Batam is an island, municipality (an Indonesian kotamadya), and the largest city (on the island) in Riau Islands Province within Indonesia. Batam is a free trade zone, part of the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle, located 20 km (12 mi) off Singapore's south coast. The 715 km² (276 miles²) island, almost identical in size to Singapore, is the core part of the municipality. The municipality (1,010.88 km²) has a population of 1,153,860 (Civil Registry Survey April 2012). As per the 2010 Census it was the fastest growing municipality in the nation, with a growth rate of 11% per year. Though the municipality covers adjacent islands, nearly all the people reside on Batam island.
Batam is located west of Bintan Island, south of Singapore, north of Rempang and east of Bulan Island. The Riau Strait separates Batam and Bintan. Batam has tropical climate with average temperatures between 26-32°C. Humidity in the region ranges from 73% to 96%. The region has a wet season from November to April and a dry season from May to October. Average annual rainfall is around 2,600 mm.
Beginning in the 1970s, the island underwent a significant transformation from a largely forested area into a major harbor and industrial zone. Shipbuilding and electronics manufacturing are important industries on the island. Being close to ports of Singapore increases the speed for goods shipping and product distribution which benefits the island's economy, with lower labour costs and special government incentives, it is the site of many factories operated by foreign companies.
Under a framework signed in June 2006, Batam, along with parts of neighboring Bintan and Karimun, are a part of a Special Economic Zone with Singapore; this zone eliminates tariffs and value-added taxes for goods shipped between Batam and Singapore. In 2010, approximately 58 percent of foreign tourists came from Singapore, and 13 percent from Malaysia. Batam has a reputation as destination for prostitution and gambling. Batam has recently been exposed as a major facilitator of the controversial ivory trade.
The local ferry terminal ports connect to nearby Singapore and Bintan, and provides routes to Johor Bahru (Malaysia). There are five ferry terminals on the island: Harbourbay, Nongsapura Ferry Terminal, Sekupang, Waterfront City and Batam Centre International Ferry Terminal.
Taxi services are also available in Batam like Blue Bird, Silver Cab, and Green Taxi Hang Nadim Airport is the island's main airport, and has the longest runway in Indonesia. Domestic flight include Pekanbaru, Palembang, Medan, and Jakarta. International flights currently include Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang.