Property Ownership by Expats The rules for property ownership by foreign nationals in Batam fall under Decree No 068/KPTS/KA/III/1999. This regulations states that foreign nationals or companies are permitted to 100% own residential or commercial property in the Barelang area (Batam, Rempang and Galang). The only properties excluded from this decree are low cost and very low cost housing, but includes all other types of building structures. Detailed info is at http://www.bataminfo.com/.
Housing There are a large number of housing estates on Batam. Favoured among expats is the Sukajadi and Duta Mas estates located between Muka Kuning and Batam Center. Nongsa houses are the most pleasant, although the drive to work is getting worse. Shop around as prices for the same property can vary a lot. Developer's prices can sometimes be twice as much as the real market, so ask around. Like the rest of Indonesia, house security is a real issue; it should be your number one priority in evaluating where to live. The 2 better housing complexes are Taman Duta and Nongsa.
In 1970 Batam had no cars and roads (98% forest); population was 7,000. McDermott's Batu Ampar yard was Batam's first industrial project, started in 1968. Batam today is a major logistics base for many of the world's major contractors, including Bechtel, Shlumberger, McConnel Dowell, Global Industries, Saipen, Ballast Nedham, Halliburton, Weatherford, Nippon Steel and Hyundai. Over 700 foreign companies have manufacturing or logistics operations on the island. Electronics is Batam's largest economic sector, followed by oil service/construction, ship repair. The city has grown at 30% per year for each of the past 11 years. Growth in 2002/2003 was closer to 32% per year. Few places in the world are expanding this fast. Despite negative reports in the foreign media, Batam is actually a safe place for the 1.2 million foreign visitors who come each year. Very few ever have a problem. Batam is Indonesia's wealthiest city. Almost no one in Batam comes from Batam. Well over half the 1 million population is single, aged between 20 and 30. The first thing many notice about Batam is that, even though it is part of Indonesia, in many ways it is a separate entity. Whilst other places are effected by the political and economic climate, Batam remains a constant with none of the the violence or problems located elsewhere. In fact, the economic condition here is more closely related to that of Singapore. A benefit of living in Batam on a KITAS is that there is no fiscal tax (Rp 500,000) to pay when traveling to Singapore, which is the nearest hub for international travel. The city itself only separated by Malaka Strait and Singapore can be seen if you go to Batu Ampar. You just need 1/2 hours cruising by comfortable boat reaching Singapore with only 17 SGD VV.
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Recreation There are six golf courses located throughout the island: Palm Springs Golf Tel. (62-778) 761-222Indah Puri Golf Tel. (62-778) 323-702South Links Golf Tel. (62-778) 324-128Paradise Bay Golf Tel. (62-778) 391-901Tering Bay Golf Tel. (62-778) 761-821Tamarin Santana Tel. (62-778) 761-777 Drive the Barelang Highway to Bridge-6 (5 hrs) Go diving or use the seaports facilities (at high tide) at Batam View Beach Resort. Tel (62-778) 761-740 Take a ferry from Telaga Punggur to Tanjung Pinang, town on Bintan Island. Spend an afternoon visiting the old palace and fort on historic Penyenget Island. Fishing with Ahee: Big comfy boats for Sin$400/day. Call Jansen +62812 700 4754 Batam has some great Mountain Biking in the trails around Duriankang Reseviour and along the Nongsa coast. Swim With Dolphins. An excellent day out for Sing$110. Call (62-778) 381888. http://www.dolphinslodge.com/ Take a small boat to old fashioned Bee Pee Island. Tour by becak (bicycle rickshaw). Marcel can guide you - his mobile number is +62813-6468 9261 FITNESS CENTERS at resorts and hotels are available for use by the public for a small fee. BEACHES are fairly limited on Batam, located only at Batam View Beach Resort (and not at low tide, either). Most locals travel down to Melur Beach on Galang Island (linked to Batam by five bridges). Utilities Utilities in Batam, like the rest of Indonesia, are badly run monopolies. Here is a rundown: Fixed Line Phones - Run by Telkom, with a similar quality to Jakarta, no major problems, but poor lines can effect the quality of internet connections. Internet - Indosat and Telkomnet are both available and perform poorly. Both provide "broadband" at high prices and low reliability (e.g. VOIP doesn't work). Internet from a Laptop: Go to My Computer > Dialup Networking > New Connection. user id= telkomnet@instan pw=telkom 0809 8 9999 Costs Rp165/min Internet Cafes: Many to choose from, e.g. the scruffy but fast Barelang Internet Cafe charges Rp10k /hr.- located behind Steps Music Lounge. Electricity: like Jakarta, regular blackouts. Batam PLN is struggling to keep up with demand that grows at 3 megawatts per month. Private homes and offices must have a standby genset. Water: good supply but low or no pressure during peak times. Water quality coming out of the treatment plants is WHO standard. Shopping ATM Machines: Bank Danamon, opp Hotel Goodway: up to Rp600,000. Bank Lippo's ATM - to Rp1 million. Prescription Drugs: Look for shops with the sign Apotik or Farma. Batam has plenty of fresh produce, including imported meats, fruits and vegetables. Some Western grocery items are available, e.g cheese. With Singapore so close (1 hour by ferry), you can find anything else that you need there. There are several largish supermarkets in Nagoya and Batam Center, e.g. Matahari. Price wise the best grocery shopping is in Nagoya at the smaller grocery stores, however they tend to focus on the Chinese foods and don't have as wide a range as the larger shops (also very cramped). For comfort the best place is My Mart in Batam Centre, which is a more up-market shopping centre, but the grocery prices are the same as Matahari or similar, but with a lot less people but unfortunately not as much fresh produce. For hard-to-find items, the easiest method is to go to Singapore for a day and search for the items required. I do this every couple of months for books in English, because you just can't buy them in Batam (except for the free book swap in Lucys Oarhouse Tavern.).Shoes and clothes are cheap but only in Asian sizes. For clothing check out Ramayana in Nagoya or Barata in Batam Centre, both have similar prices but Barata is cleaner and friendlier. Sporting equipment is dominated by golf equipment, which can be found in a large sporting store in Nagoya, or Matahari in Batam Centre which has a wider range.
Expat Social Life Social life is well catered for in Nagoya's many expat pubs, if you are male. See details at http://www.nedbatam.com/. The expat wives' social scene slowed down in the second half of 2004 and has yet to pick back up. No formal expatriate community organizations exist at this time - though informal groups of expat friends welcome newcomers whenever they can! Typical hangouts for the expat (adult) include Lucy's Oarhouse, The Red Cock, Napoli Pizza, Ice Pub, Sugar Pub and Wallaby's (all pubs) where you will find a number of expats hanging out any night of the week. On the weekend there are a number of water sporting options available at the resorts around the island including go-karts, water skiing, jet skis, bungee jumping, etc. As well as the above mentioned beaches (a great place to make friends with the locals) and day trips to Singapore. Dining Out Nagoya has many outdoor food courts (open only at night). Biggest is the 400 seat Nagoya Food Court, opposite the Hotel Sahid Rashinta. Try 888 Seafood's Tofu Claypot, Pork Knuckle, Tom Yum soup. For good seafood on the waterfront, try Rezeki Seafood at Batu Besar, 5km past the airport (US$10-15) Excellent pub grub at Lucy's Oarhouse. Try their home-made sausages and mash. Also very good fish and chips; steak sandwich; all day breakfast and healthy stir fry vegetables. The Goodway Grill Room has real Angus steaks. Batam has any any number of foreign cuisines including Chinese, Korean, Indian, Thai, Western, etc. There are four KFC outlets, three Mc Donalds and others.
Expat Population There are approximately 2,500 expats living in Batam under KITAS (including other family members. There are also an estimated 2,000 (exact figure unknown) living here under business visas, bringing the total in Batam to over 3,000. Approximately 80% of these are from other Asian countries, with most of the westerners coming from the UK, rest of Europe, Australia and the US. Medical Care The quality of medical care in Batam is slightly worse than Jakarta. As a result most expats will go to Singapore for checkups or other medical conditions. From personal experience I can say the local doctors and nurses do their best to look after expats, however the quality of their medical services is not always very reassuring. For medical emergencies it is possible to arrange for a ferry or helicopter trip to Singapore at any time of day or night. Schooling The small Batam International School is located in Sekupang. It was founded in September 1999 by a group of parents and members of the expatriate business community. The newer and larger Sekolah Global Indo-Asia at Batam Center caters to better off Chinese families. Expat kids have to pay 50% higher tuition fees than locals. Due to the close proximity of Singapore, a number of expats still send their teenage children to on of Singaporea's many international schools. Due to the close proximity of Singapore, a number of expats still send their children to school in the Singapore international schools. The normal arrangement for this, is that the wife and children will live in Singapore and the husband will visit during the weekend (or vice versa). Upmarket Hotels: Batam's six best hotels are the Melia Panorama, Goodway (ex Mandarin), Novotel and Planet Holiday in Nagoya. Plus the Holiday Inn & Harris Resort at Waterfront City Mid-range Hotels : At Sin$45, the Island View is best value for money. Make sure the room AC works. There are plenty of other mid range hotels e.g. Puri Garden, but most are far from the NED entertainment district. Our thanks to Geoff Page and others for contributing this article! Batam links: Batam Discussion Forum - online community with discussions centered around Batam Batam Information - comprehensive resource Nagoya's Entertainment District Visas Runs through Batam And some fun postings from the Expat Forum on the "10 Best Things about Living in Batam" Telling your mate you'll meet him in the pub in ten minutes and actually meeting him in ten minutes! You don't have to sell your firstborn to send your second child to an international school. The weekly shopping trip does not require a logistics manager and a three-week lookahead schedule. Jason'd Deli delivers from Singapore. ( Listed under Cheeses 2 die 4 ) Ramadan last three hours. Christmas starts in October. Expats can buy land and own property in Batam. Lucy's Oar House. ( Banana Splits a house speciality ) Seafood that has recently been in the sea. Watching gleefully as Singapore missing links lose their shirts at the cainos which don't exist. People are friendly, everybody seems to be smiling The weather is soooo nice! This month it's rainy there.. (guess..) You can find food you want from all over the world, easily..) Everything is bloody cheap for expats, from socks 'till your home theater! People park their car, properly (sure, coz they're use their brain :-)) You can find hundreds of varieties of traditional food and thousands of handicrafts Clubs are everywhere, restaurants and malls are everywhere People are not hypocrites and respect each other, coz even a girl using a mini skirt to work in doesn't mean she's a prostitute and vice versa You just need less than 2 hours' travel to spend your weekend in a hilly place No need for sunglasses, coz the sun is so friendly in Batam The water is not salty!