Complete Guide: Batam/Bintan travel bubble & VTL (Sea) process

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From 25 February, two-way quarantine-free travel will open to Batam & Bintan. Here's what you need to know.

The VTL (Sea) arrangement between Singapore and the Indonesian islands of Batam and Bintan will commence from 25 February 2022, allowing fully vaccinated Singaporeans to visit and return without quarantine for the first time since COVID-19 began.

This is one of those rare instances where Singapore wasn’t the initiator- the Indonesian authorities had unilaterally opened up Batam and Bintan back on 24 January 2022. However, there was little point visiting when a 7-day SHN awaited you on return. 

Banyan Tree Bintan

Once the VTL (Sea) arrangement commences, here’s what you’ll need to do to enjoy two-way quarantine-free travel. 

Summary: Travel to/from Batam/Bintan
🇮🇩 To Batam/Bintan 
  • 14-day travel history includes Singapore only
  • Apply for visa (not required for Singapore citizens)
  • Fully vaccinated with approved vaccine
  • Take pre-departure PCR test 72h before departure
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30K COVID-19 medical coverage 
  • Take a PCR test on arrival and isolate at hotel until negative result received
  • Make a booking for a “travel bubble package” in the Lagoi Bintan Resort or Nongsa Sensation
  • Download PeduliLindungi app and register (Android | iOS)
  • Obtain and carry Blue Pass tracing device
🇸🇬 To Singapore
  • 7-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Category I countries
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Take pre-departure ART/PCR test within 2 days of departure to Singapore*
  • Take supervised ART within 24 hours of arrival and isolate until negative result received*
  • Apply for Vaccinated Travel Pass (short-term visitors and work permit holders only)
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. S$30K coverage (short-term visitors only)
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller

Travel from Singapore to Batam/Bintan

Eligible travellers will be confined to the Nongsa Sensation (Batam) or Lagoi Bintan Resort (Bintan) area. 

The Nonga Sensation bubble area consists of the Batam View Resort, Montigo Resort, Nongsa Point Marina Resort and Turi Beach Resort. 

The Lagoi Bintan bubble area can be found below. 

Bintan bubble area | Click to enlarge

Eligibility for Travel

The quarantine-free arrangement applies to anyone who has spent the last 14 days in Singapore, regardless of nationality. Singapore citizens do not need visas to visit Indonesia, but other nationalities may need to apply for one. 

Travellers must be fully vaccinated, with the final dose of their primary regime administered at least 14 days before departure. Indonesia accepts the Pfizer, Moderna, Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, among others, so anyone vaccinated in Singapore should have no issues. 

Children aged below 12 are exempt from the vaccination requirement, when travelling with fully vaccinated parents. 

Pre-departure PCR Test

Travellers must obtain a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of departure– these start from S$98 in Singapore, but Bintan Resort Ferries has partnered with Northeast Medical Group to offer a special rate of S$95. 

From what I can find so far, testing is required for travellers of all ages. 

Travel Insurance Requirement

Travellers must purchase travel insurance with coverage for COVID-19 related medical expenses. 

The Indonesia Tourism Board states that the minimum coverage is S$30,000, but Bintan Resort Ferries states the minimum coverage is US$25,000 (~S$34,000). On the balance, I’d tend to believe that S$30,000 is the right figure. 

For a list of travel insurance policies that cover COVID-19, refer to the article below.

Which travel insurance policies provide COVID-19 coverage?

Book Hotel Package

Travellers are required to book a “travel bubble package” with participating hotels in the Nongsa Sensation or Lagoi Bintan Resort area. 

BatamBintan
  • Batam View Beach Resort
  • Montigo Resort
  • Nongsapoint Marina
  • Turi Beach
  • Anmon
  • Angsana Bintan
  • Banyan Tree
  • Banyu Biru Villa
  • Cassia Bintan
  • Club Med Bintan
  • Doulos Phos Ship Hotel
  • Mayang Sari Beach Resort
  • Natra Bintan
  • Nirwana Beach Club
  • Nirwana Resort Hotel
  • Ria Bintan Golf Resort
  • Sanchaya

These typically include accommodation, transfers, as well as an on-arrival tests in Batam/Bintan and pre-departure PCR test when returning to Singapore (while Singapore accepts both ART and PCR results, the cost of a PCR test in Indonesia is relatively low at ~S$30 so it doesn’t matter that much).

Bookings for Batam can be made here at the four participating resorts. For example, this package by Batam View Beach Resort comes with:

  • 2 nights’ accommodation based on Deluxe Room
  • 2 buffet/ Set Breakfast at Kelong Seafood Sunset Bistro
  • Buffet/ Set Dinner at Kelong Seafood Sunset Bistro
  • 2-way Ferry Transfers from Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal to Nongsa Ferry Terminal.
  • 2-way land transfers Batam View to Nongsapura Ferry Terminal.
  • 2 x PCR/ART test at Nongsapura Ferry Terminal upon arrival and before departure
  • Travel Insurance with Covid-19 coverage value of S$30,000

That covers everything you’ll need, even ferry tickets and travel insurance. 

It’s slightly more complicated for Bintan, since there isn’t a centralised booking portal. A quick search didn’t find any hotels offering travel bubble packages, but I suppose if you email them they’ll be able to provide more details.

PeduliLindungi app

PeduliLindungi (Android | iOS) is Indonesia’s contact tracing app. It displays your vaccination status, test results, and lets you scan QR codes to check-in. 

Travellers will need to download the app and register their trip before departure. A guide to the process can be found here.

Buy Ferry Tickets

Eligible travellers from Singapore can enter Batam and Bintan via the following ferry terminals: 

  • Batam: Nongsapura International Ferry Terminal
  • Bintan: Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal (schedule)

Batam Fast will operate the ferries to/from Batam, while Bintan Resort Ferries will operate the ferries to/from Bintan.

I was having trouble finding the schedule for Batam (inventory does not appear to be loaded yet), but here’s the schedule for Bintan: 

🚢 To/From Bintan
 Depart Tanah Merah Ferry TerminalArrive Bandar Bentan Telani
Friday1110
Saturday1110
1400
1515
Sunday11101415
1515
Monday1515

Ferry schedules are closely synced to hotel check-in/check-out times, so you won’t have to worry about early check-in or late check-out. 

Travel process

I was only able to find the detailed process for arrivals in Bintan, but my guess is that Batam should be largely similar. 

Departing Singapore

When checking in at the Bintan Resorts Ferries counter at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal (TMFT), travellers must present the following documents:

  • Negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure
  • Proof of full vaccination
  • Valid entry visa (not required for Singaporeans)
  • Insurance coverage for S$30,000 per person
  • Hotel booking confirmation
  • PeduliLindungi app

On arrival in Bintan

On arrival in Bintan, travellers will:

  1. Use PeduliLindungi app to scan the QR code and check-in on arrival at the ferry terminal
  2. Take on-arrival PCR test 
  3. Collect Blue Pass Token
  4. Go through immigration
  5. Proceed to the hotel by dedicated transportation and isolate while waiting for the PCR result

With regards to (2), a S$30 fee for the on-arrival PCR test will be collected at the time of booking your ferry ticket, so you don’t need to worry about paying for it separately. 

With regards to (3), a S$20 refundable deposit for the Blue Pass contact tracing device will have been collected at the time of ticketing. The device will be issued to you on arrival in Bintan, and must be carried by every individual 12 years and older. The S$20 will be refunded when the Blue Pass is returned upon departure from Bintan. 

The results of the on-arrival PCR test result should be available within 90 minutes.

If a negative result is received, travellers may leave their room and begin their holiday. 

If a positive result is received:

  • travellers who are asymptomatic will be taken to Bintan Service Apartment to self-isolate
  • travellers who are symptomatic will be sent to a designated hospital or returned to Singapore by medical evacuation

What can you do in the travel bubble area?

While in the travel bubble area, tourists will be required to do the following:

  • Only allowed to interact with tourists or parties who are in one travel bubble area;
  • Only allowed to carry out activities in the zone that has been determined in accordance with the itinerary that has been set;
  • Reporting to health workers in the travel bubble area when experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 to be tested for COVID-19 by RT-PCR examination;and
  • Comply with the mechanism of close contact tracing, isolation and quarantine applicable in Indonesia if a positive case of COVID-19 is found in the relevant travel bubble area.

Travellers are also required to use a 3-ply mask or medical mask, change their masks every four hours, wash their hands regularly, maintain a 1.5 metre distance from other people, and use the PeduliLindung application for contact tracing.

Travel from Batam/Bintan to Singapore

The VTL (Sea) requirements are more or less identical to those for VTL (Air) travel, namely:

✔️ VTL (Sea) Eligibility Criteria
All
  • 7-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Category I countries
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of ferry to Singapore*
  • Take ferry to Singapore
  • Take supervised ART within 24 hours of arrival and isolate until negative result received*
Short-term visitors & Work permit holders
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller

You don’t need to worry about finding a place to take your pre-departure ART/PCR test, because the hotel will make arrangements. The cost of the test (S$30 for PCR) should be included in your travel bubble package already. 

After arriving in Singapore, travellers must take a supervised ART at any QTC/CTC within 24 hours of arrival, and isolate until they receive a negative result (this means getting your swab done should be first priority). 

Recently-recovered travellers may be exempt from the testing regime, provided they can present supporting documentation.

Overall testing regime

Here’s how much testing is expected to cost for round-trip ferry travel between Singapore and Batam/Bintan.

⚕️ Testing: Singapore-Batam/Bintan Travel
LocationRemarksPrice
🇸🇬 Singapore72h before departure (PCR)From S$95
🇮🇩 IndonesiaOn arrival (PCR)S$30
🇮🇩 Indonesia2 days before departure (ART/PCR)S$30
🇸🇬 SingaporeWithin 24h of arrival (ART)S$15

For those looking at a short stay, your on-arrival PCR test could potentially be used to satisfy the pre-departure test requirement for return to Singapore, subject to it meeting these conditions. 

Conclusion

The Sanchaya Resort, Bintan Island

Two-way quarantine-free travel to Batam and Bintan will be possible once more from 25 February 2022, although travellers will need to pay at least S$170 in testing costs, on top of ferry tickets and accommodation. 

It remains to be seen if tourists (especially the more price-sensitive Batam segment) will bite, though we have to start somewhere I guess. 

Is anyone planning a Batam/Bintan trip?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Daft

It’s so troublesome that people with mental illness go.

Roger

Wow this is way too troublesome for a holiday. Maybe if you are going for a month it’s okay but for a typical short holiday, it’s real hard work.

Thanks for the detailed summary really useful!

Talip Ali

Stupid bubble arrangement, only allow to move within nongsa…Best place and cheap are around Nagoya, Harborbay, Batam Center!!! Nongsa have nothing to enjoy for local foods and also for a place for Richest people. i prefer quarantine 3days (1st March) to batam center, ejoy holiday, seafoods & clubbing!!! Pacific & Ravetop Clubs open till 3/4am every weekend…

Last edited 9 months ago by Talip Ali
AKKS

I am in total agreement here.
Some like myself have families in Batam/Indonesia and it’s been a long absence already.
We too contribute to the economy when visiting our family in Batam.

Talip Ali

Indonesia govt. care about Nongsa economy not batam because Nongsa Hotels and Resorts own by “Big Shot” people. Just hope and pray probably they will open fully non-quarantine in April so you can visit your families in batam.

CCY

Do we have to buy specific bubble packages or can we use our points/certs for a booking (ie Marriot Bonvoy @ Natra Bintan)? Guessing it’s the former…

JW19

Suddenly taking a bus to JB through land VTL for weekend trips seems trivial in comparison. At least in JB you could roam wherever Malaysians go and not in some inflated bubble.

Dr C Madurai

Pathetic!

No way !

Can’t do so many PCR tests.

Forget dreaming about resuming business in Bintan / Batam

Sdu

If we hv to stay in some lousy hotel after paying so much Spore is 100 times better. If Indo really wants to open why confine ppl to hotels. Pretty stupid. No way go n stay at some place. THUS IS TRYING TO MAKE MONEY IN A SILLY STUPID WAY. SPOREANS .LETS STAY IN SPORE HOTELS. At least you can move. Indo👎👎👎👎👎Batam. Keep your VTL bubble and your hotels.

Jay..Baker

True

D K

Authorities probably not even sure who their target audience are.

Doesn’t appeal to short holiday stayers due to the number of tests.

Doesn’t appeal to bargain hunters due to the cost.

Doesn’t appeal to the middle-affluent class where their homes are nicer than the resorts/rooms.

Not sure who will sacrifice absolute freedom in Singapore to restriction to the equivalent of Mandai forestation.

Maybe will appeal to the uncles with mistresses and family on the island.

They should scrapped all testing and allow all fully vaccinated Singapore visitors unlimited access on the islands. Any damage would be limited anyway.

Ming

This is funny cause they only allowed tourist interact with other tourist, for those who want to meet their family in Batam or Bintan can’t use this bubble thingy

ekinchow

So can go matress run with 4 point?

John

Just heard from ferry company that they have received information that the Indonesian Embassy is not issuing Entry Visa to all other passport holders (than Singapore Citizen) as of now).

Low

If I take a ferry from SG to Batam, can I take a domestic flight to Jakarta?

Urgent

Is the zone restriction still valid? Or have they removed that?

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