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  1. #1
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    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
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    Wayne Kerr's Bintang Bender in Batam

    Was up for a beer Indonesian style. Bintang is my favourite. I prefer it cold and in good company. Jesus, places like Bali, Jakarta and Sumatra shit me these days, so this time we took off for the Riau Island group - Batam Island to be precise. Batam is cool, lots of the locals drink beer, the seafood is great, and there is lots of fun at night.

    Anyway to whet your appetite I knocked the following off from http://www.world66.com/:

    If you just want to get away from it all for a holiday in the lush warmth of a very cheap, easily accessible tropical island then it’s all here with beautiful waterfront, marina and golf course resorts waiting to cater to your every whim with grace and style.

    Or there’s the Batam entertainment scene… a full-blown, low-cost playground on the front doorstep of Singapore with a burgeoning nightlife like the Thailand or Macau of yesteryear. It’s still a new, fresh, –raw and vibrant, frontier yet at the same time is captivatingly laid back, and welcoming. And the beautiful, smiling, welcoming Indonesian women are judged by many of the Westerners who have visited, settled and often married here to be among the most gracious, charming and generous in the world.

    If business and investment are your prime interests then you have found one of the fastest growing and most dynamic economic zones of South Asia – one where you will get the Red Carpet treatment from local authorities who understand your needs and concerns and want you here.

    Should you simply want to set up a home here property is cheap, living costs are low and most of the services you need for a quality lifestyle are readily available. If you need more then Singapore is just an hour away across the Strait.
    Anyway if you survived reading that wanker's crap above, hopefully you'll stay tuned. Here’s a map of where you’ll find the place.


    ^ Map of Batam

    Getting there is easy - short ferry ride from Singapore or cheap domestic flight from Jakarta. This time I opted for Thai Airways from Bangkok-Singapore, then ferry from Singapore to Batam Island. More of the “how to” at the Singapore-Indonesia end later - a little on the shitty situation of getting out of Thailand first.

    Suvarnabhumi Sucks

    Suvarnabhumi Airport if you haven't heard is a friggin nightmare. I have kept my mouth shut on this hoping the dipsticks would get their “ducks in a row” but things are getting worse. My TG flight Bangkok to Singapore is a popular route, perhaps one of the most popular in the region.

    Shit, 1.5 hrs after first getting in queue we made it to the check in, the lovely check-in girl Khun Somjai looked like she’d just taken a big bite out of a shit sandwich. You couldn’t blame her I guess, only 1/4 of the check-in counters had staff on them, the “spare dicks” telling you which gate to go to were confused by the large number of irate travellers, plus the air-con and PA systems weren't working. I didn’t get any pics of this as I was pretty hung-over at the time, but by the time we got to the security clearance for the flight I’d had enough and pulled the camera out.


    ^ Typically long queue at security checkpoint C at Suvarnabhumi Airport these days


    ^ Each person was taking several minutes to get through, this day they had us pulling laptops, portable hard disks, LCD projectors etc out of their bags



    ^ Why spend all the money on this sort of stuff inside past the immigration checkpoint when they can’t even be arsed getting basic things right like flight check-in and security clearance – at least they could've put this out in the public area at departures so every man and his dog can see it – classic “purveyor of cover rather than substance” stuff that the dipstick Somchai administrators seem to excel at. Shit did I mention the runway yet.
    Last edited by Wayne Kerr; 28-01-2007 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Wayne Kerr F-ed up again

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat
    dirtydog's Avatar
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    I went to Batam Island from Singapore about 14 years ago, we got there on a Friday evening, hmmm, no cash points and we had no rupees or whatever the worthless currencey was, so we had to do everything on credit card, checked into a hotel that took cards and later found out they didn't allow us to take back ladys of the night, so we had to send them on there way the disco we had to pay for a load of people to come in with us as they only accepted credit card payments of over 10 quid, they didn't believe we would spend that in the disco, trouble was half the people thought I was a nutter offering to pay for them to get in and just ignored me, eventually we got in and was able to start some serious drinking, the doormen moved a load of the locals away from the best seating area in front of the stage so we could sit down and asked which gals we would like to sit with us, my mate at that time wasn't into prostitutes so we sat alone, obviously by the end of the evening and loads of beer he didn't think they were so bad thats when we found out about our hotel

    Of course the next day being Saturday there weren't no where open to exchange money, one restaurant took credit cards and a Karaoke also did, so thats where Saturday was spent, Sunday we got a flight to Sumatra which we paid by credit card, hmmm Sundays in Sumatra aint much fun with no cash money, I had a few hundred Thai Baht that we changed into the local dosh, yep we had enough money to get an overnight bus ride and a packet of cigarettes, Sunday we didn't eat quite amazing really as he had about 3k stirling in cards and cheques on him and I had a couple of grand on my card worth of credit, just no where to get money in them days

  3. #3
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    slimboyfat's Avatar
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    i have been to batam loads of times over the last 12 years, always with my family though so nothing at all of interest to report.

  4. #4
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    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear your tales of woe DD, anyway back to road …

    Bangkok – Batam, Indonesia

    Batam is most easily reached via Singapore. Flights from BKK to Changi aren’t cheap, but there are some one-way specials with Thai at the moment for about 2500 baht. Heaps better than the 9,500 I was quoted for a return flight.

    Things are dead easy from Changi airport. Just jump in a taxi for about 15 Singapore dollars to the Harbour Front Centre. This is where the ferry terminal is. Once you arrive cut for the second floor and find one of the ferry companies. I’ve used a few different operators before and prefer Penguin Ferry Services. Ferries run all day between 7am-10pm. The return ticket fare is S$20, but with passenger departure fee, fuel surcharge, and Indonesian terminal fee the total ends up being S$33.

    Just buy the ticket, check your luggage in, check out through Singapore immigration, then jump on your boat and you are off. Oh yeah it’s also a good idea to check you’re on the right boat as some go to Malaysia.


    ^ Singapore cabbies all speak English well and know the Harbour Front Centre – it’s a good idea to tell them to drop you on the second floor near the ferry terminal or they’ll put you off in a bloody inconvenient spot where it is easiest to find a new punter.


    ^ Next trick is to find the Penguin Ferry Service counter – there are desks for other companies but Penguin is the best for Batam


    ^ Then check the baggage in – try to keep your bag weight below 30kg or they’ll sting you for excess – the bloke in front of me handed over S$150 for what looked like about 40kg of baggage


    ^ Then it’s off to Immigration to check out of Singapore – here you get the first look at the boats


    ^ The queue to check out is always bloody long but there is usually plenty of “eye candy” to keep one busy – not quite sure why there are always so many young Indonesian women travelling between Batam and Indonesia


    ^ This was my ride - M.V. Penguin 1


    ^ Inside M.V. Penguin 1 – usually pretty cramped and you can have fun chatting with the Indonesian birds


    ^ Leaving Singapore Harbour


    ^ Some nice cruise ships


    ^ Another nice ship


    ^ More fun once the captain gives her a little juice


    ^ Not much to see when you arrive on Batam itself, the local immigration authorities didn’t like me using my camera but the money exchange girls were up for a happy snap. Batam is a dual currency zone i.e. you can use Singapore dollars or Indonesian Rupiah – but changing US$ and Thai Baht can be a pain in the arse in town. Things have changed since DD was there and plastic is now well accepted in most places, including bars. ATM machines are everywhere too. Good idea to get some Rupiah from these girls and the last two times I have been there they have given me their phone numbers and told me to call them if I’d like them to show me around town .

  5. #5
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    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
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    First leg of the Bintang Beer Bender in Batam

    By this time I was getting really thirsty. First thing was finding the hotel, then making sure the Internet connection and work bench in the room were okay, then it was seafood and beer. Indonesia has some of the best seafood in the world and the Golden Prawn 555 Restaurant on Batam is the best seafood joint I have been to in Southeast Asia.


    ^ The typical Batam taxi ride to the hotel


    ^ The good old Batam Royal Hotel was the first stop – rooms here are about 300,000 rupiah or about 1100 Thai Baht a night


    ^ Next step was checking the wireless Internet connection


    ^ They’ve got some of the nicest work benches on Batam at the Royal Hotel


    ^ The Golden Prawn 555 Restaurant on Batam


    ^ Some nice sharks for sale


    ^ The live fish are the delicious – these are nice white pomfrets and trevally


    ^ They have pretty much whatever sea clam or snail you can think of – my favourite is what the Thais call Hoi Shakteen, not sure what they are called in English, they are not available in Bangkok, only in the South of Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Indonesia. The indos call them “gung gung”.


    ^ Lots of lovely live sea shrimp – none of these river shrimp you get in Bangkok


    ^ This was the first course, the shells I was talking about are in front of my beer, these are the suckers here – bloody good eating.


    ^ Second course – this was my second plate of the shells, by this time the blue swimmers and fresh shrimp had arrived


    ^ We washed it down with copius amounts of Bintang, anyway here are all our empty bottles, not bad considering there were only 3 of us were drinking

    Then it was back to the hostess/karaoke bar under the hotel. This is the sheila that kept me company.


    ^ The hostess that was directed by the bar manager to keep me company

    All in all the first night in Batam was a pretty good warm-up for better things to come!

  6. #6
    I am in Jail
    stroller's Avatar
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    Not sure about the 'sheila', I hope things got better the next day...

  7. #7
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    Woof, Woof, comes to mind, that does remind me I do need to buy a young male rottie

  8. #8
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    Sheila looks like a Thai girl I know...

  9. #9
    Member Bobk_nyc's Avatar
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    sounds , all in all like a good place to visit.

  10. #10
    Hifaluten Member
    Wayne Kerr's Avatar
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    Well Bob, things only got better, anyway back to the road …

    The next night was back to the Golden Prawn restaurant and some dodgy karaoke singing ... guess you have to take the good with the bad. Here’s an Indo bloke killing some American song ... he seemed to be enjoying himself .
    Attached Files Attached Files

  11. #11
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    Did you take any videos of the shelias?

  12. #12
    Hifaluten Member
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    The girl singing was pretty cool so I conned my mate into going up to sing a Chinese song with her … I really like this song and they did a great version of it for us .
    Attached Files Attached Files

  13. #13
    Hifaluten Member
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    Meanwhile back at the ranch …

    Anyway after too much dodgy karaoke, eating and drinking, we went back for more beer and singing at the hotel. It was my mate’s birthday so we got formalities out of the way and really got stuck into the grog.


    ^Much of the same fare at the Golden Prawn – the blue swimmer crabs were the best I’ve eaten in years


    ^ Celebrating my mates birthday with him – he is Muslim but usually chases the birds whilst we are drinking ourselves into a stupor


    ^ He was quickly up to sing with the sexy singer


    The sexy singer “Ella” at the hotel doing her thing
    Attached Files Attached Files

  14. #14
    Hifaluten Member
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    ^ The next video is one of the lads doing “I don’t like to sleep alone” with Ella. By this time I’d had about 20 beers and it seemed that Ella kept catching my eye each time she sang "sleep alone". By this time I was pretty sure I could be getting lucky if I played my cards right. Anyway at the end of her set she came over for a drink and bugger me dead it turned out she came from a remote island I’d worked on before, I knew her older sister, her older sister had spoken with her about me, I’d had dinner with her grandfather … so anyway one thing led to another and she offered to give me a guided tour of the Nagoya entertainment district on Batam. I copped a bit of stick from the boys but hey it isn’t everyday you get an offer from a young west Indonesian hotty to take you out drinking .
    Attached Files Attached Files

  15. #15
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    First stop was the Last Pub

    The staff at the Last Pub were great fun and when Ella ducked off to the ladies room one of them offered me some “naughty action” later if I was up for it. I was welled pissed by this stage and was joking with them about doing some dancing for us. They said their boss wouldn’t approve and recommended the PP Banana bar just around the corner. Ella knew of it and well after a few quick gin and tonics we were off.


    ^ Staff at the Last Pub on Batam Island


    ^ Card for the Last Pub

    PP Banana

    PP banana promotes itself as a laptop lounge. In reality it is pretty much a short time bar with a gogo stage. The girls were all hot and friendly, beer was about 50 baht a bottle, and all the girls were joking with Ella and I for an orgy upstairs … Ella declined but picked two of the girls for me which she said were the sexiest in the eyes of Indonesians … worried about the old “Fosters Flop” I knocked them back and hoped that things would improve “performance” wise for me before we got to the next joint.


    ^ Entrance to PP banana gogo bar


    ^ Gogo in Nagoyo Entertainment District on Batam Island


    ^ Card from PP Banana

    Indo after hours joint

    After that we ended up in a place the Indos go to party … Ella ended up singing for me well into the wee hours of the morning .


    ^ Ella at the Indo bar we ended up at … after too long in Thailand it is a refreshing change to spend some time with a nice Indo girl .


    ^ Ella singing late into the evening

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