About my handicap:

I travel in a foldable active wheelchair, which I cannot maneuver myself. At night I need an electronic respirator to relieve my lungs. This means that I need electricity throughout the night. Furthermore, I have to take several medications daily. Therefore, in the countries that I travel in, I need to know there is a sufficient level of health care in case of an emergency. From my experience, Bali satisfies all my needs.

Transport on Bali:

We flew with Qatar Airways from Munich to Denpasar, with a stopover in Doha. All three airports had ‘fingers’ – so the plane could be accessed directly via the terminal. At all airports, sufficiently trained staff assisted us with a narrow cabin wheelchair into the plane and transferred me into my seat.
Bali Access Travel (http://www.baliaccesstravel.com) assisted me with transport needs around the island.  It is advisable to book in advance. The service can provide a fully accessible van with five seats, up to two wheelchair spaces, and a hydraulic lift. The driver and the tour guide are trained to assist wheelchair travelers. If you can easily transfer, I would recommend the taxi company Bluebird. The drivers are reliable and affordable, most of them speak English and they do not try to rip you off – which unfortunately cannot be said of all taxi companies in Bali. At the airport, make sure that you order a taxi via the official taxi stand, which is just to the right at the arrival hall before you go through the last duty-free shop.

02_Bali_Trasnport

Communication:

Telkomsel sim cards are available at the airport when you arrive (again, inside the arrival terminal before you go through the last duty-free shop). A card costs roughly around 20 €  which includes a phone and internet. Telkomsel has the largest coverage in Indonesia. Also, most hotels offer free Wi-Fi, but the quality may differ. Many bars and cafes also offer free Wi-Fi access. However, do not expect fast Internet connection everywhere.

Food and Drinks on Bali:

Bali Essen und Trinken Nasi GorengIndonesian food is delicious, and many offerings are fried with a lot of oil… The signature dishes are Nasi Goreng (which means fried rice), and Sate Ayam or Kamping (chicken or goat kebabs), which are traditionally served with sweet soy or delicious peanut butter sauce.

As a snack, try Tempe or Tahu Goreng (fried tempeh or tofu). If you are brave enough, bite into the little chilies served with it. Tempe is made out of fermented soybeans and besides being very nutritious, is very tasty. It is best to order it with “sambal ulik”, which is a spicy dipping sauce. Indonesia enjoys its spice, but luckily most dishes keep the spicy sauce separate from the dish. So you can adjust the spiciness according to your taste. The fresh fruit juices that are on offer everywhere are a must. If you do not want them so sweet, ask for “tanpa gula” (without sugar).  Especially at the beginning of your stay, you need to be careful with ice and water, as it might upset your tummy. Make sure that if you do opt for ice, ensure they are made from bottled water, or if you are not sure, it’s probably best to go without. Also, salads should be avoided for the first couple of days. The street food is delicious, also, caution is required.

Vegetarians will find it difficult as most “vegetarian” stir-fries contain shrimp or oyster sauce. The concept of vegetarian food is not well understood, so even if you say you are vegetarian they still might serve you a fish or shrimp. Therefore, always look closely and communicate clearly. The phrase “Saya tidak makan dagin atau ikan” (I do not eat meat or fish) will help.

Religion / Culture on Bali:

The religion in Bali is Hindu. Religion plays a very important role in Balinese life where several times a day offerings are distributed around the house and temple birthdays are celebrated on a large scale. When entering a temple you should wrap a Sarung (or sarong) around you.

Beji Tempel Lovina Tempelzeremonie Bali

Weather on Bali:

Bali has two seasons: rainy and dry. The rainy season is roughly from October to April and the dry season is from May to October. We traveled in April and had only two rainy afternoons in our entire dreiwoechigen holiday. The rain is only very strong and short-lived, so you should simply auswarten shortly. Temperatures are very angehem tropsich warm. This can be quite therapeutic for muscles!

Our Tour in Bali

Bali VillaG in Sanur4 Nights: Villa G in Sanur

A quiet, touristy area near the airport with lots of restaurants, cafes and a white sand beach to stroll along.We booked the accommodation early, as we went over Easter and there are not endless barrier-free options around. The first four nights were spent at Villa G in Sanur, which is approximately 45 minutes from the airport. The villa is located within a complex, tucked away in a quiet, little street off Jl. Danau Tamblingan. You can reach the beach within five minutes, but there are a few steep passages.

Mitch, the owner, refitted three rooms of the villa to be wheelchair accessible. The pool can be accessed via a manual lifter. Other equipment available includes an electric lifter, as well as bathing, and a toil wheelchair.

Made, one of the permanent staff at the villa provides breakfast (also an Indonesian breakfast if you fancy!). There are countless restaurants in which you can have lunch and dinner. We would recommend Three Monkeys or the Sand Beach Club, which is just by the sea (5 minutes from the accommodation).

Activities in Sanur

Sanur is a touristy beach town and thus has lots to offer. You can enjoy daily massages, go shopping in the little boutiques along the street, or tan in the sun on the beach. Also, boats leave here to go to Nusa Lembongan (see below) or Lombok. Also, this spot allows easy access to Seminyak or the famous seafood dinners at Beach Trambangan.

3 Nights at Ubud Inn

Center for culture and arts surrounded by beautiful rice terraces.

Ubud can be reached by car in about three hours from Sanur. Through the initiative of wheelchair travelers, the resort  Ubud Inn now has approximately four ground-floor refitted rooms for wheelchair users. The resort is located directly on the main shopping and dining street. The Rainforest “Monkey Forest”, one of the main attractions of Ubud, is just a few minutes’ walks away. There are at times steep ramps, but the helpful Indonesians are always happy to help. There are several places you can see the traditional Balinese dances such as the Kejak dance or admire the shadow play Wayang Kulit. And of course, there are numerous shops. Ubud also offers several arts to visit.

Some restaurants are really recommended. For example, Bebek Bengil, the “Dirty Duck” serves traditional Balinese duck dishes. The meat is not greasy, but juicy and crispy. Definitely delicious! Those who want to treat themselves to something unusual can try the Mozaic Restaurant – an award-winning gourmet temple in Asia. Unfortunately, the access is only via a lot of steps. But the staff are very happy to carry you up and down. The journey is worth it. Here, French meets Balinese and a multi-course menu is on offer. The wine list is exquisite. It is not cheap, but definitely a unique experience!

5 nights in Lovina

Relax at a quiet part of the island which is not so populated by tourists.

Lovina, in North Bali, is a quiet location that was once discovered by the hippies. Even though nowadays there are no hippies to be found, the place has a very pleasant, relaxed atmosphere. The Lovina Bali, with two swimming pools directly on the beach, is a very classy resort. Apartments are rented out to tourists when owners are absent. The onsite spa offers massages, manicures, and pedicures. The restaurant serves tasty dishes and a brick pizza oven offers Italian favorites.

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Lovina also offers several activities (photos from Bejing temple) such as dolphin watching or trips to temples that can be arranged for wheelchair travelers. Dolphin watching means that you have to get up early so that you can get to a fishing boat by 6 am. Although the boat is only accessible via the beach, upon request staff can assist to help the wheelchair traveler into and out of the boat. We saw a school of about 50 dolphins which we then followed for up to two hours. At one time the dolphins were two meters from the boat – amazing! And for all of us, we paid roughly 20 Euros (250,000 RP). (Of course, you can tip the boat driver.) One recommendation is to visit the Beji Temple, which is about 40 minutes from Lovina. Located on the outskirts of a small village, it is very natural and peaceful. Surrounded by grass and Frangipani trees, it has a lovely atmosphere, especially in the afternoon when the sun is low. The carving on the temples is exquisite. The small staircases can be got around with helping hands. The local cuisine is also highly recommended – Warung Bumbu is run by a German/Bali couple. The Bambu restaurant serves very deliciously, local specialties. The rice tafel and the slow-cooked duck are delightful. If you would like the duck dish, you need to make reservations in advance.

Alternative:

5 Nights at the Mimpi resort at Tulamben

Relax or dive into the wreck of the U.S.S. Liberty

The Mimpi Resort offers 30 very nice, well-kept bungalows, which, thanks to 07_Bali_tulambenwooden ramps, can be made wheelchair accessible. The resort offers a very quiet and relaxed atmosphere. The staff is extremely helpful and the infinity pool provides beautiful views of the sea. The restaurant serves very tasty local as well as international dishes. Because of the Japanese management, there are also Japanese dishes on the menu. 100THB massages can be enjoyed at the beach. Also, you can go directly diving from the beach. The diving school BIPD specializes in diving for people with disabilities. The Dive Master will come to wherever you are on the island. You do not have to have experience. The wreck of U.S.S. Liberty is located between 8 to 30 m deep by the shore and is now home to a large amount of colorful fish. An amazing experience!

5 Nights on Nusa Lembongan

For the Wheelchair Adventurer!

Getting to and from the island is the most difficult part. Somehow, you have to get from the sandy beach into the speedboat and again out of the speedboat onto the beach and then negotiate several steps to the street. The speedboats depart from Sanur and we can recommend the company “Marlin”.

During our visit, there was no wheelchair-accessible accommodation, but the Mushroom Beach Bungalows had only three steps up to the room and there were always helping hands. The Mushroom Garden Villas are run by the same owner, with the same type of houses, only they are a bit more expensive. We were allowed to use the pool of the TS hut, which was more accessible for me. I could transfer from the chair to the edge and from the edge into the water. Initially, we booked another hotel, namely ‘Lembongan villas’. But they were under renovation when we arrived, so we had to take Mushroom Beach Bungalows as our alternative. The renovation of Lembongan villas is planned to be completed by August 2015.

Nusa Lembongan Tauchen DivingOur main activity on the island was diving and thanks to Blue Corner Dive this was possible. The coral gardens around Nusa Lembongan and the adjacent Nusa Penida island are still intact and there are lots of colorful fish to see. Between July and August, you can also observe the rare sunfish. Mantas can generally be seen all year. We were lucky enough to see a sunfish even in April but unfortunately no Mantas! But be careful with eating lunch on the boat. Two of us had tummy troubles after that.

One afternoon we went to Sunset Beach and stayed on for dinner at the Sunset Beach Club. If you stay for dinner you are allowed to use their pool, which offers a great view of the surf and even dolphins. There is also a free pickup service with a small Mini Truck from Mushroom Bay. Wheelchair users can go on the passenger’s seat if that is easier for transfer. The sunset was a little hidden behind a peninsula, but the atmosphere was really fantastic. The food would be very good if it would be served in a timely fashion and unfortunately, the kids got served last. But for the atmosphere, you should still come down and have a sundowner cocktail.

5 nights in Padangbai.

This fishing village is characterized by its nightlife and fishing culture – If you are a nature or beach lover you will not be impressed. We came for diving. Water WorXX Dive Center is operated by a German dive school that is visited regularly by wheelchair divers. David and his team were very professional. Thanks, safety officer! There are many restaurants and clubs along the main street. If you want it more quiet experience, you can also stay in Candidasa, in, for example, Bali Santi Bungalows, and drive every day to the diving school.

Final destination: 2 Nights in Canggu

Relax once more before your long flight back home.

Maso Christian was designed by Chris, with accessibility in mind. Chris is a wheelchair user and wants to prove that luxury and accessibility are not incompatible with each other. And it is a major success. The four bungalows are on a slope but are interconnected by gently sloped pathways. From the pool, you look over the rice fields. The garden is beautifully landscaped and provides the cook and hostess Anita with fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables. The food was really delicious. Anita’s mufti-course menu was a mix of Indonesian and Italian influences. Here we ate the best meal of our entire trip and we will definitely be happy to return.

Bali Hotstone Massage Maso ChristianMassages contribute to full relaxation at this place. The massages can be booked via the resort and we highly recommend the Hot Stone Massage. Canggu has not so much to offer. Anita can drive you via motorbike or car into town if you need to do any shopping. Therefore, we would recommend this place as a starting point for your Bali excursion, to prepare for a long flight home or a long weekend to relax.

In summary, one can say that Bali is the ultimate Relaxation Holiday destination. The massages, food, warm weather, and the people with its unique culture made this holiday a tranquil, but still very interesting experience not to be missed!