Batam and Bintan, the popular Indonesian resort islands near Singapore, are buzzing with new developments ranging from beachfront villas to a technology park, but in the surrounding smaller islands, time seems to have stood still.
Bearing nondescript names such as Tanjung Sauh, Buau and Ngenang, there are no buses, cars, hospitals or grocery stores in these places, not even the ubiquitous street carts selling cheap gorengan, or fried snacks.
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2019, with the headline Sea change for Batam, Bintan and surrounding islands thanks to upcoming bridge. Subscribe