Think quick vacay, think Batam.
The largest city of Riau Islands is not just about resorts. From golf courses (there are 7!) to food haunts (lots and lots) to shopping destinations (both malls and smaller stores), Batam offers up more than just sand, sea and sun.
Getting to this popular destination's a no-brainer. Several ferry companies operate 60-minute journeys daily from Singapore Cruise Centre at HarbourFront Centre to Batam Centre Ferry Terminal. You can purchase a visa on arrival for seven or 30 days (from $20).
And once there, get around via taxi (look for those with yellow number plates as they are licensed), or arrange for a driver with your hotel or travel agency.
If you are unsure about hotfooting it here for a brief break from work, let this list of Batam's 9 holiday charms convince you to do so.
1. BARELANG BRIDGE
Start by visiting the Barelang Bridge, a chain of six bridges connecting the islands of Batam, Rempang and Galang, and take pretty pics of the iconic structure from a small lookout here.
2. THE ILLUSION BATAM
If IRL photos of landscapes and nature, don't cut it for you, swing by The ILLusion Batam, a 3D trick art museum. Here, you can go selfie-crazy and take loads of photos of the fam hanging upside in a living room, in the mouth of a monster, and even with the Hulk in the toilet (yes, you can).
3. GOLF COURSES
With seven golf courses in Batam, such as Southlinks Country Club and Padang Golf Sukajadi, golfing fans will be spoilt for choice. Families are naturally welcome to learn and try to hit a hole-in-one (or just enjoy the greenery) at all the different courses on the island.
4. SHOPPING SPOTS
Hit up Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall (pictured), for all things designer as well as the latest electronic devices. Diamond City Mall and Batam City Square has plenty of stores retailing traditional handicrafts and Indonesian batik (wax-dyed cloth) while Kampung Oleh-Oleh is great for handmade trinkets like key chains and Indonesian woodcarvings.
5. KOPAK JAYA 007 KELONG SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Tuck into a feast fit for royalty at Kopak Jaya 007 Kelong Seafood Restaurant - think large platters of salted-egg crab, black pepper crayfish, steamed prawns and steamed scallops with garlic.
6. A2 FOOD COURT
For foodies who love trying out new places, or regular patrons of food courts, A2 Food Court would be your must-try. Why? Because it is centrally located in the Penuin area at the side of Batam City Square mall and near The BCC hotel, and is super popular with both locals and tourists. Fare to try: Nasi ayam (chicken rice), sio bak (crispy pork) and barbecue chicken wings.
7. ANCHOR CAFE & ROASTERY
For cafes serving western fare, head to Anchor Cafe & Roastery, which serves hand brewed coffee and single origin coffees with beans sourced from farmers in Indonesia, alongside homemade Southern comfort food such as Open-Faced Carolina Honey Barbecue Sandwich as well as French Toast with Log Cabin Maple Syrup for the kids.
8. BREWSKY & CO.
Batam might not be known for having many classy pubs but there are gems around the Nagoya area. Wind down at Brewsky & Co, supposedly Batam's first microbrewery - pip for its house brew on tap with some deep fried pork knuckle bits.
9. RESORTS WITH A VIEW
When in Batam, you must resort to a resort (get it?) to chill. Check in to Radisson Blu Golf & Convention Centre Batam for access to a private golf range right at your doorstep. Batam View Beach Resort (pictured) offers elegant accommodation with panoramic views of the clear blue sea.
This article was first published in The Finder.