Day Tour in Batam, Indonesia [2]

Next stop: Sari Bumbu restaurant. We were really eager to eat because we’re all starving. I was relieved to know that it’s a buffet restaurant, not seafood. I have previously read blogs indicating that they ate in a certain Golden Prawn 933/555. It was quite a popular option included in a tour package. It was supposedly “free” and with this, I certainly didn’t expect much. Some people were saying good reviews, but most were not satisfied. I often saw terms like mediocre, so-so, and tasteless. But it’s cheap!

Fortunately, we didn’t have the chance to taste it for ourselves. What we had was the typical Indonesian cuisine. Nothing fancy, though. It was pretty good, considering. I wouldn’t say it was tasteless, but it was so-so. There were several foods to choose from, with names I couldn’t decipher. The staff were very friendly in assisting us and answering our queries. I really find it funny that they initially talk in the native tongue, then suddenly get surprised when we respond in English. It would take awhile for them to talk once again. I especially loved the fact that we can eat as much as we like, and that there was ice cream. It was scorching hot outside.


This was our first set, complete with soup and dessert. I remember coming back at least twice to get more. Haha 😀

After lunch, we headed to the next stop (and last temple for the day). It was probably the newest one we have visited. What I really liked about it was…the cute baby buddhas! There were a lot of them, each bearing some sign of good luck.


My friend said to hold the bag of money for prosperity. Hmmmm…..there’s no harm anyway.

Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Temple

And the biggest buddha was right there in the middle. I don’t see other tourists going near it, so we didn’t bother. We were pretty much contented with the babies.

After this, we went to several shops: chocolate, Polo (which they say is authentic), kueh lapis, local delicacies, batik (traditional fabric), and Batam shopping mall.

In all of these, we managed to spend all of our pocket money for that day. Ah, were they good at convincing! I was aghast when I found that I don’t have IDR cash left, only SGD! That made me stop and instead of buying another kueh lapis box, opted to get the buy one-take one chocolate bars I spotted in the mall. Not bad, eh?

And that’s it. Our day tour was done. I was somewhat satisfied, never mind my cashless bag. It was as if we went full-blown shopping spree. We went back to Singapore with loads of plastic bags and paper boxes. Considering the difference of price between these two countries, it was a good bargain still.

If you are interested in Batam or Bintan, for that matter, you may check out Travel Delightfully and book any of their packages.


Day Tour in Batam, Indonesia [1]

Tourists to Singapore mostly go to Malaysia for a day or two of sightseeing. Well, we opted to take the unlikely route: Indonesia. There is this small island called Batam, quietly nestled an hour away. It is the largest city in the Riau islands, third-largest city in Sumatra, and eighth-largest city in Indonesia. Two nearby islands, Bintan and Bulan, are also quite popular for Singaporeans.

Batam has a tropical climate, similar to my home country. The people spoke of several languages, predominantly Indonesian. The locals were generally friendly and approachable. I would assume this is because we look like them. And because of that, it never really felt like a foreign country for me.

We landed at Sekupang International Ferry Terminal. One could immediately see the difference from where we came, the much-larger HarbourFront Centre. We rode Horizon Fast Ferry, which was relatively new compared to its competitors. We basically had no choice because this ferry was already a part of the package we availed. The entire trip was generally good and smooth-sailing. It was a cloudy day, and luckily, there was no impending typhoon.

We were greeted by a long queue of people in the immigration, and when it was our turn, everything went okay (almost).

And then, my mind was wandering. Where is our tour guide? We decided to go out of the main lobby and searched. Then a man suddenly approached us from behind, asking our names. At first, we stammered and got quiet. Then he showed us our passport copies (which we sent prior) and package itinerary. Oh! He was our tour guide! Thank God he found us. We exchanged a little greeting and proceeded to the small van waiting. I am not sure if it’s a good thing, but we were the only “guests” for that day.

First stop: Miniature Park. Locals used to call it Taman Mini Indonesia Indah. I heard that there’s another one in Jakarta, though. But this one would suffice. Various traditional houses from all over Indonesia have miniature versions in this park. It is free-of-charge.


There were so many houses! And they’re all so cute! After an hour, we went to our first temple for the day: Tua Pek Kong.

tua pek kong

There were only a few people inside. And at first, they were looking at us skeptically. Then I realized we were wearing shoes inside. Big NO-NO! I saw our guide waving at us, showing us where to put our shoes. Our bad. It was really embarrassing. Anyhow, we went again to another temple.


A big buddha was prominently placed right at the center of the entrance. It’s the first thing you’ll see. The smell of incense was pungent in every corner. We decided to burn one and whispered a short prayer. Yes, we left our shoes outside (we knew better this time) as soon as we saw the clean and clear vinyl tiles. Our guide and driver also prayed with us. Theirs was longer, though.

We also went around, as there are many small temples behind. They all look relatively the same, just with different arrangements and design. We also found a vegetarian canteen which made us remember the time. It’s almost twelve! Back to the van, it was as if our guide read our minds. He asked if we are already hungry. We both nodded.