Pulau Batam and Harris Resort Review
About Pulau Batam
Pulau Batam (pulau is a malay word, means island) is one of the largest islands in the Riau archipelago. After the declaration of free trade zone in 1989, Pulau Batam has been developed rapidly and now has a modern airport, tourist and business centers and a still growing infrastructure.
Besides, the goal is to become one of the biggest ports of Southeast Asia and a major international trade center, its strategic location near to Singapore, Malacca Strait and South China Sea is the role model, which definitely help to reach the goals. Unfortunately, the Asia economic crisis in the late 1990s was a major blow for Pulau Batam, the economy and development here were affected and dragged after the economic crisis.
The distance between Pulau Batam and Singapore is only 40 minutes with boat. Therefore, it has been chosen as an entry point to reach other destinations in Indonesia. There are several tourist resorts with luxurious hotels and goal courses that are attracting thousands of tourists from neighbor country, e.g. tourists from Singapore and Malaysia.
In this hubs, I would like to share my own experiences here. I went to Pulau Batam in early April 2011 with my girlfriend. We took honeymoon package from Harris Resort for 3D2N. I felt very good there so I wish to share here and recommend it to you.
Since there are a lot of facilities available in the resort, so most of time we stayed in the resort and used the facilities.
I only went once to Pulau Batam, so Harris Resort Batam is the only resort I went to. I do not know the situation of other resorts in Pulau Batam, but Harris Resort Batam give me a good feeling during the 3D2N, I felt I was at home, I felt comfortable. I enjoyed the "honeymoon".
There are many resorts available in Pulau Batam. Harris is one of them. Harris is a four star resort and considered as a first class property. The resort is facing the strait of Singapore, the sea view with spacious accommodation, giant swimming pool and a lot of facilities available within the resort.
I would introduce other attractions of Pulau Batam and Harris resorts in details later
3D2N Honeymoon Package
We took the honeymoon package which was provided by one of the travel agency. The 3D2N honeymoon package cost SGD 388
The package Inclusive
- 3D2N accommodation
- Free upgrade to Cabana room
- 2 buffet breakfasts
- White dove candlelight dinner
- 1.5 hour Spa for 2 persons (1 hr massage + 30 min herbal bath)
- Free shuttle bus to Nagoya town
- Free 1 bowling game
- 2 way ferry tickets for 2 persons
- 2 way hotel transfer from hotel to port
The distance between Singapore and Pulau Batam is only 40 min with boat. However, the ferry we taken went via Sekupang (another sea port of Pulau Batam), so we took around 50 min to reach our destination in Pulau Batam- Waterfront city terminal.
We were fetched by shuttle bus which was provided by Harris Resort Batam. The resort was located only 5 min distance from the Waterfront city terminal. We were welcomed by the resort staffs when we arrived the resort. All the staffs were very friendly, they were smiling at almost all the time
We were starving at that moment since we not yet had lunch at around 2pm. After check-in at the counter, we rushed to our room.
There are different type of rooms available in the resort, including Harris Room, Cabana, Family, Japanese and Residence. Since we took honeymoon package, so our room was upgraded without additional charge from Harris Room to Cabana Room. Cabana room is located along the beach, and all the rooms are functioned with
- satellite television
- DVD player in all Cabanas, Suites and Residences
- mini bar
- in-room safe deposit box
- in-house movies
- complimentary coffee & tea making facility
- private balcony overlooking the pool or the marina
- fully equipped kitchen (Executive Suites & Junior Suites)
- room service (24 hours)
The room was very spacious, we felt very comfortable in the room, we really wish to take a nap before we went to lunch, but our stomach keep reminding us. After put down our luggage, we went to the resort cafe to take our lunch.
Different kinds of food were available there, including western, Indonesian cuisine, seafood, and Harris special.
We ordered Harris fried rice (if I am not wrong) and baked chicken. I love the fried rice but the taste of baked chicken a bit different from what we had before. The potatoes were not cooked long enough, and the price was much more expensive if compare with the food in the town.
I love bowling. I have been playing bowling in Malaysia and Singapore since secondary school, but unfortunately I am not a professional player :P
The bowling center in the resort was maintained quite well. We played two games and surprisingly, there was no system errors throughout the games. So, we enjoyed the game. This bowling center is one of the best bowling facility I have ever seen among the resort and bowling center that I went before.
BBQ buffet was not included in the package. It cost SGD 35. We were tired so we decided to stay in the resort and try the BBQ buffet.
BBQ buffet carnival was supposed to be held beside the pool, but it was a raining day so they switched the place to indoor. During the dinner, we were entertained by the Larosa Quartet Band. They performed with different languages song, including Chinese, English, Indonesian, Hokkien and Cantonese, so no matter where the tourists from, they could enjoy the performance during their dinner.
Variety of delicious food could be found in the buffet, including chili crab, BBQ chicken, baked fish, fried rice, Indonesian noodle, and etc. Different flavor of ice-cream and fruits were also available.
Besides, we could choose different combination of vegetables and seasoning, then the chef would cook for us. He cooked quite well and the taste similar to chinese cuisine.
Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall
After buffet breakfast in the second day morning, we rode the resort shuttle bus to Nagoya Hill Shopping Mall, some also refer it to Nagoya Hill SuperBlock. The shopping mall is located in the center of Nagoya town.
We were hanging around and found that, almost all the shop in the shopping center could be traded by sg dollar. Surprisingly, the food in the food court and restaurant were very cheap. There was a food street in the shopping mall, with a lot of food retailers selling variety of food. We had a hard time to decide what to eat. Finally, we decided to eat fast food-A&W as it already "disappeared" from Malaysia and Singapore for years. We missed their onion ring and root beer. We spent around SGD 16 for two set of fried chicken meal, which was quite expensive if compare with the price of other restaurants and cafes in the shopping mall.
There were two giant retail stores in the shopping mall- Matahari and Hypermart. The household products were very cheap, the vegetables and fruits were fresh and cheap. However, the price of the clothes were not cheap if compare with Singapore and Malaysia, and the quality of the clothes might not deserve the price.
Finally, we only bought kueh lapis (Malay word), which was famous cake in Indonesia. The cake was very fresh and soft, without the using of preservative, so it must be consumed within 3 days in room temperature and up to 2 weeks if stored them in fridge. Each original flavor kueh lapis cost only SGD 20, which was very cheap if compare with the retail shops in Singapore and Malaysia, they are selling about SGD 50. Therefore, a lot of tourists from Malaysia and Singapore would buy as many as they can when they travel to Indonesia. The cake is definitely a best gift for friends and family, because it could symbolize Indonesia.
We went to SPA after coming back from Nagoya Hill shopping mall. Our package was including 1 hour massage (Indonesia/Sports/Shiatsu) and 30 min of herbal bath.
Harris Resort is very famous in their SPA package, and they deserved the reputation.
We chosen Indonesian massage. The massage masters were very professional, we felt relax and comfortable at that moment.
After an hour massage, we soaked in the herbal bath and served with ginger tea. We almost fell asleep in the bath, just because it was too comfortable and relax, we really enjoyed the SPA!
Candle Light Dinner
The candle light dinner was served with appetizer, main course, dessert and a glass of complimentary red or white wine.
The atmosphere was very romantic, if there was no raining, we could had our dinner on the beach, too bad...
Frankly speaking, the atmosphere was very nice and we could feel the romantic atmosphere, but we felt a bit disappointed on the food, the food quality could be improved in some ways
Other Facilities in Harris Batam
There were a lot of facilities available in the resort. Most of them were chargeable, including indoor and outdoor activities.
- Traditional Massage
- Fitness Centre
- Squash Courts
- 10-Lane Bowling Alley
- SPA with 31 treatments
- Go Carting
- ULM - Parasailing
- Golf nearby
- Teambuilding and New Activities
- Table Tennis
Besides, children facilities are available. If you wish to bring your children there, then you do not need to worry about them. Especially children's pool, you may play with your children. They will enjoy the trip too. The children facilities including
Dino's Kids Club (indoor & outdoor)
- Games on the beach
- Children's pool
- Bicycle Tours
- Harris Nanny
Other Attractions in Pulau Batam
Since our trip was only 3D2N, we could not travel to all the places in Pulau Batam. We missed some of the attraction places, for example, Barelang Bridge Batam, Chua Kim Quan Pagoda, Ex Vietnam Refugee Camp, Pulau Galang Batam and Quan Am Tu Quil Temple Batam.
Since Pulau Batam is an island, so the seafood there is very fresh and cheap, unfortunately we did not have chance to try.
Hopefully we would have chances to go Pulau Batam again, we will not miss those places and seafood next time.
I will definitely go Pulau Batam again in the future. The local residents there are very friendly, and the most important thing is, the government of Indonesian is doing quite well in the public safety of Pulau Batam. Safety is one of the important issues for me to consider whether I want to be there.
The overall rating I give Harris Batam Resort is 90%, and in details
a) Customer Services- 95%
b) Food- 75%
d) Facilities- 90%
e) Package fee- 80%
For those who wish to travel to Singapore and Malaysia, I would suggest you to plan Pulau Batam in your schedule, because it is very near to Singapore and Malaysia, and you may feel relax after the professional massage and herbal bath. The most important thing is, it doesn't cost much money so you will definitely not exceed your budget.
Top 5 Must Do List
1. SPA (Massage and bath)
2. Kueh Lapis
3. Shopping mall