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Travel Asia:Live in Batam from a Foreigner's Point of View

Updated on May 2, 2013

With its vast diversity of people, Batam is an island with a unique feel to it. People from all kinds of creeds, backgrounds and religions are all blended into one, unique mix. We can hear people talk in Chinese, Indian, English, Bahasa Indonesia and other languages everywhere in this island.

One of the reasons why this condition featured in Batam is because most of its residence came from outside of the island. They came from all over Indonesia, even from all over the world, bringing their own languages, traditions and habits to the island and giving it a flavor of their culture.

So, what does people who came from outside of Indonesia thinks of this unique island?

We met and converse with Mr. Samuel McDonald, who is now working as an Interface Manager at McDermott, to get a perspective of Batam from him. A no stranger to live in South East Asia – spent almost 17 years of his life in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia – Mr. McDonald admits that living in Batam has a taste of its own.

Mr. McDonald was considerably surprised with the crime rate in Batam. Rumors that he heard about Batam’s high crime rate are evidently unproven. It is considerably a lot safer to most cities that he had lived in before. Especially when it’s compared to his own hometown, Houston, where there are almost 30 murders happened every week!

With its relatively cheaper living cost, compare to Singapore or Jakarta, he can enjoy life more. He and his wife, Mrs. Cathy McDonald, wasn’t an avid golfer when they were living in Singapore, because it’s just too expensive to play golf there. But here, in Batam, they enjoy the best golfing time of their life. The cost to play golf is considerably affordable, and the courses are international-quality.

There are plenty of golf courses to choose from, which adds up their golfing pleasure on the island. And, they can also play in Bintan, which also had plenty of great golf courses. To practice their golfing skills, there is a lot of driving range that they can visits.

With all the diversity around, Batam are famous for its great variety of culinary selection. Especially seafoods, which can be easily found everywhere in the island. Mr. and Mrs. McDonald mention that recently they had a chance to eat spicy crab noodle, and admits that they enjoy the cuisine very much!

Live in foreign land can lead to loneliness sometimes. To make sure this doesn’t happen to them, Mr. and Mrs. MacDonald involved in an international community. They attend the International Church of Batam which meets every Sunday at the Novotel Hotel from 10:00-11:30am. Here they made friendship with other foreigners and Indonesians who also lives in Batam.

And, thanks to their lovely Chihuahua , Mercedes, home is not a boring and lonely place for this couple even though their boys, Chris and Evan, are not with them in Batam and still living in America. Mercedes always seems to find a way to make her owner laugh or at least smile through her action.

When asked about the future of the island, Mr. McDonald commented that Batam has a thriving economy. Since Batam is located near Singapore, investment will flow from the neighbor country to the island. That will definitely boost the economy in Batam. Its cheap labor cost compared to other places also a great factor for Batam’s economy progress.


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      Ghaelach 6 years ago

      Hi Rai.

      A good hub with plenty of info.

      Sound absolutly beautiful island, whether you like golf or not i'm sure there are great beaches and lovely walks.

      Take care.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • profile image

      satvesh 6 years ago from Goa, India