Hello guys! Here’s a quick life update 🙂
Last week Bf and I went to Batam for a 3-day-2-night short vacation because it has always been our practice to travel during our school break. We wanted to visit Taiwan again but due to my financial constraints as a student, we opted for a nearer and more pocket-friendly getaway this time.
It was not a mutual agreement to go to Batam. Instead, it was Bf who wanted to go so badly because I was raving about it 2 years ago when I returned from Batam with my ex-colleagues. I didn’t think I was raving actually as I felt I was merely stating my observations.. like the obviously cheaper stuff there and the very cost-effective body massages. Despite that, I hated Batam, and I still do a little, because of a terrible experience at the ferry terminal and some xenophobic (towards Singaporeans especially) salesperson I encountered on my first visit.
For the curious, my ex-colleagues and I went to Batam 2 years ago for a short vacation as well and we were almost deported back to Singapore for talking and laughing at the ferry terminal. Our laughters might have been a little too much (because we were the only ones talking there so naturally it sounded loud) but being first-timers, we didn’t know Batam was so strict with their “Silence at Checkpoint” policy because my friends didn’t have this problem at all when they went to Bali (also in Indonesia). So then we were called out one by one (I remember vividly he said while pointing his finger at each of us, “you, you, you, you and you. Come out.”) by the immigration officer without warning in front of other passengers and were detained at the office for awhile because we were “noisy” and we kind of “irritated one of the officers there” wtfffff. I was damn furious partly because I felt they were picking on us for being all-girls and was ready to return to Singapore if told. But my calmer friends didn’t want to waste the trip and suggested to apologise to the officer when we met him at the customs. I was like, walao eh why should I but I didn’t want to implicate the others so I just had to lan lan suck thumb and apologise to that sour face. *shakes fists* But I’ve read several accounts on other blogs that some had to BRIBE the officers lest they would be given an “entry denied” stamp on their passports so I guess we were pretty lucky. They probably gave chance because one of us (Grace) was really pretty 😛
And the salespeople at Ralph Lauren Polo store spoke ill of Singaporeans in Bahasa Indonesia that we were stupid, while we were there wtf? Couldn’t they wait until we left? Excuse me but my friend could understand you because when Singaporeans pick up foreign languages, we learn the insults first. (lol)
I know not everyone in Batam is like this (the hotel personnel were friendly) but the experience really left a bitter taste in my mouth and I swore I wouldn’t go back again.
And then I went back last week. What the… I was really reluctant and Bf and I bickered about it almost everyday before and during the trip. To me, it was a waste of my precious time and hard-earned money. I could’ve saved a little more and it’d be enough for Taiwan.. or Bangkok. Anywhere but Batam.
Okay so back to the “review” but before that, let me share a bimbotic moment with you. We almost missed our ferry to Batam because even though it wasn’t my first time taking the ferry, I wasn’t exactly sure about the latest time we had to be in the ferry by. And Bf being a first-timer was also unsure; he just knew we had to be there 2 hours before. Our departure time was 11.30am and at 11.00am we were still happily having breakfast at ToastBox (LOL) because we didn’t hear any announcements (like in airport) for our ferry. After that at 11.20pm we went to check the flap display for the status and we saw “Closed” beside the ferry we were supposed to board. We were like, whaaaat it’s only 10 minutes away from departure and the gate is still not opened? UNTIL we skimmed to the lower part of the board where “Not Opened” was updated for later ferries. Well actually it didn’t ring any bell until I innocently questioned Bf the difference between “Closed” and “Not Opened”, thereafter followed by a short realisation pause LOL!! Anxious us quickly ran to check in and thankfully we were still allowed to board.
We bought the free-and-easy Spa~Sensation travel package from Five Stars Tours and stayed at Harris Resort, the same for my first visit. Being in Harris was a pleasant experience because the staff were really friendly, service-oriented and efficient. We had our full body spa on the first day in the hotel (a separate building on the topmost level, in a hut): 1-hour body scrub, 1-hour-30-minute body massage and 30-minute healing aromatic bath. The first 2 were something I had done before but the third one was totally new to me because it was technically bubble bath. Like, really thick foam bath. We were also served hot drinks during the process. It was fun but definitely didn’t do much to clean my body haha. No pictures because I forgot to take any 😛
We had hotel food for dinner on the first night. It was surprisingly good! I especially love their apple pie because the pastry that came with it has *insert MasterChef words here* finesse hahaha. I mean it was thick, chewy and it melts instantly in your mouth! I had this for dessert for 2 consecutive days 😀
The next day we went to Batam’s biggest shopping mall, Nagoya Hills and I regrettably bought a fleece cotton blanket on impulse -_- I already have one at home in Hello Kitty design which I bought 2 years ago in Batam. I didn’t think about having to lug it to the Love, Bonito sale (post up next) on the coming Friday. But I loved the design (Paul Frank) so that probably made myself feel better lol. Our purpose there was just to eat at A&W by the way.
We also had curly fries and their 2-piece meal but we forgot to snap pictures again haha.
One of the reasons why Bf was so eager to go to Batam was because of their DIRT CHEAP ARCADES. In Singapore if I’m not wrong, one gaming token is $0.50 but in Batam, one token is just 1000 Rupiah (12 cents omg). We played til our hearts’ content and unleash our inner child (because unleashing it in Singapore would be too expensive LOL). We caught a lot of stuffed toys on the toy catcher machine once again!
We did foot reflexology at our expense back at our hotel which was also very affordable. S$18* for a 1-hour massage, not bad right? But it gave me super sore thighs and calves for days!!! 😦 Probably because I hadn’t been doing foot reflexology so I wasn’t used to the pressure.
Oh sidetrack a bit, I really don’t like how people in Batam always quote us in Singapore dollars. Like the moment they see your face, they know you’re from Singapore and they quote you exorbitant prices (that’s another thing I don’t like but it’s hard to avoid getting ripped off as a tourist) in SGD. It’s like an obvious first sign of rip-off. Even when I was in China the tour guide I didn’t like also asked for tips in SGD. But hey I refuse to give you my currency. I’m in Indonesia so give me Indonesia pricing for goodness sake!!
At night we hired a cab which costed us SG$18* to go to Goldren Prawn 933/555 (don’t know which one as I’m equally confused LOL), about 30-40-minute drive away, to have our dinner. We wanted to order crabs initially but the price was like 10,000 rupiah/ons. We didn’t know what ‘ons’ meant so we asked the person taking our orders who apparently isn’t very fluent in English. He told us 10,000 rupiah PER GRAM. OUR JAWS DROPPED. So we only ordered my favourite Gong Gong, BBQ prawns, Kang Kong and the yuckiest and meatless fried squid with flour I’ve tasted. The rest were not bad.
It turned out that ‘ons’ actually means 100 GRAMS. We figured out when we saw the bill and the BBQ prawns, which was also charged “per ons”, were ridiculously cheap even though we ordered quite a lot. Bf was angry (at the server who gave us the wrong information) because he wanted the crabs but when we realised it we were too full to take in any more food lol.
On the final day, we woke up at 4am (Indonesia time which is an hour slower than Singapore Time) to take the first ferry back to Singapore because of the Great Love, Bonito sale I was invited to!
All in all, I still wouldn’t go back to Batam again unless it’s really necessary or unless my mom wants to go there in the future -_- I came back with lots of mozzie bites.
Stay tuned for the next post 🙂
*Prices have been roughly converted to SGD because I can’t remember how many zeros there were in the Rupiah we paid