Travel Tips


Air routes and fares into Indonesia change constantly. As soon as the Official Airlines Guide is published, it's out of date. Check the latest and cheapest means of getting to Bali in the Sunday travel section of a major metropolitan newspaper near you. Also check the Yellow Pages and adventure-travel media.
     The International Air Traffic Association (IATA) is a cartel of air carriers that fixes high fares for all participating carriers—you'll pay the same inflated rate no matter which of these airlines you use. Avoid paying full IATA fares by buying your tickets from travel agencies and consolidators. The latter discount agencies often offer gray-market tickets at low rates that cannot be advertised. To know what fares, features, and restrictions you're trying to beat, check first with Garuda, the Indonesian national air carrier.
     Before paying for your ticket, inquire about restrictions, refunds, cancellation fees, and stopovers. Technically, to obtain an Indonesian entry stamp you need a ticket out of Indonesia. In reality, however, immigration officials never ask to see a ticket out. Travelers under 26 should inquire about student discounts. Children four to 12 could also receive substantial discounts.
     A good deal could be an Advance Purchase Excursion (APEX) fare, which must be reserved and paid for two to three weeks before departure. There's a substantial penalty for cancellation, and no stopovers are allowed. Since APEX tickets require rigid departure and return dates, purchase one-way tickets only. Rates are lower in the off-season, February to November. Always ask about special promotional fares.
     Consider buying a one-way ticket from Europe or the U.S. direct to Bangkok, Hong Kong, or Singapore; from these points it's relatively inexpensive to continue on to Bali. Discounted roundtrip flights from London to Bangkok cost £400 and from Los Angeles to Bangkok around US$750. From Bangkok you can travel down to Penang, from where it's an easy hop on a boat or plane to Medan, North Sumatra.
     It doesn't usually pay to join a package from Europe, U.S., or Australia because accommodations in Bali are so inexpensive. However, Garuda Orient Holidays, a subsidiary of Garuda Indonesia Airlines, is an exception. They offer some airfare and hotel combos for little more than the cost of airfare alone (see "From the U.S.A.," below). If you plan to make a number of stops in Indonesia, investigate Garuda's Airpass, which allows you to make three flights on any of 35 routes flown by Garuda or Merpati for just US$300 extra. See the "Getting Around" section for details.

You can fly into Bali from all over the world. The three main international air gateways are Jakarta, Denpasar, and Medan. By far the largest number of flights arrive in Jakarta's international Sukarno/Hatta Airport, 20 km west of Jakarta in Cengkareng.
     Unbelievably, except on expensive cruise ships, slow passenger ferries, or private yachts, it's difficult to reach the world's largest island nation by water. You'll find only two regular maritime entry points. Ferries depart Penang, Malaysia for Medan, and a daily ferry connects Singapore with Palau Batam in the Riau Archipelago; from there you can board another ferry to Pekanbaru, East Sumatra, or Jakarta.
     Ocean liners and cruise ships of Holland American Lines, Spice Island Cruises, and Lindblad Travel call at remote Indonesian ports at luxury prices. These upscale tour companies offer fly/cruise arrangements whereby you're flown to Surabaya, Bali, or Medan to meet your cruise vessel. See your travel agent.
     All flights to Bali arrive at Ngurah Rai Airport, which is actually referred to as "Denpasar" though it is 11 km south of Denpasar and three km south of Kuta at Tuban.

Circle-Pacific and Round-the-World Tickets
Using a combination of airlines out of the U.S.—Air New Zealand, Qantas, MAS, Singapore Airlines—travelers can spend up to a year circling the Pacific and Southeast Asia. For Qantas and Air New Zealand, you're looking at around US$2449 roundtrip, 14-day advance purchase, with four stopovers. Additional stopovers are US$75-200 extra. Most require that you use all your tickets within 12 months, some give only six months. To save money, either ask your travel agent to do business through a consolidator offering flights to Asia, or call a consolidator directly. The cheapest fares entail midweek departures.
     Air Brokers International, Inc., 323 Geary St., Ste. 411, San Francisco, CA 94102, U.S.A., tel. (800) 883-3273 or (415) 397-1383, fax 397-4767, sells more round-the-world tickets than any other U.S. consolidator.
     Bali is often included as a stopover on many round-the-world tickets. The variations possible in round-the-world itineraries depend on the ticketing alternative the traveler selects. The best and most expensive is the full-fare, full-service ticket. You can go where you like on almost any airline and take six months or a year doing it. The main drawback is you have to zig-zag around the world in one direction only, booking individual flights as you go without the privilege of switching carriers. Plus, all your flights may not be available when you want them. You sacrifice some flexibility but save some cash by buying a round-the-world package offered by an individual airline or specific group of airlines. It's cheaper still to string together several discount tickets, acquired in such bargain centers as London, Bangkok, or Hong Kong.
     Ticket packages vary considerably in price, length of validity, and number of stopovers permitted. If your round-the-world ticket doesn't offer a stop in Bali, try to land as close as possible—Singapore or Bangkok—then hop down to the archipelago.
     Singapore Airlines sells a US$2570 economy ticket with stops in at least three cities; six-month validity, 14-day advance purchase. The airline offers daily flights east from New York to Bali via European cities and Singapore; and west to Bali via Singapore. Qantas offers a US$3000 ticket on a 21-day advance purchase.

Arriving by Air
In the luggage pick-up areas in both the domestic and international terminals at Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport there are well-staffed hotel booking counters. Have the clerks (all speak English) try to arrange free transport for you to a hotel of your choice (usually only higher-priced hotels are represented here, US$50 and up). The two terminals are only about a five minute walk from each other.
     In the International Terminal you have to clear customs first. Curiously, in spite of the large number of tourists visiting Bali, the customs officers are among the most officious and demanding in all of Indonesia. Get in a long line where they are under more pressure to process you faster.
     After customs there are a number of quick and honest moneychangers, both inside and outside the terminal, where you might as well change money because the rates only vary a few points from what you can get anywhere else on the island. There are also tourist information booths with a fairly good amount of literature.
     After changing money, look for your hotel vehicle for a free ride. If you've booked ahead the driver will usually be there to greet you, holding up a sign with your name on it. For a taxi, go up to the taxi window, buy your ticket, and then present it in the taxi line. Fixed tarifs to various parts of the island are: Kuta Rp8000-10,000 (depending upon which part), Legian (7 km) Rp11,500, Seminyak (9 km) Rp12,500, Denpasar (14 km) Rp15,000, Ubung Station (17 km) Rp16,000, Sanur (18 km) Rp17,500, Nusa Dua Rp17,500, Jimbaran (10 km) Rp11,500, Tanjung Benoa (20 km) Rp18,500, Krobokan (17 km) Rp15,000, Batubulan Station (22 km) Rp21,000.
     If going to Ubud, instead of paying the exorbitant fare, just get a taxi to Batubulan (Rp21,000), then board a blue Izuzu the rest of the way to Ubud for another Rp6000. If you want a cheaper metered taxi to anywhere, you can push your cart to the end of the sidewalk only about 100 meters from the entrance of the airport. Lug your stuff past the toll booths to the first street on the left and then flag down a metered yellow taxi, an even cheaper bemo, or hitch anything (someone will stop). Yellow taxis are not allowed to pick up passengers at the airport, but they are allowed to drop passengers off.


Bali is accessible from a number of different islands and directions. If you're landing in Jakarta, you can travel overland all the way to Denpasar on a comfortable, air-conditioned, long-distance night bus—a 24-hour trip—for around Rp65,000 (Rp25,000 economy class). Regular and efficient ferries leave from Ketapang, East Java to Gilimanuk, far-western Bali, and from Lembar, Lombok, to Padangbai, east Bali.
     Express buses to Denpasar are available from Bandung, Yogyakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, Malang, and many other Javanese cities. A reliable traveler's transport service is Perama, with offices at Jl. Pembangunan 2 (tel. 021-345-3636) in Jakarta and Jl. Prawirotaman 29 (tel. 0274-72853) in Yogyakarta. Perama sells a bus ticket from Jakarta to Denpasar for Rp60,000 and from Yogyakarta to Denpasar (15 hours) for Rp45,000.
      All buses from Java terminate at Denpasar's Ubung bus station from where you can take a bemo to other stations in Denpasar, or connect with other bemo to go anywhere on the island. If you want to go to Lovina in northern Bali's Buleleng District, buy a ticket to Gilimanuk in far west Bali from where you can catch a bemo to Lovina.

By Sea
Pelni, Indonesia's national shipping concern, operates 20 passenger/cargo ships, each of which navigates a different interisland loop every two weeks. For the latest timetables and routes—which change about every 90 days—check with one of the Pelni offices before you go. On Bali, Pelni's port is Benoa just west of Sanur. The ships offer four classes, from deck class or economy—where you sleep in a huge common room—to first class private cabins with inside bathroom, a/c, and TV.
     It's important to book ahead. The main Pelni office is at Jl. Gajah Mada 14 (tel. 021-343307, fax 381-0341). Ticket offices: Jl. Angkasa 18, Jakarta (tel. 021-421-7406); Jl. Pelabuhan, Benoa Harbor, Bali (tel. 0361-228962); Jl. Industri 1, Ampenan (tel. 0364-37212, fax 31604); Jl. Kol Sugiono 5, Medan (tel. 061-518899); Jl. Pahlawan 3, Kupang, West Timor (tel. 0391-21944).

By Air
Four major domestic airlines (Garuda, Merpati, Bouraq, and Sempati) and a number of military, timber and oil, and private air-transport companies service every corner of the archipelago. Always shop around to get the best fares. Sample one-way fares to Bali: from Jakarta, Rp220,000; from Kupang, Rp192,000; from Medan, Rp400,000. Don't forget to add Rp4500-7500 per departure for domestic airport tax.


From Penang
Malaysia is a good place to buy cheap air tickets. Refer to the Straits Times for ads. Popular with travelers is the low-priced hop from Penang across the Strait of Malacca to Medan in North Sumatra, from where you can work your way through western Indonesia to Bali. The MAS flight leaves Penang daily, takes just 20 minutes, and costs around M$54 one-way, M$108 roundtrip.
     An excellent high-speed ferry service operates between Penang and Medan every Tuesday and Friday at 0800, returning from Medan to Penang the same day at 1330. First-class fare is M$100 one-way, M$180 roundtrip; economy class is M$90 one-way, M$160 roundtrip. Children two to 12 fly half price. Free refreshments and snacks and free transfer from the port of Belawan to Medan city center are included. Belawan customs doesn't seem to check tickets out. In Penang, buy ferry tickets at the KPLFS office, PPC Shopping Complex, Jl. Pusara King Edward, 10300 Penang, tel. (04) 625630 or 625631, fax 625508. In Medan, call (061) 514888 or 518340. Travel agencies and hotels along Chulia Street in Penang sell tickets.

From Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia's capital is a real travel bargain center. It's now just as cheap flying to Bali from Kuala Lumpur as from Singapore. The flight to Medan with MAS or Garuda is around M$78 one-way, M$156 roundtrip. MAS now flies from Kuala Lumpur to Surabaya, from where it's a short flight or overland trip to Bali.
     Student Travel Australia (STA), sixth floor, UBN Tower Letter Box 32, 10 Jalan P. Ramlee, 50250 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, sells a Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar MAS or Garuda ticket for about half the price of other agencies. On the same street as STA in Kuala Lumpur are other cheap ticketing agencies.


By Air
Singapore is a popular and convenient departure point for Denpasar, Bali. Remember that 30-day excursion fares are usually cheaper than regular fares. Check travel agencies for the cheapest fares. Many advertise in the Straits Times.
     Airmaster Travel Center, 36-B Prinsep St., Room 1, Singapore 0718, tel. 338-3942 or 337-6838, sells a Singapore-Jakarta-Denpasar ticket and a Singapore-Denpasar ticket with a stopover in Yogyakarta. Ask about their 30-day excursion fares. Price varies depending on airline and length of stay.
     Student discount tickets (ID card required) are available from Singapore to Denpasar. Check with Student Travel Australia (STA), 02-17 Orchard Parade Hotel, 1 Tanglin Rd., Singapore 1024, tel. 734-5681, fax 737-2591.

Airline Offices
Cathay Pacific, Ocean Bldg., Collyer Quay, tel. 533-1333; Garuda, Gold Hill Sq., 101 Thomson Rd., 13-03, Singapore 1130, tel. 250-5666; KLM, Mandarin Hotel, 333 Orchard Rd., tel. 737-7211; MAS, Singapore Shopping Centre, 190 Clemenceau Ave., tel. 336-6777; Qantas, Mandarin Hotel, 333 Orchard Rd., tel. 737-3744; Singapore International Airlines, SIA Bldg., 77 Robinson Rd., tel. 223-8888.

By Sea
Travelers can enter the Riau Archipelago, three hours south of Singapore, on their own and visa-free by taking a ferry (S$20, 40 minutes) from Singapore to Palau Batam or Palau Bintan. Launches leave every couple hours from Finger Pier, Prince Edward Rd., Singapore. A speedboat also runs directly from Singapore to Tanjung Pinang for S$45 (two and a half hours).
     From Tanjung Pinang, a Pelni ship sails to Jakarta every other Sunday. The Pelni office is at 50 Telok Blangah Rd. No. 02-02, Citiport Centre, Singapore 0409, tel. 272-6811, 271-5159, or 271-8685. These ships provide the cheapest way of getting to Jakarta from Singapore (about S$35 total). However, they leave early in the morning and require at least one night in Tanjung Pinang. If you plan to arrive in Tanjung Pinang from Singapore on Saturday, you'll encounter another problem. The Pelni office—Ketapang 8, tel. 2151—closes at 1300 Saturday, and the direct ferry from Singapore to Tanjung Pinang (S$46) won't get you there in time to buy your Pelni ticket for the following day. Solution: Take the smaller, faster boat from Singapore to Palau Batam (45 minutes). Go through customs in Sekupang and catch a taxi across the islands to Kabil. From Kabil, speedboats leave constantly for Tanjung Pinang (crossing time 30 minutes); when you arrive catch a minibus (Rp200) to the Pelni office. Once in Jakarta, you can either fly or head overland to Bali.


From the Philippines
Garuda operates a 2,179-km-flight from Manila to Jakarta on Wednesday and Saturday for US$570 roundtrip; minimum stay five days, maximum 180 days. For good tickets check YSTAPHIL, 4227 Tomas Claudio St., Manila, Philippines, tel. (02) 832-0680.

From Thailand
Near the Malaysia Hotel in Bangkok are a number of travel agencies selling cheap tickets. Fares and departure dates fluctuate, and getting a straight answer to a seemingly simple question is like trying to bite the wind. Walk around and compare prices. Student and off-season discounts are available, as are package deals offering no-frills indirect flights. K Travel Service, 21/33 Soi Ngam Dupli, Bangkok 10120, tel. (2) 286-1468, has a good reputation among travelers. Several other agencies are found along Sukhumvit Road. STA in Viengtai Hotel is expensive but honest.

From Japan and Korea
Tokyo is a better place to buy air tickets than is generally realized. The city's many resident gaijin (foreigners) are required by Japanese immigration to periodically leave the country and reenter. This requirement has created a ready market for cheap excursion fares. Many discount travel agencies specializing in overseas flights advertise in English-language media like the Japan Times and Tokyo Journal. Tokyo's a big place, so it's best to phone around and compare prices.
     The following agencies are worth checking: Council Travel, Sanno Grand Bldg., Room 102, 14-2 Nagata-cho, 2-chome, Chiyoda-ko, Tokyo 100, tel. (03) 3581-7581; STA, seventh floor, Nukariya Bldg., 1-16-20 Minami-Ikebukuro, Toshima-Ku, tel. 5391-2889, fax 5391-2923; A.B.C. Air Bank Co., tel. 233-1177; Asahi International Travel, tel. 584-5732; E.H.L., tel. 351-2131; M.I.C., tel. 370-6577; N.L.C., tel. 988-7801. The only nonstop flight from Tokyo to Bali is offered by Garuda on DC-10 widebody jets for US$1021 one-way coach fare; US$1752 one-way first class.
     Few discounters are found in Korea. The travel agent in the USO Club outside the gates of the Yongsan U.S. Army Garrison is worth a try: 104 Kalwol-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, tel. (2) 792-3063 or 792-3028. He sells mostly roundtrip tickets to Asian destinations for GIs and dependents. Also try the Korean International Student Exchange Society (KISES), YMCA Bldg., Room 505, Chongno 2-ga, Seoul. Tickets to Jakarta sometimes sell for as little as US$550.

From Hong Kong
Hong Kong is as cheap as Bangkok and Penang for air tickets in Southeast Asia, with direct flights available to Jakarta and Denpasar. Return flights are even better bargains. The discounted fare to Denpasar is around HK$3000 roundtrip (roughly US$400). Many discount travel agencies advertise in English-language morning newspapers like the Hong Kong Standard, South China Morning Post, and the monthly magazine, Business Traveler.
     The following agencies are consistently good: Phoenix Travel Service at Tjim Tja Soi in Kowloon, tel. 2722-7378 (talk to Rocky); STB, 26 Des Voeux Rd., Central Bldg., 26/F, tel. 2810-7272; Time Travel, Chungking Mansions, 16th floor, A Block, tel. 2366-6222; Hong Kong Student Travel Bureau, Room 1021, 10th floor, Star House, Tsimshatsui, tel. 2730-3269. Ask agents about the Cathay Pacific roundtrip flight to Denpasar.

From Taiwan
For discount travel agencies in Taiwan, see the notice board at the Taipei Hostel near the Lai Lai Sheraton Hotel. Travelers tend to gravitate toward Jenny Su Travel Service, 27 Chungshan N. Rd., 10th floor, section 3, Taipei, tel. (02) 595-1646.


From Australia, even economy-class tickets are expensive. Qantas and Garuda offer frequent service to Bali from Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Port Hedland, and Sydney. Only Garuda offers the Darwin, while only Qantas flies from Brisbane. Flight time from Melbourne to Bali is about six hours, from Sydney to Bali about five and a half hours.
     Qantas and Garuda offer precisely the same fares and flight restrictions to Bali (A$753 one-way, A$915 roundtrip), with seven-day minimum stay, maximum 45 days. During the Dec.-Feb. high season, flights from Australia to Bali are heavily booked; reserve your place at least three months ahead.
     Fly to Bali from Perth for A$596 one-way, A$937 roundtrip (peak); A$504 one-way, A$787 roundtrip (low). Flight time is three and a half hours. Perth-Denpasar-Jakarta flights leave twice weekly. If you have an International Student ID card, check out STA flights from Perth to Bali. Student and under-26 fares are about 10% cheaper.
     The cheapest indirect flight to Bali is on Royal Brunei, which flies from Darwin (A$902) or Brisbane (A$1054 roundtrip) via Brunei once a week. You arrive in Bali the same day you take off. They also fly from Perth (A$876 roundtrip) twice a week, but you have to overnight in Brunei.
     Many travelers fly from Darwin to Kupang, West Timor, then island-hop to Bali. From Kupang, regular flights to Denpasar cost A$190 one-way. From Darwin, Merpati flies to Kupang twice weekly for A$330 one-way, A$407 roundtrip in low season. This flight leaves each Saturday morning and takes two hours; return flights leave Friday. Upon arrival in Kupang you'll receive a 60-day entry stamp.
     Ansett International flies to Bali from Sydney, Melbourne, and Darwin twice weekly; from Brisbane to Bali once weekly; and from Perth to Bali three times weekly. Fares from Brisbane and Adelaide are the same as from Melbourne and Sydney. You'll find scant difference between the fares offered by all the airlines—Ansett, Qantas, Garuda—which service Bali.

Airline Offices
Air New Zealand, 5 Elizabeth St. (corner of Queens and Customs Streets), Sydney, tel. 02-9223-4666; Ansett, 501 Swanston St., 16th floor, Melbourne, tel. 03-962-3333; Garuda, 175 Clarence St., Sydney, tel. 02-334-9900 (Australian-wide telephone is 008-800873); Merpati, 12 Westlane Arcade, Darwin, tel. 08-941-1030; Qantas, International Square, Jamison St., Sydney, tel. 02-957-0111 or 9236-3636 (Australia-wide telephone is 131767); Singapore Airlines, 17 Bridge St., Sydney, tel. 02-9236-0111.

Discount Ticket Agents
Anywhere Travel, 345 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, Sydney, tel. 02-663-0411; STA Travel, 732 Harris St., Ultimo, Sydney, tel. 02-9281-9866 or 9212-1255, and 256 Flinder St., Melbourne, tel. 03-9347-4711 (other offices in Cairns, Townsville, Canberra, and Adelaide); Discount Travel Specialists, Shop 53, Forest Chase, Perth, tel. 09-221-1400; Topdeck Travel, 45 Grenfell St., Adelaide, tel. 08-8410-1110.

Package Holidays and Group Tours
Numerous package tours from Sydney and Melbourne to Bali are available for around A$800. Even though you pay for places and services unseen, the prices on a twin-share all-inclusive package are unbeatable: Sydney to Bali, A$900 (peak), A$750 (low) for eight days, and from A$1150 for 15 days. This includes airfare, transfers, accommodations, continental breakfast in a three-star hotel, and a token sightseeing tour or two. Each extra night costs only A$20 per person. Children are usually charged two-thirds the adult airfare.
     Certain restrictions may apply. Departure and return schedules are usually unchangeable. The tour packages issue hotel vouchers, which you exchange for accommodations in either Sanur, Kuta, Nusa Dua, or Ubud. Other packages offer accommodations in Jimbaran, Lovina, and Candidasa. Vouchers are sometimes also issued for dining or for rental of bicycles or motorcycles. The final price depends on how long you stay, the class of hotel you choose, and when you go. Low-season fares are in force from February to March and from 16 October to 30 November; shoulder season is 16-31 January, April-May, and 1 July to 15 October; high season is 1 December to 15 January.
     Package tour prices can be so good that some travelers take advantage of the cheap airfares offered and ignore the vouchers. Don't sign on for too many extensions and additional sightseeing tours because these can be purchased much cheaper in Bali. Look for deals in the travel sections of Australia's big-city newspapers. Find a flexible agent who can arrange for you to use vouchers in a selection of hotels so your movement won't be too restricted.
     Australia is the place to take advantage of some unique adventure and sports tours to Bali offered by specialist tour operators. Surf Travel Company, with offices at 12 Cronulla Plaza, Cronulla Beach, Sydney (tel. 02-527-4722), and at Kirra Surf Centre, corner of Gold Coast Highway and Coolangatta Road, Kirra, Queensland (tel. 075-5599-2818), sells surfing packages to Bali including accommodations, meals, and transport. Pro Dive, Royal Arcade, Shop 620, Pitt St., Sydney (tel. 02-9264-9499), specializes in dive packages to Bali including airfare, accommodations, diving equipment, and transport to dive sites.


Both Air New Zealand and Garuda offer twice-weekly direct flights between Auckland and Denpasar for NZ$1358 (low season) and NZ$1518 (high season). Fourteen-day advance purchase is required, and you must stay a minimum of five days and a maximum of 35 days. Add at least NZ$350 if you fly from Christchurch or Wellington.

Airline Offices
Air New Zealand reservations in Auckland is 09-357-3000; Ansett, 50 Grafton Rd., Auckland, tel. 09-307-5378; Garuda, 120 Albert St., Auckland, tel. 09-366-1855 (reservations in Auckland 09-366-1855 or 366-1862); Qantas, Qantas House, 154 Queen St., Auckland, tel. 09-303-2506; Singapore Airlines, West Plaza Building (corner of Albert and Customs Streets), Lower Ground Floor, Auckland, tel. 09-379-3209.


Airlines serving Bali from the U.S. include Garuda Indonesia, Hong Kong Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, China Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, and KLM. An hour or so spent calling toll-free numbers (see below) will provide the most up-to-date info on current airfares, timetables, and connections.
     The travel sections of the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and San Francisco Examiner are full of ads for cut-rate transpacific flights. Other good sources are Great Expeditions Magazine, 242 W. Milbrook, Suite 102-A, Raleigh, NC 27609, tel. (800) 743-3639, fax (919) 847-0780; and ITN, 520 Calvados Ave., Sacramento, CA 95815.
     If you work through travel agents, have them contact a knowledgeable Asian consolidator for the best fares. If you plan to travel in the high season (June-Sept., December, and the Chinese New Year), you'll need to book months in advance. If you're planning extended travel in Asia, buy an open ticket valid for one year.
     Tickets from the U.S. west coast to Hong Kong or Singapore average US$1150 one-way or US$1400 roundtrip. From these points board another flight to Jakarta or Bali. Some incredibly cheap tickets are available between Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Singapore with stops in Hawaii, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Bangkok.
     The real bargain fares into Bali depart from Los Angeles. For as little as US$1000 in the off-season, Malaysia Airlines flies from Los Angeles to either Tokyo or Taipei (two-hour layover), then flies to Kuala Lumpur and Denpasar. One free stopover is allowed each way, and the total travel time to Bali is 24 hours.
     Singapore Airlines flies to Bali from New York via Frankfurt or Amsterdam for US$1375 (low season) and $1575 (high season); flying time is 26 hours. SIA also flies to Bali from Los Angeles with a two-hour stopover in Singapore for US$1150 roundtrip low season, $1275 high season. China Airlines offers daily flights from Los Angeles to Bali via Taiwan.
     Continental flies from Los Angeles to Denpasar four times weekly for US$1450 roundtrip, via Honolulu and Guam. The low-season fare is US$1350 roundtrip, for departures before May 31. You're allowed one stopover, for up to six months. American Airlines and United Airlines both offer regular flights from major cities to Los Angeles and New York, with connections to Bali.
     KLM flies from New York to Jakarta via Amsterdam; one-way fare is US$1234 coach, US$2059 first class. Icelandic Airways, tel. (800) 223-5500, connects New York with Luxembourg for US$159; from there you can catch a cut-rate European charter to Asia. Malaysia Airlines flies five times weekly from Los Angeles to Bali via Tokyo and Kuala Lumpur. Thai International offers four flights weekly from Los Angeles to Bali via Bangkok and Seoul.

Garuda Indonesia
Garuda offers direct flights four times a week between Los Angeles and Bali, via Hawaii (18 hours). The usual fare is US$1050 (low season), US$1225 (high season) from Los Angeles to Bali. This is the same fare as from Los Angeles to Jakarta. From New York, the ticket to Bali via Los Angeles is US$1350 (low season) and US$1575 (high season).
     Garuda doesn't give discounts on tickets you buy from them. You get one "free" stopover in Bali on the flight from Los Angeles to Jakarta. Ask about Garuda's Visit Indonesia Pass, which allows you to visit three cities in Indonesia for US$300. Each additional city costs US$100, to a maximum of 10 cities. For more information, call (800) 247-8380, or fax (213) 389-1568.
     North American Garuda Offices: 3457 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010, tel. (800) 342-7832 inside California or (800) 826-2829 outside California; 360 Post St., Ste. 804, San Francisco, CA 94108, tel. (415) 788-2626; 51 E. 42nd St., Ste. 616, New York, NY 10017, tel. (800) 248-2829 outside New York or (212) 370-0707 inside eastern region; 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., Ste. 632, Honolulu, HI 96814, tel. (808) 947-9500; 1040 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6E 4H1, tel. (604) 681-3699.
     Garuda Orient Holidays: Some airfare and hotel combos offered by Garuda cost little more than the airfare alone. For US$1279 in the high season, US$1099 in the low season, you can buy a roundtrip package from Los Angeles to Denpasar with five nights in Kuta, including transfers and sightseeing tours. Inquire also about their eight-day and 15-day packages that include airfare from Los Angeles, all transfers, and five nights in Ubud for only US$1500. Hard to beat. The price depends largely on the rating of the hotel you stay in. For more information call (800) 247-8380 from the U.S. and Canada.

From Hawaii
Asia Travel Service, tel. (808) 926-0550 interisland or (800) 884-0550, sells tickets to Bali or Jakarta for US$799. Also check out Panda Travel, tel. (808) 734-1961, fax 732-4136. Emerson Travel offers a seven-day tour of Bali for US$950, including five nights in a hotel, daily breakfast, airfare, transfers, and day tours. A tour to Yogyakarta is optional. Emerson also sells tickets to Jakarta, Bali, Yogyakarta, Solo, and Surabaya for US$799.

Budget U.S. Ticket Agencies
Overseas Tours, 475 El Camino Real, Ste. 206, Millbrae, CA 94030, tel. (800) 323-8777 in California or (800) 227-5988 outside California, claims to match any advertised ticket price to the Orient. Overseas represents 20 scheduled airlines, 300 tours, and 500 hotels in Asia.
     Travel agencies owned by Indonesians or with strong connections to Indonesia are well placed to offer bargains. Such companies include Canatours Inc., 427 Bernard St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, tel. (800) 345-2262 outside California or (213) 223-1111 in California, fax (213) 223-1048; and Royal Express Tours and Travel, 731 S. Atlantic Blvd., Monterey Park, CA 91754, tel. (818) 289-8520.
Also with great prices to Asia are Adventure Center, 1311 63rd St., Ste. 200, Emeryville, CA 94608, tel. (510) 654-1879; and Community Travel Service, 5299 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618, tel. (510) 653-0990, fax 653-9071. The latter sells Japan Airlines roundtrip tickets for US$952 with stops in Tokyo.
     Air Courier Association, 191 University Blvd., Suite 300, Denver, CO 80206, tel. (303) 279-3600, sells deeply discounted flights to Bali, as does the Educational Travel Center, 438 N. Frances St., Madison, WI 53703, tel. (800) 747-5551.
     Air Brokers International, Inc., 323 Geary St., Ste. 411, San Francisco, CA 94102, tel. (800) 883-3273 or (415) 397-1383, fax (415) 397-4767, sells a Los Angeles-Denpasar-Jakarta ticket for as low as US$875 roundtrip (low season) and US$1050 roundtrip (high season).
     Council Travel Services, 2511 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94701, tel. (415) 848-8604, and 205 E. 42nd St., New York, NY 10017, tel. (800) 743-1823, is a well-known student discounter; nonstudents may also use its services.
     Pan Express Travel, 209 Post St., Ste. 921, San Francisco, CA 94108, tel. (415) 989-8282, sells a US$830 roundtrip ticket for a San Francisco-Honolulu-Denpasar-Yogyakarta-Jakarta flight.
     Student Travel Network is a budget student ticket agency with offices worldwide. STA, 48 E. 11th St., New York, NY 10013, tel. (800) 777-0112, and 5900 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 2100, Los Angeles, CA 90036, tel. (213) 937-1150, sells Garuda tickets from anywhere in North America to Bali. Prices aren't the absolute cheapest but the service is dependable.

Airline Toll-Free Numbers
American Airlines, tel. (800) 433-7300; Cathay Pacific, tel. (800) 233-2742; China Airlines, tel. (800) 227-5118; Continental Airlines, tel. (800) 231-0856; Garuda Indonesia, tel. (800) 342-7832; KLM, tel. (800) 374-7747; Malaysia Airlines, tel. (800) 421-8641; Singapore Airlines, tel. (800) 742-3333; Thai International, tel. (800) 426-5204; United Airlines, tel. (800) 538-2929.


With persistence, some good bargains are available from Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Look for cheap flights at travel agencies specializing in Southeast Asia and in the Toronto Globe and Mail.
     Discount agents offer low-season roundtrip fares of C$1400 on Air Canada flights that connect with Garuda in Los Angeles. High-season fare is C$1600.
     Another approach is to try to find a cheap flight to Bangkok, then travel overland to Bali. Consolidators in Canada sell roundtrip tickets on Canadian Airlines (tel. 800-776-3000) to Bangkok via Vancouver and Hong Kong for as low as US$750 in the low season, US$850 peak season. Flying time is 21 hours. Also check out Cathay Pacific flights out of Vancouver, connecting with Garuda in Los Angeles or Honolulu. Their low season fares are as little as C$1200, high season C$1425.
     Probably the best bucket shop in Canada is Adventure Centre, 17 Hayden St., Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2P2, tel. (800) 661-7265, with offices in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver. Also an excellent choice is Nouvelles Frontieres, 1001 Sherbrook East, Ste. 720, Montreal, H2L 1L3, tel. (514) 526-8444; another branch is in Quebec City.
     Travel Cuts, the Canadian student travel bureau, sells consistently inexpensive fares: C$850 one-way (C$1340 roundtrip) to Jakarta. Travel Cuts main office is located at 187 College St., Toronto, Ontario M5T 1P7, tel. (416) 979-2406. Pan Express Travel, 6 Wellesley St., Ste. 303, Toronto M41 186, tel. (416) 964-6888, is worth checking out as well.


You can fly from Amsterdam to Indonesia at very reasonable prices—sometimes even cheaper than flying from Sydney to Singapore. One of the cheapest flights from Holland is with Czechoslovakian Airlines—a 20-hour Amsterdam-Prague-Abu Dhabi-Bombay-Singapore-Jakarta jaunt.
     To find the cheapest flights, check the Saturday editions of Holland's main national newspapers. The best is Volkakrant. Many small ticketing offices are found in Amsterdam's Chinese quarter (where you might find a Cathay Pacific flight for 1200-1300 guilders). Ask if the agent is a member of ANVR, a union of travel agents which requires its members to join a fund that guarantees your ticket in case anything goes wrong.
     The problem of leaving from Holland lies not in the reasonableness of the fares but in being able to actually get a seat on an aircraft during the July-August busy season, when 150,000 Netherlanders fly to Indonesia. You can always buy a First Class ticket on KLM, but it may be hard to find a cheap Garuda, KLM, MAS, SIA, or Thai discount ticket.
     If you absolutely must get to Indonesia during this time, try to get a flight to Frankfurt and then connect with a Lufthansa flight to Indonesia for around 1600 guilders. Or you might try to get on an expensive economy seat on an Air France flight out of Paris.
     KLM and Garuda operate a weekly B747 joint service between Amsterdam and Bali. The fare to Denpasar is 4075 guilders one-way, 7416 guilders roundtrip. Garuda APEX fares from Amsterdam to Bali: 1593 guilders one-way, 2950 guilders roundtrip (minimum seven days, maximum 180 days, valid only until 31 May). Garuda's office is at Singel 540, 1017 AZ Amsterdam, tel. (020) 272-626.
     Cheaper flights might be found through NBBS (the official Dutch student travel agency), Rokin 38, tel. 624-0989, or at Leidsestraat 53, tel. 638-1736. Another good outfit is Amber Reisbureau, Da Costastraat 77, 1053 ZG Amsterdam, tel. (020) 685-1155; 100% reliable. Also worth a try is ILC Reizen, NZ Voorburgwal 256, tel. 620-5121.


London is famous for low airfares to the Orient—the best place in Europe to buy air tickets. In fact, you won't be able to find anything but budget airfares, thanks to the city's many discount ticket outlets called "bucket shops." Each shop may or may not have its own advance-purchase requirements and cancellation penalties, so inquire.
     The weekly Time Out, available at London newsstands, contains ads for many bargain airfares and bucket shops. The Sunday Times and the News and Travel Magazine may also prove useful.
     Cheap tickets may not be available at peak periods, when airlines can fill their planes at higher prices. During the summer high season, discount airfares to Bali run about £700, but plummet to about £530-580 other times of the year.
     Compare prices with those of Brunei Airlines which are lately coming in as the cheapest low-season airlines from London to Bali (about £700 in the high season). Also investigate Aeroflot flights to Jakarta for £500 year-round, and Thai International's flights.
     Start inquiries at London's Garuda office. To Bali, Garuda offers a fare of £708 one-way or £1159 roundtrip, minimum stay seven days, maximum 180 days. Garuda is the only airline out of London which flies direct to Bali (21 hours). The flights leave three times weekly, stopping en route in Zurich, Abu Dhabi, and Jakarta.
     Also check Qantas and Singapore Airlines, both offering nonstop flights to Bali via Singapore; they lay over just an hour in Singapore, then fly straight to Bali (17 hours total).
     When buying a ticket through a bucket shop, don't pay more than a deposit before receiving the ticket—these agencies have a high rate of closure. Make sure the shop you use belongs to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA); its members guarantee a refund in case the individual shop goes broke.
     An appealing option is to fly London-Singapore, for which fares are deeply discounted (around £600 roundtrip). Then—after a trip into Malaysia—buy a roundtrip Singapore-Jakarta ticket.
     Or try for a good fare from London to Australia (around £500) with a stopover in Bali. A roundtrip ticket from London to Sydney with a stopover in Singapore and Bali will run around £1000. Various low-cost London-Australia and London-New Zealand flights are available for about £500-800 roundtrip, with inexpensive stopovers in either Singapore or Bali. The fewer the stopovers, the cheaper the ticket.

Travel Agents
A reliable and competent travel agent for cut-rate tickets is Trailfinders, 42-50 Earls Court Rd., London, tel. 0171-938-3366; 194 Kensington High St., London W8 7RG, tel. 0171-938-3939; take the tube to High St., Kensington.
     The largest budget agency for those under 26 is Student Travel Australia (STA), located at 86 Old Brompton Rd., London NW1 2SX, tel. 0171-937-9962, and 38 Store St., London WC1, tel. 0171-361-6262. Branches in Birmingham, Cambridge, Canterbury, Cardiff, Coventry, Durham, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, and Nottingham.
     Also worth a look are Council Travel, 28 A Poland St., London W1V 3DB, tel. 0171-437-7767; and Travel Bug, 597 Cheetham Hill Rd., Manchester M85EJ, tel. 0161-721-4000. Another specialist in low-cost flights is Campus Travel, 52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1 OAG, tel. 0171-730-8111; branches in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, and campuses and YHA offices all over the U.K.

Airline Offices
Aeroflot, 70 Piccadilly, London W1V 9HH, tel. 0171-355-2233; Garuda Indonesia, 35 Duke St., London W1M 5DF, tel. 0171-486-3011; Malaysia Airlines, 61 Picadilly, London W1V 9HL, tel. 0181-740-2626; Qantas, 182 The Strand, London WC2R 1ET, tel. 0345-747767; Royal Brunei Airlines, 49 Cromwell Rd., London SW7 2ED, tel. 0171-584-6660; Singapore Airlines, 143-147 Regent St., London W1R 7LB, tel. 0181-747-0007; Thai International, 41 Albemarle St., London W1X 4LE, tel. 0171-491-7953.


No direct or nonstop flights serve Bali from Ireland, but agents can put you on an Aer Lingus flight to London, connecting you with a Garuda, Thai International Airways, SIA, or Qantas flight to Bali. From Dublin to Denpasar, the best peak-season fare (July-Aug.) available presently is with Thai Airways via London and Bangkok for IR£665. Garuda charges around IR£775 for the Dublin-Denpasar flight in the high season and about IR£150 less in the low season. From Belfast, get a flight first to London with British Airways, then board a connecting flight to Bali. Roundtrip fares start at around IR£765 in the high season, IR£650 in the low season.

Long-Haul Ticket Agencies
Best discount agency for students is USIT, Aston Quay, O'Connell Bridge, Dublin 2, tel. 01-679-8833; Fountain Centre, College St., Belfast BT1 6ET, tel. 01232-324-073; 10-11 Market Parade, Patrick St., Cork, tel. 021-270-900. Also check out Apex Travel, 59 Dame St., Dublin 2, tel. 01-672-5933; Flight Finders International, 13 Baggot St., Lower, Dublin 2, tel. 01-676-8326; and Inflight Travel, 92-94 York Rd., Belfast, tel. 01232-740-187.

Airline Offices
Aer Lingus, 41 Upper O'Connell St., Dublin 1; 42 Grafton St., Dublin 2, tel. 01-844-4777; 46 Castle St., Belfast BT1 1AB, tel. 01232-245-151; 2 Academy St., Cork, tel. 021-327-155; British Airways, Dublin reservations, tel. (800) 626747; 9 Fountain Center, College St., Belfast BT1 6ET, tel. 0345-222-111.


It's not difficult to find low fares from Amsterdam, Athens, Basel, Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris, Rome, Vienna, or Zurich. Indeed, Indonesia-bound traffic has become so frantic that European countries now offer unbelievably cheap package deals.
     In Germany, the fare from Frankfurt to Denpasar is DM3902 roundtrip, DM2828 one-way excursion fare. Recommended is SRS Studenten Reise Service, Marienstrasse 23 (U-Bahn and S-Bahn: Friedrichstrasse), for discounts to students up to age 34. Travel agencies offering cheap tickets advertise in the travel section of such publications as Zitty. Also try Alternativ Tours, Wilmersdorfer Strasse 94, U-Bahn Adenauerplatz, tel. (069) 881-2089, a well-known and trustworthy consolidator.
     In Austria, the biggest student travel agency is Osterreichisches Komitee fur Internationalen Studentenaustausch (Okista), with head offices at 9 Garnisongasse 7, Vienna, tel. (0222) 401-480. Open Mon.-Fri. 0900-1730, Saturday 0930-1200. Try other Okista offices at 9 Turkenstrasse 4-6 and at 4 Karlsgasse 3, tel. 505-0128 in Vienna.
     In Switzerland, get a recent issue of the best Swiss travelers' publication, Globetrotter-Magazin, which lists loads of cheap airlines. The SSR offices are also outlets for cheap Bali-bound tickets: try first the head office at Rue Vignier, Geneva, tel. (022) 29-97-33; open Mon.-Fri. 0900-1730. Another good ticket agency offering budget fares to Asia is Globetrotter.
     In Belgium, try the student travel agency Acotra, Rue de la Madeleine 51, tel. (02) 512-8607; or Connections Travel Shop, Rue du Marche-au-Charbon 13, tel. 512-060, both in Brussels. Nouvelles Frontieres of Italy and France offers cheap airfares to the Far East; the Rome-Jakarta ticket costs only 950,000 lira roundtrip. In Rome, the student travel center CTS, Via Genova 16 (off Via Nazionale), tel. (06) 46-791, has some great fares to Southeast Asia. In Paris, investigate Selectour Voyages, 29 Rue de la Huchette, tel. (01) 43-29-64-00, open weekdays 0945-1830; and Council Travel, 31 Rue Saint Augustine, tel. 42-66-20-87, open Mon.-Fri. 0930-1830, Saturday 1000-1400.