What do you do when you want a change of pace from the usual malling/cafe/bar scene that characterize how most of Singapore’s population (locals and otherwise) spend their free time? You head out of the city for one of the islands in Malaysia and Indonesia accessible by ferry from Singapore’s ferry terminal. Which is what we did yesterday — our own celebration of Labor Day.
One of the advantages of living in Singapore is that it’s right smack in the middle of Southeast Asia, making it easier for residents to just hop on a plane/bus/ferry to go somewhere even for just a day. Because we didn’t want to go too far to relax and spend too much, we opted to go to Batam, Indonesia, which is one hour by ferry from Singapore.
Images on the way to Batam:
View from the pre-departure area, before going in to Immigration
Reflections at Keppel Bay (designed by Daniel Libeskind who also designed the Jewish Museum Berlin and One World Trade Center, among others) looks like a futuristic city in the distance.
Goodbye (for the day), Singapore!
View from the topdeck of Batam Fast ferry
Karen and Chiquit on holiday mode
Leaving Singapore waters
Singapore’s busy waters
View of the open waters from the top deck. That’s rain in the horizon
There’s really nothing much to see in Batam, but the Indonesian government has been promoting the place as a spa destination and with good reason. Its proximity to Singapore gives the place a captive market of Singapore residents in need of some serious decompressing or pampering. Indonesia also has a tradition for pampering (Balinese massage, lulur, etc…) so it was the perfect place for us to go.
Our destination? Tempat Senang Spa and Resort, which is some 15 minutes by taxi from Sekupang Harbour, Batam. The spa got good recommendations from friends and a quick check in the internets convinced us that we should check it out. The next pictures explain why. I love old houses/structures because they’re designed to blend well with its locale. Tempat Senang fits its locale perfectly. It might not be an old structure (we didn’t get a chance to ask the staff about the background of the place… Yes, it was remiss of us, but hey, even writers need to take a break from all the questions sometimes…) but it was a beautifully situated place. And sure, while its design hewed close to what I privately call a “spa chic” aesthetic, it is nevertheless tasteful and well-done.
The entrance to the resort is almost covered by lush vegetation. The whole resort is laid out in several open-plan pavilions typical of Balinese/modern Balinese architecture. The main building/reception area is the biggest multi-story structure in the whole resort.
Entrance to a small courtyard…
Peaceful pocket garden
Comfy chairs in the second floor of the main building invite guests to lounge around. In fact, one guest did just that — sleeping on the sofa as we passed by.
This way to the spa! Big windows and doors allow air to circulate. I love how the simple lines of the window and door treatments contrast nicely with wood carvings and statuary that was everywhere
View from the wraparound terrace: More lush vegetation
Not a good time for a dip in the pool because of the rain
Even the staff umbrellas are color-coordinated!
Balinese dancer figurine in detail
Tea in the dining room
Lunch was nasi campur — roughly, a sampler of Indonesian delicacies. From top right: Shrimp satay, gado-gado (literally translates to “mix-mix” and is basically, a vegetable salad with tofu, potatoes, hardboiled eggs, noodles with a peanut sauce dressing), keropok, beef rendang, chicken curry, fish fillet and friend spring rolls. This was supposed to be for two persons, but my two friends and I didn’t manage to finish it, though we tried!
Bougainvillea flowers in full bloom!
And of course, great surroundings notwithstanding, a spa is nothing if it services suck. So how was Tempat Senang? In a word: Bliss! We each availed of the day-spa package, which consists of three treatments. I chose a Balinese massage, a coffee/rice body scrub and a honey/oatmeal facial. The treatments were relaxing and the therapists warm and friendly. If you ever need a quick getaway, Tempat Senang is the perfect place to escape to. I know I’ll come back again soon!
Book your spa package at Tempat Senang. The staff is very friendly and accomodating. The spa provides transport services to and from the ferry. So make sure you make arrangements for that. The last thing you want to do is think about how you’ll get home after a day of relaxing!
For the ferry, book at Batam Fast. The ferry docks at different destinations around Indonesia’s coastline. Book your roundtrip ticket for either Sekupang or Batam Centre.