Batam is an exotic tropical tourist destination in the province of Riau Islands, Indonesia. This industrial boomtown is connected to the two other main islands by bridges and has an impressive airport too. From its early settlement in 231 BC to its mention in the London Treaty of 1824 to its multicultural population today, here are some of the most interesting facts about Batam.
7 Interesting Facts about Batam
1. Batam is an island in Indonesia
Batam (also called Batam City) is an industrial city in the province of Riau Islands, Indonesia. The Riau Archipelago consists of 329 islands, of which Batam is one. Batam is the largest city in Riau Province. Batam is located 20 km (12 mi) off Singapore’s south coast and is also part of the Indonesia–Malaysia–Thailand Growth Triangle – a strategic framework of international economic cooperation between the three countries.
2. Batam is an industrial boomtown
The population of Batam is 1,684,932 as of July 2022. This makes it the tenth most populous city in Indonesia, and the third largest city in the region of Sumatra, after Medan and Palembang. According to the country’s 2010 census, Batam was the fastest-growing municipality in the decade prior. It had a population growth rate of 11 per cent per year. However, in the last few years, the growth rate has remained under 5 per cent.
3. Bridges link Batam to other islands
The administrative region encompasses three big islands and lots of small islands too. The three big islands are Batam, Rempang, and Galang. Bridges connect the islands. The bridges are called the Barelang Bridges, a short version of the full name Batam-Rempang-Galang Bridges. Barelang also refers to the islands themselves. There are six bridges in total.
4. Batam airport has the longest runway in Indonesia
Batam Hang Nadim Airport has the longest runway in Indonesia. It is 4,025 metres (13,205.38 feet) long and 45 metres (147.64 feet) wide. It’s also the second-longest runway in Southeast Asia, after Kuala Lumpur International Airport, at 4,214 metres (13,825 ft) long. The Batam airport terminal has a capacity of 3,300,000 passengers annually.
5. Batam has been inhabited since 231 BC
Malay tribes were already living in the region by the year 231 BC. In 1824 the word Batam appeared in the London Treaty of 1824, an agreement between the British and Dutch. This treaty aimed to resolve disputes arising from the execution of the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814. The treaty stated that: “The UK agrees not to establish any office on the Carimon Islands or on the islands of Batam, Bintan, Lingin, or any of the other islands south of the strait of Singapore, or to make any treaties with the rulers of these places.”
6. Batam is a very diverse city
Because of labour migration and its close proximity to Singapore, the population of Batam is a heterogeneous mixture of nationalities, making it a very diverse city. Two-thirds of the population are migrants. The main ethnicities that make up the inhabitants are Malays, Javanese, Batak, Minangkabau, and Chinese. It certainly does live up to Indonesia’s motto of “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika“, which means Unity in Diversity.
7. Batam has lots of visitor attractions
If you are planning a visit to Batam, plenty of attractions keep you busy sightseeing. Some of the most popular attractions in the city include Batam Forest Top, 1000 Stairs Habibie Park, Tanjung Pinggir Beach, Ranoh Beach, Elyora Beach, Sekupang Sky Cliff, Funtasy Island, Galang Mas Beach, Tunjuk Island, Welcome to Batam Monument, and the Barelang Bridge.