Make your Travel Safer and More Enjoyable
Bali, Wakatobi, and beyond - These detailed travel tips were initially composed to make the original Wakatobi tours as smooth as possible. But as you read ahead, you will find that many of the suggestions apply throughout Indonesia, and in fact to any exotic travel destination. I hope this information will help to make your international travel safer and more enjoyable. Ken Knezick - Island Dreams.
All Flights - As in all international travel, please plan on checking in for your flight at least 2 and ½ hours prior to flight departure time. Check your luggage through to Bali, (airport code DPS). It's a long trip, so wear comfortable clothes and do your best to rest. If necessary, medicate yourself to get sleep during the flight. During any fuel or transit stops, exercise by walking in the terminal.
Continental Airlines - Continental Airlines flights are via Honolulu to Guam and directly on to Bali. You will change planes in both Honolulu and Guam. The connections are quick; so do hustle down to the next gate on transits. Keep all boarding envelopes, boarding passes, and your passport handy.
Singapore Airlines - All Singapore Airlines flights transit via Singapore, a wonderful city hosting one of the world's finest airports. If you remain within the airport, no need to clear immigration or customs here, you just changing planes. If there for more than a few hours, I suggest you make use of the excellent Transit Hotel where you can have a nap, shower, haircut, etc. The Singapore Airport is also a good place for duty free shopping, a visit to the Telecom booth for a call home, or a stop at the airport's convenient Internet Café. Then proceed to the gate for your continuing flight.
Arrival in Bali (DPS) - On arrival in Bali, you must purchase your tourist visa (USD $25), collect your luggage and proceed through Indonesian Immigration and Customs. Be sure to keep your Tourist Card (supplied on the plane), Visa, and Passport together in a safe place for the duration of the trip. You will be met at the airport by a representative of Wakatobi Resort and assisted with the transfer to your overnight hotel. If they do not connect with you, simply take a taxi to your hotel.
Local Currency - Rather than the moneychangers at the airport, a bank or a moneychanger on the street is a more cost-efficient place to purchase Indonesian currency, the Rupiah. I suggest that each traveler purchase at least USD $200 in Rupiah (Rp). Carry some USD $50's or $100 bills handy, for in Indonesia you will receive a better exchange rate for "big money" than for "small money." All of your U.S. currency must be in clean bills with no tears or writing on them. The exchange rate fluctuates quite a bit, currently ranging 8,800 - 9,200 Rupiah per dollar.
Thus, at 9,000 per dollar:
- 1,000 Rp note is the equivalent of 11 cents U.S.
- 10,000 Rp note is the equivalent of USD $1.10.
- 50,000 Rp note is the equivalent of USD $5.50.
- 100,000 Rp is approximately $11 bucks
- and USD $100 makes you an Indonesian millionaire!
Tickets and Flight to Bali (DPS) - Following your Bali overnight, Wakatobi staff will return you to the airport and assist you in boarding a private charter flight direct to the resort. You must leave the hotel at 6:15 a.m. to make this connection. This is a relatively small aircraft with little capacity for cabin baggage. Don't be surprised if they gate check large carry-on bags and put them in cargo. Pack your valuables and delicate gear accordingly. This flight from Bali to the airstrip on the island of Tomea takes approx. two ½ hours. From Tomea, it is only a short boat ride to Wakatobi.
Finally Wakatobi - Once you finally hit the beach at the resort you will begin to know why you subjected yourself to this extended journey. I loved Wakatobi and hope you will share my enthusiasm. My various reports and information should help you to maximize the pleasure of your stay. Please do consult them for details. You'll find them at: www.Explore-Indonesia.com
Back to Bali - The charter flight will return you to Bali by mid-afternoon. Depending on airline schedules, you may continue directly for home, or add extra nights in Bali for shopping and touring.
Return Trip - Your visit to Wakatobi should leave you fully refreshed and relaxed, your mind brimming with colorful corals and aquatic encounters. On the reverse passage you will retrace your steps, and will find that familiarity makes it all seem easier. Try to pack your carry-on with all you'll need to from Wakatobi forward. If possible, work from your carry-on bag, and don't plan on getting into your checked luggage until you are home.
Singapore Transit Hotel - If flying Singapore Airlines, in some cases, you may have reservations at the Transit Hotel in Terminal 2 of Singapore's Changi International Airport. You can walk directly from your flight's arrival gate to this hotel. Remaining within the Singapore Airport, in transit, you do not clear Immigration or Customs. This lodging may be pre-booked, but is not, and in fact cannot be prepaid. Transit lodging is at your expense and can be paid via credit card or cash. Cost is approximately $40 per six-hour period, with additional hours pro-rated. The rooms are small, but spotlessly clean with private facilities. The convenience and comfort of this hotel is hard to beat.
Singapore to Los Angeles - Now you are finally on the home stretch. Following your overnight at the Transit Hotel, simply proceed to your departure gate. Hopefully, your luggage was checked through to LAX. Go to the Transit Counter and obtain your boarding pass. The flight to Los Angeles has two legs. Singapore to Tokyo takes about six hours, with a one-hour transit stop. Tokyo to L.A. is another nine hours of flying. Again, I suggest that you do your best to sleep during these long flights.
Checked Baggage Receipts - Mark you bags! You are making numerous flight connections on this excursion, across a variety of airlines and often checking your luggage point to point. You may well be required to produce the receipts for your checked baggage. Be sure to have them handy.
Medical Questions - We begin by stating clearly that at Island Dreams we strive to be travel experts. We are not physicians or medical experts. Island Dreams does not provide medical advice, nor do we proscribe medications of any kind. That said, general knowledge suggests that there is no Malaria in Bali or Wakatobi. (Only if you travel via Ujung Pandang, Makassar, which is not longer the typical route, should you be concerned about malaria prophylaxis.) To our knowledge, no other drugs or vaccinations are required. You should travel with a simple first aid kit that includes antiseptic, band-aids, and aspirin. Be sure to clean any coral cuts immediately and completely. Whenever you travel, you may wish to have on hand a broad-spectrum antibiotic good for gastro-intestinal problems. Do not take this medicine as a precautionary measure. Just have it on hand should a problem arise.
Final Tips - For the right travelers, the trip to Wakatobi is a wonderful adventure, and most assuredly worth the effort. The scenery enroute is intriguing and the Indonesian people are exceedingly friendly. You should feel safe and secure at all times. Take the normal precautions you would whenever away from home. Keep your passport, money, and other valuables close at hand and out of sight - then just concentrate on relaxing and go with the flow. Sleep as you can during the long flight segments, even if it means taking a pill. Once you understand that the journey is part of the experience, rather than an impediment to it, you will be on your way to a remarkable and richly rewarding holiday.
www.Wakatobi.com - You will find much valuable info on the Wakatobi web site. Per the resort's request, please also fill out their online guest survey, where you may describe dietary needs, etc.
Here to Serve You -- Do not hesitate to call upon me if I may provide any clarification or additional insight. I wish you great diving and a wonderful Wakatobi experience. Yours in travel, Ken Knezick, Island Dreams.