careful of cheats as well!
Unique Suggestions: Try to move around with a guide or someone who works for a reputable agency.
Fun Alternatives: If possible, get a driver to move around town with you!
On your way back to Singapore...
On your way back to Singapore or even Johor Bahru, there are a lot of touts, can be even worst then those in Cambodia, do not entertain them in anyway, walk straight to the ferry counter to get your ticket verify or purchase a destination ticket.
Any communication with the touts will lead you to pay them a TIP.
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