A cyclist's dream: Island hopping over bridges in Batam makes for a magical ride

A view of the Barelang bridge.

It's a cyclist’s dream, an almost magical ride that takes across a network of islands with unique charms.

Welcome to the Trans-Barelang highway which connects across six islands to the vibrant city of Batam in the Riau Archipelago via a chain of six bridges.

The journey begins in the bustling heart of Batam, where modernity meets tradition.

Here, adventure cyclists from around the globe converge, gearing up for the unforgettable 55km journey that weaves through the Barelang bridge to the tranquil shores of Galang Baru island, famously known as the “Zero kilometres” mark.

Reaching this cyclist’s haven is a breeze. Just hop on a ferry from Johor, where numerous terminals offer a direct voyage to Batam.

The sea journey from Malaysia to Batam takes over two hours.The sea journey from Malaysia to Batam takes over two hours.

Thanks to its proximity to Singapore, Batam has become a go-to destination for weekend warriors and leisure seekers.

With modern infrastructure, including shopping malls and paved roads, Batam stands as one of the most developed islands in the Riau Archipelago.

A round-trip ferry ticket from Johor to Batam costs around RM230, and booking in advance is wise.

Cyclists, rejoice! Your trusty two-wheeler can accompany you at no extra cost, but remember to declare it at Malaysian Customs before setting sail.

Arriving at the Harbour Bay ferry terminal in Batam Island.Arriving at the Harbour Bay ferry terminal in Batam Island.

Upon arrival at Batam Centrepoint, you’ll find yourself a stone’s throw from the city centre, surrounded by many accommodation options.

Whether you’re budget-conscious or seeking luxury, there’s a perfect stay waiting for you.

And yes, the internet is your best place to sniff out those irresistible deals.

The real adventure begins as you approach Barelang.

Choose your path: a direct cycle from your hotel through the bustling Indonesian traffic or a convenient drop-off at the first bridge.

Many cycling groups opt for the hired van service, making the journey with friends and bicycles a breeze.

A view of the Barelang bridge.A view of the Barelang bridge.

The Barelang bridge isn’t just a crossing – it’s a vantage point for stunning photos and a moment to honour its construction.

The journey through Rempang Island introduces a series of climbs, each revealing breathtaking vistas and quaint grocery stores for essential pit stops. Galang Island presents even more challenges with its hilly terrain.

This island holds a poignant past, with remnants of a Vietnam War refugee transit camp.

As you pedal through, you’ll find the roads less travelled and impeccably maintained.

Take the chance to refuel at Veranta Cafe on Galang Baru Island.

Nestled on a hilltop, it offers delicious meals at friendly prices.

After this culinary delight, you’re just six kilometres away from the edge of the Trans-Barelang highway.

Heading to the first bridge on Barelang Island and posing for a picture at the zero-kilometre mark indicating the end of the ride.Heading to the first bridge on Barelang Island and posing for a picture at the zero-kilometre mark indicating the end of the ride.

Galang Baru, the final island, is a serene escape, about a two-hour drive from Batam.

For those cycling, remember to start early to avoid the midday sun.

The round-trip is a substantial 110km, and whether you cycle back or call for a pick-up at the zero-kilometre mark, the experience will be exhilarating.

Proper planning is key to a smooth and memorable journey before embarking on this scenic route through the Riau Archipelago.

So gear up, set your sights on the horizon, and let the Trans-Barelang highway be your guide to an island-hopping adventure like no other.

Posing for a picture at the zero-kilometre mark indicating the end of the ride.Posing for a picture at the zero-kilometre mark indicating the end of the ride.

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StarExtra , Outdoors , cycling


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