Preparations for my amazing vacation to Bali began two weeks before I had to leave. It's important to be sure you have all the necessary vaccinations when traveling internationally, and my doctors recommended both malaria and Hepetitis A, for which I had to book my appointment 2 weeks before my departure. Hep A is for defense against the bacteria which might be present in the food and Malaria defends against mosquito bites. I recommend contacting your doctor before your travel. They will make professional suggestions on what you need based on your health condition and history. You can also use the following link for research in advance: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/indonesia
I was able to pack fairly light for this trip. A lots of shorts, thin summer shirts, two light pants which I only wore for nice dinners and few summer dresses. I highly recommend bringing really good walking sandals and hiking shoes. Do not take flip flops to walk in because by the end of your day your feet will be sore. I recommend sketcher, Nike light weights or any brand name with the same qualities will do. Don’t forget to take an underwater camera. That’s a must! The water is crystal clear, beautiful, and filled with amazing colorful sea life. If you’re not already an explorer and a water person, you will very likely become one while in Bali.
I had booked a China Airlines flight that departed at 1am from LAX with a quick stop in Taiwan. I figured I would be able to rest on the plan while on the longer flight over the pacific, but many other people shared that same plan. The check-in lines at the airport were as long as the lines at Disneyland on a summer day, so I recommend arriving at least three hours before departure. Also, be sure check in online 24 hours in advance to reconfirm your reservation and select your seat assignments. China Airlines, like many other airlines now, restrict advance seat assignments unless you pay additional fees. The ticket counter agents where pretty efficient in making the line go as quickly as possible, however, their personal connection with the guests both at the ticket counter as well as on the plane could use a little improvement. I almost felt that they were bothered by having to help me. Seats are standard sized with on-demand TV screen. Business seats do not recline to flat, but they are leather with a comfortable pull-out foot rest. First class seats do lay flat as a bed. The food was good and they serve complimentary wine which was a nice little treat! The flight was smooth from LAX to Taipei.
Arriving Taipei I noticed everything was in English and it's easy to get around. Everyone I encountered at the Airport was very willing to help. It reminded me a lot of the Tokyo airport. I had really wanted to visit the food market but I only had a 3 hour layover. If you have a stopover in Taipei I highly recommend staying overnight to visit the food market - it's pretty amazing. The food market is about 35 minutes from the airport (a 35 minute taxi ride for about $20 USD).
My next flight China Airlines flight was on the new Airbus 330, the new model. Every seat had a personal TV and a USB cable to charge your phone. It also had spacious legroom and the seats reclined a little further. I was quite happy and comfortable on this flight! Service was excellent, friendly, and they even helped me with my bags without me having to ask!
When we arrived in Bali I was in AWE! Even just the shape of the island from the plane was a beautiful sight. It looked like we were landing in tropical, untouched oasis. I was fill with energy and excitement. I have visited all the islands of Hawaii in the past and this landing was already a definite cut above.
When I landed the tour operator I had booked with had a personal meet and greet attendent waiting for me as soon as I got off the plane. Trails of Indochina has VIP access throughout the airport and will assit you with your bags and escort you through customs. I highly recommend to add this service to your travel. The cost is very minimal and I didn’t have to wait in the long lines with the rest of the crowds. Do remember that you must be prepared to pay for the arrival visa at this time, the cost is approximately $25.00 USD, and it is mandatory. I found that it was easy to exchange money at the airport. My guide was very helpful in explaining to me the exchange rate and how to use baht, the local currency. I felt very safe. Be sure to check with your bank before you withdrawal any money from international ATMs. Every bank is different and may have restrictions and/or fees.
My first two nights on this adventure were spent at Amansua Luxury Resort. I was fortunate to be staying in one of their suites and it was absolutely stunning. It was decorated in beautiful teak wood with a king size canopy bed that was very comfortable. The rooms are very spacious with a separate shower, dressing room and large jacuzzi tub. All suites have a private patio with breathtaking views of Bali. The resort itself is not directly on the beach, however the resort has their own cars that will take you to the beach approximately 5 minutes away. In the evening I enjoyed a welcome dinner in Amanusa hosted by our tour operator and the food was fantastic! The next morning I indulged with a sunrise breakfast on the beach. It is so relaxing to hear the sound of the ocean and the waves while enjoying fresh fruits and a healthy smoothie, all prepared for you by the hotel. Who would get tired of this? After my refreshing breakfast it was time to prepare for the flight to Flores. In just a few minutes I was going to have the opportunity to step onto the Islands world reknown for their Komodo Dragons, and I was so exciting - the adventure was really getting started! Be sure to reach Part 2 of my adventure for more exciting details or contact me to start planning your Bali vacation adventure today!