Batam is located east of Karimun and Bulan Island, west of Bintan, north of Rempang, and south of Singapore. The Riau Strait (Selat Riau) separates Batam and Bintan. The biggest community on the island is Nagoya. Other main communities include Sekupang, Jodoh, Sungai Panas, Batam Centre, Baloi, Batu Ampar, and Bengkong.
The indigenous community of Batam are ethnic Malays and they speak Malay in the Riau-Lingga accent which is also the accent of the Malays in Singapore and the Malaysian states of Pahang, Johor and Selangor.
The island is connected by several ferry services to nearby cities, including Bintan, Karimun, Singapore and Johor Bahru (Malaysia); the trip to Singapore takes less than one hour.
Hang Nadim Airport is the island's airport, and has the longest runway in Indonesia; Jakarta is the most important destination.
The "Barelang" bridges are a major landmark on Batam. The name is an abbreviation of Batam-Rempang-Galang, the three major islands connected by the bridges, and 3 more smaller islands. The bridges were constructed under Habibie as the Minister for Research and Technology with funding from the German government.