Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates

Check out What's New on the Expat Web Site
Information for foreigners moving to Indonesia

Home » Practical Information » Expat Living Outside Jakarta

Expat Living in Batam

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

 

Translate this Page

Bookmark and Share
Links to hundreds of articles giving practical information for expats moving to Indonesia
Post your questions or communicate with other expats in Indonesia on the Expat Forum
Looking for a place to stay in Indonesia - check out the Housing Forum
Looking for a weekend or holiday getaway ... visit some of Indonesia's Great Escapes
Some great restuarants in Jakarta
Advice and resources for conducting business in Indonesia
Info on expatriate community organizations in Indonesia
Shops, Products and Services
Links to other useful Indonesian or expat-related web sites
Expat Humor - spread the joys of Living in Indonesia through e-postcards
Site Map
Return to the Home Page
expatriate information for Indonesia

Housing | Schooling  | Sports and Recreation  | Utilities  | Medical |  Shopping  | Expat Social Life | Dining Out | Links

There are approximately 2,500 expats living in Batam under KITAS (including other family members. There are also an estimated 2,000 (exact figure unknown) living here under business visas, bringing the total in Batam to over 3,000. Approximately 80% of these are from other Asian countries, with most of the westerners coming from the UK, rest of Europe, Australia and the US.

In 1970 Batam had no cars and roads (98% forest); population was 7,000. McDermott's Batu Ampar yard was Batam's first industrial project, started in 1968. Batam today is a major logistics base for many of the world's major contractors, including Bechtel, Shlumberger, McConnel Dowell, Global Industries, Saipen, Ballast Nedham, Halliburton, Weatherford, Nippon Steel and Hyundai. Over 700 foreign companies have manufacturing or logistics operations on the island.

Batam has a large electronics sector, however the most obvious industry is perhaps one of the  largest oil service/construction, and ship repair facilities in the world.

The first thing many notice about Batam is that, even though it is part of Indonesia, in many ways it is a separate entity. Whilst other places are effected by the political and economic climate, Batam remains a constant with none of the the violence or problems located elsewhere. The economic condition in Batam is more closely related to that of Singapore, not only because of the close proximity of the island, but due to the vast amount of business connections and investments between the two islands.

Singapore is the nearest hub for international travel. The city itself only separated by Malaka Strait and Singapore can be seen if you go to Batu Ampar.

Housing

There are a large number of housing estates on Batam. Favoured among expats is the Vill Panbil, (which has a pool, gym restaraunt nice landscaping and is a gated community with good security), Sukajadi and Duta Mas estates located between Muka Kuning and Batam Center. Nongsa houses are the most pleasant, although the drive to work is getting worse. Shop around as prices for the same property can vary a lot. Developer's prices can sometimes be twice as much as the real market, so ask around. Like the rest of Indonesia, house security is a real issue; it should be your number one priority in evaluating where to live. There are a limited selection of complexes that pass the vigorous security standards that are required by many oil and gas companies. Often companies will choose a serviced apartment for their short term employees as it is unusual that landlords will commit to a lease less than one year.

Property Ownership by Expats - The rules for property ownership by foreign nationals in Batam fall under Decree No 068/KPTS/KA/III/1999. This regulations states that foreign nationals or companies are permitted to 100% own residential or commercial property in the Barelang area (Batam, Rempang and Galang). The only properties excluded from this decree are low cost and very low cost housing, but includes all other types of building structures.

Schooling

Sekolah Global Indo-Asia
Jalan Raya Batam Centre Kav SGIA
Batam Centre 29400 Batam
Tel. +62 (788) 467-333
Fax +62 (788) 467-979
Email admission@sgiaedu.org
Website www.sgiaedu.org
Head of School, Ms. Dewi D. Lukitasari – principal@sgiaedu.org

Sekolah Global Indo-Asia (SGIA) is a coeducational day school located in the centre of Batam City in Riau province. The school caters to the needs of children of the national and international community living in and around Batam, Indonesia. SGIA is the only school in Batam that offers international qualifications from International Baccalaureate (IB) offering the Primary Years Programme and Checkpoint, IGCSE, AS and A levels from Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The school will fully implement the IB Diploma Programme in 2016.
SGIA enroll students in Pre-School through the 12th Grade of diverse nationalities.

The school is equipped with up-to-date facilities to foster the love for learning. It is a caring, secure environment in which students develop the relevant skills, confidence, foster positive attitudes and creativity that will help them succeed academically.

The main language of instruction is English but Bahasa Indonesia is widely used to teach supplementary subjects required for the National Curriculum. Mandarin and French are offered as additional languages. During required national subjects in Indonesian, expatriate students receive an additional language, social studies, character building and life skills classes.

SGIA prides itself of its modern, air conditioned, comfortable and educational classrooms, ensuring students are receiving the very best international and national education possible. All of the SGIA teachers receive regular international and national trainings to sustain professional development and are able to implement modern approaches in learning.

SGIA’s graduates directly enter popular Universities within and outside Indonesia. Many of our former students have gained acceptance in top schools in Jakarta and Bandung as well as Singapore, United States of America, Malaysia, Canada, Australia, Philippines, and the United Kingdom.

 

Sports and Recreation

There are six golf courses located throughout the island:

Palm Springs Golf Tel. (62-778) 761-222
Indah Puri Golf Tel. (62-778) 323-702
South Links Golf Tel. (62-778) 324-128
Paradise Bay Golf Tel. (62-778) 391-901
Tering Bay Golf Tel. (62-778) 761-821
Tamarin Santana Tel. (62-778) 761-777

  • There is a gym at Baloi.
  • There are squash courts at the Harris Resort on the waterfront.
  • Drive the Barelang Highway to Bridge-6 (5 hrs)
  • Go diving or use the seaports facilities (at high tide) at Batam View Beach Resort. Tel (62-778) 761-740
  • Take a ferry from Telaga Punggur to Tanjung Pinang, town on Bintan Island.
  • Spend an afternoon visiting the old palace and fort on historic Penyenget
    Island.
  • Fishing with Ahee: Big comfy boats for Sin$400/day. Call Jansen +62812 700-4754
  • Batam has some great Mountain Biking in the trails around Duriankang
    Reseviour and along the Nongsa coast.
  • Swim With Dolphins. An excellent day out for Sing$110. Call (62-778) 381-888.
    www.dolphinslodge.com
  • Take a small boat to old fashioned Bee Pee Island. Tour by becak (bicycle rickshaw).
  • Marcel can guide you - his mobile number is +62813-6468 9261
  • Great jogging, in Sekupang, near Otorita Batam hospital, hillside overlooking the ocean, a really nice view especially during early morning when it's pretty deserted - not much traffic.

Fitness Centers and swimming pools at resorts and hotels are available for use by the public for a small fee.

Beaches are fairly limited on Batam, located only at Batam View Beach Resort (and not at low tide, either). Most locals travel down to Melur Beach on Galang Island (linked to Batam by five bridges).

Utilities

Utilities in Batam, like the rest of Indonesia, are badly run monopolies.

Here is a rundown:

Fixed Line Phones - Run by Telkom, with a similar quality to Jakarta, no major problems, but poor lines can effect the quality of internet connections. Internet transmission quality depends on how far you are from the central exchange and the quality of the physical phone lines.

Internet - Indosat and Telkomnet are both available and perform poorly. Both provide "broadband" at high prices and low reliability (e.g. VOIP doesn't work). Look into Telekom Speedy which offers ADSL options at various speeds.

Internet from a Laptop: Go to My Computer > Dialup Networking > New
Connection. user id= telkomnet@instan pw=telkom 0809 8 9999 Costs
Rp165/min

Internet Cafes: Many to choose from, e.g. the scruffy but fast Barelang Internet Cafe charges Rp10k /hr.- located behind Steps Music Lounge.

Electricity: like Jakarta, regular blackouts. Batam PLN is struggling to keep up with demand that grows at 3 megawatts per month. Private homes and offices must have a standby genset.

Water: good supply but low or no pressure during peak times. Water quality coming out of the treatment plants is WHO standard.

Medical Care

The quality of medical care in Batam is not of international standards. As a result most expats will go to Singapore for checkups or other medical conditions. From personal experience I can say the local doctors and nurses do their best to look after expats, however the quality of their medical services is not always very reassuring. For medical emergencies most large companies have their own medics on site. Because of the close proximity to Singapore a helicopter evacuation is impossible as it has been declared a “no fly” zone, therefore patients have to be evacuated to Singapore via speed boat.

Shopping

ATM Machines: Bank Danamon, opposite Hotel Goodway: up to Rp 600,000. Bank Lippo's ATM - to Rp1 million.

Prescription Drugs: Look for shops with the sign Apotik or Farma.

Batam has plenty of fresh produce, including imported meats, fruits and vegetables. Some Western grocery items are available, e.g cheese. With Singapore so close (1 hour by ferry), you can find anything else that you need there. There are several largish supermarkets in Nagoya Hill Mall and Batam Center, such as Carefour, Galeal and Hypemart. Price wise the best grocery shopping is in Nagoya at the smaller grocery stores, however they tend to focus on the Chinese foods and don't have as wide a range as the larger shops (also very cramped). Visit also Diamond grocery at DC Mall.

Traditional markets (pasar) offer great selections of fresh produce - bigger selections as Pasar Bhuja Bahari or Pasar Penuin.

For hard-to-find items, some expats choose to go to Singapore for a day and search for the items required. I do this every couple of months for books in English, because you just can't buy them in Batam.

Shoes and clothes are cheap but only in Asian sizes. For clothing check out Ramayana in Nagoya or Barata in Batam Centre, both have similar prices but Barata is cleaner and friendlier. Sporting equipment is dominated by golf equipment, which can be found in a large sporting store in Nagoya, or Matahari in Batam Centre which has a wider range.

Expat Social Life

The expat social life is enjoying a renewed spirit in Batam through the Batam Ladies Expat Society which caters to both the families and partners by offering regular activities and other special planned events. While originally starting as a way for the wives and partners of those expats who have moved to Batam to connect, the society caters to the whole family and as such offers an opportunity for the male expats (both single and those with partners) to meet  other expats in Batam, in addition to catching up at the many expat pubs in Batam.

Social life is well catered for in Nagoya's many expat pubs, if you are male. The expat wives' social scene slowed down in the second half of 2004 and has yet to pick back up.

If you are Singaporean, get in touch with the Batam-Singapore Club in Nagoya. Batam Spore Club: President: HP 0811-701321, Ricky Lim, Secretary, Tel. 422357, Co-President is Ong Seng Chai Hp 0812-7004622.

Typical hangouts for the expat (adult) include Lucy's Oarhouse, The Red Cock, Napoli Pizza, Ice Pub, Sugar Pub and Wallaby's (all pubs) where you will find a number of expats hanging out any night of the week.

On the weekend there are a number of water sporting options available at the resorts around the island including go-karts, water skiing, jet skis, bungee jumping, etc. As well as the above mentioned beaches (a great place to make friends with the locals) and day trips to Singapore.

Dining Out

Nagoya has many outdoor food courts (open only at night). Biggest is the 400 seat Nagoya Food Court, opposite the Hotel Sahid Rashinta. Try 888 Seafood's Tofu Claypot, Pork Knuckle, Tom Yum soup. For good seafood on the waterfront, try Rezeki Seafood at Batu Besar, 5km past the airport (US$10-15) Excellent pub grub at Lucy's Oarhouse. Try their home-made sausages and mash. Also very good fish and chips; steak sandwich; all day breakfast and healthy stir fry vegetables.

The Goodway Grill Room has real Angus steaks. Batam has any any number of foreign cuisines including Chinese, Korean, Indian, Thai, Western, etc. There are four KFC outlets, three Mc Donalds and others.

Upmarket Hotels: Batam's six best hotels are the Melia Panorama, Goodway (ex Mandarin), Novotel and Planet Holiday in Nagoya. Plus the Holiday Inn & Harris Resort at Waterfront City

Mid-range Hotels : At Sin$45, the Island View is best value for money. Make sure the room AC works. There are plenty of other mid range hotels e.g. Puri Garden, but most are far from the NED entertainment district.

Batam Links

Smiling Hill - great site with lots of information on living in Batam!

Visas Runs through Batam

And some fun postings from the Expat Forum on the "10 Best Things about Living in Batam"

  1. Telling your mate you'll meet him in the pub in ten minutes and actually meeting him in ten minutes!
  2. You don't have to sell your firstborn to send your second child to an international school.
  3. The weekly shopping trip does not require a logistics manager and a three-week look ahead schedule.
  4. Jason's Deli delivers from Singapore.
  5. Ramadan last three hours.
  6. Christmas starts in October.
  7. Expats can buy land and own property in Batam.
  8. Lucy's Oar House. ( Banana Splits a house specialty )
  9. Seafood that has recently been in the sea.
  10. Watching gleefully as Singapore missing links lose their shirts at the casinos which don't exist.
  11. People are friendly, everybody seems to be smiling
  12. The weather is soooo nice!
  13. This month it's rainy there.. (guess..)
  14. You can find food you want from all over the world, easily..)
  15. Everything is bloody cheap for expats, from socks 'till your home theater!
  16. People park their car, properly (sure, coz they're use their brain :-))
  17. You can find hundreds of varieties of traditional food and thousands of handicrafts
  18. Clubs are everywhere, restaurants and malls are everywhere
  19. People are not hypocrites and respect each other, coz even a girl using a mini skirt to work in doesn't mean she's a prostitute and vice versa
  20. You just need less than 2 hours' travel to spend your weekend in a hilly place
  21. No need for sunglasses, coz the sun is so friendly in Batam
  22. The water is not salty!

 

Our thanks to Renee Cailes, Geoff Page and several others for contributing this article!

Last updated October 12, 2013

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

Practical Information for foreigners, expats and expatriates moving to Indonesia - find out about housing, schooling, transport, shopping and more to prepare you for your stay in Indonesia

Practical Information |  Expat Forum |  Site Map  |  Search |  Home Page |  Contact

 

Return to top

Copyright © 1997-2014, Expat Web Site Association Jakarta, Indonesia http://www.expat.or.id All rights reserved. The information on Living in Indonesia, A Site for Expatriates may not be retransmitted or reproduced in any form without permission. This information has been compiled from sources which we, the Expat Web Site Association and volunteers related to this site, believe to be reliable. While reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the facts are accurate and up-to-date, opinions and commentary are fair and reasonable, we accept no responsibility for them. The information contained does not make any recommendation upon which you can rely without further personal consideration and is not an offer or a solicitation to buy any products or services from us. Opinions and statements constitute the judgment of the contributors to this web site at the time the information was written and may change without notice.