Construction started in the 1990s with great hopes to attract Singapore and international markets. As with everything else gone wrong in the indonesia on 1990s, it never took off the way it was and multiple failed developments still litter the area. Since then, Batam become notorious as the city of deceitful business development. Land ownership in the area has been abused but no one from the government office seems to care about it. At the time, this failed project however did not affect Batam’s economy due to increasing number of shipbuilding industry and oil & gas sector around the neighbouring Tanjung uncang region.
The ugly part is the first thing you’ll see as you exit the ferry terminal is the rotting carcass of corroded steel frame which are intended to build Snow World, an attempt to make the very first indoor snow sporting venue. The heavily corrupted plan lay uncompleted for many years before intentionally burnt down in 2006. The building itself has been featured in several spooky themed tv reality show.
Whenever you arrive at the Waterfront City Ferry Terminal, an enticing Minangkabau-style construction with sharped pointed eaves welcome you awkwardly. Although it is just another ports of entry in Batam, it felt contradictory with the native people who are of Malay ethnicity. However, such building design can not be found anywhere else in the island. As a visa-on-arrival entry point for Indonesia, it was intended as an integral parts of a bigger leisure complex plan by indonesia’s 2nd president Soeharto.
The sea connection on this area are being served via BatamFast which runs three ferries a day from Singapore’s HarbourFront ferry terminal via Sekupang to Waterfront, taking about 70 minutes including the Sekupang stop or using Sindo Ferry. If you miss these, there are many more to Sekupang, from where it’s a 15-km trip to Waterfront City.
Again, don’t be fooled by the name — Waterfront City is no city, it’s a purpose-built tourist development home to two large hotels and not much else. It seems that whoever made the masterplan for this massive project called Waterfront city Marina is intentionally making it fall into disgrace. No one being arrested for making such mess and no one really knows who actually own the wasteland around the vacant area.
All that said, if you ratchet down your expectations very low, Waterfront City still makes a reasonably pleasant weekend getaway: the hotels are high-quality and affordable, there’s just enough to keep you entertained for a day or two, and at night you can dig into cheap seafood and sample the nightlife. Batam as a whole is still growing fast and with Harris’s recent expansion and the refurbished cable ski operation, there’s even faint hope of a belated renaissance.
Hotel shuttle buses meet incoming ferries and offer sightseeing and shopping trips around the rest of the island. Within Waterfront City itself, most sites are within walking distance. If you’d like to go further out, there are usually taxis lurking in front of the cable ski park, but you’ll need to haggle. Cabbies will ask for S$20 for the half-hour haul to Nagoya, but locals can negotiate that down to around Rp. 75,000.
Honestly nothing of natural sights or historical value can be found in this resort complex. The beach at Waterfront City isn’t much to look at: the water is murky and the views across the bay consist of oil industry installations. The Harris Resort has its own tiny slice, but the rest is within the Waterfront City Marina and an entry fee of Rp. 7000 is charged. Sea sports like banana boats and jetskis are available.