- The island of Batam today is the third busiest entry port to Indonesia and situated so near to Singapore.
- Batam still promises a leisurely weekend getaway offering reasonably priced freshly caught seafood, fine golfing, plenty of duty-free shopping or an escape to a remote island ideal for trekking, diving, snorkeling and lazy fishing.
- It is located only 20km from Singapore and 25km from Johor in Malaysia.
- Batam is Indonesia’s equivalent to China’s SEZ’s (Special Economic Zones) – a place where the nation’s economic planners test new economic policies and ideas.
- The island is an industrial hub with electronics factories, a large and growing ship repair industry and an even larger oil service sector.
- Quite a few expats head there for work, and pubs and golf courses have sprung up to serve them.
- Most tourists, on the other hand, come from nearby Singapore. While there is a smattering of family resorts, Bintan is more popular for this; instead, the main lure on Batam is the discounted shopping and the nightlife.
- However, the new governor of the province has shut down the casinos and taken steps to curb prostitution, and the goings-on aren’t quite as in your face as they used to be.