While most of Batam may have developed rapidly, the public transport system in the city still leaves much to be desired. As such, most tourists to Batam have long relied on car rentals to get around, or booking a driver for half a day.
But what if you’re a backpacker on a budget? Fear not, there are better options than trudging around on foot. We list them here in order of budget:
There are two types of taxis in Batam – licensed taxi operators and “black” taxis. There is, unfortunately, no equivalent of Uber or Grabcar in Batam at the moment.
Licensed taxis have yellow license plates and are registered with the local authorities. Two of the more reputable taxi companies are Blue Bird and Silver Cab, both of which charge according to the meter. Some licensed taxis, such as those under the Black Horse brand, may choose not to charge by the meter. In such cases, do make sure you check the approximate fare with your hotel before negotiating with the driver.
Black taxis are essentially unlicensed taxis which do not have meters. The driver determines the fare of the trip based on approximate distance. As such, fares must be negotiated before the start of each trip to avoid conflict.
Black taxi stand in Batam
Image source: Fang Shihan
Image source: Serenity / CC BY-SA 3.0
A quintessentially Indonesian term for a motorcycle taxi, Ojeks are prevalent in all parts of Indonesia as a cheap and convenient way of getting around, particularly in traffic jams. This form of transport is usually used for travel over short distances, and only if you’re not carrying a significant amount of luggage.
Traditionally, Ojeks can be hailed at Ojek “stations”, which also serve as resting spots for Ojek drivers. These are usually located in high traffic areas, such as outside shopping malls or tourist hotspots. Expect to pay between IDR 10,000 to IDR 50,000 for each Ojek ride.
There are three types of public buses in Batam.
The first two, under the respective brands: Carry, Bimbar, comprise privately-owned bus companies that are regulated by the local authorities. Carry and Bimbar are minibuses widely known in Indonesia as “Angkot”, which literally means “city transportation”. Angkots follow an approximate route (details below) but passengers can choose to embark and disembark at any stop along the route. Detours to destinations slightly off the main route are also accepted. Passengers pay their fare to the bus driver directly prior to disembarking.
The third, the Trans Batam Bus, is government owned and operated. Trans Batam bus stops are purpose-built structures which also house ticketing booths. As such, they are more easily identifiable compared to the Angkot stops.
Be warned! Many of the Angkots are not in good condition so this option is strictly only for the adventurous!
Image source: Fang Shihan
Carry is the brand name of the small-sized Angkots which can officially seat a maximum of 8 persons although 12 people are often squeezed within each minibus. Each Angkot is owned by its driver, who purchases a license to drive a route from the Batam City government.
Map of Batam Mini-Bus Carry Angkot Routes
Named after the car model, Suzuki Carry, the Carry Angkots serve two main routes:
- Yellow Carry
Route: from Batamindo Industrial Park (Muka Kuning) to Bengkong through Batam Center
- Brown Carry
Route: from Sagulung to Batamindo Industrial Park (Muka Kuning) through Batuaji
Price range: IDR 2000 ~ IDR 5000 depending on distance
Note: Muka Kuning is not properly reflected in Google Maps, therefore, Batamindo Industrial Park is a replacement marker in our map!
Image source: Fang Shihan
Bimbar is the brand name of the medium-sized Angkots which can seat up to 16 people. Short for Bintang Kembar (loosely translated as “Twin Star”), the entire fleet of Bimbar buses was originally owned and operated by a single owner until 2016, when another company, CV Anugerah, took over the Jono route.
Nonetheless, the medium-sized Angkots continue to be defined by their original name, Bimbar.
Map of Batam Bimbar Angkot Routes
The Bimbars serve 3 main routes:
- Blue Bimbar
Route: from Dapur 12 Sagulung to Nagoya through Batam Center
- Maroon/Red Bimbar
Route: from Dapur 12 Sagulung to Nagoya through Sukajadi
- Pink Bimbar
Route: from Jodoh to Nongsa through Batam Center
Price range: IDR 5000 ~ IDR 10000 depending on distance.
The Pink Bimbar route is also known as “Jono” because of the route taken – from Jodoh to Nongsa
Trans Batam Bus
Image source: Fang Shihan
Owned and operated by Batam government, the Trans Batam buses are much larger than the Angkots, but serves fewer routes. As such, the network does not cover all the districts and areas of Batam, despite it being public transport. Bus routes are available on the bus stop and attached on the bus itself.
The Trans Batam buses have fixed bus stops which also function as ticketing booths. This options is not recommended for tourists in a rush for time as the buses can wait up to 30 minutes at a bus stop for more passengers before travelling to the next stop.
Price range: Fixed fare of IDR 4000 no matter the distance or destination unless you are travelling from the airport, in which case the fare will cost IDR 15000.
Hotspots to get on and get off
From Harbour Bay ferry terminal: Nagoya is only 10 minutes away from Harbour Bay ferry terminal. The best option for travellers on a budget is an Ojek, which will cost around IDR 10,000 from the ferry terminal to Nagoya. Visitors can either use an Ojek app to arrange for direct pickup within the ferry terminal, or walk to the nearest Ojek station located 3 minutes away at the Harbour Bay complex.
From Batam Centre ferry terminal: Nagoya is about half an hour away from Batam Centre ferry terminal. The best travel option from there is via the Blue Bimbar, Trans Batam Bus or Ojek. While the Ojeks can pick you up within the ferry terminal, visitors will have to walk outside the ferry terminal compound to hail a Bimbar, or walk to the nearest Trans Batam bus stop.
The Blue Bimbar and Trans Batam Bus covers most areas in Nagoya, while the Ojek is more flexible and has no fixed destination.
Blue Bimbar route from Batam Centre will pass through these locations:
- Mall: BCS Mall (including the spa and massage centre in front of it) and Nagoya Hill Mall.
- Hotel: Batam Centre Hotel, Nagoya Mansion, Harmoni Suites, Goodway Hotel, Harmoni Hotel, Planet Holiday.
- Attractions: Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya, Jabal Arafah Mosque.
The Trans Batam Bus Route from Batam Center will pass through Batu Ampar and ends in Jodoh, both at the north of Batam. The nearest Trans Batam Bus station is only a 2 minute walk from Batam Centre ferry terminal. The route will pass through these locations:
- Harbour Bay Complex: Harbour Bay ferry terminal; Harbour Bay mall; well-known seafood restaurants such as Wei Wei seafood restaurant and Harbour Bay Seafood; Italian and Western restaurant such as Bella Italia Ristorante, The Pier Cafe and De Patros.
- Hotel: Harbour Bar Amir, GGi Hotel, Swiss Belhotel, Pacific Palace Hotel, Novotel Hotel.
- Jodoh wet market and DC Mall.
From Batam Centre ferry terminal: Visitors to Golden City in Bengkong have the option of travelling by the Yellow Carry, or by Ojek. When travelling by Yellow Carry, visitors should stop at the last stop, and then walk about 5 minutes to reach Golden City. With Ojek, visitors can choose to stop directly outside Golden City.
Attractions in Golden City include the traditional Kuda Lumping show, go-kart and paintball zones, as well as well-known seafood restaurants like the Golden Prawn 933 and Golden Prawn 555.
Although a popular destination due to the types of watersports available there, travelling to Nongsa from other parts of Batam can be a hassle. There is no direct bus route to Nongsa so visitors planning a trip there are advised to book a taxi or rent a car. More adventurous travellers can choose to take the Trans Batam bus or Pink Bimbar to the northernmost destination and then continue on by Ojek.
Disclaimer: Prices displayed are indicative only and are subjected to change without prior notice.