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AUGUST 14, 2000 VOL. 156 NO. 6

  TRAVEL WATCH

Singapore, the United Nations of Food
Singapore is a United Nations of gustatory delights that can satisfy the most cosmopolitan of tastebuds

Hot Spot
If your trip to Singapore's Sentosa Island left you hankering for wilder wildlife, consider Malaysia's Tioman Island

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Singapore's Hindu community marks Deepavali with a festival of lights celebrating victory over darkness, starting September 1

Detour
Singapore is surrounded by retreats that are only a short ferry ride away

Web Crawling
Make the most of Singapore's famous hawker food

Travel Watch Archive: Browse hundreds of Asian travel tips

Detour

Part of Singapore's charm is that it is so easy to escape. The city is surrounded by retreats that are only a short ferry ride away. Indonesia's Riau Islands lie just 35 minutes south by jetfoil. The ferry makes landfall on the nearest island in the chain, Batam, an over-developed plot about the same size as Singapore. But most visitors don't come in search of tropical paradise, they come for either the grub or the golf. Seafood restaurants are everywhere, offering enormous selections of fresh fish at prices that make the trip through Indonesian immigration worth the tedium. A Batam specialty is gong-gong—sauteed shellfish dunked in chili peanut sauce and eaten with a toothpick. You can't go wrong with most of the eateries, just look for the crowd.

What to do between seafood feasts? Head to the links. Batam is home to many golf courses, all easily reached by taxi or boat from the ferry terminal in Sekupang, where your boat from Singapore docks. It's best to arrange a golf package before you leave the city, since these are extremely good value. For example, Tering Bay Golf & Country Club, (65) 225-0833, designed by pro legend Greg Norman, offers single-day, midweek packages that include private ferry from Singapore, green fees, caddy and buggy, as well as lunch—for as little as $46. Prices vary according to time of departure. Southlink Country Club, (62-778) 323-837, is another great course to slice into, with plenty of water hazards and excellent, undulating terrain. The package deal, including greens fees, caddy and buggy, is $77. For information on other courses, go to www.asia-golf.com.

—D.R.

Write to TIME at mail@web.timeasia.com

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