#JoeyJios finale: My job sent me cafe-hopping in Batam for free

When it comes to work perks, I must say, I've had it pretty good.

Thanks to my weekly #JoeyJios series, which I started hosting circa five months (and 20 episodes) ago, I've had the opportunity to throw an axe at my colleague's face, taste-test various weird food trends and meet quite a few celebs in the flesh.

All in the name of content creation of course.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. So, for the series finale, I convinced my editor that it was only fitting we end with a bang.

And due to a viral article on Batam, it was decided that the hosts of Thirstdays (another AsiaOne original series) and I take #JoeyJios overseas and give it a proper sendoff.

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Unbeknownst to many in the office, Batam has emerged as a hidden gem for people who enjoy cafe-hopping, largely due to the affordability of prices compared to Singapore.

Our trip this time round was on Batamfast Ferry, who kindly hosted our travel to and from the island — VIP-style.

Think first-class travel is limited to planes, trains and cruises? Nope.

For an additional $150 each way (excluding ferry ticket cost), you can upgrade and get an air-conditioned VIP cabin for a cosier and more private time with your companions.

VIP rooms can accommodate five to nine people while business class ($500 each way excluding ferry ticket cost) can accommodate up to 17. If you're travelling in a group of nine, you'll only need to top up $17 for a more comfortable experience with snacks and drinks provided on board.

A sweet deal, considering you also get to board and disembark first, so there's no need to queue with the masses at the immigration counter.

Once transportation was settled, we reached out to the two most Instagram-friendly cafes and boy, were we in for a surprise.

BATAM'S TEDDY BEAR-THEMED CAFE

One of Batam's best kept secrets in my opinion, Lee's Cafe and Bar fulfilled everything a cafe-hopper would be looking out for.

Good food, affordable prices, great ambience, all checked.

Decked out in soft, cuddly teddy bears in every nook and cranny, the place is social media gold. And they serve pretty good food to boot.

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The family-owned business has been in operation since 2017 and serves an eclectic range of cuisines including Western, Indonesian, Chinese and the latest fad to hit Batam: Korean.

With prices for mains ranging from 15,000 rupiah ($1.50) to 169,000 rupiah ($17) and desserts that will set you back by about 30,000 rupiah ($3), it's almost impossible to find an equivalent in Singapore.

If you're thinking of heading to Batam for a getaway, the owner said they're in the process of converting the place into a homestay location. With a capacity of 28 rooms, renovations are expected to complete by the end of this year.

Hmm… we wonder what a teddy bear-themed guest house would look like.

What: Lee's Cafe and Bar 
Address: Jalan Pembangunan, Ruko Penuin Centre Blok JA 1-2

A FOUR-STOREY VINTAGE HOLLYWOOD-THEMED CAFE

A fan of old-school Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee or Elvis Presley? Socialite's Crib Cafe and Pub has a section dedicated to the stars.

There's also a corner with caricatures of Indonesian presidents, another corner specially for couples and yet another section for football fans.

If you want to dine al-fresco, take the rooftop level and relax under the stars. If you're a music-lover, check out the live band that plays every night on level three.

Opened in 2015, this massive four-storey establishment is unlike any cafe I've been to but it was slightly pricier compared to the first one we visited.

That said, the prices are cheaper than if we were to eat out in Singapore and they even have a live band.

There's also a different theme planned each month with a special menu that goes along with it so every visit you will have something different.

What: Socialite's Crib Cafe and Bar
Address: Ruko Royal Sincom block C no. 18-19, Batam Centre (opposite PT. Panasonic)

OTHER CAFES TO CHECK OUT

Batam has no shortage of interesting cafes, so in case you've heard of the two we visited, here are some other places to check out as well.

Anchor Cafe and Roastery

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Address: Ruko Dermaga Culinary Paradise Blok RF No.11 Kota Batam, Kepulauan Riau 29462

Pod + Leaf Cafe 

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Address: Komps. Mahkota Raya, Block D No.6 Batam Centre, Batam Island, Indonesia 

Chemistree Cafe

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Address: Jalan Raja Ali Haji Fisabilillah, Ruko Raffless City Blok A No 1, 1A, & 2, Kelurahan Teluk Tering, Kecamatan Batam Kota 

Perhaps a separate article or video in future? Or maybe we'll manage to convince our boss to give us another all-expense-paid trip. ?

Stay tuned to this space because we're always on the lookout for new places to recommend and things to try out!

This article is part of AsiaOne's #Joeyjios series where she brings the internet along on her adventures. If you like Joey and want more of her, check out the hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube or follow us at AsiaOnecom.

joeylee@asiaone.com