Singapore, one of Asia’s busiest metropolises, is just a stone’s throw away from the soothing islands of neighboring Indonesia, and more than a few travellers combine their visit to the city with a short holiday in one of these small paradises.
This article will explain to you how to travel by sea from Singapore to Indonesia.
The tropical resort islands of the Riau Archipelago are well connected to Singapore by regular ferry services, which depart from both HarbourFront Passenger Terminal and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, on their way to the islands of Bintan, Batam, Karimun (Tanjung Balai) and Tanjung Batu.
Bintan, the largest of the 3,200 islands in the Riau Archipelago, lies less than 40 kilometers from Singapore and boasts some lush tropical forests and beautiful white beaches. Despite of its relatively large size, Bintan is not too populated, which means that the pristine coastline is long enough to accommodate the island’s popular holiday resorts, leaving enough space for nature.
The amazing thing about Bintan is that it is practically divided into two sections that have almost nothing in common: The island’s northern part, known as Bintan Resorts (Lagoi), was leased to Singapore by the Indonesian government and is almost a de-facto colony of Singapore, full of expensive resorts,asianbookie bandar with well-groomed lawns, golf courses and watersport facilities, while the southern half of the island is more of a “real” Indonesian border town, with fishing villages, authentic markets, prostitutes and some low-key beaches.
Several daily ferries run between Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and Bintan island’s largest town, Tanjung Pinang (which is also the capital of the Indonesian province of Riau Islands). Ferries also travel to the ferry terminal at Bandar Bentan Telani (Teluk Sebong), which serves the area of Bintan Resorts. In any case, the journey from Singapore takes around one hour or less.
Bintan Resort Ferries operates a few daily services to Bandar Bentan Telani, as well as to the small island of Pulau Lobam (off the shore of Bintan).
Indo Falcon Shipping, Penguin Ferry Services and Berlian Ferries run regular services between Singapore and the town of Tanjung Pinang.
Batam, west of Bintan, is a densely populated island, and a Free Trade Zone with electronics factories, a large and growing ship repair industry and an even larger oil service sector.
As far as tourism is concerned, Batam has much less to offer in the way of beautiful nature sceneries and unspoilt beaches than its larger neighbor, Bintan. Tourists flock here in droves from nearby Singapore and are mostly interested in prostitution, massage centres, bustling nightlife and illegal casinos. Unless you have a particular interest in any of these (or unless you want to use Batam as a gateway to visit the archipelago’s other islands), you’re better off going elsewhere.