The Indonesian rupiah may be legal tender, but the Singapore dollar (S$) is Batam’s unofficial second currency. Tourist-oriented hotels, restaurants and shops usually quote prices in S$, and they will be accepted by nearly anybody in a pinch. However, if you decide to pay by credit card, by law your bill must be converted to rupiah first — and the exchange rate is unlikely to be in your favor.
There are many malls in Batam offering a variety of stores and restaurants. Nagoya Hill Mall, in Nagoya, has a Matahari department store, Hypermart supermarket, ACE Hardware, and a Cinema 21. Restaurants include J.Co, KFC, A&W, BFC, Pizza Hut, Ayam Goreng Fatmawati, chinese restaurant & newtown coffee at the top of the mall.
- BCS Mall in Baloi has a Golden Truly department store, a Gramedia and a bowling alley.
If you would like to bring Indonesian delicacy back for your family, opt for the LAYERS Batam Layer Cake, which is available in most of the shopping malls and ferry terminals. They are handmade and has become the iconic takeaway delicacy from Batam.
- Unless you’re looking for something specific, you don’t really have to buy something at Batam, simply because you can get it at Singapore.
Batam has plenty of eating out choices, including great Chinese seafood in the outdoor food courts, such as the Windsor and Nagoya Food Courts, A2 foodcourt and A1 Pujasera.
- For seafood over the water, try Golden Prawn Seafood Restaurant in Bengkong. They are famous in Batam and known to Singaporeans for their seafood. This large restaurant which resembles several open air marquees, seems inexpensive to touristing Singaporeans but is well-known in Batam to be an expensive tourist trap. The seafood they serve may not be fresh, which they will attempt to mask by deep frying them. There is so many choices for seafood in Batam, Harbour bay also have many seafood from stalls to restaurant. If you want a really fresh seafood you can try to go to barelang bridge (utama seafood right at the entrance of bridge 1, aneka rasa before the bridge 4, or cita rasa after bridge 4 near kampung vietnam) or tg piayu. You can ask the local taxi driver to guide you there.
- There is local noodle from riau islands, named tarempa. You can find that noodle at “mie tarempa” restaurant. Their special dishes are tarempa noodle, roti gendang bread (it has fish floss inside) and nasi dagang (small amount of rice with curry and anchovy).
- All of the major hotels have restaurants, some better than others. If you come during Ramadan (In August-September), you have your choice of all-you-can-eat buffets of traditional Indonesian fare from every major hotel; prices range from about Rp. 45,000-75,000.
- As usual, uncooked foods like salad should be regarded with caution, as not all places follow the most stringent health procedures.
- try rezeki seafood which is in the nongsa area, taxi from nagoya might be pricy, about 300k rupiah to and fro, however seafood and other food items are great with low prices (highly recommended)
City authorities claim that Batam’s tap water is potable, but the rusty color puts some people off. Most people choose to stick with bottled water anyway, about Rp. 10,000 for a 5-gallon jug.
Carlsberg and Guinness are produced locally, as well as Bintang and Tiger beer. Most places have Heineken on tap. Imported beers, such as Corona are available, but prices are high. A normal draft beer should be no more than Rp.25,000. (SGD$ 27)
Wine and liquor is available from the duty-free stores in nearly all of the larger malls, most bars and hotels.
There are two microbreweries on the island: Brewsky & Co. and Batam Fresh Beer. Batam Fresh Beer is headquartered in Batam Center near the large mosque (behind Pondok Gurih restaurant). Price is Rp.15,000 a glass for any of their beers (dark and light at 5 or 7% alc or green at 5%).