I've never viewed Batam as an 'acceptable' holiday destination. I guess the preconceived perceptions of the place being a seedy rundown place frequented by old Singaporean ah peks to visit prostitutes in crummy hovels along with the occasional newspaper report of men maintaining mistresses there didn't help. Other than the fact that the best keropok (fried crackers) is to be found in Batam, Batam really didn't have much going for it. Or so I thought.
The past two days haven't been too bad though. Lots of eating, lazing around with cheap spa treatments and the daily swim. Batam's still filthy (though less so than Hanoi) and there's really not much to do besides eating and buying keropok (unless you like cheap t shirts). Then when you get tired, come back for a swim or pamper yourself at the spa. Prices are usually significantly cheaper than Singapore.
On the downside there's the occasional chance for bedbugs (horror of horrors), being accousted to sit 'taxi' (minor irritant though), the difficulty in communication 'Saya tidak bercakap Melayu' (more irritiating), blatant demands for tips (ok la guess that's the culture though) and did I mention bedbugs?? But ok all in all, it wasn't too bad at all. A good break. I'd say two nights is just nice.
I didn't buy keropok though. Sunning it before frying sounds like too much of a hassle lol.