On July 6, 2012, we traveled from Kuta in Bali to Sanur, to learn about individual and group tour options! We ourselves travel independently but know that many of our readers willl want to travel with more structure.
We met with Ni Wayan Suryani, who is the Assistant Manager of the Group Department and with Eddy Purwanto, the Reservation Manager for PACTO, the largest travel agency in Indonesia.
PACTO is celebrating its 45th year. Recently they won the TTG awards for best travel agent Indonesia in 2009, 2010, 2011 and we imagine they will win again in 2012!
Currently most of their guests arrive from Europe but they are ready and willing to assist travelers from around the world. We asked them what is the best way to book their services. You may send an email to Freddy Rompas, the General Manager, who will be able to answer your questions and help you with a booking for this wonderful country. PACTO works with individuals and groups.
The most popular tour includes seven days in Bali. The agency can help you with other exciting options (which include some of our favorites): Adventure Tours in Kalimantan, Orangutan viewing in Borneo, Flores Island and its Komodo Dragons (you can fly from Bali), and the Gili Islands (with the most popular being Gili Trawagan). We highly recommend all of these destinations.
Two Weeks In Indonesia
We asked Suryani about people who have never been to Indonesia and might be concerned about conditions there. She said, “For the guests who have never come to Bali before, please tell them we have professional tour guides on all our package tours. Once they arrive at the airport, the professional guide will explain all about Bali and they will have a printed itinerary or program for each day. Our guests will have a tour guide and a driver to assist in each facility where they go for all activities. They are accompanied until they leave airport.”
Eddy added: “We have an office at the airport and it is open 8am to 11pm every day with a staff of six. We are the only travel agents at the international arrivals terminal at the airport. If there are any emergencies or issues, we can help at the airport. Our staff can handle anything at the airport.”
We also inquired about the impact on tourism after the bombings in Kuta, Bali in 2002 and 2005, and about tourist concerns for safety. Suryani said “For the first five years, people were talking about the bombings and there was less tourism. Now tourism has returned to normal.” We feel very safe in Bali and all the islands we have traveled to in Indonesia.
As the Lonely Planet says about Bali, “Persistent hawkers are the bane of most visitors to Bali…but your biggest irritation will likely be the ever worsening traffic.” We noticed since our last visit in 2009 that the traffic is noticeably increased in the Kuta area. We heard there are more than two million visitors a year to the island and we saw a lot of planes landing at the airport (you can see them from the beach!)
People from around the world come to visit this country, the largest archipelago in the world. Eddy told us, “More Russians are now traveling in Bali. There were charter flights from Russia during the three-month holiday season from December to February.” There are many Australians in Bali as it is a short flight on JetStar and other carriers.
The Balinese are ready to welcome you to their beautiful island.
Thank you to PACTO for sponsoring us at the Bali Kuta Resort: Swiss Belhotel.
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.