Our Year Adventure Begins: Three Flights to Bali


July 3, 2012 in Los Angeles at 6:31pm, July 4th, 2012 9:31am in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia.

Our Year Adventure Begins: Three Flights to Bali, Indonesia from Los Angeles, California

What a trip! Three flights from Los Angeles to Bali; with the help of modern chemistry we slept through most of the first 12 hour flight from LAX to PEK. I think I slept nearly 10 hours. I even fell asleep before we took off. Our flight was at 1:40am July 2nd. My cousins, Eric and Krystie, who just moved to Los Angeles on the day before we left, took us to dinner and from there to the airport. We passed Air China in Terminal 2 at Los Angeles Airport because we were so sure we would leave from Terminal 4 the Tom Bradley International Terminal — but we were wrong. Luckily together our two big packs aren’t so heavy– so schlepping back to the other terminal was not too painful. One of the TSA men commented on how most people pay extra so that each of their bags can be over the fifty-pound weight limit yet together we have less than one person might have.  All in all, the Los Angeles airport is an embarrassment compared to other countries’ international hubs.

We marveled at how modern, big and spacious the Beijing airport felt. Not like LAX.  We went through immigration and on the tram to pick up our next two boarding passes. Honestly it was a bit confusing but we survived and we got help from a few officials. The tram and all the other signs were in English and Chinese; we really did not think we had to go through immigration as we were in transit and had no visa. We found a Starbucks had a snack and wandered about until our next flight. We could not log in to the “free Wifi” but we did not have much to say yet to anyone back home anyway.

Lisa & George Leaving Los Angeles, Our BIg Adventure Day One July 1, 2012

Our paperwork for the three flights said “no meals” on all three flights which seemed odd for international flights but in fact there was food on all of them. 
The Air China B777-300ER was surprisingly nice. I had thought that our two legs from Beijing to Singapore(6 hours) and Singapore to Bali (2 hours) would be the most enjoyable segments of the trip, but our twelve hours on Air China were the best. Biggest seats in economy, nicest amenities, and better movies. If I’d wanted to pay the big bucks for First Class, the sleeping pods for Air China looked phenomenal!

Other than the thirty-minute line to get a taxi coupon at the Bali airport, and the half an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic to our hotel in Kuta (which reminded me of Los Angeles evening traffic although in Los Angeles no one creates an extra lane), the whole journey could not have been much better or easier.  And that fact that our three flights were paid with United Frequent Flyer Miles made the start to our year’s journey in the East very pleasant.

We are excited to be back in Bali. More about the Swiss Bel Hotel: Bali Kuta Resort soon!

Video from our flight to Bali: Click here

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

6 responses to “Our Year Adventure Begins: Three Flights to Bali

  1. Wow, I am so surprised that China Air wasn’t in the Tom Bradley terminal! Were you able to spend time in the Singapore airport? I hear the airport there is phenomenal.

    Kuta traffic is insane! I was there during Christmastime a couple years ago. Hope you guys make it the Gili Islands. They are really beautiful. But, make sure you know where your life vests are in case you get big waves. My friends and I encountered some huge waves going back from the Gilis to Bali, and I thought we were gonna die.

    1. Alexa,
      It was a surprise….but oh well….we could have checked in advance.
      We went to the Gili’s in 2008. We are in Lovina now on our way to Tulamben. Not sure if we will go to the Gili’s again on this trip or not.
      Thanks for writing! Lisa

  2. Enjoy a Bali- High sojourn there…hope you can get up to the lovely artist village of Ubud…and go by the Kupu Kupu Barong…good enough for Mick Jagger…and us.
    Jumpin James Flash

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