Thursday, June 04, 2015

Batam Free & Easy with a Rental Chauffeured Car - A One Day Trip!

Batam is no stranger to me; in the past decade, i have visited no less than six times although every time was through a tour package. This time round, i opted to try the free and easy mode by engaging a local chauffeured car!

This one day trip would not result in as many as posts as the yet-to-be-finished Kota Kinabalu but do expect about six separate detailed postings which i would share in the next few weeks / months. Without further ado, let's start our family expedition to Batam!

[5.50 am] I was responsible for purchasing the ferry tickets online and wanting to make full use of our time, i selected the earliest possible departure at 7.40 am. We were asked to check in two hours before and you can imagine my frustration when i reached at about 6 am to find a still shutter-down shop at Harbourfront Centre. 

[6.35 am Singapore Time] Got the boarding passes! For those who bought the tickets online, do queue at the far right as you can print out the boarding passes via the e-stations located there! Frankly, they should consider having an e-station outside for their customers' convenience! 

Missed my breakfast as i was busy queuing and i thought it might be best to clear custom earlier since we had only about an hour to go. Within the departure lounge, you can find a 7-11 store where you could buy water and sandwiches.

Oh ya, the two brats joined us too! Together with my parents, two sisters, myself with Jovyn and Jerald, there were seven of us; just the right number for the rental car. 

[7.18 am Singapore Time] The gate was opened for the throngs of passengers! Please do not keep your boarding passes in your bags yet as they would be collected by the crew before you board the ferry. 

[7.35 am Singapore Time] Leaving ahead of time! What the heck was this tall structure on Sentosa Island?!?! The answer can be found on a fellow blogger's website

The kids were utterly excited! As the ferry neared Batam Centre ferry terminal, i recollected the case of travellers asked to return back to Singapore because they were too noisy! I am worried as both brats are renowned for their booming voices! 

[7.40 am Indonesia Time] Turned out it was the fastest custom clearance i have ever encountered in my life; the immigration officer literally just took my passport, opened to a fresh page, stamped and then returned back to me in less than 10 seconds! 

Our friendly chauffeur, Mr Buldan, was already waiting for us at the arrival hall, holding on to a paper with my name on it! Waited for him at the pickup point while he went to drive his 8-seater toyota!  

Drove past this artistic hotel known as Hotel 01 and i bet this would be a very interesting accommodation! From the facade, i can already feel an eerie aura that would likely strengthen when sun sets. 

[8.08 am Indonesia Time] Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya - a Buddhist temple with the laughing Buddha as its patron deity! Mum was the one who suggested this trip and her main aim was to visit the Chinese temples.

[8.55 am Indonesia Time] On our way again! I would have preferred to spend more time at the monastery though as it has quite a few vegetarian food stalls, a convenience store for vegetarians and even a souvenir shop! 

Compared to a few years ago, i thought there were a lot more motor vehicles on the Batam roads. Guess economy must be booming on this island that was only less than a hour away from Singapore.

Safety consciousness was still rather weak though; shocked was our expression at the sight of this little boy on the back of a motorcycle without a helmet! 

Mum mentioned it was common in Singapore back in the era when she was still a kid! Now, we are talking about fifty years ago!

[9.08 am Indonesia Time] The popular tua pek kong temple (Vihara Budhi Bhakti Temple)! This was a tourist spot i stepped foot on almost every time i was in Batam! The one time i didn't manage to was because none of my tour mates was keen and preferred to spend the extra time on shopping and massages.

[10.10 am Indonesia Time] On the road again with nice view of the Batam town / city! I should have asked Mr Buldan to stop at a safe spot for photo taking as the same view overlooked the cityscape of the little red dot! 

This somewhat reminded me of the Nee Soon village market place when i was a kid. Maybe i should seriously trawl through the hundreds of photos that my dad took when he was very much younger and see if i can find a picture of the market place we called kang ka. 

A motorcycle with a storage box at the back. According to Mr Buldan, the man was a roaming vendor and his trade on the sale of cigarettes! 

[10.20 am Indonesia Time] Batam Layer Cakes factory where the famous cakes were freshly baked for you to purchase straight away! More on this on a separate post.

[10.50 am Indonesia Time] Yong Heng Food Trading - The place for you to get the local dried products like pre-fried prawn keropok, nuts, snacks, sea cucumbers and even dried sea horses! 

Do remember to check out the supermarket next door! The two small tubs of hair wax cost only 14,000 rupiah which was about S$1.40).

[11.15 am Indonesia Time] Jovyn was tired. Don't belittle this toothy gal; she has a nasty temper, especially when she doesn't get sufficient sleep. This trait was in no doubt inherited from her mum. =P

Longer than expected journey as we wanted to check out a must-visit tourist destination that none of us had been to. You should see the look on Mr Buldan's face when i said i have never been there before even though i had visited Batam on quite a number of occasions! 

[11.50 am Indonesia Time] Arrived at the first section of the impressive Barelang Bridges

[12.05 pm Indonesia Time] Spent a few minutes taking photos as the ladies would not pull themselves away from the cool comfort of air-conditioning! Next destination; seafood lunch in a kelong restaurant located far from the main road! 

It was a steep climb followed by a exhilarating drop that both kids termed as the roller coaster! You should have heard their piercing screams. hahaha.

Kampung Tua Tiang Wangkang - the village housing the kelong restaurant. I am just so glad it wasn't the 933 Golden Prawn restaurant which had really sucky food. 

[12.10 pm Indonesia Time] Don't you just love the rustic atmosphere of the stilted restaurant known as Citra Utama 188?! Seafood was fresh even though the style of cooking might not appeal to those accustomed to what we have in Singapore. 

Charcoal kiln right across the entrance of the kelong restaurant. Check out the details here

Colourful paper signboards - i initially thought they were congratulatory boards with intent similar to a congratulatory flower bouquet stands! 

[2.08 pm] Nagoya Hill Shopping Centre - the best place to do shopping in my opinion and you should not limit yourself to just the main complex alone.

Pity i was with the two brats and without any mobile network, the whole family didn't dare to venture too far from one another! The one odd hour we were there was spent at Matahari department store. 

While the ladies left for their massages at a nearby location, my dad and i were tasked to entertain the kids for ninety minutes! 

With a huge kid's entertainment zone on the third floor, i guessed it should not be too difficult right? 

Wrong! The games were really old and the ones for kids were quite limited. What's worse was that smoking was allowed and the entire arcade was filled with spirals of lingering smoke! Ugh! The only good thing was that each token was priced at 1,000 rupiah (about 10 cents) with most machines requiring at least two tokens. 

A&W - could not help myself although Mr Buldan could not quite understand Singaporeans' fascination with the fast food restaurant. I must get my hands on the root beer float!! I did get it but they ran out of vanilla ice cream and i had to make do with chocolate which tasted less delicious! 

Bika Ambon - i should not have waited till the last moment to buy this as the above was the last box! I first tried the honeycomb cake in Medan and absolutely fell in love with it! 

Eat it while it is fresh with a springy texture. I forgot to ask the lady how long i can keep it outside without refrigeration as the latter would severely discount the texture and taste of the cake. 

[5.15 pm Indonesia Time] Mr Buldan picking us up from Nagoya Hill Shopping Centre first before we met up with the ladies at the massage parlour.

[5.20 pm Indonesia Time] Indo Thai Massage that was recommended by the coordinator who arranged for Mr Buldan. 

Verdict according to the ladies - massage was alright but the main issue was that they were kept waiting for 30 minutes before the session commenced! Even though the massage was for 90 minutes, it was cut short to an hour as we had a ferry to catch and the refund was a paltry 30,000 rupiah! 

[5.55pm Indonesia Time] Unhappiness aside, we managed to reach an hour before our departure at 7.00pm! Time passed so fast! 

The kids with Mr Buldan, our friendly chauffeur! I would definitely engage his service the next time i visit Batam as he never showed any impatience even when we were late and most importantly, could tahan the two boisterous terrors in my family!

Didn't have time to check out the retail shops and eateries within Batam Centre ferry terminal as being the kiasu Singaporeans we are, better clear immigration first!

I would have picked a later departure time but the kids didn't manage to have a restful nap that day and there is a time difference of one hour in Batam. Even though the ferry departs at about 7 pm, we would only reach Singapore at a late 9 pm! 

Those who were hungry, as we were since we had to rush for time to get to the ferry terminal; there was a small cafe selling snacks and pre-packed food within the departure lounge. Allocate more time if you could for a more satisfying meal at the restaurants before you enter the immigration section. 


Rushed and hectic would be my ending remarks for this short road trip! I would consider staying a night at Batam next time and i guess the best place would be Harris Hotel which was next to Batam Centre ferry terminal and just a short walk to the mega mall! 

Book for Ferry Tickets
There were quite a few ferry operators and we chose Batam Fast
You may click here for the website

Arrangement for Rental Chauffeured Car
Add Mr Iwan on Whatsapp (+62 819-9084-4114) and let him have the date you would be visiting and the number of persons. He was superbly fast in responding to my questions! Coincidentally, i bumped into him twice during the trip and found him to be a friendly, jolly man who was always laughing! Haha. 

You can also visit his website at 

Ferry Ticket (Per Adult) - S$48
Rental Car with Chauffeur (Max 7 Persons) - S$70
Kueh Lapis (whole) - 250k to 320k Rupiah
Bika Ampon (whole) - 130k Rupiah
Lunch (5 Adults + 2 Kids) - 504k Rupiah
Massage - 260k Rupiah
Other Expenses - S$50 worth of Rupiah

[S$100 is equivalent to 986,000 Indonesian Rupiah]


  1. Hi, may I ask the rental of car with chauffeur is $70 per person or $70 for all 7 person? :)

    1. Hallo, it is for all seven persons! Do note that it doesn't include meals and entrance fees to ticketed places. The rental is purely to bring us around batam. :)

  2. hello.... it's buldan here....lols... i search my name and i find my pick with 2 kids... i dunno if u will pick a lot of pictures ... if i know u will put me in your blog may be i will make a better pose... lols, keep in touch when spend more time to have another trip with us.... best regard to all of u...... :)

  3. by the way... my phone and whatsapps number already change to +6282283333543

    1. Hi Mr Buldan! Thanks for your comment and it's great to connect with you via this blog! Hahaha. I would take a better picture of you the next time i visit Batam! Best regards to you and your family too. :)

    2. dont forget bring the kids when visit batam again... i think they already grow up fast ....

    3. Sure will! kids grow up so fast!!!

  4. Hi. James here. Planning to hire your car service. Pls confirm if this correct coz I can't connect. +6282283333543

    1. Hi James, i don't operate the car service. Mr Buldan does and that's the number he passed me. :) You may also visit

    2. hi mr james. my whatsapp always on .... you can contact my phone +6282283333543 or +6281268009089 or by email if you want, to, thanks Mr Cavin Teo for let other know me by your blog... hahahaha.....

  5. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Didn't go pulau abang or cinta seafood?

    1. Nope! you have the address for cinta seafood? What could you do at Pulau Abang?

  6. We (8 passengers) want to rent a car with a Chinese speaking chauffeur on one day trip in 8 February 2019 ,what is the charges cost?

    1. Please contact the company directly at :)

  7. Dont forget check my website mr Teo 😄

    1. Hey Mr Buldan! Bet i would be engaging ur service soon. :)

  8. I like to go batam on 5 to 6 November what is the charges like for that. 7 person. Trip to hotel and trip to the spots area and to the ferry terminal the next day. Intend to stay at BCS Mall hotel area.

    1. Hi! Please contact Mr Buldan at +6282283333543.