It was still in the late 80s, I joined some of my friends to spend a short vacation in Batam. Then, there were two resorts, namely Batam View Beach Resort and Turi Beach Beach Resort.. Both were quite pricey then, given there were not many good class resorts in the region and Bintan had yet to be developed as a tourist destination. If I can remember well, a room night stay could have easily cost us around S$200 and it was in the late 80s where our wages were much lower then and competition was definitely less intense. Batam View and Turi Beach were the only two good class resorts in the Nongsa area. Finally, we chose Turi Beach, attracted by their standalone rustic wooden villas which has since been totally transformed into modern concrete blocks. Batam View is a 5-storey building block which has commanding view of the South China Sea. During our stay, we went to Batam View Beach Resort for their discotheque at the basement. It was quite an in-thing and I remember it was packed to the brink.
To get there, we had to travel by fast ferry from the then World Trade Centre Ferry Terminal to Sekupang Ferry Terminal. The ride took us less than an hour and on arrival, we had to take a long coach ride. Sekupang Ferry Terminal is located in the western side of the island and Turi Beach, together with Batam View Beach Resort are located in the north eastern region which is known as Nongsa. Batam by the way is about two third the size of Singapore. The coach ride will take us about 40 minutes. With Nongsapura Ferry Terminal set up in the mid 90s, tourists can now depart from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and on arrival, less than 10 minutes by car to reach their hotels. Then, it was quite a hassle to get to the beach resorts in Nongsa. Only Batam View and Turi Beach have their own private beaches until today. When Bintan made its foray in the later part of the 90s, the resorts in Batam has taken a heavy beating. From there on, it is basically' survival of the fittest'.
Given heavy investments from Singapore's big wig companies in Bintan and coupled with promotion support from Singapore Tourism Board, more and more tourists were lured to Bintan.
Nongsa in the north eastern region of Batam has its own attraction too. The lush greenery and kampong style living in the community remains largely unspoilt. Development in the past years have not been too aggressively pursued vis-a-vis Bintan but it now boosts of international class golf courses, more resorts and even a movie town, among others.
For the two pioneering resorts, Batam View Beach Resort and Turi Beach Resort, they have definitely weathered whatever 'calamity of sorts' that were thrown at them and to still remain in business, that says something about them. Take a bow, people!