Go: Batam, Singapore and Bintan Island

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Dear Friends,

 

Travelers Hi Five!

 

Hello Hello World! How are you? I’ve been quite busy lately, so I haven’t post anything for around two weeks. Sorry.. I’ll make it up to you now. Today I’m posting a new post in my favorite page, Go. I need to post here because I will get my total recovery anytime soon, so I want to encourage my self again to travel as I used to do. I know writing this post will pump my spirit! Yeay!!

Singapore and Bintan island. Amazing place.. I travel there in 2005-2006 with my traveling bff, Meiliana, my Mei Mei.

Dedicated this post for my bestie Mei ❤️

 

Celebrating our end of semester in college, my parents finally allowed me to travel alone, without them at all. I have never done that because I have a very protective parents, especially my strict Father. But then, they finally trusted me and giving me support to travel ever since. So this trip was a very special one for me. Besides finally able to go all alone, I was also thrilled to go because this trip was my parents reward for me whom most of the time got the highest GPA in the college major. They proud of my achievement, and I feel like I deserved that present 😀

Mei and I went straight from Jakarta to Batam city, to see our friends there before we go to Singapore. In Batam, I only remember to be taken to Barelang bridge. It’s the Batam city icon. Barelang bridge has a very beautiful surrounding. So I took some pictures there of course. With Mei’s new camera, the digital one (it was rare at that time. I didn’t have one.)

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A day after, we went by ferry from Batam to Singapore harbor, Harbourfront. I felt so Rose in Titanic movie there, without the tragedy of course (Thanks God!). It was a small ferry, took around 20 people. And I’m completely forgot about the fare. Sorry, because Mei arranged everything for me.

E V E R Y T H I N G! So I only have trip experienced (minus the fare of the trip) to tell you.

When arrived in Harbourfront, I felt so excited to be in Singapore. It was my first time to ever go overseas. Exploring the whole new country was really tingling my curiousity.

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Singapore, one word. NEAT.

I salute Singapore leader and government for making such a small country without no good natural resource to be as it is as today. To be one of the greatest nation. One of the most beautiful country in the world.

Singapore really have a strict regulation on society rules, such as criminality, vandalizing, littering, traffic, license permit, etc. Singapore really don’t hesitate to give one big fine and punishment for people who break the rules. Citizens or tourists. Awesome!

We were picked up by our friends, and started the tour before it was too late to see the city. I didn’t understand at all about riding an MRT (Mass Rapid Transportation), the Singaporeans main mode of transportation (subway). But Mei and other friends know how to do it so I just tag along (I am so completely innocent in Singapore, haha!). We strolling down on the pedestrians walk and I was amazed by the Singaporeans. They are stylish and neat. Really obey the rule. Nobody smokes while walking, they already have place for doing it. Nobody throw rubbish on the street. This country is a super clean one. No sound from car horn from anywhere. The car are lining neat, and stay about 5 meters from car in front of them. So tidy!! Oh heaven..

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I finally see Merlion Statue for the first time. Took pictures in that Singapore icon.

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After a flash sight seeing, we came to the place where we’re staying. It wasn’t a hotel but a friend’s condotel. Love how secure all of the building there. All must be entered with card or fingerprint. Again, Awesome! (I feel like a remote villager who just come to the real city.. ckckck)

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Waking up in the morning ready to explore Singapore. Because it was end of the year of 2005 so it was time for end of the year great sales. So guess where I firstly head to, of course shopping ;D

First place China Town to buy souvenirs. Second one was Bugis Junction and Raffles market.

In China Town, Raffles Market, and Bugis Junction I bought lot of souvenirs for family and friend in Indonesia. Most of them are the famous Merlion nail cutter. A plate for my Mother and astray for my Father. And so on and so on.

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On the different day, Mei took me to Changi Airport, the best Airport in the world from year to year. No wonder why. That airport is really sophisticated and beautiful. I was supposed to have my college job training for six months there. But it was canceled by the program (sigh..). Maybe I’m only meant to be just the passenger, not the trainee there. Yes until now I already have so many transit flights to Changi Airport  ;D

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At night go to the Orchard Road, the fifth avenue of Singapore. I bought purses, bags and T-shirts for me and my family. I have a very full baggage to come home with.

It was good to come there during the New Year moment. The country was in her best look. Many color lamps and decorations for Christmas and New Year on all over the place.

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I think I shop a lot. Hey, who knew when I have a chance to come there again? (self defense).. So I really optimized my shopping skill then :D. Me and Mei have a different aspiration, when I can starve for a week, saving money for a new bag, Mei couldn’t. She chose food over stuff. She has a big crush for culinary. So after she waited for me to shop, shop and shop, I will go where she wanted to eat.

I don’t think Singapore has an authentic food (sorry if I’m wrong). Because all I can find is Indonesian, Malaysian or western food. I remembered eating laksa, steak, friend rice, etc. But I didn’t eat anything told from Singapore. Mmmh.. Why Mei? Why?

Let me answer with my own theory. Because Singapore is a transit country, so I think the citizens were coming from all over the world. So the citizen is mix between Chinese, Malayan, and Indian. That blend make Singaporeans have a very funny English dialect. Like Chinese accent but in English. Most of the time, I didn’t catch what they’re talking about. And I am good in English by the way.

Oh another weird moment for me was when my friend took us on ride to see the localization area called Geylang. I think my jaw dropped so many times to see how open the government about prostitution there. In his car I saw so many prostitutes along the street, from Russia, Malaysia, Singapore even from my own country, Indonesia. Whaaat?! Sorry I was young and never know about stuff like that for sure. In Indonesia I have never see the option to legalize the prostitution. I didn’t know why, even another Moslem country as strong as Malaysia have localization in Genting Island. I think it was better than having underground prostitution places that government have no control of. When government give places and take control over the localization, the disease or social influence will be pressed to the minimum. That’s what I think, but that’s just my sight. I’m not an expert about it.

Someday, I will tell you about Holland Red Lamp in another post. One of the biggest localization I ever see.

Okay enough about that topic ;D…

Here come the New Year Eve 2005 to 2006.. Yeay! Me and friends spent a very joyful and fun night in ClarkQuay. Talked and laugh. Watched people goes by, poor they couldn’t get any ‘fancy’ seat like us. Sorry tourists! (was I tourist too?)

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Count to 12 o’clock.. We were on our New Year’s hats, and blew our trumpets with all of our might. The fireworks blown everywhere.. Lights explosion here and there.. It was so many many fireworks. I was mesmerized by the beauty. The fireworks ignite the dark night in colorful rays.

B E A U T I F U L.. but also loud moment.

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Of course it wasn’t a New Year Party without someone who got wasted. There is always one man down to lift or ruin the mood ;D.. But at that night nobody’s mood was ruined. We are really happy together. Memorable New Year Eve ever!

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The next day, Mei took me to Santosa Island. Went to see the beach and some attractions there. I forgot most of all. I think it wasn’t too memorable for me. But of course, the beach always special in my head. It was Siloso Beach.

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This amazing country is a small one to be explored in just three days. Another country especially Indonesia needs to learn on how Singaporeans manage their goverment. And from that trip I realized that the best resources one nation could have is not the natural resources, but the human resources. Human mind who made every impossible things become possible. Genius Singaporeans!

Well well… all wrap for Singapore. Heading to one of the most great resort I have ever been, in Bintan Island.

From Singapore, we went by ferry again to Batam. And from Batam, we ride another ferry to Bintan Island. Exciting! You know how I feel about secluded remote island right? I think that crush was all started from Bintan.

In Bintan, we were picked up by shuttle to our hotel. Most of the island, occupied by resorts and golf fields. There’s only some original islander staying there. So it was clear that the island is made for tourism and sport purpose.

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Bintan Lagoon Resort. Our place to stay. At that time, in 2006 it’s cost USD 100.00/room/night to stay. Mei treat me there, as a substitute when I treat her in Bali a year before (Thanks Mei!). The resort is amazing. I fall in love since stepped on my foot in the lobby. Oooh so excited!

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Mei made a fast acquittance with the hotel staff, and her friendliness made us upgraded to another room than we booked originally (you’re the best Bu!). Lagoon Sea View room. Wow, we booked for garden view but got a bigger sea room. Lucky!

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At night, they throwing a birthday surprise for me and I felt so happy. I was 21 back then, and so chubby ;D.

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Everything was perfect except one, I got my monthly period so I couldn’t touch any water activity (oh man!). I have to stay away and just took picture for them. What we (they) do over there was swimming. There was also a local pub to go outside the resort. One of the rare night life places in Bintan.

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they have fun.. while me? staring at them with the camera on ??

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Actually there are a lot activity you can do there, but we didn’t do them because we didn’t stay long. There are complete sea sports activities, and land activities like archery, biking, golf, mahjong, even tennis (oh man!). There are also local touring, such as, mountain trekking, fireflies evening tour, elephant park, etc.

Too bad we didn’t do much there because of the time. But someday I wanted to go again to this island. I love how peaceful and secluded this island from the outside world loudness. The place is beautiful, the sand is white, the water is clean. Just like Gili Trawangan my favorite. Many businessman come there for golf, and you can also see a lot of Hollywood persona took vacation in Bintan. I saw Korean newlywed also stay there. Bintan is well known in the world. It’s exclusive and worth it.

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So that’s all my trip in the end of 2005. I had a very good time then. So happy to be finally went overseas, and only with my friends. This trip mean a lot, because there I know how big the world is. I wanted to explore the world and travel to another destination. I’m craving for more because of this trip. I also know traveling alone just with Mei is so much fun. She’s strong like a man and fast like a cheetah ;D. She is a very dependable friend to travel with. And she has always encourage me to do the same. Me, the Papa’s girl finally coming out from the golden cage because she had inspired me to travel more and more. We never only just sleep in one destination, we always explore as much as we can. We can sleep at home later, even sometimes when we’re sick we still want to explore more. We have same huge curiousity about everything.

Mei is one of my best friend, we may not be perfectly ‘fine’ all the time. We fight a lot and have different opinions in so many things. Maybe I often disappointed her in life, but I think being our truly are (good and bad) in front of each other is what make us best friend until now. We are honest to each other. For 12 years, she always been there for me in good and bad time. Isn’t that what friend are for?

Thank you Mei for this first trip together. We have tons of trips together after that. Couldn’t wait for our next trip soon I got a permit to go. Always love you bestie!

Friends, I hope you also found your best traveling partner in this world. Cause nothing more fun and gratifying than having one who could understand your desire to explore. When you found one, started saving your money, and chose one awesome destination to go. My tips, chose a remote island. Hint, Bintan (it’s not a hint, it’s the answer :D).

What are you waiting for?!

So pack up and Go!

 

Love,

Ananda Ramartha

 

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