The Batam Maniacs 

I met SOS threesome Max Eugene and Alan at our rendezvous point in Batam after work on Friday 5 April.

We had no special intention in visiting the Indonesian island – a place where 老heros find true love after getting CPF at 65.

The 3 musketeers and the invisible man.

We simply wanted to use Eugene’s and Alan’s free stays at Nagoya Hill Hotel, courtesy of their beloved employer SOS and Seacare.

More importantly, we wanted to celebrate Max’s retirement in June. He is 67 this year. He is without a doubt, cash-rich. I wondered what other plans he had in mind when he suggested Batam.

I flew directly to Batam. Yep. Busy schedule!
The 4 of us took a 10min grab ride from our hotel to Adi 8 Batam or Xiang Xiang (香香) restaurant. Alan suggested the restaurant for the rave online reviews despite being an ulu, small scale home business.

Xiang Xiang restaurant packed with customers even at 9 pm local time.
At Xiang xiang, they serve every table an optional plate of otah apetizer. At 8pm, we did not have to wait long for our orders to arrive.

The sign says If you think you are not satisfied with the service, please call this number.
But we took a long time to choose the dishes. We wanted to try em all against the gentle advice of financial controller, Eu.

Max ordered most of the dishes. As we had visited Batam multiple times, we wanted to try other non seafood dishes.

We ordered garoupa, sambal kangkong, nestum prawn, sotong ring platter, sizzling hot plate toufu, etc.

There was one particular tasty dish recommended by Alan that you just have to try: Ayam Goreng Bawang (fried garlic/onion chicken).

Ayam Goreng Bawang is a common Indonesian dish but only a handful of places serve really tasty flavourful ones.

Ayam Goreng Bawang from Xiang Xiang.

Grab car back to hotel: 19K rupiah.

We were forced to stop by at the convenience store opposite our hotel to munch snacks as our cravings for food after a heavy meal was beyond science.

Apart from the usual canned drink, we happily grabbed yogurts, chips and magnum ice creams.

Teh Putih (white tea)

Very nice milk

We called it a night at 11 pm. The snoring competition was intense in the connecting room housing max and Eugene. I thought the two were fighting and arguing in their dreams.

The main event on Saturday was drone photography but there was a handful of items to complete on our checklist.

Right after breakfast, we sped off in a 7-seater grab car (139k rupiah) and headed 30 mins South towards Barelang Bridge under a windy April sky.

Jembatan (Bridge) Barelang connecting mainland Batam to the Riau islands

Eu and I brought along our transformer drones. We could not contain our excitement as it was our first flight in Batam.


We diligently and dutifully checked to ensure that we were in a drone-friendly area. We have always been responsible droners.

Credit: Eugene Guo@4aview

Eugene, a keen-eyed aerial photographer, has the knack for capturing buildings and structures from unconventional perspectives.

Part of the Riau territory, 25km from Nagoya Hill Hotel.

Check out his Instagram @4aview

Golden Fish cottage and restaurant, a resort near Barelang Bridge, off mainland Batam, boasts beautiful views of Barelang and the scenic islands.

The Demonstrator, Instigator and Provocateur (photo credit: Propagator)

It is an ideal spot for aerial photography as we have the bridge on our left and the Riau islands on our right.

Our lunch was memorable; we enjoy the food, breeze and drone. There was also a super yard island tour package, ideal for those seeking a different experience with family or loved ones.

Simple food we ordered, but pricey at 482k rupiah. The view was excellent nevertheless.

Alan ordered a thirst-quenching and sole-nourishing kelapa.

I would recommend going to Golden Fish for the view – but not the food – as there are many other nearby restaurants offering yummier choices at better price.

Barelang Bridge as backdrop

Fresh Gentleman Massage, anyone?

I also advise you to secure an advanced return transport, whether its grab, gojek or hire car, if you plan to visit Barelang.

We anxiously killed 45 minutes of our lives to find a grab car – which luckily appeared outta nowhere – or risk crawling 21 km or 5 hours back to Nagoya Hill.

With luck on our side and sun above our heads, we arrived at our hotel soaked in tears of joy.

A collective decision was made to spend under 15 mins to shower, shit and change – to reach Cinema XXI for Shazam at 4:15 pm.

Nice show… But looking forward to Avengers Endgame. Just sayin…

This time Eugene made sure I did not buy the $12 or 120k rupiah caramel gourmet popcorn like I did last year. 

After the show, Eugene bought some pee bags at Ace Hardware.

He went to great length to explain its practicality and convenience, such as how you can pee straight into the bag in times of emergency … And how the pee will solidify into jelly.

It was the best sales pitch for the day. We were sold. I felt motivated to sweep those pee bags off the shelf.

It would make a brilliant out-of-the-world present for my sister, who would be celebrating her birthday on Sunday. You can never find a better brother in this world.

A&W was never far from our sight and mind. After a courtesy photo-taking formality, we teared up the chicken like hungry Spartans.

With our belly filled, we strolled towards Thai Odessy for cheap and good service.

I opted for ear-candling as I’m no fan of massages. To be honest, I coudn’t even feel the ear wax removed, instead I have to endure the painful massage on stress points on my face and neck.

Enjoying whatever he is enjoying

What a way to end Day 2 of our R&R.

In our sloppy shirts and flip flops, we filled our plates with love at the buffet breakfast the next morning. Eating like maniacs and roaring like seamen, we assured each other that no lunch was necessary.

Max went for his 25k (S$2.50) haircut at 10 am. I sipped Americano kopi at JCO. The 2 buggers revisited dreamland. 

Upon checking out, our bellies started screaming in hunger.

All at once, we raced to Malaya Cafe, a casual dining inside Harbour Bay ferry terminal.

Food was cheap and good. Do remember to order char kway teow next time. The wok hei was Sedapcious! 

We sat down dreamily and spent the remaining time staring at one another. No word was spoken. No word was necessary.

It was indeed a relaxing getaway. See you next time in Bintan. Selamat Sore! Selamat Siang! SHAZAM!!!