Browsing "Older Posts"

Browsing Category " Indonesia Nightlife "

Solo Nightlife (Surakarta) - Bars, Clubs, KTVs, Spas

By Nyoman →
Small in size but touristy, Solo (or Surakarta) is often considered the little sister of Yogyakarta. I was in the city to visit a French friend who lived there for 8 years. He showed me the nightlife on a Friday and a Saturday night.

Guest-Friendly Hotels in Solo
The city is home to plenty of hotels, but beware as many are conservative and may not accept if you stay with a girl you aren't married to. As a rule of thumb, avoid small family guest-houses and any hotel with the name "syariah" on it (obviously).

Most hotels and places of interest are located either on Jalan Adi Sucipto or Jalan Brigjen Slamet Riyadi. If you want to be near the nightlife, the best area is near the mall Solo Square. The newest part of town is called Solo Baru, in the South, but it is far from the main attractions (Best Western Solo Baru  is the best hotel there).

You can stay in excellent hotels in Solo for less than 50$ per night. The best one is the brand new Alila Solo, which is close from everything including the train station. It also has a nice open-air lounge with huge swimming pool called Largo, and a restaurant on its 29th floor called Agra.

Alternatively, the nearby Sunan Hotel is a good-value option. It is a 4-star property with the big advantage of having a popular nightclub inside, Musro.

A bit further, Aston Solo and Novotel Solo are also very central. The Royal Surakarta is an heritage hotel which can be nice if you come for a romantic weekend with your girlfriend.

Some hotels have decent rooftop bars like Amarelo Hotel and the new Alana (Aquamarine Pool and Bar).

Best Nightclubs in Solo

Social Kitchen and Social Lounge Solo (Update 2017: CLOSED)
This small club is probably the most happening in Solo among young people and students. It is rather big, on two floors, with also a karaoke and an outdoor area. The attached restaurant is only ok for a snack or to hangout, don't expect great food. They have at least a weekly special event such as a guest DJ from Jakarta, sexy dancers or a live band.

There may be an entrance fee around Rp50,000 on busy days. Girls enter for free. Campus night on Monday.

Jalan Abdul Rachman Saleh No.1 Banjarsari
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 66 66 98
Pin BB: 597fbaec
Facebook: Social Kitchen Solo
Twitter: Social Kitchen Lounge

Update February 2017: Social Kitchen has unfortunately closed. It had been raided by thugs from an Islamist vigilante group and the closure might be related to this incident.

SLS Executive Karaoke and Lounge
Located in the Best Western Premiere Solo Baru, SLS is the newest nightclub in Solo. It is busy but mostly for those who want to party with a bottle and lady companions. One of the best karaokes in Solo with many hot girls. Pricier than average.

Jalan Ir. Soekarno, Solo Baru
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 7880 907
Instagram: sls.karaoke

Twitter: SLS Solo
Facebook: SLS Executive Karaoke and Lounge and SLS

Musro Solo (Music Room)
Musro is the night club within the Sunan Hotel. It may belong to Tommy Winata considering he also owns Musro in Bali and Jakarta.

It is more male-oriented and older than Social Lounge. The place is small and does not really feel high class. They have first a local band, and then a DJ playing house/progressive music. If you are lucky you will see sexy dancers.

The entrance is usually free unless there is a special event. Ladies night on Wednesday. Open from 6pm to 2am from Monday to Saturday. 

Jalan Ahmad Yani No. 40
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 7 3131 2 or 08 57 91 07 93 33

You might also have heard about Hailai International Executive Club. It is now closed and replaced by the Adhiwangsa hotel.


Best Bars and Beer Gardens in Solo

11 12 Beer Garden
11 12 Beer garden is the biggest beer garden in Solo with regular live bands and cheap beer. It was really packed when we visited. I was surprised to see that even girls wearing the jilbab were among the guests. You can smoke shisha as well. Beware the music is loud and the place smokey. Open from 4pm to 2am.

Address: Jalan Adi Sucipto No 48
Phone number: 08 57 25 00 99 66
Twitter: 11 12 Solo

Am Pm Beer and Coffee
There are several AM-PM branches in Solo but I couldn't find the location for all. The one I visited was on Jalan Slamet Riyadi. It is central and, amazingly, open 24h. They have live music, cheap beer and shisha. Young and laid-back crowd. You can order Indonesian and Western food.

Jalan Honggowongso 27 (Pasar Kembang), Phone number: +62 (0) 271 65 3821
Jalan Slamet Riyadi 255 (Purwosari), Phone number: +62 (0) 271 72 8929
Jalan Adisucipto 180

Instagram: Am Pm Solo

House of Beer (HOB) by Stark
House of Beer is located in Park Mall in Solo Baru. It is more expensive and upmarket than the beer gardens listed above. In particular, you will see more Indochinese. Good live music including acoustic sessions and jazz. They also serve food (pizzas, pasta, snacks). Beer towers available.

The Park Mall, GF, Jalan Ir. Soekarno
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 789 1327
Twitter: HOB Solo

Score Bar and Grill (Update December 2016: CLOSED)
A bar and restaurant opened in 2014 in Park Mall, Score is a nice addition to Solo nightlife. It is part of a larger chain that has several locations in Indonesia. The one in Solo is the best I've visited. The design is modern with a large outdoor area and comfortable sofas. This is where rich kids hangout before going to Social Lounge for party. They serve American, Italian and Indonesian food.

Most people come with a group of friends. If you are alone, I would recommend one of the beer gardens above instead. No dress code but it's better to wear pants and shoes. Open from 11am to midnight (until 2am on weekends).

The Park Mall, GF, Jalan Ir. Soekarno
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 789 1322
Facebook: Score Solo Bar
Twitter: Score Solo Baru
Website: www.scorebarandgrillsolo.com

Agra Rooftop Bar (Alila Solo)
Solo City view from Agra (Alila Hotel)
On the 29th floor of the Alila Hotel, this new venue is the highest rooftop bar in Solo. It is not that sophisticated for Jakarta standard, but the view is worth going. They serve expensive cocktails and tapas.

Address: Jalan Slamet Riyadi No. 562
Phone number: +62 271 677 0888

Saraswati Bar and Lounge
Hotel bar of the Novotel Solo. They have regular live music but it wasn't very crowded when we visited. Maybe the business people are away during weekends. You can order food as well.

Jalan Brigjen Slamet Riyadi 272
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 724 555

Uncle Bear Beer Bar
One of the most recently opened beer bars in Solo. Clean and fun with live music and DJ in the evening. Open everyday from 5pm to 1am. American and Asian food.

Jalan Veteran 108C
Phone number: +62 (0) 8 12 26 00 97 79
Facebook: Uncle Bear Solo

Par Four Cafe
This is the closest thing from an expat pub in Solo. American-owned. Not a party place but nice for chilling with home-cooked American food and beer. Open from 4pm to midnight every night except Mondays.

Jalan Kebangkitan Nasional 31, Sriwedari Park (next to Sports Station) 
Phone number: +62 (0) 8 11 26 49 36
Facebook: Parfour Solo


Other Karaokes, KTVs and Girlie Bars

Apart from SLS and Musro, you can also try one of the following places:

Primadona Lounge and Karaoke
This is a very local karaoke located in Bengawan Sport Center. They have sexy dancers on Monday and Thursday night. Live music every night from 11pm to 2am. Reasonable prices and many lady companions.

Bengawan Sport Center, Jalan HOS Cokroaminoto 55
Phone number: 08 13212 55 813

Bima Karaoke
Bima is a more expensive karaoke in Solo Baru. Open until 2am, the price for rooms is Rp200,000 per hour with minimal 3 hours. Many girls available as well.

Jalan Ir Soekarno, Ruko HC 19
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 672 7327

I heard that the Lorin Hotel had a nightclub and karaoke but I didn't visited it. There is also Kafe Bola which might be closed already.


Spas, Massage Parlours and Salons

Amazon Spa
This spa is one of the best in the city and it is centrally-located. You can get a HJ with extra tip Rp50,000 to Rp100,000. More is possible as well depending on your negotiation skills. The price of the normal massage + room + facilities (sauna, jacuzzi, cold and hot pool) ranges from Rp200,000 to Rp300,000).

Jalan Adisucipto 48
Phone number: +62 (0) 271 7551308

La Fitto Spa
This is also a recommended plus plus spa in Solo, about 1 kilometer from Solo Square. It is cheaper than Amazon and you can normally get extra services more easily. You can expect to pay Rp150,000 for the room and a normal 2-hour massage. A handjob will cost you from Rp50,000 to Rp100,000 and a blowjob around Rp200,000-250,000. Add at least another Rp100,000 for more. Open from 10am to 10pm.

Jalan Ahmad Yani 296 D
Phone number: +62 271 2700 858
Twitter: Lafitto Spa
Website (with prices): La Fitto Spa Solo

From what I read on Kaskus forum, you have several small brothels (called salons or panti pijat) but they might be hard to find. You can look for Salon Jelita, Salon Mawar, Salon Jasmin, Salon Virgo, Salon Mona and Salon Victoria.

The following spas might be closed:
Refresh Spa, Jalan Kyai Gede Komplek Ruko Beteng Blok B-1, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 657 009
Pluto Spa & Shiatsu, Ruko Bisnis Square Blok JC No. 26, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 799 8568
Athena Spa, Jalan Raya Solo Baru Permai, Blok CA-55, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 623 655
Solo Spa, Jalan Raya Solo-Wonogiri Blok CA No.1, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 623 388
Niagara Spa, Niagara Spa, Jalan Tentara Pelajar No.3, Phone number: +62 (0) 271 789 1916

Surabaya Nightlife: Best Nightclubs, Bars and Spas

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
I have always enjoyed Surabaya nightlife even though the options for nightclubs and bars are limited and somewhat provincial.

3 million people live there, making it the second largest city in Indonesia. Compared to Jakarta, it still feels laid-back and unsophisticated. The streets are rather clean, you can walk on the sidewalks and the traffic is not horrible. There are several modern malls, but none of them as chic as Plaza Indonesia or even Grand Indonesia.

Few expats live in Surabaya and even fewer tourists visit it. As a result, you may get more attention than usual from the people. If you are a single guy, it is nice to see girls smiling at you in the streets or in the malls. On Tinder and other dating apps, expect to become quite popular.

Meeting a normal girl is fairly easy in certain clubs and bars like Desperados, Jimmy's, Eclectic or Colors Pub. In other venues, you may have either a lot of "lady companions" or just younger girls who are partying in groups.

I've written dozens of reviews about Surabaya already, you can read them here: Surabaya Nightclubs, Surabaya Bars, Surabaya Spas and Massage Parlours and Surabaya Live Music.

Hotels Near Surabaya Nightlife
Surabaya is a huge city without an obvious city center. The most interest nightlife venues are near Tunjungan Plaza (Jalan Basuki Rahmat) or near Surabaya Town Square (Jalan MayJen Sungkono). I created a map of all venues that you can see here: Surabaya Nightlife Map (also visible at the bottom of this article).

My hotel recommendations to enjoy Surabaya nightlife are the following:

Luxury and 5-star hotels:
JW Marriott and Shangri La both have expat bars within their walls, respectively Jimmy's and Desperados. Shangri La is the most expensive and nicest one.

The Sheraton is located within the new Tunjungan Plaza Mall extension, walking distance from the famous Coyote Top 10 Club.

Hotel Ciputra World is also within a luxury mall and it is brand new. The location is not as central but you have a few bars and clubs around like Capital Lounge and M1.

Hotel Majapahit is often considered the best hotel in Surabaya. It is near Tunjungan Plaza and it is perfect for a romantic weekend.

4-star hotels
TS Suites is located within the Surabaya Town Square. It is the best 4-star hotel in the city.

Aria Centra is a brand new hotel near Tunjungan Plaza. You still can get great opening prices (under 50$).

Mid-range
Midtown Hotel and Swiss Belinn Tunjungan are both walking distance from Tunjungan Plaza. They offer the best compromise between comfort and price.

Budget
If your budget is under 25$ per night, you can try Favehotel MexCitihub Sudirman and Citihub Tunjungan.

Hotels with spas inside
The 4-star Rich Palace Hotel (where Veneno Club is located) has a men's spa.

Complete review: 12 Hotels Near Surabaya Nightclubs and Bars.

Best Nightclubs in Surabaya
Most nightclubs in Surabaya are targeting a local crowd. The most popular are male-oriented, with lady companions or GROs available. People usually stay around a table and order bottles of alcohol. If people dance, it is between friends and not on the dancefloor.

Top 10 Coyote Bar and Karaoke
Part of the Top 10 Group (also behind 360 and Station), this small club is one of the most happening in Surabaya. Easy to access in Plaza Tunjungan, it features DJs and sexy dancers all night long (including girls from Thailand). No nude striptease, at best they'll wear a bikini. Most of the crowd is Indochinese, Singaporean and Malaysian.

It is the most expensive venue in Surabaya with a first drink charge of Rp200,000 on most nights.

Read a full review here: Coyote (Ten Club and Karaoke)

Foreplay
Located just above Eclectic Bar in Surabaya Town Square (Sutos), Foreplay is a popular nightclub with a young student crowd. Contrary to other venues in the city, there are no prostitutes or escorts.

It has events every night of the week and it is recommended on Mondays (Campus Night), Wednesdays (Ladies Night) and on weekends.

Read a full review here: Foreplay Surabaya

M-One Nightclub
M-One (or M1) is a more recent addition to Surabaya nightlife. It has an older crowd compared with Foreplay, but the concept is similar. The music is EDM or hip-hop depending on the night.

Read my full review: M-One Surabaya

Club 360
Owned by the same group behind Coyote, Club 360 is a large, round-shaped nightclub located in Royal Plaza Mall. It is part of a complex featuring a sexy spa (Celsius) and a karaoke. Club 360 is not so busy during the week unless there is a special event. Most girls inside are either escorts (lady companions) or part of a larger groups of friends (thus difficult to approach).

More information: Club 360 Surabaya

Penthouse Club and KTC
Penthouse is similar to 360 and Coyote. There are quite many girls but almost all of them are working as lady companions in the huge 56-room karaoke.

If you are ready to pay for company, it is a fun place. The club is quite busy any day of the week with all kinds of events: Guest DJs (usually sexy FDJs, sexy dancers, fashion shows, live bands, etc). Check their website: Penthouse International Business Club.

Veneno Nightclub
This is a new, small club located in the basement of the Rich Palace Hotel. It is not really busy until now.

See my review: Veneno Nightclub

Local Nightclubs
There are also several very local nightclubs that I don't think you would enjoy as a foreigner. If you are curious and looking for seedy spots with prostitutes and drugs, you may want to go to Kowloon, LCC, Station and Club Deluxe.

Best Bars and Live Music Venues in Surabaya
Jimmy's
Jimmy's is the bar of the JW Marriott Hotel (which used to be Vertical Six). It has live bands every night, with a DJ mixing during breaks. There may be a few working girls, but most of the crowd is normal.

Read a full review: Jimmy's Surabaya

Colors Pub
This bar is similar to Jimmy's: It features live bands, DJs or special shows every night. It is not as crowded as it used to be. Decent pub food available.

Read my article about it: Colors Surabaya

Eclectic Bar
Eclectic Bar is almost always busy, probably because of its location in the entrance of the popular Surabaya Town Square mall. If you need to have a drink during the week, this would be my first recommendation as you can be sure you won't be alone. Near Eclectic are several other bars and cafés like RUI lounge, Stonehead and Tiga Tuan.

More information: Eclectic Bar

Desperados
Desperados is the sports bar of the Shangri La Hotel. This is where you'll find the highest concentration of expats and foreigners in the city, mostly guys above 40. Some girls go there to find a boyfriend (and others to find money). Live music every evening.

Full review: Desperados Shangri La

Buro
Part of the Society Complex on Jalan Sumatra (walking distance from Colors Pub), this is the hipster bar of Surabaya. It is the kind of bar you wouldn't be surprised to find in SCBD or Senopati in Jakarta.

I went there twice and had two very different experiences. The first time was during the week and it was completely empty. The second time was during an event and it was packed with upper class Indonesians.

My advice would be to check their Instagram for events before going there. There is also a restaurant and a coffee shop.

Best Spas and Massage Parlours in Surabaya
If you are looking for the best spas in the city, please read my individual reviews here: Spas and Massage Parlours in Surabaya.

Surabaya Nightlife Map
To get a better idea of where are the nightclubs, bars, KTVs and spas in Surabaya, you can look at the map below:

10 Best Nightclubs to Meet Indonesian Girls in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Going to nightclubs is one of the best ways to meet Indonesian girls. It is a bit more challenging that online dating because you need to know what are the best venues and the best days to be successful. You must also be careful to differentiate between the "normal" girls, the prostitutes, and the professional girlfriends. The latter category are all the ladies who make a living from having one or several boyfriends. Depending on what you are looking for, they can be either a great target or something to avoid.

Don't like Meeting Girls from Nightclubs? Read 10 Best Dating Sites and Apps in Indonesia.

Wednesday is the absolute best day for partying in Jakarta. It is cheaper, less crowded, and many nightclubs have ladies night. This means the percentage of good girls will be higher than usual. Also, you have less competition from other guys, as there are less of those tourists/travelers who come for the weekend from Singapore/Kuala Lumpur looking for one-night-stands.

For the best venues, I'm ranking below the 10 nightclubs with the prettiest and hottest girls in Jakarta. I added some information such as the % of prostitutes, your chances of picking up a girl there, and the kind of clients (male and female) it attracts. It's not scientific, only an estimate based on my personal experience. I didn't mention the price for each nightclub because they are all in the same category: Expensive.

I took the photos on the Instagram account of each venues. It was not easy to find pretty girls as most of them are drunk and they look messy. If you are on a picture and want it removed just email me thibaud@jakarta100bars.com.

You can click on the name of each nightclub for a complete review.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2016: You should check Jenja nightclub as well in South Jakarta

Ratio guys to girls: 65% guys and 35% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: Less than 10%
Type of male crowd: Rich Indonesian Chinese
Type of female crowd: Indonesian Chinese with rich boyfriends, girls who don't pay for their own drinks
Age of clients: 20-30
Pick up possibilities: Low

Ratio guys to girls: 65% guys and 35% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: Less than 10%
Type of male crowd: Rich and young Indonesian Chinese, Indonesians living abroad
Type of female crowd: Young Indonesian Chinese
Age of clients: 18-25
Pick up possibilities: Low

Ratio guys to girls: 70% guys and 30% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: Less than 10%
Type of male crowd: Young Indonesians and some young expats
Type of female crowd: Young Indonesians, students, girls living with their parents
Age of clients: 18-30
Pick up possibilities: Low

Ratio guys to girls: 70% guys and 30% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: 20%
Type of male crowd: Expats who tuck their shirts in
Type of female crowd: Indonesian girls looking for rich expats, celebrities, models, escorts
Age of clients: 25-40
Pick up possibilities: Good

Ratio guys to girls: 60% guys and 40% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: 25%
Type of male crowd: Expats, foreigners traveling to Jakarta
Type of female crowd: Young Indonesian girls looking for young expats
Age of clients: 20-30
Pick up possibilities: Good (make sure the girl is not after your money though)

Ratio guys to girls: 60% guys and 40% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: 20%
Type of male crowd: Expats, foreigners traveling to Jakarta, Indians
Type of female crowd: Indonesian girls looking for French expats
Age of clients: 25-45
Pick up possibilities: Good

Ratio guys to girls: 70% guys and 30% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: less than 10%
Type of male crowd: High-school, students, spoiled kids
Type of female crowd: Same as above.
Age of clients: under 18 to 25
Pick up possibilities: Low

Venue, Nu China and Tipsy (Kemang)
Girls in Tipsy (Kemang)
Ratio guys to girls: 80% guys and 20% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: 25%
Type of male crowd: Indonesian students, few foreigners
Type of female crowd: Indonesian high school girls and young students
Age of clients: 16-20 (Yes, many underage girls so always ask the girl her age)
Pick up possibilities: Medium to High due to the low number of foreigners

Ratio guys to girls: 75% guys and 25% girls
Percentage of prostitutes: 40%
Type of male crowd: Indonesian Chinese, expats, tourists
Type of female crowd: Lady companions from 1001 and Alexis Karaoke, normal Indonesian party girls with their group of friends
Age of clients: 20-35
Pick up possibilities: Low (unless you are willing to pay)

I understand beauty is subjective, so if you don't agree with my list you can leave a comment below.

Batam Nightlife Guide

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Nightlife in Batam - Overview:
Batam is a small island in the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) located about 45 minutes from Singapore by ferry. With a population of 800,000 souls, it is the home to a small community of expatriates, most of them working in the Oil & Gas or in the High Tech manufacturing. Unlike in other parts of Indonesia, you'll find that Batam is rather well organized and clean. Close to Singapore and very little traffic.

NEW REVIEW October 2016: 18 Best Hotels Near Batam Nightlife and Spas

The Indonesian island of Batam has long been one the best kept secrets as a low cost getaway for Singaporean local and expats.  The island has seven golf courses, several resorts and the costs are a fraction compared to Singapore and Bali. There is also an expat entertainment area like Blok M / Kemang.

Four – Five Star hotels run from as low as USD $50 - $80 per night and green fees can range from USD $60 - $105 which includes twin buggy sharing & caddy.  Beers at the pubs run from USD $2 - $5 and mixed drinks from $3 - $6. Batam also has a fair share of spa’s and traditional massage outlets that will cost you USD $10 for 60 minutes and slightly higher if you want sauna etc.

The Batam nightlife is very active, as you will read on this blog post and our goal is to write comprehensively as possible. We urge visitors to share your experiences, updates and feedback.

Batam for Fun: Nightlife, Massage, Pubs, Golf, Casinos and Shopping:
The main entertainment centre is located in downtown Nagoya: ‘The Nagoya Entertainment District’ or commonly referred to by expats as ‘The NED’ (and by locals as Kampung Bule). This area attracts a fair number of Indonesian girls working in massage parlours, karaokes, or freelancing in some bars & clubs.

See my review about the NED: Kampung Bule in Batam.

The NED is a bit like Blok M in Jakarta, only bigger, with a decent concentration of nightlife venues, catering to different markets. Generally speaking though, the atmosphere is laid-back and girl-friendly, and you won't find very chic or sophisticated bars & clubs like in Singapore or Jakarta. You may meet all kind of girls there, but you should be aware that most of them are thinking in dollars.  Meeting local girls is not easy as they rarely frequent the expat entertainment district although you can meet some in venues like "Noname Club" in Harmoni Hotel or simply in the malls.

During the day, there isn't much to do in Batam, except for golfing, some shopping (cheap clothes, knock-off handbags, Chinese electronics, and liquor is very cheap.(If buying spirits whether traveling back to Singapore or other parts of Indonesia you are only allowed one bottle of spirits and one bottle of wine – they will check at the airport!)  The massage parlours / spa’s are popular with Singaporeans. All of these activities will be reviewed below.
Click on the map to enlarge
Getting there:
From Singapore: 
You have to go to Harbour Front ferry terminal and there are about 5 ferry companies with service to Batam.  There are several port destinations in Batam:  Batam Centre, Sekupang, Nongsa & Harbour Bay (Batu Ampar)   The closest location to downtown Nagoya and the entertainment district is ‘Harbour Bay’ which is 5-10 minutes from The NED and all the pubs. Wavemaster has far more ferry service but you’d need to go to Batam Centre which is about a 20 minute taxi ride and costs Rp.50,000.

The ferry ticket from Singapore is SGD $48 for two ways or SGD $42 for one way. This includes the SGD $21 fuel surcharge from the ferry operators. If you are coming from Jakarta, you can purchase a Wavemaster Ferry Ticket at most money changers or in Nagoya Hills mall and the cost of the ticket (2 way) is only SGD $30. (Add SGD $6 if traveling on the weekend – limited promotional price).

By Air from Jakarta:
By Air you can take Garuda, Lion Air etc. The flight is one hour twenty minutes. The air fare on Lion runs about Rp. 380,000 each way (1 week advance booking). On Garuda it can run twice that amount.

Visa from Singapore:
ASEAN nationals can get a free visa upon arrival good for 30 days. Most westerners can get a holiday visa on arrival for USD $35 for 30 days or USD $15 for 7 days. If you need to extend your visa, you can go to the Sumatera Building, 3rd Floor and can extend a 30 day visa for Rp. 300,000. Go in the morning and pick up the same day after 3PM (The Sumatera Building is next to the ferry terminal at Batam Centre).

If you require a visa it is suggested you pay with USD – otherwise you be charged a premium in the exchange rate.

Taxis
Taxis in Batam are far more expensive than in Jakarta. Although a law was passed to have the taxi’s metered – the taxis installed the meters but disconnected them!  Many of the taxis are substandard ‘rust buckets’ and if you are western, the taxi drivers will try to charge you a premium (2 to 3 times the standard rate and they can be aggressive and rude).

Taxi fares from the airport to the downtown Nagoya is Rp 80,000 – and the ride is approx. 30 minutes

Taxi fares from the ferry terminal to downtown Nagoya should be no more than Rp 30,000 – for a 5-minute ride!  The taxi drivers will try to charge you Rp 50,000 and show you a paper with a government logo and insist that this is the published regulated price!  Negotiate – there are tons of taxis available.

Good News!  - Bluebird Taxi is now operating in Batam. They are metered and costs’ less than the others.  You can call Bluebird: 0778-421 234  Very professional service.

There are many hotels in the Downtown Nagoya area close to The NED and the nightlife. The following are all girl-friendly or guest-friendly:

4-5 Star Hotels:

Planet Holiday Hotel – One of the best with rooms running about SGD $90 2 blocks from the action

Harmoni Hotel - closest hotel to all the pubs. Rooms run about SGD $90 per night

Goodway Hotel  - an older hotel but it has big rooms & a nice spa. Rooms will run around Rp, 500,000

Swiss Belhotel Harbour Bay – next to Planet Holiday Hotel and you can book a nice room for SGD $50 – including breakfast and taxes.

Nagoya Hill Hotel - This new hotel in Nagoya is clean and modern for around SGD $ 60 per night.

There are many cheaper hotels near The NED that cost  Rp, 250,000 – 350,000.  (Lai Lai Mutiara Hotel is across the street from Harmoni and rooms start at Rp 230,000).

If you are looking for a luxury resort, the best ones are Montigo Nongsa and Tempat Senang.

I found that it is best to book through Agoda as they usually have the most choice, including the newest hotels.

You can also read my guide to the best hotels near Batam nightlife.

The Pubs
In the past few years there have been an explosion of pubs!  Way too many for a small expat community. A visitor may find many of the pubs empty or with less than a handful of customers. In our Batam Pub Listing below we only added those that are the most entertaining and/or of interest.


There are over 35 pubs and counting with more opening every few months.  Only several Batam pubs have "real" kitchens but most can provide you with a menu and will order food for you from the other pubs.  The majority of the pubs are ‘entertainment’ driven featuring SPG’s. In the past two years some pubs have adopted a Pattaya / Manila nightlife approach.  The girls will ask you to buy them ‘ladies drinks’ which can cost anywhere from USD $5 – USD $12. It’s a good idea you ask the girl what kind of drink they want before you end-up with a huge bar tab for enumerable ‘Long Island Ice Teas’ (They will try to coax you into buying drinks for other girls. It is not uncommon for a girl to approach you, introduce herself, and then order a drink on your bill!) .

Several pubs charge a bar fine if you want to leave with one of the girls or you will need to purchase several ‘ladies drinks’ like in Manila.  This policy varies from pub to pub. At last, most of the pubs have happy hours from 17:00 – 19:00. Several charge bar fines of Rp 1,2 million during the week and Rp.1.5 million on the weekend – that’s just the bar fine!  (not popular with the local expats)  At last, most of the pubs have happy hours from 17:00 – 19:00.

Batam Nightlife Pubs listing:

Lucy’s Oarhouse
Lucy’s is the oldest expat pub in The NED. It’s a major networking hub for the oil & gas industry. A good place to catch-up with your mates and Lucy’s features the largest selection of Classic Rock. Beers run 22,000 – 25,000. The have a western menu and a great ‘barbecue pork pulled sandwich and chips for Rp,65,000 and they added a selection of Thai Curries. They have a pool table & free WiFI. A Bottle of Jack Daniels is only: Rp. 660,000. 
The New Place – Sports Bar
The New Place has several large screens with global sports events. They have the best steaks on the island, Fried Chicken steak and TexMex, (Texan founder)   They have one of the largest selections of wines & spirits. Happy hour till 7pm. 
New Place Batam
Hot Spot
The Hot Spot is a popular traditional British pub known for its curries & pizza. Popular after work and the background music is kept at a reasonable level so you can chat with your mates. Free WiFi.

Cock & Bull:
(Formerly known as ‘The Red Cock’): The Cock and Bull expanded their menu but no Haggis. Best known for their pies and mushy peas (cost: Rp.60,000) and has beer for 19,000 per bottle during happy hour – which is from opening till 7PM. Great burgers too.  Prices for entree’s range from $6 - $12. Nice ambience, consistent quality and a very professional staff. Very popular.  Excellent service.
Cock and Bull Batam
Red Rose:
Red Rose is one of the oldest landmark British / Scottish style pubs in The NED. With 5 screens it’s very popular for sporting events. Good atmosphere and a ‘home away from home’ for the UK lads. They serve an excellent British style breakfast (all day) Happy hour till 7pm.

Goodies / Smiling Hill
Goodies / Smiling Hill is located less than 10 minutes away from downtown Nagoya, tucked-away on top of a hill with breathtaking vistas overlooking Singapore. This quaint enclave has a fully serviced guest house, western standard furnished flats, a large 1st class pool and an open air restaurant offering the best in western & local dishes.  Every Friday from 5:30 - 7 PM they provide FREE beer. To expats that affectionately refer to Batam as ‘Tombstone Indonesia’ for its wily, western frontier vibe, Friday’s at Goodies is where the ‘Wild Bunch’ meet – the movers and shakers in the oil and gas industry. THE meeting and networking place for the oil and gas industry on Friday.

On Sunday’s starting at noon, they host a Buffet Roast: Roast Beef, Roast Chicken, Roast Pork and they recently added Southern Deep Fried Turkey. (try to get there around noon - the food goes quickly!)  The price is only Rp.150,000 (plus tax)  (about USD $13!)  Awesome!

Please - Visit their website or better - stop by.  www.smilinghillbatam.com

Entertainment: 

With over 30 pubs within a few block radius, you can easily do a pub crawl and explore many of them in one night, till you find one you like.  Some of the most popular are:

Fat Willy’s/Dirty Dicks – Fat Willy’s is a very popular pub with a large staff. It usually kicks-off after 9PM, with crowds coming in at midnight. Attracts a good crowd every night. No pressure if you don’t want to buy ladies drinks and professionally run. (SPG’s must place their hand phones behind the bar!) Very good deals on bottles – ask the owners, who are there nightly.
Fat Willy's Batam
The Last Pub – One of the oldest and most popular party venues. Great music with a DJ and popular with expats and comfortable for couples. No ‘lady drink’ hustles, some freelancers and the occasional local gals from the office. Open Late. Worth checking out.
Last Pub Batam
Konings – an interesting pub. Nice ladies and a large selection of wines. Happy Hour house pours only Rp 35,000.  No hardcore lady drink hustle.

Our Bar – One of the older pubs in The NED and has a large Singaporean following. Comfortable atmosphere. No pressure from the SPG’s and a pool table.

Dragon Bar – This is relatively new, quite popular and open late. Can get wild…

Candy Bar – Quite a lively staff, plenty of SPG gals and opened late. LOUD & known for their pizza.

BB Bar (Bintang Bar) – Bali style decor and they just opened KTV rooms upstairs.

Mad Cow – beautiful ladies (SPG’s) but be prepared to buy ladies drinks mista…

Club 81 – new – ‘mini disco’ with pole dancers. Loud, party atmosphere and the ladies drinks run Rp 100,000 each.

(List of Pubs: 007, 4 Play, Asylum, Bar Fly, BB Bar Bingo’s, Bottles, Candy Bar, Chili’s, Circles, Club 81,Cock & Bull, D’Angels, D’Cents, Dirty Dick’s / Fat Willy’s, Dogs Bollocks, Dragon Bar, Hot Spot, Ice Pub, Java Pub, Lusys, Konings, Mad Cow, New Place, Our Bar, Red Rose, Slainte, Steps,Sullivans, The Last Pub, TiTi Bar, Wallabies)

For free Batam / SE Asia newsletter  ‘THE NED REPORT’ – send an email: nedreport@yahoo.com
Our Bar in Batam (Picture from Our Bar Facebook)
IMPORTANT!

Please be advised that some bars will attempt to exploit an unsuspecting expat and are rip-offs.  Loaded with girls that push expensive ladies drinks and before you know it - you will have spent $100 ++ with nothing to show for it.  Insult to injury - if you fancy one of the girls you have to pay a bar fine. (billed as ladies drinks.)  The gal will charge you another $100 + for the booking!  You may find that in some pubs the gals are older than the women you will find in Blok M or Kemang etc (5 or 6 pubs have this policy whilst others charge Rp200,000 bar fine – best to ask upfront as these prices can change).

ALSO – don’t leave your drinks unattended. A few expats have been drugged & robbed. Better to pay for your drinks as you go to preclude your bill from being padded. Keep your hand phone secure and don’t lay it on the bar..

Live Music
Noname – Located on the ground floor of the Harmoni Hotel is a popular live music venue for locals and expats. Most of the acts are flown in from Jakarta and one of the best place to meet local ladies.

Java Pub – just reopened, and has live music on Friday & Saturday. Older crowd, (like Jaya pub JKT but smaller)  Comfortable place to hang out.

Bingo’s Pub – just opened and has live music on Friday’s & Saturdays. Good place, nice staff and occasional celebrity entertainers popping in for a song or jam. A nice alternative to the usual very loud rap / trance pubs.
Bingo's
Sullivans – Used to be Ria Rita and has live music on the weekends. Mostly a local crowd. Across the street from the side entrance of Lusys (helps to speak Bahasa – mostly local gals).

Discos (Trance clubs like Stadium Jakarta)
Pacific Disco: One of the most famous place for Singaporeans in Batam when in comes to nighlife, it is a huge club with loud techno and girls everywhere. North Jakarta style entertainment, not everyone will like it, especially if you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere.  It has a young crowd and be sure to carry a small torch with you!  (pitch black!  Beware of pick-pockets, popular with ojek drivers).

Planet - Located in Planet Holiday Hotel. Similar with all One Stop Entertainment nightlife venues in Indonesia.

Newton Disco – located about 10 minutes from the NED is a 4 story entertainment complex. They have hotel rooms and a spa.  Newton is more popular than Pacific and is the #1 choice for Singaporeans that visit every weekend (Batam’s version of Malioboro).

WARNING! – using or possessing drugs in Indonesia is a criminal offense and possession can land you 5 years in jail!  & a stiff fine!   When in these clubs be very careful of women that approach you and want you to buy them ‘obat’ (Xstacy) – you may find yourself being arrested by an undercover police officer…  If a police officer wishes to search you – be sure it’s done in front of witnesses and YOU empty your pockets...

Good Restaurants (local food):
As far as 'food' goes – Batam has some excellent local food but is limited in western cuisine options.(aside from the fast food venues)  The most popular western food locations in the NED are listed above. Near the Ned are some alternatives worth checking out. They serve western and local dishes: (we will be expanding this list)

Citra Rasa - In the NED opposite Lucy’s side entrance is CitraRasa -  great local and Chinese dishes. Sweet and sour chicken costs Rp 35,000, Sizzling ginger beef platter Rp 40,000 – many selections and quite good. Cans of beer 16,000 – 18,000.
Citra Rasa Batam
Satay Centre: If you like Indonesian food, on the main drag near the entrance to the Nagoya Hill Mall are several stalls that specialize in satay – very reasonable. Opens after 5PM (about a 5 minute walk from the NED) You can’t miss it – very crowded with seating outside.

Matabak – if you like Indian food – roti prata, tandoori, curries etc. – check out Martabak. Around the corner from Lusy’s, on the main carriageway – corner location. Dishes run 30,000 – 50,000. Wide selection and been there forever.

Massage Parlours:
There are many, many massage parlours / spa’s in Batam. One of the best in the traditional category Adorabella, located in the Pacific Palace Hotel. In the sleazy category, you will find many that offer similar services around the bigger hotels like Harmoni. They offer massage for USD $10 for 60 minutes and are often frequented by Singaporeans.  For a little more, you can have private room / spa with a jacuzzi. The most expensive one in that category is Atalanta spa, with high end equipment and the prettiest girls. Very popular with Asian tourists.

Check out the Spa in the NEWTON complex. Upscale: pools, Jacuzzi’s and massage.

Gambling and Casinos in Batam
Scattered about the island and in some malls are ‘arcades’ with gaming machines – locally referred to as ‘Jackpots’ (geleper: It should be noted that these types of machines are not electronic slot machines per se). Players buy tokens to use with the games and are paid any winnings in tokens. Attendants outside the arcades exchange tokens for cash, which, according to critics, is done to prevent the impression that the arcades are involved in gambling.   You should note that when redeeming your tokens for cash, expect to have 10-20% premium deducted from your winnings!   If you win $100 – you will only net $80 -$90.
The payoffs in these machines is very, very low and you should be very careful.  Although the operators have a license to operate these arcades, they are subject to being raided and closed and at any time as ‘gambling’ is outlawed under Indonesian Law and clearly, they are operated for gambling purposes.  You don’t want to be caught in one in a raid!  A no-win situation!

Although some of these locations have opened, they can be closed at any time. You DON’T want to be there during a police raid – it will cost you~!  (Often raided on a weekend!) 

Dangers, Annoyances and Scams:
Taxi Drivers  - Be careful. Taxis in Batam are not metered and if you look like a newbie – you’ll be taken for a ride!  Across from Lusys there are some local drivers that you can trust or ask some of the pub owners / managers for a reliable driver or CALL Bluebird – 0778 – 421 234.

NEVER take-up a taxi driver on an offer to ‘find you woman mista?’ - !!!

One last thing about taxis: Prepare the correct amount of change if you can to avoid being rounded up...

STD ‘s – ALWAYS use protections. Statistics from 2007 state that 9% of commercial sex workers in Batam re HIV + ~ ~!

Drug Dealers – Western Expats are a far and few in-between in Batam. Be careful.  If you are in a club you could be targeted.

A Batam Nightlife Alternative: Golf!
Batam has 7 golf courses and green fee’s run from USD $65 - $105 which includes twin buggy sharing & caddy.

Courses:
•    Batam Hills Golf Resort (designed by Max Wexler)
•    Indah Puri Golf Resort (designed by Arnold Fream)
•    Palm Springs Golf Resort
•    Southlinks Country Club
•    Sukajadi Golf Club
•    Tamarin Santana Golf Club (designed by Jack Nicklaus)
•    Tering Bay Golf & Country Club (designed by Greg Norman)

The Batam Social Golf Society host a tournament the last Sunday of every month. The cost is only  S$60 for members or S$80 for non-members. Price includes all green fees, caddy, buggy and buffet dinner!  Contact Batam Social Golf Society: bsgs@ymail.com.

For More Information on Golf Packages you can contact Peter Williams  (UK national) from Paradise Golf Holidays by email (pete.w@paradisegolf.co.uk) or by mobile: +62 813 64 339 449 (Batam), +65 90848070 (Singapore).

We will complete this review from time to time with new information about Batam nightlife. Please help us also keeping this updated by sending new infos or comments.

Golden Palace and Jambi Nightlife (Sumatra)

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Since there isn't much nightlife in Jambi, I thought I would write mostly about Golden Palace, its most famous nightclub, and just mention a few other options for the adventurous party-goers.

Golden Palace is the only proper clubbing option I found in Jambi, though I guess it is not very interesting for foreigners. It is your typical Indonesian live music venue, rectangle-shaped, with high tables on the dance floor and a mezzanine. The band finishes at midnight and it is then replaced by a DJ playing funky house techno.

If you are lucky, you might be in Jambi during a special event (check Golden Palace's social media accounts below). In that case, though the entrance fee may increase to Rp100,000, you will have a full house and possibly more Western music/sexy dancers.

Golden Palace Jambi
Jalan Dokter Sutomo No.58, Jambi, Sumatra
Phone number: +62 (0) 741 237 00
Email: goldenpalacejambi@yahoo.com

Instagram: Golden Palace Jambi
Twitter: Golden Palace Nightclub

Other Nightlife Spots and Recommended Hotels
If you need a good hotel in Jambi, there are two options that are recommend near the nightlife: Aston Jambi, which has a rooftop with live music called Sky Lounge, and the 4-star Swiss Bel Hotel.

If you want to stay very near from Golden Palace, the best option is to stay in Grand Malioboro Hotel, KTV and Spa. It is not the most modern hotel, but it is girl-friendly and it has male-oriented entertainment (karaoke, massage parlour). Just 100m from it, Novita Hotel, the ex-Novotel, is similar (but bigger) and it even has its own club called BabyRock on its 4th floor.

Another option is to stay in the newer part of town, around the mall Jambi Town Square (Jamtos). It is near from another nightclub called New Grand Club (inside Grand Hotel, which also has a spa plus plus called Octopuss). In the upcoming Jamtos FoodWalk, there will be a few hangout spots and places to drink alcohol like Nobar Live Music.

Café Hangout and Collega Café are two laid-back pubs with a student crowd. They sell beer and they have live bands/DJs occasionally.