Pulau Batam Warnings and Dangers
Stay safe in Batam with these tips.
Make Sure You Have All Your Paperwork
If you want to make sure that you do not fork out any extra money to the authorities, make sure that you have the neccessary visa or immigration card, and that your passport is not close to expiring. If the authorities catch you with something missing, you will definitely have to offer them some cash for their leniency – In local terms, that’s called offering them coffee money.
Stuck in Batam – Confirm Return Tickets
When you buy your ferry tickets from Singapore, confirm your return time and tickets also to make sure you get a ride back to Singapore. On weekends and public holidays, there are usually a lot of people rushing back to Singapore, and you may get a nasty surprise if you leave your return ticket open – the seats on the afternoon and evening ferries disappear very quickly. Don’t assume that just becuase there are several ferries going back in the evening you will be able to get on one.
Smoking is allowed in practically almost all places in Batam, air-conditioned or not, and enclosed or not. So, don’t be surprised if the diner sitting next to you decides to light up in a fully enclosed air-conditioned restaurant.
When you’re leaving Batam through the ports, be wary of certain people who hang around the ticketing area. They will, on the pretext of kindness, offer to submit your passport and ticket to the ticketing office. One of two things will happen if you allow them to help you.
First, if you remain near them, they will submit your documentation for you but then will ask for a RP10,000 “help fee.”
Second, if you do not remain near them, they will take off with your passport.
Indonesia has a large black market in foreign passports. If the latter happens to you, you will have to go to Jakarta to your country’s embassy to report the loss. Don’t depend on the port authorities to help you out there. Policemen are often around but are very likely to turn a blind eye to the plight of the foreigner.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about warnings and dangers in Pulau Batam.