Batam is a small yet charming Indonesian island, strategically located close to the Malacca Strait and Singapore. Only 45 minutes by ferry from Singapore’s Harbor-front, Batam acts as a gateway to 3,000 islands in the Riau Archipelago of Sumatra. The island is one of the most frequented tourist destinations, welcoming over a million visitors each year; second only to Bali in popularity.
Originally, Batam was a forgotten island with coastal villages and unspoiled nature. The recent declaration of a free-trade zone has transformed it into one of the liveliest places in the Riau Archipelago. Batam was originally intended to become one of the largest ports in Southeast Asia. Today, it is a hub for several Singaporean companies who have established factories on the island specializing in electronics and ship repairs, as well as large oil service sectors.
With several luxurious hotel and resorts, fine golf courses, and places of interest, many Singaporeans wishing to get away from the hustle and bustle come and visit this small island on weekends. Being a special economic zone in Indonesia, many people come to Batam to shop for tax-free products such as cigarettes, alcoholic drinks, perfumes, chocolate, and handicrafts from all over the Indonesian archipelago.