“Coral Reefs & Komodo Dragons in the South Pacific”
Mar 24 – Apr 3, 2023
Join us on a multi-faceted gem of 3 stunning regions on one amazing vacay! There aren’t enough emojis to describe all the thrills on this escape. In 10 immersive days, we’ll explore pristine islands scattered in the mystical Indonesian archipelago’s “Coral Triangle,” taking you from ultimate tropical paradise to mind-boggling modern architectural wonders. Since the romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” these places are trending hot in tourism now. With our luxury resorts, you’ll be pampered like “Crazy Rich Americans” for a head-shaking value price.
It all begins in lush, seductive Bali, a utopian masterpiece of nature! We base in artsy Ubud (of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame) to introduce you to true Balinese culture. Explore sacred temples, the Monkey Forest, handicraft markets and witness spectacular sunsets! You won’t want to leave our Ayanna Resort, but it only gets better as we continue with a short flight to Flores, or “Flower Island,” a tropical delight of emerald rice terraces in the shadow of smoldering volcanoes.
Komodo – Our new beach resort is the only 5 star property of all these islands. Ayana Komodo Resort is a sanctuary of serenity. Picture a 900 foot pier with a fleet of boats to whisk us out to unspoiled islands like Rinca. The big draw? The legendary Komodo dragons. Capture amazing photos of these creatures as they scamper across the sand. Chill at the resort’s spa or enjoy world class snorkeling and diving with an astounding array of marine life!
Had enough scenic island beauty? Let the large fun begin with a flight to uber-cool Singapore, a place that continually reinvents itself. (Heck, the airport alone is worth the flight with its new hiking trails, 10 story waterfall and 400 venues). Dubai dulls by comparison. Spotless Singapore is a melting pot of ancient and modern. Today, it’s a destination for design, cuisines and so many new things to do. You’ll love the solar powered Super Trees, the world’s coolest rooftop pool, colonial charm and fusion kitchens. Food is taken very seriously here. Indulge your foodie passions with us at the affordable “hawkers food stalls”- some with chefs who are Michelin rated!
Singapore is striving to become the World’s Greenest City with 1600 new parks added. Our highlights include rickshaws through Chinatown, the new National Gallery, bumboat rides on the river, Maxwell’s Food Market, gravity defying Skypark at Marina Bay Sands, Little India and more. There’s free time for “Breakfast with Orangutans, riding the Singapore Flyer, fabulous Jurong Bird Park, Flower Dome and energetic nightlife on Clark Quay with Raffles. Our past AFS groups loved these places. April is the best time to visit Komodo. This incredible getaway is for our explorers, water babies, action seekers, culture vultures and Instagrammers! Make these 3 distinctive bucket-list worlds part of your book-it list. It’s an Asian Affair that will make you the envy of all of your friends and you’ll treasure it forever. photos.
Lonely Planet says…
Welcome to Bali, Island of the Gods
The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a paradise. It’s more than a place; it’s a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind. The rich and diverse culture of Bali plays out at all levels of life, from the exquisite flower-petal offerings placed everywhere, to the processions of joyfully garbed locals shutting down major roads as they march to one of the myriad temple ceremonies, to the otherworldly traditional music and dance performed island-wide. Almost everything has spiritual meaning. The middle of Bali is dominated by the dramatic volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples such as Pura Luhur Batukau (one of the island’s estimated 10,000 temples), while the tallest peak, Gunung Agung, is the island’s spiritual center.
On Bali you can lose yourself in the chaos of Kuta or sybaritic pleasures of Seminyak and Kerobokan, surf wild beaches in the south or just hang out on Nusa Lembongan. You can go family-friendly in Sanur or savor a lavish getaway on the Bukit Peninsula. Ubud is the heart of Bali, a place where the culture of the island is most accessible, and it shares the island’s most beautiful rice fields and ancient monuments with east and west Bali. North and west Bali are thinly populated but have the kind of diving and surfing that make any journey worthwhile.
At the end of the day (which is the start of the day for some visitors), Bali’s rich culture, many amazing sights and truly lovely people are what takes Bali’s sheer delight to another level. Because Bali is fun, no matter what you want or who you are. Seminyak has shops and designers, Kerobokan has luxe beachside resorts and superb eating, Kuta and Legian have the nightlife, and Canggu wraps it all into one irresistible package. Plunge deep into Bali’s spirit while renewing your own in Ubud or catching the perfect wave in Bingin. You name it, it’s here.
Welcome to Flores & Komodo
Let’s get it out of the way first: There’s no place like this place, anyplace. Komodo is obviously well-known for its dragons (gigantic lizards, really, but who’s nit-picking?), but there’s so much more to the island — plus nearby Flores and Rinca — than just massive fauna. You’ll spend much of this nine-day trip on Flores, soaking in the beautiful scenery (including Mt Kelimutu, a volcanic crater full of vibrantly colored water) and traditional ways of life amongst the local people. On a boat trip to Komodo and Rinca, look out for Komodo dragons and spot even more of the native wildlife.
Welcome to Singapore
Capitalizing on its melting pot of cultures, Singapore is finally getting some spark, and is fast becoming one of Asia’s hit-list destinations. Whizzing around Singapore can take a matter of minutes, thanks to one of the world’s most efficient and widespread public transport systems. Hankering for breakfast in Little India, but want to visit the temples in Chinatown before lunch? No problem, you’ll be there in a jiffy using the sparkling MRT system – and why not stop at Marina Bay for a spot of shopping on your way? Plus, with new metro lines opening practically every two years, this tiny island just keeps on becoming easier to explore.
Food in Singapore is taken very seriously. From cheap hawker fare to Michelin-starred fine dining, food-enamored Singaporeans will line up for it, Instagram the hell out of it and passionately debate whether it is ‘die, die, must try’ – Singlish slang for ‘to die for’. Don’t fret about finding a place to chow down, as each neighborhood is home to local hawker centers and coffeeshops dishing up some of the island’s best meals for just a couple of bucks. Simply follow your nose or join the longest queue – whatever morsels lie at the end, they are almost guaranteed to be scrumptious.
The concrete jungles that once dominated Singapore’s skyline are slowly giving way to green skyscrapers, which look more like living ecosystems than business hubs. Fervently working towards its ‘City in a Garden’ dream, the nation is plowing money into becoming more sustainable and, well, green. Head out of town a little and you’ll find plenty of walking trails, treetop jungle bridges, wildlife galore and the city’s green jewel, the Unesco World Heritage–listed Singapore Botanic Gardens: these are the lungs of Singapore.
When the sweltering outdoor heat gets too much, Singaporeans love ducking inside for a spot of retail therapy and a good dose of air-conditioning. Orchard Rd is the queen of shopping malls: with all the high-street brands, plenty of high-fashion houses, and a few discount outlets thrown into the mix, everyone’s needs (and more often wants) are catered for here. If you prefer your shopping a little less mass-market, head out to local neighborhoods for independent designers, quirky art galleries, bustling markets, Chinese medicines, Persian carpets and a sari or two.
Our Glorious AFS Itinerary
Below is the revised itinerary
Mar 23-25 Depart USA Mar 23, cross int’l dateline landing on Mar 25 when trip begins. More details to come in Trip Tips. You cross Int’l Dateline to lose day but gain back on the end!
Land portion begins.
For some, Bali might seem just like another popular tourist destination, but for anyone who visits its shores, it is impossible not to be touched by certain magic from the “Island of the Gods.” Bali is an island paradise, with lush rice field terraces, stunning volcano and lake views and beautiful beaches, but it is often the warmth and friendliness of the Balinese people, that make any stay on the island so memorable.
Arrive at Bali’s stunning Ngurah Rai International Airport where our local guide helps us transfer to our 5-star resort and spa. Our hotel is a tropic retreat with an onsite spa, award winning restaurants and verdant grounds which include, of course, a pool. We are in the heart of town, so it’s easy to venture around. (Free time – This is the town of the movie and book “Eat, Pray, Love,” visit some of the sites! Perhaps pay a visit to a Balian – a traditional Balinese medicine man or check out some of the many markets and spas.)
Overnight: Westin Ubud (3 nights)
Breakfast at hotel. Enjoy your free day leisure in the lush tropical island or you can join a tour to explore the beauty of Bali. Our yoga class for our AFS group can be arranged at Komaneka Bisma studio.
So much to do to in Bali so we squeezed in a day of leisure for you who came from afar. It’s so easy to book any tour there on the spot. We can’t present one option due to so many choices. Our past groups loved some tours and they are so affordable here. I recommend considering with these rated 5-stars on Trip Advisor: Ubud Instagram Tour, Rice Terrace Walk, River Tubing or Rafting, Cooking Class or the new “Jungle Swing Tour with Taro Elephant Sanctuary.”
Overnight: Ubud Westin Resort & Spa
Mar 27 – Ubud Tour and Monkey Forest with lunch B/L
After buffet breakfast, start the day with an exploration of the Ubud Palace – Puri Saren Agung -where the royal family ruled Ubud from the late 1800’s until 1917. The palace complex has beautiful Balinese traditional houses and is set in the heart of old Ubud. We then head to the famous Ubud Market where you can test your bargaining skill for an amazing array of local crafts. Even if you don’t like shopping, the market provides a bombardment of color, culture and excitement.
We then take a stroll through Ubud’s famous Monkey Forest to see some of Bali’s cheekiest inhabitants – the macaque monkeys. Groups of these mischievous monkeys live in the shaded forest, where they roam freely, jumping from tree to tree. It won’t take long for you to recognize that they each have their own distinctive personalities and watching them is never-ending entertainment. Our past groups loved it.
Our evening is on our own, so feel free to venture into Ubud and mingle with the Balinese.
Overnight: Ubud Westin Resort & Spa
Mar 28 – Fly to Labyan Bajo, Flores Island and Komodo B/D
Breakfast at hotel. Around 8AM pick up from your hotel in Ubud and transfer to the airport for your onward flight departure to Labuan Bajo – Flores.
This morning, we fly to the island of Flores and the town of Labyan Bajo, landing in the Komodo Airport. Prepare to be amazed by our home of the next 3 nights – the five-star ocean-side Ayana Resort. The spectacular property is virtually brand new and is set against a backdrop of ruggedly beautiful green hills. Every room offers stunning ocean views. Settle in and make the most of the numerous beach and water activities the resort has to offer.
In the evening, we have our official Welcome Dinner at the hotel’s unique Rooftop Bar, a perfect place to enjoy not only the gourmet food, but a spectacular sunset.
Overnight: Ayana Komodo Resort (3 nights) World-class Luxury with Gracious Indonesian Hospitality at Ayana Komodo Resort
A perfectly balanced retreat sanctuary welcomes you to the heart of Komodo National Park. Experience and create lasting memories in the lap of luxury with state-of-the-art facilities and services while surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty at the best 5-star hotel in Labuan Bajo, AYANA Komodo Resort. Do you long for a private break-away where your thoughts can roam while kayaking around the Labuan Bajo Resort to a private island? Or do you want to mingle with other guests and create wonderful new friendships on our bustling 250m long private jetty? The Labuan Bajo Hotel has what you need—and so much more.
Mar 29 – Komodo Free day! B
Breakfast at hotel. There is no better place to have a free day than on this lush tropical island. Relax and enjoy the resort or you can choose to take advantage of the many options Ayana offers. For spa enthusiasts, create a spa escape to remember with authentic Indonesian treatments that have been passed down through the generations. Those curious about discovering Komodo’s exotic wildlife can choose from many activities including a guided Komodo Dragon tour at Rinca Island and wild bat sightings at sunset. The more adventurous will love Ayana Komodo’s array of scuba diving, snorkeling, marine walks, paddle boarding, kayaking and hiking to secluded hilltop locations for the most exquisite views imaginable.
We are also offering the option to take a cultural tour to the nearby village of Cecer where you can meet the locals. You’ll watch them do the “Tetek Alu” dance which is a traditional bamboo pole jumping game, as well as the Manggarai traditional dance. Maybe you can even join in! You’ll have a look around the village itself to experience daily life, then visit the fields where they cultivate coffee, vanilla and cacao visit to fields.
Overnight: Ayana Komodo Resort
We have a full day ahead as we make our way by boat to Komodo Island and Rinca if time permits. The roughly 2-hour ride is a wonderful experience on the crystal Flores Sea. We then take a nature hike to explore including a waterhole known to be a favorite spot for Timor deer and wild pigs. Sometimes, dragons can be found there lying around and waiting. Climb Sulphurea Hill and Frigate Hill for a magnificent view across the islands, bays and beaches. Rangers accompany us with a forked stick. The dragons are protected by law. These mighty creatures are the largest lizards earth, often 10’ long. They remain motionless with belly full, but when hunger strikes, they speed around in search for food. We stay silent as their hearing is acute.
Hop back on the boat and head to coral fragment lined Pink Beach. We’ll have a picnic lunch with us and this could be just the spot to stop! Afterward, sail to Manta Point where hundreds of giant manta rays play in the waters. We may have time to swim or snorkel before heading back to the resort where our evening is free.
Overnight: Ayana KomodoResort
Mar 31 – Fly Flores via Bali to Singapore B
Our morning is free before we head to the airport to fly to magnificent Singapore, stopping first in Bali. We’ll arrive in Singapore at night and check in to our beautiful hotel for 3 wonderful nights. I love this hotel located in the heart of Singapore, within walking distance of everything.
SINGAPORE is often referred to as “The Little Red Dot” on the world map. Though only a small city, Singapore was once a fishing village turned into a cosmopolitan city – brimming with harmonious diversity from its multi-cultural society. Encounters with the locals will bring you to experience the diverse, cohesive, nostalgic, historical and cultural aspects this city can offer. Aside from the old-world charm, get into the vibrancy of the city with its myriad selection of shopping, dining, entertainment places – be it Orchard Road or Boat Quay. One thing that you must not miss is the multitudinous offering of food that will leave you spoilt for choice – from Peranakan to Chinese, Malay to Indian, fusion and more. Just like any other destination, the city has its own unique set of offerings that differentiates itself. Singapore is a city where a diverse mix of people live and thrive alongside each other. It is a place where differences are encouraged, embraced and celebrated by all who live there. Though only a small city, this former simple fishing village has turned into a cosmopolitan city – brimming with harmonious diversity from its multi-cultural society. Experience the diverse, cohesive, nostalgic, historical and cultural aspects Singapore can offer. One thing that is a “do not miss” is the multitudinous offering of food that will leave you spoiled for choice – from Peranakan to Chinese, Malay to Indian, fusion and more. Singapore is a place where differences are encouraged, embraced and celebrated. I loved the Jen Hotel for its robots and best location in the heart of all the action!
Overnight: Hotel Jen Orchardgateway Singapore (3 nights)
Apr 1 – Singapore – City Tour 10AM-3PM B
We start with Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site – the expansive and colorful Singapore Botanic Gardens. You’ll be amazed by its National Orchid Garden, which boasts an extensive display of 60,000 orchid plants. Let’s hop onto a Bumboat for a cruise along the Singapore River, taking in sites like the city’s beautifully restored shophouses, modern skyscrapers of the financial district, colonial buildings and the iconic Merlion statue for our group photo.
A visit to the new Singapore National Gallery will help tell the story of Singapore’s planning efforts showing its physical transformation – past, present and future, including an immersive 270 degrees panoramic sight and sound show. We end at the incredible foodie delight destination called Maxwell Food Court where we are turned loose to taste of some local delicacies for lunch on our own. Singaporeans take food seriously! Here 3 meals a day is not enough. At Maxwell’s just graze your way through endless gourmet stalls. All food is clean and fresh. Michelin-starred meals can run $5. Favorites are fresh chili crabs and coconut curry chicken rice.
The rest of the day is free to explore this unique, vibrant world-class city. Explore some of the old neighborhoods or get your shopping fix with its myriad selection of shopping, dining, entertainment places – be it Orchard Road or Boat Quay. If you’re still hungry, do the “wok & stroll” tour. Singapore has incredible nightlife with countless clubs and rooftop bars. Ride Singapore Flyer, go stargazing at the Science Center or the fun Night Safari.
Overnight: Hotel Jen Orchardgateway Singapore
Apr 2 – Singapore morning free. Evening Tour at MBS! 6PM-10PM B
After breakfast morning to explore. Perhaps start with booking Breakfast with the Orangutans? At Singapore’s famous zoo – 26 acre wildlife park where animals roam free. Birders will be enthralled at Jurong Bird Park. Visit the new Flower Dome or ride the Singapore Flyer, world’s largest Ferris Wheel with breathtaking views. But save some energy for our special evening tour.
It begins at Singapore’s most iconic hotel – Marina Bay Sands Skypark – with a birds-eye view of the city from the top of MBS Skypark. It’s a roof-top experience like no other, with an observation deck in the clouds. At Gardens by the Bay, watch the Super Tree Groves come alive with an exhilarating display of light and sound at night! Then, we take in the color, culture and excitement of bustling Chinatown. Rich in history and heritage, we’ll wander along the narrow lanes that are a myriad of shops, eateries and the sensory overload that is the Night Market. Test your bargaining skills against street vendors selling anything from souvenirs to leather goods. The highlight is a trishaw ride through the alleyways of Chinatown and down to Clarke Quay. We’ll be dropped here to explore and enjoy the variety of bars and dining options.
Overnight: Hotel Jen Orchardgateway Singapore
Marina Bay Sands Skypark…
Apr 3 – Check out and transfer to the airport
Morning free to explore before your late afternoon transfer to the airport for the US. (Flights to USA may arrive April 4.)
Land Price $ 2398 plus $95 gratuities added to your invoice
Deposit $500 (Indonesia allows only vaccinated at this time.)
GROUP AIR PACKAGE – $1175 See Trip Tips
- All prices are per person twin share. Single rooms limited per group and a single supplement applies. Cost set by hotel/cruiseline and vary considerably. AFS will find you a roommate match. All hotel rooms are “run of house.”
- Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS.
- Land – Price based on a minimum number of trip participants, as well as local currency exchange rates which can fluctuate.
- We write our itineraries over a year in advance. Though unlikely, we always reserve the right to modify schedules, tours and hotels if necessary.
- Group air – Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and the group is ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until the group air is set or we advise – though unlikely, airlines, times and dates can change!
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AFS Bali – Singapore Trip Tips
Prepare to be thrilled by 3 stunning regions with unrivaled architecture, coral reefs, and komodo dragons! There are countless thrills on this Asia adventure from Ubud, the soul of Bali, to our beautiful resort on Flores Island, boating to see the dragons on Komodo island and onto crazy fun Singapore! I wonder which part will be your favorite? Komodo National Park is a World Heritage site with astounding marine diversity that just opened for you.
This trip was delayed since 2019, but all in order now. All regions are open and ready to welcome us in 2023. We have a wonderful group of AFS travel lovers. Be sure to check out the websites of our awesome properties and tourism sites listed below. After final payments are in, we will send you contact and room lists. Group members can access to the trip’s Private Facebook group page with link found in your deposit welcome email.
Your Fearless GTL. Christie Hintz
I must state everyone loves Christie and we are delighted she’s joined our GTL tribe! Meet Christie…After being widowed, five years ago, I decided to dip my toes into the waters of international travel. My first trip was to Africa with AFS! I was hooked. Five continents, over 50 countries and 19 AFS trips later, I’m still seeking adventure. From Mongolia to Patagonia, Papua New Guinea to Mozambique, awesome memories have been created. I love meeting the local people and making new friends on my trips. Why did I wait so long to travel?
My four grown children and I live in sunny Florida. I am originally from Long Island, NY but moved to Florida in my twenties. I am a retired, special education teacher. But now I am more active than ever with free time to embrace new joys. I sang with a local band for over 15 years. Volunteering with mentally disabled adults and also at a Safe House for foster children fills my heart and my days. My mission is to share patience, kindness and laughter everywhere I go. I’m ready for the next adventure.
- Read the revised Heading Abroad with AFS, especially if you are new to AFS.
- Ensure your passport is valid 6 months after return date with two blank pages. We recommend renewing your passport well ahead of any planned international travel. Take a photo of your passport to store in the cloud or bring a copy. If you lose your passport, US embassies now except a digital copy from your email. Also good to scan any docs, Covid test, trip tips, etc.
- To speed through US Customs download Mobile Passport. Look in your App Store for details.
- Notify bank and cc company of travel dates so they don’t block charges.
- Vaccines – Bring your vaccine card. Don’t laminate vaccine card as some countries won’t accept it. You can take photo of both sides and store on phone.
- All airline rules differ. It is imperative to read your airline rules on their website to ensure a smooth departure! Airlines are in the process of making routing and scheduling changes now. Always check your flight before departure.
- Visa – Indonesia/Bali easy visa on arrival
Fitness level – 2 (No trouble walking.)
General Air Info – Air challenges today – Many route changes now on domestic flights to get to your international flights. Consider flying in early to ensure you’ll be there once trip begins. (Watch for new DOT rules to protect you. Soon airlines will be required to refund or issue a credit good forever if there’s a significant change to your flight). They are required to notify you of changes. Ask airline to rebook you and cover expenses or get full refund even on non-refundable ticket. Always download and use your airlines app! Use app to track your booking, delays, bags, to show boarding pass and to contact them. If you have a flight problem go to the airline’s website “contact us” page or reach them by text, social media, Skype or call their international number. Also, premium credit cards often offer many air perks, assistance, insurance, lounge passes, global entry and more. Read more at www.tpg.com for best cards.
Air – 15 are land only. Arrive Bali Mar 25. You have purchased 2 internal legs with AFS. Land dates March 25-April 3, 2023
GROUP AIR PACKAGE It’s fun to travel together with ease, particularly nowadays. We secured seats on award-winning Singapore Airlines (SQ) for you 24 booked the seats at an excellent rate. The rate is incredible. This is round-trip LAX. Our new air has an excellent fare nonstop on the new A359 aircraft round-trip to LAX!
– Singapore Airlines – $1198 plus Komodo flights $359
- 1 SQ 037 23 MAR LAX- SIN 2325 -0815 (+2 days 25 MAR)2 SQ 938 25 MAR SIN – DPS 0905 -11503 SQ945 31 Mar DPS-SIN 9:45PM 00:20AM 01 Apr. (All must be on this flight)4 SQ 038 03 APR SIN – LAX 20:45- 21:40
We suggest everyone buy our group air to keep the group intact with all hotel transfers.
Internal Flights all on – Mar 28 QZ644. DPD-LBJ 9:10-10:20AM, Mar 31 QZ645 LBJ-DPS 10:45-11:55AM
Airport Transfers- airport pick up will be based on the group arrival March 25 at 11:55 AM. Look for Guide with AFS sign outside baggage.
New – With travelers arriving and departing on different days and times, it is insurmountable to manage. Group air airport transfers are based on set time. Without group air, there can no longer be any pick-up or drop-offs without group air. Unfortunately now like other tour companies, transfers are your responsibility. (We’ve spent weeks each trip making spreadsheets of each persons air to send to the supplier and then flights change. We then hire a guide, driver and pay parking fees. 2022 groups, only half showed up as guides waited hours looking for others. Sometimes no AFSers showed up without informing us.) Transfers are not expensive. First google your arrival airport website to see transfer tab. Suggestions to appear like airport bus, taxi details, Uber and more. Then connect on group Facebook page to set up sharing transfer cost if you like. If you go early and check-in AFS hotel before group arrives, it’s your responsibility to change rooms with your roommate if necessary day one when trip begins.
Meet Up With Group- Time will be set to meet at resort Mar 25.
Baggage– Think light to ease your burden, not like you’re fleeing your homeland. You change hotel properties several times. 1 carry-on bag& 1 medium suitcase not to exceed 45lb checked bag – weigh on a bathroom scale. If you overpack by adding pre-or post-trip luggage, make prior plans as to where to stow the excess luggage. You may be responsible for any overage charges. Apple AirTags works great to track checked bags when the airline cannot, also good for carry-on. The new hard cases are difficult to fit in safari vehicles. Leave space for great souvenirs. Be sure to attach ID to carry-on and bag to assure your bag never gets left behind.
Packing – This trip is so easy and think light layers for a tropical climate. Simply pack casual summer clothing including a light jacket for long flights. Also bring sun protection, a daypack, wet shoes, a wide brim hat, comfy sneakers/walking shoes, and swimwear for the beach, pools, and spa. (Ladies – modest attire in temples. Bring a scarf.)
Pack your hygiene kit and munchies in clear plastic bags. Airport and inflight food service may be limited. This trip is so easy.
Weather – As our trip falls at the height of the region’s summer, you can expect high temperatures with high humidity. Temps should be within the 78 – 90F degree range in April. Check Google Weather for climate in Bali and Singapore a week prior to departure.
Electric – Cell phones and tablets don’t need a voltage converter, but you will need an adapter plug. Correct wall plugs for Indonesia are type C and F, the 2 pin round socket plugs as used in larger parts of Europe. Type G plugs are used in Singapore. Don’t forget a portable backup charger, cords, gadgets, etc. AFSers often leave charger cords in their rooms, so be sure to double check your room before check out.
Money Matters – You will need some cash for personal tipping, meals, and shopping. $400 in cash should suffice. (Venmo may be convenient at home, but useless overseas, ATM may eat your card. Always bring some cash! Wise to have new crisp bills.) Change currency arrival at airport, bank, or hotels or withdraw local currency from an ATM. Note -independent ATMs are risky due to skimmer scams. Safest ATMs are at airport and banks. Always shield your pin number when entering. Avoid using unless it’s an emergency. Master Card and Visa widely accepted. Amex rarely accepted.
Currency – Current Exchange Rate (approximate). Great rate, your dollar will go far here.
- $1 USD = 15790 Indonesian Rupiah
- $1 USD = 1.38 Singapore Dollar
Follow the link https://www.oanda.com/currency/travel-exchange-rates to create a conversion cheat sheet.
Gratuities – (Prepaid) It’s protocol to tip our local guides, assistants, porters, drivers and ground staff. Guidelines have increased globally, but around $12 to $18 per day should cover all for the trip. A $95 total will be added to your invoice. Please understand this is only the suggested minimum. For ease of distribution, your GTL will tip the different ground services for the entire group each day.
Tipping on own – If service is stellar, feel free to give more directly. All we tourists leave behind is our reputation. I personally carry a personal stash of US ones in an envelope to draw from as needed. Bell staff/porters – AFSers roll bags to their room. If you use a porter, please tip $2. Restaurants – 10%. For group lunches or dinners, please leave a dollar or two for waitstaff!
Communication– Internet is available. With smartphones, be sure to check with your provider for rates and coverage for international phone plans before departure. Data Roaming rates can be expensive. To reach home – Texting, iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook messaging when using WIFI. Be cautious using public Wi-Fi without using VPN. Without VPN never open attachments or view financial or personal accounts on the Internet while abroad. Phone calls, text messages, and data usage of all kinds, it is crucial to understand that, unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, every use of your phone incurs a data toll. That means that viewing and downloading email, browsing the web, viewing social media, and mapping all incur data charges, as do applications that we sometimes assume to be “free,” such as Skype and WhatsApp. Unless you are connected to Wi-Fi, however, WhatsApp is using cellular data, so you are getting charged at your provider’s international roaming data rate. Facebook Messenger Phone is an easy free way to make calls.
Get Smart: Avoiding Hackers on Vacation. Thieves not only want your money but also your data. Change passwords often. Check device security settings before you leave for your trip. Back up, update, and encrypt your devices and data using a virtual VPN.
- In hotel rooms, hide iPods or laptops to avoid “evil maids” that want to clone your tech.
- Bottled water is always best abroad, as our gut isn’t accustomed to local tap water.
- Pickpockets are everywhere now, especially at night. Never carry your passport outside of the room.
- It’s wise to grab a business card from the desk before heading out on own. To get back just show the card to a taxi driver- no memory or English needed.
- Travel health – Drink bottled water. Avoid street foods. Bring Imodium. Need meds or shots? Book a Tele-chat with a travel doctor for shots and meds at runwayhealth.com. Load up on antioxidants like vitamin C to zinc.
Photography – Before taking pictures of locals, know it is polite to ask. Your AFS Private Facebook Group Page is a great way to share your best shots with each other. AFS loves photos with group participants (not typical churches, monuments, or any shot that looks like you pulled it off of the net, etc.) for our website. The best photos are ones that include a group member with a local, children, animals, or at iconic sites in the same frame!
Retail Therapy – There is wonderful shopping in both Bali and Singapore. Even non-shoppers will find themselves tempted by local goodies. Our past groups have come back with the coolest stuff. Bali: Sought out treasures include handcrafted furniture (past grouped shipped it), Balinese silver jewelry, batik fabric and clothing, beachwear, handmade dupa (incense sticks), Bali ceramics, organic beauty products and fragrances, Balinese masks, wood carvings, honey, and Kopi Luwak coffee. Bargain!
Singapore: Find memorable gifts by seeking out a bottle of Singapore Sling, souvenirs with miniature Merlion, orchid perfumes, Asian artifacts, Bak-Kwa (bbq meat), Ya-Kun Kaya spread (coconut jam), Singapore pressed pennies, Tiger Balm products, Laksa paste, and gold painted orchid.
Websites of Interest –
Google these sites for awesome in-depth info…
Chewing – Bali is known for its delicious Fresh Pacific Rim Fusion with Indian flavors, as well as its seafood, curry dishes, ayan bakar (blackened chicken), great salads, and tropical fruits. Open up your pallet to selections of lawar (minced meat salad), bebek betutu (roast duck), sate lilit (Balinese satay), and the island’s famed babi guling (whole spit-roast pig). The Balinese have a rich collection of snacks, cakes and desserts for your sweet tooth too. Bottled Brem Bali (Balinese fermented rice wine), Bali Moon (flavored liquor), Arrack (“rum of Indonesia”), and Hatten (beer) are popular alcoholic beverages in the Hindu-majority island of Bali.
Singapore cuisine can be divided into five types: meat, seafood, noodles, rice, and desserts and range from Peranakan to Chinese, Malay to Indian, fusion and more. Authentic Singapore cuisine include chili crab, Hainanese chicken, Nasi Lamek (Malay rice dish), otak otak (steamed fish cake wrapped in a banana leaf) bak kut teh (pork rib soup), kaya toast with kopi (coffee) (Singapore’s national breakfast), Murtabak (stuffed folded omelet pancake), biryani (aromatic Indian rice dish), roti prata (South Indian flatbread), and fried Hokkien Mee (popular Singapore stir-fried noodles). Sip on a Singapore Sling, Kopi-O, Milo Dinosaur, Tiger Beer, or Bubble Tea for popular refreshing drinks.
Leisure Time – AFS travelers revel in the element of surprise in new destinations and allow the wind to blow them where it will. It’s best to ask our local expert guides for suggestions upon arrival. Our trip is filled with awesome daily tours, but there will also be some free time. Google “Things to Do”. We also like Time Out, Trip Advisor, and Viator for some ½ day ideas.
Bali So many Instagramable photographs here! I suggest Heaven’s Gate, Bali Swing, Uluwatu Temple, and an orangutan breakfast at Bali Zoo (Bali-zoo.com).
Singapore:Too many to list! Ride the Singapore Flyer and get your adrenaline rush by riding the Sky Swing and or iFly. Revel in exploring the Flower Dome and stop by the Jurong Bird Park. Rickshaw in Chinatown, shop Little India, and take an evening Jungle Safari at the Singapore Zoo – the best zoo on the planet! In the PM: Enjoy Raffles Hotel, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, and Newton’s or Maxwell’s Hawker Centers (endless food eating).
Arranging Pre- or Post- Trip Plans – We often see AFSers on your Private Facebook Page urging others to join them in traveling to other countries before or after our trip. Stopovers are great to add, but understand AFS has nothing to do with this nor is responsible for side trips.
Emergency Contact – AFS phone or text 770-432-8225, or email us at https://www.afstravelers.com/contact-us/ More contacts will be provided with your Final Docs email 2 to 3 weeks before departure. Your guide can handle a call home for a true emergency. Do not expect to use your trip leader’s cell phone; you’ll need to use your own.
Cancellation Penalty – At booking, we sent you our terms and conditions. Click here for our Terms & Conditions Briefly, on land packages we’ll refund your deposit less 50% until 6 weeks prior trip’s final payment due date. Any cancellation after this date will result in full forfeiture of your deposit. AFS reserves the right to resell or otherwise use the canceled space at our discretion.
Travel Insurance– While travel insurance is optional, in today’s world we highly encourage you to get standard coverage to cover trip interruption and cancellation. Best source for all is www.insuremytrip.com. CFAR or cancel for any reason covers Covid but is expensive. Note that no company covers for fear.
Preexisting conditions – If you would like the security of travel insurance and have a pre-existing condition (elderly parent, medical, etc.), you must purchase insurance within 15 days from your initial trip deposit in order to assure full coverage. The trip cost can be amended or adjusted as needed after your initial purchase (eg. like adding an air ticket cost later). You can buy travel insurance at any time, just know that there may be some possible limitations if purchased outside the 15 day period. We like TravelSafe, Allianz or Seven Corners.
- Click here to Purchase Travel Insurance online
Travel Psychology 101 – Prepare for your departure joyfully with no contempt before investigation upon arrival. Please understand that whenever you travel, things are not like at home and changes may occur. Great trips work best for those with an open mind, flexible attitude and adventuresome spirit. If changes occur, embrace them with serendipity. Who knows?…The unexpected may prove to be a better experience. Adapt and go with the flow with a laid-back attitude. Be spontaneous. Be tolerant of foreign cultures in respecting their centuries of traditions. Embrace the differences. Be curious, not shy. Smile – locals will sense your energy of kindness and kindness always begets kindness. (This goes for your roommate, too. Most of us are used to living on our own; but, have fun while being accommodating and patient when sharing a room with another fellow traveler). Our common goal is to experience different cultures, make new friends, get great photos, have large fun, and return home safely with memories worthy of recollection.
The best spirit of an Explorer requires the openness of a child – Suzy “When traveling, remember that a foreign country isn’t designed to make you comfortable. It’s designed to make it’s own people comfortable.” – Clinton Fadiman
Covid travel rules seem to mutate faster than the virus itself. To keep all groups up to date with the lasted information, we’ve created a page that’s updated as needed. Set a reminder for yourself to check the Covid page 7 days before departure.