Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Batam, here we come!

     Ok, I will be honest with you. I like to look at my passport and see different stamps of different countries I've been too. Sadly, there's not so many to look at. So I convinced my hubby dear to go to a place where we can travel without slicing our pockets. And where's that? Of course, Batam, Indonesia! Indonesia is quite near to Singapore, it is just a 45-minutes ferry ride away. And the plus points, massages and food are cheap so we can enjoy and relax on our travel as well :)

    We were on a tight budget so I bought a deal from Groupon. For S$59.00 per person, ferry ticket,  shuttle, tour, buffet breakfast, Indonesian lunch buffet and 60-minute massage are included with accommodations at Harmoni One hotel. Not bad, eh? 

     The ferry to Batam is at Harbourfront. Of course I forgot to ask my husband-photographer to snap a photo of the terminal from Singapore (ha-ha, forgetful me). But our ferry went to one of the ports in Batam, which is Sekupang ferry terminal. By the way, there is one-hour time difference between Indonesia and Singapore so it was confusing at first.

     We started our adventure at Batam with a tour of the city. 

We are lucky to have a shuttle bus. Others had to squeeze into a van :)

We didn't go here. Hubby just snapped a photo of this shop haha!

Two locals performed bravely for us. Bravo!

     We went to a layers cake shop and a chocolate shop. But I find the prices are a bit expensive so I just bought a pack of chocolate to nibble on during the tour. Then, we watched locals perform and it was simply scary to watch them do stunts like eat glass (what? they eat glass for snacks?) and chew on burning coals.

Of all the places we visited, I appreciated this Buddhist temple the most (Was it Buddhist? Okay, it was a temple) as hubby and I got to explore it and see how other places of worship look like.

This statue of Buddha confirms the temple is Buddhist :)

     We were about to set off to a Factory Outlet of Ralph Lauren clothes but the other passengers were already hungry so the tour guide asked the driver to bring us to the restaurant where we can fill our stomachs with Indonesian food. *burp*

This restaurant serves authentic Indonesian food.

     Next stop is the factory outlet of Ralph Lauren clothes but opposite this boutique is a shop of local products. Hubby enjoyed the figures but did not want to buy any as they were fragile. 

Some novelty items for sale.

Some souvenir items for tourists.

     We also went to a market where I got to buy Sumatran coffee, but again, I forgot to ask hubby to take a photo of the place. Silly me.

      Anyways, the last on our list is the massage. I am sooo looking forward to this as massage in Singapore is quite pricey. I just added 12 dollars each for me and hubby to get a massage oil of our choice. While waiting for our turn, we were served ginger tea.

Hot ginger tea for waiting customers.

      Finally, the tour is coming to its end and we were headed to our hotel. The tour guide invited us to a seafood dinner for 18 dollars per person but my cousin (who has been here in the same hotel) advised me that food in the hotel is cheap so we did not sign up.

The grand facade of our hotel!

     The hotel offered shuttle services to malls near us but hubby and I opted to explore the hotel instead.

Our bedroom. 
The lobby in our floor.

A view of the rooftop pool.

The hotel has 2 restaurants. We will have our breakfast buffet here tomorrow :)

We tried to venture out via the other entrance to the hotel.

     We checked the menu of the hotel's food and since they were affordable, we had our dinner delivered to our room.

Our dinner.

     Groupon offers a lot of hotels in Batam but we got Harmoni One as my cousin and his wife recommended it. Next time, though, we'll try to stay in a hotel near the beach. Overall, I enjoyed our trip to Batam though we will probably skip the tour :)

Till next adventure, then!

Have you been to Batam? What we're your experiences and where did you stay?