Only 45 minutes away by ferry from Singapore, Batam Island is a favorite shopping destination for many Singaporeans. Batam Island is part of the Riau Archipelago in the province of Sumatra, Indonesia. It has lots of shops, boutique stores and specialty outlets. In fact, shopping in Batam Island is one of the most popular activities not just for the residents of its neighboring countries, but also for the many visiting tourists in the island. And there’s a good reason why. The merchandise is all tax-free!
In June 2006, Batam Island was established as a “Special Economic Zone” through the Framework Agreement on Economic Cooperation between Singapore and Indonesia. Then in 2007, the Indonesian government declared Batam Island, along with the Bintan and Karimun Islands, as a Free Trade Zone, eliminating all custom duties, value added taxes, luxury good taxes and excise duties. After that, it was said to be only a matter of time before all kinds of establishments and businesses sprang up and people from all over heard of the good news. And of course, it was good news to all shopaholics and fun-loving individuals.
Thus what was once an unheard-of island in Sumatra became one of the fastest growing tourist spots in Indonesia. So, if you’re coming to Batam Island for a vacation and you’re wondering about the shopping activities in the island, you’re most definitely in luck! There are indeed huge shopping activities happening around their shopping areas. Here are some information about shopping districts and shops to guide you through in your shopping.
First of all, the whole shopping industry in Batam Island is divided into two shopping districts: The Nagoya City Area and the Batam Center Area.
1. Nagoya City Area serves as Batam’s downtown area. Here you’ll find large shopping complexes and other smaller shopping boutiques. Some of the bigger malls include the:
- Nagoya Hill Shopping Center
- Batam City Square
- Diamond City Mall
- Center Point Mall
- Robinson Mall
- Top 100 Shopping Center
- Batam Polo Shop
2. The Batam Center Area is located on the North region of Batam. It has large shopping malls and the largest one, the Mega Mall, is just directly across the Batam Center Ferry Terminal. Thus, shoppers coming from Singapore may find the area extremely convenient. Two of the biggest malls in the area are the Mega Mall and the Panbil Mall. Other shopping centers in the area are not within walking distance and you have to ride a taxi to get there.
Similarly, smaller shops in the Nagoya City Area can be found lining the streets within walking distance from the bigger malls. And while some of the huge shopping complexes have specialty shops selling traditional products, most specialty shops are still located elsewhere and you have to ride a taxi to get to them. Still, there are plenty of shops located close to each other and walking around should be very satisfying. Indeed, this busy island has all the makings of a popular holiday island as evident in the rapid and rather consistent population and economic growth and by the growing number of tourists shopping in Batam Island.