Batam, an urban city located in eastern Sumatra, is well known as a city of commerce and industry in Indonesia. This is due to its strategic position, which lies in an international shipping lane –the Malacca and Singapore Straits— and that allows the entry of traders from around the world and connects Europeto East Asia, the Middle East, and so on. Batam’s trade and industry sector is growing faster after the issuance of Presidential Decree No. 41 1973, that gives privileges for Batam to be a city center of trade and industrial in Indonesia, named Otorita Pengembangan Industri Pulau Batam (the Batam Industrial Development Authority) or better known as Otorita Batam –literally means the Batam Authority.
Batam has a land area of 1040 square kilometers or nearly one and a half size of Singapore land area (710 km²). The city or the island of Batam became a part of the Riau Islands Province, the 32nd province of Indonesia, which was inaugurated on 24 September 2002. Referring to the Department of Population and Civil Registration of Batam (March 2012), the population of the city has reached 1,149,902 inhabitants, higher than the year before, which only reported 1,081,527 inhabitants.
...An urban city in the east of Sumatera...
Many literatures mentioned that the native people of Batam are the Malays or also known as "orang selat" (people of the strait) or "orang laut" (people of the sea). Historians believe that people started to build community in the island since the beginning of the 14th century. Batam has recorded some power changes, ranging from the Sultanate of Johor in 1513 to the entry of the Dutch and the British, who finally defeated the Sultanate of Johor through the Treaty of London (17 March 1824). The Dutch and the British later agreed to divide territories: Malacca and Singapore to the British, in exchange of Bencoolen (Bengkulu) and Riau to the Dutch side. Since then, the local Malay Kingdom, Lingga-Riau was separated from its counterpart in Johor and built themselves-a government by dividing the territory into three parts, namely the Sultan in Daik Lingga, Yang Dipertuan Muda (The Young Lordship) in Penyengat, and Tumenggung in Bulang. Batam itself was administratively ruled under the authority of Tumenggung, until Indonesia won its independence from the Dutch on 17 August, 1945.
Today, Batam has become a destination for people who want to tempt fate and get a job, because of the rapid development of industry and trade in this city. Just like other urban cities in Indonesia, such as Jakarta, Batam is also inhabited by various ethnic groups and tribes, such as Sumatrans, Javanese, Papuans, and many more. Therefore, you can find a good mixture and cultural diversity of many regions in Indonesia in Batam, ranging from food, language, etc. The native “Bangsa Melayu” or the Malays themselves are now more commonly found in the coastal areas of Batam, while most immigrants concentrate in industrial area and Batam downtown.
...Beach resorts, world-class golf courses, Vietnamese refugees camp, Jembatan Barelang…
The rapid growth of-commerce industry in Batam, which in line with the passage of people out and into the city, helps Batam’s tourism industry growing. Hotels, restaurants and bars that can be easily found in Marina Waterfront City, Harbor Bay, and Nagoya. And today, the city of Batam has become the city with various of interesting places, ranging from golf courses, star resorts that offers the luxury and comfortable residence and beauty of the beach, such as as Nongsa Point Marina & Resort, KTM Resort, etc.
For those who like to play golf, do not worry because Batam has 7 world-class golf courses, such as Palm Springs Golf & Beach Resort and Batam Hills Golf & Resort. Not into golf? Would like to visit historical sites? Then the Vietnamese refugees camp is just a stone throw away. The camp is a silent witness to the struggle of the Vietnamese people seeking refuge from the civil war in their country. And of course, do not miss "Jembatan Barelang" or the Barelang Bridge that becomes the landmark of Batam! These interesting places are mostly visited by many foreign tourists, such as from Malaysia, Singapore, Europe, USA, Korea, Japan, etc.
Unfortunately, the development of tourism sector in Batam has not been well supported by adequate public transportation. Angkot, the cheapest reliable public transport, is currently only available in a few areas, while taxis are mostly non-metered taxies (see Transportation Within City for detailed information). Therefore, it will be easier for visitors to rent a car that can take them to anyplace they want to visit. However, for those who love beaches, historical sites, or may be want to enjoy the sparkling nighttime tours, Batam is a perfect place for you to visit!
Have a great holiday in Batam!