Spend, Spend, Spend
Sometimes, it may be pleasing to know that you're a millionaire. Actually, it's all in rupiah where 7000 rupiah = S$1. But your millionaire dream might just end in a puff as Indonesian notes are replaced quite regularly due to change of presidents or even certain ministers and by the time you know it, the notes may not be of any value.
So yes, once you have changed it, try all means to spend it.
Make Sure You Have All Your Paperwork
If you want to make sure that you do not fork out any extra money to the authorities, make sure that you have the neccessary visa , immigration card, and that your passport is not close to expiry.
Any chance that the authorities catches you with something missing, you will most definitely have to offer them some cash for their leniency.
In local terms, that called offering them coffee money!
Stuck in Batam - Confirm Return Tickets
When you buy your ferry tickets from Singapore, confirm your return timings and tickets too so that you are assured of a seat to get back to Singapore. On weekends and public holidays, there is usually a lot of people rushing back to Singapore, and you may get a nasty surprise if you leave your return ticket open as the seats on the afternoon and evening ferries disappear very quickly. Don't assume that just becuase there are several ferries going back in the evening, that you will definitely be able to get on one.
If You Do Not Like Cigarette Smoke....
For non-smokers (especially those from Singapore, who may be used to the smoking ban in various air-conditioned areas), please do note that smoking is allowed in practically almost all places in Batam, air-conditioned or not, and enclosed or not.
So, do not be surprise if the diner sitting next to you decides to light up in a fully enclosed air-conditioned restaurant.
Some hotels offer express immigration service. That means you can pass immigration, leave your passport, your immigration card and 10 USD (or 20 SGD) with a staff member from your hotel. The only problem is, that you will only get your passport back at the Ferry terminal. And who has a good feeling in leaving their passport with a stranger for the whole stay? Instead, insist of passing immigration on your own, which does not necesseraly take any longer.
Time difference of 1 hour & which ferry terminal
Although Batam and Singapore are very near to each other, it is very important to note that Batam is 1 hour behind Singapore (Batam is following the Indonesia time). This is vital especially if you are asking someone to wait for you at the other side, either Singapore or Batam. If someone is waiting for you at Batam, another important thing is that you must tell them to wait for you at the correct ferry terminal as there are a few which has ferry services to Singapore e.g. Batam Centre Ferry Terminal, Batu Ampar Ferry Terminal, Sekupang Ferry Terminal (there is also a ferry terminal at the Waterfront City at Batam).
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Crowds while taking ferries
If you intend to take the regular daily ferries from Singapore's Harbourfront Centre to Batam, do take note of the huge crowds during the festive seasons (e.g. Eve of Chinese New Year, Hari Raya - Malay new year) which would normally mean you have to wait quite long to purchase the ferry tickets and also most likely the next few ferries will be fully booked. The best is to avoid these period if possible, if not, either go very early or catch the night ferries which will be less crowded. Other crowded periods are school holidays or public holidays in Singapore.
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No way to change euro traveler cheque in batam!
don't waste your time to find any place where you can change your euro traveler cheque. the most banks & maney changer accept only cash/bank note Sing $ or US $. The only place where we finally could manage to get some rupiahs was at BCA (Bank Central Asia) in Jodoh. But they only accept € 300 or $ 500 a day.
Addition info: All ATM that we checked in Batam only provide cash in Rp 50.000 or Rp 20. 000.
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Conning Ticket Touts
When you're leaving Batam through the ports, be wary of certain people who hang around the ticketing area. They will, on the pretext of kindness, offer to submit your passport and ticket to the ticketing office. One of two things will happen if you allow them to help you. Firstly, if you remain near them, they will submit your documentation for you but then will ask for a RP10,000 "help fee". Secondly, if you do not remain near them, they will take off with your passport. Indonesia has a large black market in foreign passports. If the latter happens to you, you will have to go to Jakarta to your country's embassy to report the loss. Don't depend on the port authorities to help you out there. Policemen are often around but are very likely to turn a blind eye to the plight of the foreigner.
If You Do Not Take Beef....
For visitors who are unable to take beef for any reason (religious or otherwise), please note that beef is the meat of choice in Batam.
In Goodway Hotel where I stayed for example, their buffets consist of items such as beef bacon, beef satay and beef sausages, with little other option for other kind of meat such as chicken, fish, or lamb (pork is not really available since Indonesia is a Muslim country). Seems that quite a few other hotels serve mainly just beef too.
If you take the farry over from Singapore, I'd suggest to book a taxi at the terminal before you step down the stairs....they seem to be quite an honest bunch and the prices are standardised.
Otherwise same rules apply here as anywhere else in Asia - make sure you have a price negotiated and agreed upon before entering any cab. There are quite a lot of taxis on Batam and they can be quite persistent.
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