Indonesians are quite a contradictory nation. On Batam Island, you could either be surrounded by friendly people who are always ready to help, or you could collide with an aggressive youth who would bawl out «bule!» (meaning «foreigner» on the local language) right to your back. By the way, you can manage not to be ever called «bule» and you don’t even need to get citizenship or to spend a long time on the island. Just learn at least a basic level of the local language and then the locals will take you for one of them. However, it’s not that the local people are biased toward the foreigners. They just perceive tourists like guests whose money they can likely get.
The first hotels on the island of Batam started appearing quite recently, less than 30 years ago. All hotel complexes feature first-class equipment, including some of the elite accommodation … Open
Nevertheless, the locals might like to become friends with you and even offer you to perform the ritual clothes exchange – that gesture can be accepted as a fellow one. But if you’re not ready to give your shirt away to a stranger, then you can give something less valuable: a cap or a thread bracelet. The Batana inhabitants, like all Indonesians, have quite a peculiar attitude to friendship or any other partnership. The thing is that it’s believed among people from many other countries that fellows or partners are doing everything together to reach their certain goal. Here it’s vice verse: even though people could have a common goal, still they’d like to get their own profit.
That is why situations like the following one are quite common among the locals: as long as friendship is profitable for both people, then there are no troubles; but as one of them is not more useful for the other one, then the friendship is over. Moreover, if they understand some time later that there is yet a profit, they can simply become friends again. The locals don’t consider such relationships to be disgraceful or wrong. In addition, as you get I touch with Indonesians, remember, that it’s not accepted here to say «no» and Batam Island is not an exception. So, frequently you can hear «besok» (meaning «tomorrow») instead of direct rejection in response. But you’ll hear this phrase the next day, and the day after, and the day after the day and so on until everybody just pretends as there was no request at all. So, if you want to make an arrangement with a local, then you have to negotiate the exact date. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
Batam Island, just like some other local islands, is a part of the free trade zone. Here you can find a great variety of goods by the world leading producers and for a very good price. … Open
The locals here on the island will gladly talk with you, share a cigarette, beg for some money, and ask about a homeland. The island’s inhabitants are pretty curious and can freely meet any person they got interested in. People here have a very light attitude to the world – they even used not to lock their doors at all. However, in spite of all these facts, it’s considered to be improperly to elevate the voice as well as to cross your legs in public. It’s also extremely rude to point a finger at somebody. If you came here with your partner, then you have to remember that the locals strongly believe that lovers must show their feelings to each other only in private.
Most of the locals belong to the Muslim denomination. About 90% of the islanders go to mosques on regular basis. Moreover, there are lots of superstitions in society. For instance, it’s utterly indecent to take or give something with your left – «dirty» – hand, as they clean themselves precisely with the left one. It’s also forbidden to touch somebody’s head (even if you didn’t mean to) as it’s the sacred part of the body and the tenement of the soul. It’s also not a place for nudists or those who prefer topless sunbathing – it’s a breach of the peace. Considering clothes, women have to wear covered clothes here. Otherwise, they’re likely to attract undue attention of men.
Batam is close to Singapore; it’s difficult to imagine, but just 30 years ago there had been only a small fishing village on its territory. In 1989 Batam has become a free trade zone … Open
Don’t be surprised that there are no knives given in the local restaurants. Here they’re used only for cooking. People on Batama Island really like having fun. The locals celebrate the Muslim holidays as well as many others: New Year, Independence Day, The Youth Pledge, The Day of Heroes, Christmas Day, etc. Various music festivals and the Harvest festival also take place here, but the most vivid one is the Indonesian International Culture Festival. The costume show is the centre of the holiday. What is more, during the festival you can hear national songs all over the streets.
Batam Island - guide chapters