Batam is one of the 3,000 islands which make up the Riau Archipelago and is closest to Singapore which is only 5o minutes away by ferry (Batam Fast). the island is developing into a major tourist destination because of its proximity to Singapore. Many tourists come from nearby Singapore for a short holiday, duty free shopping and great seafood. For instance, in our tour group, me and my friend were the only Filipinos out of 12 people. the rest were singaporeans who were having holiday at the Holiday Inn and other hotels.
Despite the budding economy, Batam retains the rural charm, peaceful spots with quiet beaches. Fishing villages supply delicious seafood to visitors. We had our sumptous lunch at Golden Prawn restaurant.
While in Batam, we visited Maha Vihara Duta Maitreya, one of the largest Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia. It is also known as the Laughing Buddha temple. It allegedly brings in thousands of visitors daily. We also went to Batam Shopping Mall. Shopping is duty free throughout the island.
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