Batam Island, one of the largest fragments in the Riau Islands chain, is home to a picturesque waterfront resort, a renowned Buddhist temple and an iconic bridge. It is among the fastest growing parts of the Indonesia islands. It is also home to many golf courses and an amusement park.
The island’s highlight is the Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya Buddhist Temple, which is believed to be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. Explore 4.5 hectares (11 acres) of grounds, which contain five buildings. The main hall, the Graha Maitreya, has a capacity of 2,000 people. Take a guided tour of the complex and learn about its message of universal love.
The Barelang Bridge is a symbol of the emerging prosperity of the island. Visit the chain of six bridges of varied designs, which stretch across 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) of water. Capture photos of the majestic structure from the shops and restaurants on the waterfront.
Take the kids on the giant Ferris wheel by the ocean at Ocarina Park. Swim in the water park. Practise your swing at one of the six golf courses on the island.
Stay at one of the hotels in the Waterfront City complex. Enjoy the view of the ocean from your room. Sample the bars and restaurants of the hotels. Send your taste buds wild with some of the local dishes, such as ayam bawang, a blend of fried chicken, garlic, chilli and rice. Try the bak kut teh soup, made from pork ribs, herbs and soya sauce.
To get to the island, take a domestic flight to Batam’s Hang Nadim International Airport from nearby cities, such as Jakarta. You could also travel by boat to one of the island’s ports. Once on the island, get around by car, bus and taxi. The region remains hot and humid year-round, though it is far drier from May to October.
The enormous temple, fascinating bridge and scenic waterfront reveal Batam Island has much to offer on top of its emerging prosperity.