December 21, 2013

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This has gotta be one of the most relaxing trip The Ongies had enjoyed so far.

Wifey felt that it would be great to have a getaway every year, be it whether it should be near or far away from Singapore.

This time, they decided on 2D1N stay in Batam.

Everything had been planned carefully by wifey. They had this trip booked at the very last min because they were afraid that Cait will fall sick again. She was down with high fever for days previously.

Compared to the last time when they went to Batam, that was such a tiring experience which they will not want to go through that again. The whole family were totally exhausted by the end of day.

For this time, wifey preferred to stay for a night at Harris hotel, Batam Center.

They were not alone, one of their relatives also joined with the day trip too. But due to work comittement, hubby's dad was not able to go with them.

The trip was planned for Thursday and Friday - and it was a bonus given that weekday rate is slightly cheaper.

For per room, per pax with breakfast is $87. ($68 without breakfast)
There will be dance from the staff in the hotel at the breakfast lobby at 0830am. Video link here.

And about $49 with tax for Batam Fast ferry ticket. Do check the website promotion as that will be free ferry ticket from them for off peak ferry timing, but tax is still payable. 

The kids were extremely happy to take the ferry early in the morning, they had been anticipating it since the day they knew they were taking ferry.

Since they will be there for 2D 1N stay, hubby decided to drive the car and park at VivoCity instead. The total cost from Thursday morning 8am till Friday 7pm is $39. It is slightly cheaper than parking at Harborfront Centre if you do some calculation. There is charges for midnight parking at HF too, thus parking at Vivo is the wiser choice.
Comparing to taking cab, they will spend more time waiting and cost more due to peak hour surcharge.


Preparing for kids now is not as bad as before. At least they can eat a lot of real food, like rice, noodles, burgers, french fries etc... everyone did not have to worry about the every few hours milk powder mission, or ssearch for diaper changing places. Not to mention about the easy clothing for them too. Just a sweater for air con area, and extra clothes in case it is dirty - Clar is more likely to make herself dirty.

Journey from Singapore to Batam is about an hour journey. Harris hotel from ferry terminal is just a 5 min walk. Definitely, there's no way you can miss the entire building when it is right in front of you.

So even if you have a huge luggage, you do not need to worry about it at all.

The first thing that they bought when reaching Batam ferry terminal was the data sim card, which hubby can use on his Note 8.0. Approximately SGD10 for a 2-week validity at cap of 1.5gb. The speed was reasonably fast.
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Since this is the holiday month, expecting for room available in the morning is like waiting for lucky charm. Fortunately for their relative, they had their room first, whereas The Ongies will have to wait till they get back from the day shopping.

Remember to activate your credit card for overseas usage. Wifey however, managed to swipe it with approval even though she did not activate. On the other hand, hubby also login to internet banking for activation.


Relative hotel room, where you can see the sea and the ferry terminal:
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Swimming pool below:
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In order to have a good trip, wifey decided to plan something interesting. She had arranged a transport for everyone. There are 5 pax in The Ongies (hubby, wifey, the grandmother, Cait and Clar.), 4 pax for the relative (aunt, cousin and her 2 sons)

The cost of the transport is SGD100 for full trip. The transport is a mini bus which is for 16-18 seaters; it is big and spacious, everyone sat in the mini bus comfortably and have a lot of space in between.

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Quite a long mini bus:
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First location - Bengkong (Golden Parwn 933 seafood restaurant)

Journey is about 20-30min, depending what kind of vehicle you took. Mini bus tend to be slower.

When you arrived at the venue, you will be led in by the waiter to choose what sort kind of live seafood you prefer: clams, prawns, fish, crabs and many more.

The total damage was about $130 SGD for 9 pax.
- 1 clam soup
- 2 chilli crabs
- 1 black pepper crab
- 1 HongKong style steam seabass
- 1 garlic fried chicken
- 2 sambal vegetables
- 1 non spicy mixed vegetables
- 1 tub of rice
- fresh coconuts
-  drinks

There's no need to worry about the communication as the waiter/waitress understand English.

The food were fresh and tasty. Everyone filled up their tummy with lots of happiness. Surprisingly, Cait really love her rice with clam soup! Hubby thought that she might not even like it at all! The soup is sweet and tasty as if you are drinking mee soto soup. No wonder Cait love it so much that she asked for 2nd helping!

Entrance to the restaurant:
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The area where you can choose your seafood:
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Yummy seafood that everyone had:
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Chili crab:
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Kang kong:
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Fried chicken dice:
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Black pepper crab:
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Clam soup that Cait love it a lot:
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After filling up the tummy, it is time to set off to another location, which is one of the popular spot for most tourist: Nagoya Hill.

Prepare to shop till you drop if you have a lot to buy. There are quite a lot of clothing and shoe shops too.

In order to have ample time to shop, wifey told the driver to come back 4hrs later. But this miscommunication had gone wrong. The driver mistaken the 4 hours to 4pm - which is only 2.5 hrs only! They saw the vehicle while they were having their tea break at A&W at level 1! (yummy huh!)

In order not to let the driver make a wasted trip, wifey had to call him to reconfirm the timing. It is a communication full of question from both party as the driver does not speak much English and hand gestures/body language was impossible over the phone. So in the end the driver's mother, whom wifey knew her before, called to clarify the problem.

Glad that it was resolved and the driver had to come back later at 6pm instead, so that everyone can continue to shop.

Hubby was almost tempted by the bags there.

It is a risk to take if you are interested in the AA replica bags. In any case, decision lies on you.

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Due to massive jam, everyone waited for 30min:
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Half gone feeling, Cait and Clar with their cousin:
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It is the 2nd day morning and the kids are ready to go for breakfast. Good grief, they woke up at 5am!

The day before, the two of them fallen asleep soundly when they were in the room. Wifey had booked the inter connecting room so that they can help to each other.

Family photo shoot (Cait glued to the TV):
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Selfie?:
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Cute Clar:
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Angry because no one asked her to take photo (She was watching TV initially):
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Persuaded succeeded:
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Look outside at lobby:
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Unlike Singapore, it is not safe to drink water from tap. Hubby was boiling the water and found out that the water is very dirty - lots of white particles. Luckily he did not consumed it or let the family to drink it. Do get yourself a bottle of mineral water.

After the delicious breakfast, The Ongies decided to do a early check out, and they placed their luggage in their relative room.

As not to waste any more time, they head up to Mega Mall - continue shopping that it is.

They had their lunch in one of the restaurant in the mall, and during the

Cait and Clar insisted on getting bumble bee train. This ride actually took 5-10mins and it went 1 full round on the entire level of the shopping mall. And the best part was, loud music was playing and they travelled at a very slow speed. The ride was 10,000 rupiah per pax, which works out to be about $1.10 SGD only!

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Last but not least, it is time to enjoy the amusement park at the top level of Mega Mall.

With 35,000 rupiah, which is about SGD $4, allows you to play for nearly an hour of games. Not to forget the carousel that Cait totally love it, except for Clar, who is quite scared and whining non stop when the carousel started.

It is a nice place to play for hours if you are a true arcade lover!

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After all the fun, the time is still far from boarding. They literally have 2hrs to wait, so they went to ferry terminal and ask for early returns. Fortunately, there are seats for them. Considering the tiredness from everyone, it is ideal to go back to Singapore early.

Boat left at 4.45pm and arrived in Singapore timing: 6.45pm.

Once they arrived in Singapore, they quickly head to Vivocity carpark and went back home immediately. So much easier than waiting for cab.

By night time, everyone went to room and sleep soundly...!

It is a splendid relaxing trip, and it is great to go back once more. The most impressive is their traffic; having no traffic light (away from city), everyone is very courtesy on road because they know it is dangerous.

This is also a learning lesson for Cait to see how other people live, considering she being a lucky one.
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