Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weekends in Batam, Indonesia

Running for the pool
So far this year I have been to Batam, Indonesia, twice: once overnight for a trip with my girlfriends, once with R and B as a quick family getaway.

Going to Indonesia for the weekend SOUNDS very exotic and jet-set-esque, especially to an American like myself. However, because Singapore is so small, it is actually less of a trip than say, visiting Tahoe from the Bay Area.

Batam is an island without any features of note: it is not especially physically beautiful (in fact, it's quite built up and resembles a suburb more than a tropical paradise), has almost no interesting monuments, attractions or historical features (though its actual history is interesting, as it has been inhabited for aeons and was once the stronghold of the rapacious and frightening China Seas pirates). While the population is around 1 million, it's still too small to have any of the alluring qualities of a city.
R enjoying the huge pool: the mushroom is part of the water play area
Its reason for being is that it's very close to Singapore, less than an hour by ferry, and yet in third world Indonesia, meaning that everything is much cheaper there. So basically the Tijuana of southeast Asia, including the rather seedy reputation (one of Batam's main industries, at least until recently, is sex tourism: obviously I did not explore this side of things personally).
R and B on the water slide
I had a great time on both trips nonetheless. The first trip would have been great regardless of the location, being the first overnight trip without children or husbands for me and two of my closest friends in Singapore (and actually the first overnight trip away from children EVER for the other two). We ate crab, chatted, got pedicures, and vegetated: it was awesome (and so relaxing I didn't even bring my camera!).
Part of the grounds complete with cheery frogs
The other was really R's ideal of a perfect vacation: short travel trip on a novel mode of transport, time in the onsite playgym, swimming, sliding down the water slide over and over, big buffet breakfast (she loves those), and staying in a two-bedroom hotel apartment with "my own bed and toilet" (we stayed at the Holiday Inn, which gets top points for its child-friendliness). B and I enjoyed it too, though it's a bit dull for my personal taste. Cheap though! so probably we will return soon as a quick-and-easy getaway.

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