A Getaway from Singapore – Montigo Resort on Batam Island


This is the key to travel success for those of us who are no longer in our twenties. After taking 4 days out to lay by a pool (in the middle of a busy, city hopping fortnight) I have decided this is now going to be a feature of every long trip of my future! Read on to find out how I took a break for a few days in a resort in Indonesia. 


As a *middle aged* traveller (I STRUGGLE to call myself middle aged, but alas I feel I have to – as I am now in my mid forties) I am really feeling the effect of jam packed travel days and nights, where I push myself physically more than I do at home. And I am perpetually tired at home just living daily life.  So when I get up early every day, walk for miles and miles around a city, decide to hike, bike, canoe everywhere and hop off and on all types of transport I am bound to be really tired!

This is me, after a big day walking around Singapore. We had to do some serious ankle, leg and knee recovery each night in our hotel!


In the past, my travel and companions and I would plan a jam packed itinerary for 3-4 weeks, with very little room for rest or downtime. But as we have turned from twenty somethings, to thirty and now forty somethings, taking on a “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” approach (or I’ll sleep when I get home) is no longer a viable way to travel. With a range of joint and muscle issues and a perpetual inability to sleep well, I feel I can’t push myself at the pace that I used to. And my travel companions feel the same.

So this trip we decided to schedule a little resort break in the middle, between our two cities – Singapore and Taipei. It also featured as a birthday celebration for one of us, and as a little reward after hitting up the Blackpink Concert at Singapore’s national stadium. We researched places we could go that were close to Singapore and offered a resort experience.

Only a 50 min ferry ride from Singapore is the Indonesian island Batam. One of the bigger islands of the Riau Island group, along with neighbouring Bintan, thse islands are a popular destination for Singaporeans who want a quick getaway, a beach resort without an exorbitant price tag.

You arrive at Batam Island via ferry, then it’s just a simple disembarkation through customs at the ferry terminal.

We booked three nights in a two bedroom villa at Montigo Resorts Nongsa. With a sister property in Seminyak, Bali, this resort features a range of villas, all with water views and their own infinity pools. It’s a massive complex located at the end of the island of Batam. Batam is very large and Montigo Resort isn’t near many other attractions. As most people arrive by ferry and are picked up at the ferry terminal, the resort is set up as an all inclusive so you really don’t need to leave. We did escape for a day trip, but more on that later.

Our villa featured two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchenette, lounge, roof top bar, infinity pool and a massage cabana, which we didn’t use or need to book for. We also had a rootop balcony, but we didn’t really use that either. You get transported all around the complex in golf buggies which you call or Whats App the reception to book. We basically buggied it from our villa to the pools and restaurants and back.


The first thing we did was get in our pool and order cocktails delivered to our door. Amazing! You can see the Singapore skyline from anywhere in the complex and it was just such a luxury having a swim around while the sun set. The staff brought us a surprise birthday cake and sang to my travel companion, while we stayed in our own pool!


The complex of Montigo is really large and it was very empty being mid week so it really felt like we had the place to ourselves. The staff assured us it gets busy on the weekend and we saw signs of them preparing for this as we departed on Friday. The first night we went to the fancier restaurant and we were literally the only people there!

The breakfast buffet was a classic buffet of my dreams, and again with very few other people. Not to mention the breakfast views over the Montigo wharf and beach.

We spent our first full day sleeping in, swimming in any of the three pools. One pool being our own, and then the two public pools. The main pool has a bar and cafe and two of us spent nearly all day there. We just needed to call a buggy back to our room anytime – talk about saving our legs and resting instead of walking!


Even though Montigo Resort had a day spa, we decided to head into town to go to a cheaper day spa for a three hour pampering. I *may* have also gone to the day spa at the resort the following day for a hair treatment as well!

Getting into town is not an easy task as you are literally crossing the whole island and as we were to discover, the infrastructure and roads are not as developed, think Bali 25 years ago. Recent heavy rains made the drive longer that it needed to be too, and we were lucky to have booked a great local driver. If you’ve been to Bali you will know that once you book a local driver, they are yours for life. Well all day actually. Our driver drove us over an hour into town, waited while we were at the day spa for 3 hours, took us to lunch, supermarkets, laundromats and convenience stores. A six hour day for him for about $50 AUD each for the four of us.

Thank god for a local driver – those roads and all that rain! Downtown Batam is nowhere near as glitzy and as polished as the resorts, it’s a typical Indonesian city bustling with life, traffic, markets and locals. We were happy for the day trip to see some more of the island and give some more local businesses our patronage.

I asked our driver to take us to the Welcome to Batam sign, similar to the Hollywood sign. He happily obliged my photo taking requests. We drove past many road and building construction sites on the way back to the resort, a sign that Batam is developing. We past some sort of fire circle initiation ceremony, even our driver was cagey with details!

After petting cats at the local supermarket and seeing a bunch of monkeys hanging out in some trees we made it back to Montigo Nongsa for dinner and sunsets by the pool. So hard for us!


Our final full day was another relaxing day around the pool and exploring what else the resort had to offer. I checked out the day spa and we wandered around the beach and jetty. The resort organises many watersports which occur in the bay out the front of the villas. The beaches in the Nongsa area (including Nongsa beach) aren’t that spectacular, probably better than Singapore. Nearby Bintan island is rumoured to have nicer, cleaner beaches. We were happy just swimming in the pool. Of course as an Australian, I am a beaches snob, and to be honest most country’s beaches aren’t as nice as the ones I have 3km from my house. For me the exprience of lying by a pool and having someone bring me cocktails is a peak relaxation dream, and was what we needed in between two busy city visits.


So was it worth it? To take an extra couple of hours to travel over to an island and spend a small fortune at an Indonesian resort? YOU BETCHA IT WAS. Actually I found it hard to then pick up the pace again once we arrived in Taipei and spend the next 4 days sightseeing at our extreme pace. We were grateful for the rest after Singapore and all agreed that the 3-4 day resort relaxation should come at the end of a travel period, so you return home rested and relaxed.

So that’s what we will do next time! Whether its an add on or a detour or a stopover on the way home, our next ‘big’ trip will have a little ol’ resort time tacked on the end! I can’t wait!

Montigo Resort Ngonsa was fabulous and very affordable, especially splitting the cost of a 2 bedroom villa between the four of us. It’s a little shabby in some parts (the villa next to us had an empty, cracked pool and was a construction site) as a resort that large (and that white) would need constant upkeep. But the service, food and common pool area was outstanding and I would go back in a heartbeat!



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