Sunday, July 27, 2008

Late Update

This is a late update on my Batam Trip.

I was really busy and stressed up last few weeks, so Alec suggest that we go on a short vacation.


Batam, a small Indonesian island within the Riau Islands,, situated South of Singapore. It is also a free trade area so liquor and ciggies are relatively cheaper. But too bad, both Alec and I don't smoke nor drink.

We board a ferry from Harbour Front (Vivocity) at about 11.30am and it took us 45 mins to reach Harbour Bay, Indonesia. The return ferry ticket cost us S$47 each. Add another S$8, I can go back to KL.

Upon arrival, we change about S$300 to indo rupiah. So it comes up to Rp2million. For the first time in my life, I'm a millionaire! The rate was S$1 = Rp6700.

With Rp6700, you can get yourself a motor ride as opposed to taxi ride of Rp10-30k. Taxis in Indonesia do not have metres, so you have to depend on your negotiation skill to get you the right price. Alec is good with negotiation, not me, I kind of pity the local ppl and would just agree to any price as long as you get me to the place I want to go, SAFELY.

Alec told me the local earn about Rp500k to Rp1m, that is about the price of a Polo shirt. Batam looks like Krabi to me, the place is a bit runned down but certain areas are quite nice. Honestly, there is nothing much in Batam, except for cheap seafood, cheap clothing and good massage.

Cars in Batam is also very cheap, with a new Toyota Corolla going at Rp134m. About S$20m. No Proton was in sight, according to the taxi driver, Proton no good, Indons dont trust Made in Malaysia products.

Most taxi driver drives Toyota too. The taxi competition in Batam is superly fierce, you can go on bargain and bargain until you get a price you can afford. There are typically 2 types of taxis, the legal with the Taxi print on the car's body and the illegal ones (obviously without the Taxi print). Both charges almost the same, just depends how lucky the taxi driver in getting your business.

Indons are generally friendlier ppl, despite you slashing their price, they would still smile and try to have small talk with you on board. They even recommend good place to go for massage and food. Most offer to ferry you around and willing to wait for you while you check in. And they don't get extra for waiting.

There was one guy whom we hired and he waited for us for almost 2 hours while we go about our dinner at Golden Prawn.

We spend about Rp200k on taxi fares.

Massage was good too! For just S$30-50, You can get a good decent relaxing massage. We went to Indo-Chine, nice atmosphere and the price is reasonable as well.

Secondly, movies! Watching movie is very cheap! Just Rp25k- Equals to S$4 on Saturday night. On usual nights, just Rp15k.

Thirdly, Pedicure & Manicure is dirt cheap too! Rp100k for both. You do the maths.