Batam is a small island 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, mainly from Singapore and Malaysia. Unlike many other Indonesian cities, you'll find that Batam is rather well organized, clean, and with reasonable traffic.

The island has long been known as a low-cost getaway for people living in Singapore, locals and expats. It has seven golf courses, several resorts and the costs are a fraction compared to those in Singapore and Bali.

Its nightlife has three sides:
- A more "Western"-oriented district, called Kampung Bule, with small pubs and hostess bars
- A more modern and trendy nightlife targeting upper-class Indonesians living in Batam
- A more "Asian"-oriented nightlife, with discos, KTVs and massage parlors

I will review each of these in the following article.
Nightlife Areas + Hotels

Kampung Bule
The area nicknamed "Kampung Bule" is the main area for Westerners-oriented nightlife in Batam. It is located in the district of Nagoya, about 10 minutes by taxi from the Harbour Bay Ferry Terminal. It is also sometimes referred to as NED (Nagoya Entertainment District).

It targets specifically males, and you could describe it as a small red-light district, with only a few streets and not more than 20 bars, nightclubs and massage parlors. Even though it is an area with many prostitutes, it is perfectly fine for those who only want to have a drink. Some pubs serve decent food and you can meet other foreigners easily.

Many of the bars in Kampung Bule are similar, which is not surprising considering they are owned by a handful of individuals. They consist of a rectangle-shaped room with a pool table in the front, a bar area, a few tables, music from a youtube playlist and around 10 girls to entertain the customers.

During the week, it is almost deserted and it isn't rare to be alone in a bar. On weekends, it is better but you may have to visit a few places before finding a busy one.

Some of the popular bars in Kampung Bule are:

Secret's Bar
Centrally-located bar and restaurant. It is in the open air which is nice as it allows you to see how many customers it has. A good spot to see the street action (or lack thereof). A similar venue is Chili's.

I ate there twice as it has the reputation of serving the best food in Kampung Bule. I chose their meat pies which are indeed tasty and affordable. They had a crowd of old expats who were chatting with the waitresses while watching sports.

The most expensive place on Kampung Bule. I paid Rp100,000 for entrance with a drink. The place was rather empty apart from their hostesses. Live music every night followed by a DJ.

Where to stay near Kampung Bule?

My favorite hotel in the area is undoubtedly the Four Points by Sheraton. Great location near the nightlife and the restaurants. Clean, comfy, with a large swimming pool. Starts at USD 80 per night with buffet breakfast included.

For a more reasonable option, check the Artotel (USD 45 per night) or the Planet Holiday (USD 35 per night, it has a nightclub inside called F1 - see below).

Trendy nightlife
If you want something more sophisticated than the pubs of Kampung Bule, there are several trendy bars and clubs in Batam as well.

Currently, the two most popular are:

Part of the Golden Tiger chain, which already has several branches in Jakarta and other Indonesian cities. They have live music and DJs, usually playing EDM. Famous Indonesian guest artists come once or twice a month.

Square is a high-end nightclub and karaoke located inside the I Baloi Hotel in Batam. It is about 10 minutes away by car from Kampung Bule in Nagoya and 5 minutes from BCS Mall by foot.

It isn't as trendy as it used to be, but it still draws a middle-class crowd on weekends. They usually have a live band playing famous Indo and international songs, followed by a DJ. They may have dancers as well.

The entrance fee is Rp150,000, which is the most you'll pay in Batam, and it entitles you to one free drink. There isn't much of a dancefloor so you should try to get a table near the main area, between the bar and the DJ. If the place is crowded, you'll probably need to buy a bottle for that (around Rp1M).

Discos and KTV in Batam
This side of Batam nightlife is mostly popular with Asian foreigners and older locals. Most venues are in Nagoya as well, inside large hotels.

Drug use is quite common, and most of the ladies you may meet in those clubs are lady companions.

Some of the most famous ones are F1 Club (the best one in my opinion, it is inside Planet Holiday), Newton Planet 2HH Club Planet 3, Pacific Disco in Pacific Hotel, Grand Dragon Club in Batam City Hotel, and the newcomer Thrive.

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