Many visitors to Singapore know that it is directly connected to Malaysia & mainland Asia as a result. However, the nearby island of Batam, part of Indonesia, is only 20 miles away which equates to less than an hour journey time by ferry. While not overflowing with skyscrapers like the Lion City, it gives a great glimpse of Indonesian culture and a real change of pace from the city-state. Here is our complete guide to the journey
Requirements for the journey are very simple. A ferry reservation can be made online using one of the many providers and it’s useful to have some proof of booking. Otherwise, a passport is a must and some cash will also likely be handy.
Ferries from Singapore mainly depart from HarbourFront Ferry Terminal. It is reachable via the North-East & Circle lines on the MRT, as well as the Sentosa Express. There are clear signs to the ferry terminal from the main entrance, taxi ranks and MRT. Select services also depart from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.
After arriving at the terminal, proceed to the counter of your ferry operator (BATAMFAST, Majestic Ferry etc.). Here, hand over your passport and you will be given a boarding pass in form of a receipt with a QR code. If you have booked a return segment (with the same provider), it will be given out to you as well.
Proceed through the airport style gates where you will need to scan your boarding pass and the rather symbolic x-ray security before exit immigration check. Singapore operates just hassle-free gates, while you have to be stamped out from Indonesia. You may now enter the ferry terminal. Departure board will show all upcoming departures as well as the gates. There are just a handful so finding yours won’t be an issue.
When boarding the ferry at the gate, have your boarding pass and passport on hand. You will then be directed on to the ferry. Board the boat, take a seat and relax.
After you are allowed to disembark, proceed to immigration in the terminal. Passport formalities in Indonesia are usually quite painless. Upon exiting the terminal, be aware of the touts that will offer you a taxi. In case you require a private transfer, the safest route is a Grab ride.
Unless travelling during a national holiday or a busy period of some sort, you do not need to leave that much time until arriving at your gate. We recommend proceeding through the security check & immigration no more than 30-40 minutes before scheduled departure. There are many more attractions available outside the ferry terminal.
Many operators also have “open return” ticket options. Consider that if you are not sure how long you want to stay in Indonesia.
Almost all nationalities have visa-free entry into Indonesia. However, if you are going to Indonesia and coming back as a visa national for Singapore immigration purposes, make sure you have multiple entry clearance to be allowed back in.
Keep in mind there is a 1-hour time difference between the two cities (Singapore is an hour ahead).