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About Batam Island

BATAM is a vigorous, sprawling island city of some 1.2 million people located just 20 kilometers (less than 13 miles) across the water from Singapore – the crossing takes less than an hour by modern fast ferry and there are around 100 crossings every day.

Click on pictures to enlarge

Downtown - Penwin - from Sungai Panas June 2012.jpg

The view ABOVE is to the Penwin area from near Sungai Panas and shows newly completed hotel and apartment towers and shopping centres and others under construction.   

growth pressures mean building and development works are continuing, and much of the island inevitably looks to be unfinished, unkempt and messy.

Many people choose to live in makeshift squatter camps because accommodation is in demand and land and house costs are relatively high compared with elsewhere in Indonesia. Often, these areas are cheek by jowl with up-market suburbs.

Authorities have struggled to keep up with infrastructure services. Conse-quently, many businesses install back-up generator sets and supplementary fresh water supplies. Municipal services, like the maintenance of public areas and refuse collection, remain deficient. Heavy industry and construction traffic (plus periodic tropical downpours) mean many of the roads often are broken up and in a seemingly perpetual state of disrepair.

 

 

 

Batam is one of the fastest growing regions in Indonesia, with annual population growth currently estimated at close to 10% and reaching 11% a year over the inter-census period to March 2010. The population increase is being driven by rapid industrial development spurred by Batam’s status as a Free Trade Zone and its being designated as part of a Riau Islands Special Economic Zone by the Indonesian and Singapore governments in June 2006. Manufactures contribute about 60% of the city’s economy.

Despite its steadily increasing sophistication, Batam retains a spirit of being young, brash and new, and has many of the elements of a modern “Gold Rush” (or should that be “Oil Rush”) town. As recently as the early 1980s, the population was fewer than 50,000 people. On-going

 

Opening Fast Nagoya 1.jpg
Peeling Garlic at the Markets.jpg
Roadside Night Restaurant Sets Up, Nagoya.jpg

Trimming garlic at the markets

Parking areas are turned over to hawker stalls at night

Crowds gather at street stalls from sundown to break their fast during Ramadan

Hypermart Shopping Centre Batam Centre.jpg
Entry to new Nagoya Hill Shopping Centre.JPG
Inter-Island boats near Harbour Bay.JPG

A CITY OF CONTRASTS - An entrance to the modern Nagoya Hill shopping mall (left) and the Hypermart at Batam Centre (right). Yet just a short distance from the Nagoya CBD traditional inter-island boats nestle in a crude harbour inlet. (centre). This area is now being reclaimed  to make way for waterfront development.

New Commercial & Retail Harbour Bay 2.jpg

New commercial buildings at Harbour Bay

McDermott Yard Batu Ampar.jpg.jpg

The McDermott fabrication yard at Batu Ampar

Electronics Factories Batamindo.jpg

Electronics factories at the Batamindo Industrial Park, one of Batam’s 26 industrial estates

In short, Batam is still emerging from a “third world” look and feel and sometimes experiences interruptions to power, water, telephone and Internet services.

Yet, more and more areas of leafy suburbs and substantial public buildings are emerging, providing a hint of the Batam of the future, particularly in established downtown areas.

Apartment, office and hotel towers, and modern shopping centers are rising alongside traditional Asian shophouses and hawker street stalls, providing fascinating contrasts (and some great picture opportunities).

Long-time Western residents and returning visitors invariably comment on the rapid improvements over the past five to 10 years and sometimes draw comparisons with the Singapore of 30 or 40 years ago.

 

BATAM CITY compris-es an area of 715 sq km and has trans-formed itself into one of the most developed and affluent cities in Indonesia. Initially, Batam was only 415 sq. km. but increased investment and de-mand for space led Batam’s boundaries to be expanded with the inclusion of Rempang and Galang islands within its jurisdiction. These three islands are together known by the acronym Barelang for short. They are linked  by the Trans- Barelang highway, which includes six distinctive bridges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

generator sets and supplementary fresh water supplies. Municipal services, like the maintenance of public areas and refuse collection, though improving, remain deficient. Heavy industry and construction traffic (plus periodic tropical downpours) mean many of the roads often are broken up and in a seemingly perpetual state of disrepair.

In short, Batam is still emerging from a “third world” look and feel and sometimes experiences interruptions to power, water, telephone and Internet services.

Yet, more and more areas of leafy suburbs and substantial public buildings are emerging, providing a hint of the Batam of the future, particularly in established downtown areas. Long-time Western residents invariably comment on the rapid improvements over the past five to 10 years and sometimes draw comparisons with the Singapore of 30 or 40 years ago.

 

Downtown Nagoya.jpg
Downtown Bagoya from Sungai Panas June 2012.jpg

ABOVE: The main Batam Central Business District taken from the Planet Holiday Hotel. RIGHT: The Nagoya area and the Harbour from  near Sungai Panas. If you enlarge the picture you may be able to just make out the skyscrapers of Singapore on the right horizon.

For further authoritative information about Batam please go to:

 

www.riauislandsftz.com  and/or  www.bpbatam.go.id

Batam Free Trade Zone Map.png