Batam, Indonesia information
I see that Batam, Indonesia has never been briefed, despite its proximity to Singapore and West Malaysia.
It's worth a brief visit if you are in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, as it is easy and cheap to get to. You can say you've been to Indonesia and collect the flag. It's also a good jumping-off point to the rest of Indonesia via ferry or cheap domestic Indo airlines like Citilink, Lion Air and Firefly. It's not worth a long trip to get there.
This is not comprehensive and focuses on Nagoya, which is the main township on Batam.
50 years ago, Batam had nothing but fishing villages. Since then, the Indo government established free zones and encouraged the maritime and off-shore oil industry in an effort to mirror the success of Singapore.
There are also beach resorts and golfing on Batam and neighboring Bintan Island, which I did not go to.
For some reason, the town is filled with stores selling knock-off handbags with Prada, Coach, Hermes, Burberry, etc trademarks. These are of varying quality, but it might be a nice place to pick up an expensive-looking gift.
Ferries leave Singapore Harbourfront every few minutes up to about 9 pm.
You want to take the ferry to "Harbour Bay," not "Batam Center." "Batam Center" is actually not the center of the town, it is a newer development. Harbour Bay is a lot closer to the center of Nagoya.
You can take a bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore Harbourfront via Aeroline buses, and get from KL to Batam easily.
Round trip ferry cost me 48 SGD. You can buy tickets cheaper online and in advance.
USA/CAN/EU and probably other nationals can get a seven day non-extendable visa on arrival for 10 USD. A 30 day visa costs 25 USD. Seven days is more than enough for Batam alone. If you are flying to other parts of Indonesia, you'll want a longer visa.
Indonesian Rupiah, which converts at the hard-to-comprehend rate of roughly 10,000 per USD. Hard-to-comprehend, because the numbers make things that are quite cheap seem expensive at first impulse. Some things are priced in SGD.
Where to stay:
You want to stay in the center of Nagoya, which is a somewhat sprawling low-rise town, in the vicinity of the Harmoni Hotel and Nagoya Hill Mall. The Harmoni Hotel is the best hotel in town. There is also a Novotel, Mercure and a lot of budget places, even less that 20 USD with free wifi.
Not as good as BKK/KL/SIN, but there some decent food from small restaurants with outdoor seating,and of course mall food and fast food chains. Local restaurants are cheap, easy to eat for less than 50,000 IDR
You can also have civet cat coffee from the Coffee Luwak chain, at Nagoya Hill Mall. I had to try it even for what is the exorbitant for Indonesia price of 40,000.
It's a great cup of coffee, not ecstatic though.
There are some pricer/better restaurants out at Harbour Bay, a bunch of seafood places and a good Italian place, Bella Italia, with a real Italian chef.
I wasn't out hunting at night, because I had everything I needed through daygaming at the malls and pipelining.
From what I saw, the best places to pick up at night would be Sullivan's Rock Club, around the outdoor seating at the restaurants/bars at Harbour Bay, and the NoName Club at the Harmoni Hotel. The NoName appeared to have a lot of pros/semi-pros trolling for the offshore oil industry guys who were around.
There are a lot of bars behind the Harmoni Hotel. These are mostly karaoke places staffed with GROs (Guest Relations Officers a euphemism for bargirls). One place I could have a beer without being hustled for drinks was D'Angels Bar, which was like a Batam version of Cheers as filmed by Fellini, with a pooltable, Texas oil guys, Japanese guys, a crazy tribeswoman with a great bod who gives you a nice backrub and arm/hand massage for 50,000 and a tiny tiny barmaid.
There is also an outdoor coffeehouse scene with acoustic music and a young crowd along the road right outside the south entrance to Nagoya Hill Mall.
Getting numbers at the malls like Nagoya Hill or BCS Mall is ridiculously easy and the women are quite eager to follow up. They will text and call you anxious to hook up.
Everything said about Jakarta holds true about Batam, it is very easy there and you are only limited by your time and energy.