Trip at a Glance:

  • June 5-17, 2015 (12 days & 12 nights)
  • Minimum 7 guests, maximum 12 guests
  • Guests are met at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali (Indonesia)
  • We travel to Ubud, Sidemen, Gili Trawangan & Mangsit Beach
  • Daily Qigong with Dr. Margaret Ashton, AP, DOM
  • Enjoy the music stylings of Fremont John in an intimate setting
  • Accompanied by BJ & Lauren with Insight Travels
  • $3195 (double occupancy rate)

Who is this trip perfect for?

  • Anyone experienced with Qigong or Tai Chi OR those new to it!
  • Anyone who loves the idea of evening sing-a-longs and acoustic guitar music by the pool
  • Anyone who loves the idea of combining music with relaxation, meditation and healthy exercise
  • Someone with way too much stress in their life!
  • People with Bali on their bucket list & those who want to be among the first to see gorgeous Lombok
  • Divers & snorkelers, nature-lovers
  • YOU!

I Want In!

Please read the instructions under the “Price & Registration” tab below, then send us an email to start the registration process immediately!

Join us on this 12 day & 12 night journey around Bali and Lombok. Fall deeper and deeper in love with your serene surroundings as you go deeper and deeper into your body with help from Margaret Ashton, DOM, LAc and her expert instruction. Enjoy qigong before breakfast & then head out for the day’s adventure, or else simply enjoy the stillness and exotic beauty at our locales. Travel with the group and guides or not, as you are also free to explore on your own. We can reconvene at day’s end for more qigong – or not! This is the perfect trip for you as a couple if  you practice qigong but your spouse doesn’t (yet!) You’ll both be entertained, relaxed, and rejuvenated!  In addition, you’ll get to enjoy the musical talents of Fremont John in an up close & personal setting!

Click through the tabs below for a daily itinerary, price, registration, photo album, FAQ & more.

margi officeMargaret Ashton, DOM, LAc, owner of Points of Healing Acupuncture Clinic, is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and licensed acupuncture physician. She will be teaching Qi Gong and Eating for Health in Modern Times.  Dr. Ashton’s training in Oriental Medicine began with certification as a Qigong Instructor in 2003 at the Omega Institute in Upstate New York through the Institute for Integral Taiji and Qigong in California.

Dr Ashton has also taken Qigong training through East West College of Natural Medicine in Sarasota and further studies through Supreme Science Qigong Center in Miami. Dr Ashton’s nutrition studies has spanned over more than 35 years beginning in the mid 70’s and continuing through formal training at Michigan State University and East West College of Natural Medicine as part of her Human Development and Oriental Medicine studies. She currently teaches Qigong and Tai Chi Easy classes as part of her acupuncture practice.

She was the owner of a health food store in Northern Michigan for many years where she did extensive nutritional counseling.

 

“Tampa Bay’s most seasoned and professional original singer/songwriter.” – MusicTampaBay.com

fremontjohn1A distinctive acoustic guitar style with the resonate growl of a baritone voice is reason enough to listen to the music of Fremont John. Add to it his penchant for taking the classic songs we all know and creating them in his own style and you have a captivating show of musical ability. Developing his musical talents since age 5, he’s played the music of the classical greats to the rock & roll hall-of-famers and now pen’s his own music with the richness of his life experiences weaving a variety of styles into his own.

As an electric guitar rock-n-roller during his early career Fremont John toured extensively throughout the Midwest with his band InnerVision. Taking a break from regular performance and touring for nearly 25 years while he honed his business skills in the banking and environmental business, Fremont John continued to perform sporadically at venues throughout Michigan while writing some of the songs that became part of his first CD, ACOUSTIC THUNDER, released in 1999. That same year Fremont John returned to full time performance, now honing a professional music career on the stages of the popular Key West venues. He continues to be a favorite both solo and trio performer at Sloppy Joe’s, The Bull, Virgilio’s and Willy T’s in Key West where he still does a monthly tour. Fremont John’s solo live performance is a relaxed and comfortable way to kick back and enjoy the music. Whether it’s a remake of a classic or an original selection, the guitar work is sure to please and the stories surrounding the songs are delightfully entertaining.

Who should join Fremont John in Bali and Lombok?

  • Anyone who loves the idea of combining music with relaxation, meditation and healthy exercise (Qi Gong).
  • Anyone who will enjoy being part of an artist’s musical creative process in an intimate setting reserved for a very few and to be present during an impromptu stream of consciousness guitar performance (typically reserved for just one person–namely, his wife!)
  • Anyone who loves the idea of evening sing-a-longs and acoustic guitar music by the pool.
  • Anyone who feels like they’re living on a TIMELINE and sees this as a bucket-list worthy life experience.

Not only are you going to be under Margaret’s expert care, but you’ll have two more seasoned travel professionals accompanying you on your trip!  BJ & Lauren created Insight Travels in 2010 with one goal in mind: to make world travel accessible, authentic, and astounding.  In order to focus fully on this passion, they moved out of the U.S. in early 2013 to reside full-time in Asia.  Each day is spent exploring new destinations, strengthening local ties & relationships, and creating memorable, transformative, engaging retreats and tours (aka, RetreaTours™!) bj and lauren bagan

BJ & Lauren take great pride in the trips they offer, as they can personally vouch for every hotel, every restaurant, and every activity that you will experience. They craft each element of the trip with intention, and they understand that it is this careful attention to detail that sets them apart.  Fueled by their passion, armed with know-how, and supported by knowledgeable local contacts in all of their destinations, BJ & Lauren set the scene for the vacation of a lifetime.

They provide not only on-the-ground support and guidance during the trip, but they are available to answer any and all questions before the trip begins.  From giving advice on the best flights and travel insurance to providing a packing list, FAQ, information about local food, and even a tiny “phrasebook,” BJ & Lauren pride themselves on these ‘nuts & bolts’ of personalized service.  In addition, as a guest, you receive free travel consulting services (normally a $200 value) should you choose to extend your travels in Asia; let them help you plan your post-retreat adventure in Singapore, Bangkok, or beyond!

As one of their most ‘frequent fliers’ put it recently, BJ & Lauren make everything easy for you. Once you arrive in your destination country, your trip is all-inclusive—your meals, transportation, lodging, site fees, donations, and tips are all taken care of.  The research has been done, the itinerary carefully laid out, the reservations made, the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. All you have to do is show up and take in all your destination has to show you! So….let’s get going!

Bali Lombok map for website PNG finalThis is our intended itinerary, but we always remain open and flexible to the desires and needs of our guests. Plenty of time will be built into your experience to explore on your own, shop, and discover with friends old and new!

June 5th, Friday ~ [Sidemen] You’ll be picked up at the airport in Denpasar (Ngurah Rai International Airport) when you arrive on the 5th. You’ll head straight to our magical retreat space in Sidemen, where you’ll have views of both Mt Agung and the Bali Sea.  You can relax in one of three pools on site, each with their own distinct view.

June 6th, Saturday ~ [Sidemen] Sidemen is the perfect place to begin our RetreaTour™ of Bali & Lombok. You’ll be able to unwind with some gentle qigong in the peace of listening to magnificent songs of Indonesian birds and taking in the fragrance of the frangipanis.  Sidemen is a hidden gem in Bali, a thick carpet of verdant rice fields nestled between the mountains and the sea.  Many say it reminiscent of Ubud 100 years ago!

sidemen, baliJune 7th, Sunday ~ [Sidemen]  We’ll have our own private open air space for qigong next to a small temple, with views of holy Mt Agung to our right and the Bali Sea in the distance to our left.  The mountains and water reflect our own ability to stand strong but still be flexible and pliant. There are two restaurants on site, each with different views of the landscape and each with their own take on Asian cuisine.

June 8th, Monday~ [Sidemen, Bali to Gili Trawangan, Lombok] One of the many benefits of Sidemen is how close we are to Padangbai Harbor, where we’ll take a fast boat to Bali’s neighboring island, Lombok. Specifically we’re headed to one of the very small islands, or gilis, off Lombok’s NW coast, Gili Trawangan.  We’ll stay at the quiet south end of Trawangan, with gorgeous views across the water to the mountains of Lombok.

June 9th, Tuesday~ [Gili Trawangan]  Gili Trawangan might just be one of the best places on the planet for snorkeling and diving.  (We’re including a snorkeling trip to all the gili islands for you).  Just off shore on Trawangan you’ll find sea turtles contentedly drifting, schools of brilliant fish swirling, dynamic coral formations, and some of the most brilliant turquoise water you’ve ever been immersed in.

June 10th, Wednesday ~ [Gili Trawangan]  Did you know there are NO vehicles on the gili islands? The island is totally walkable, but there are also traditional horse carts.  Can you imagine going several days without seeing or hearing any cars or motorcycles?  Also, let’s talk about the food! You don’t know the meaning of fresh seafood until you’ve eaten on Gili Trawangan.  Dozens of beach cafes serve the freshest fish possible, grilled to order; but there’s also some stellar Italian food, continental fare, vegetarian delights.

Looking back at Lombok from Gili TrawanganJune 11th, Thursday ~  [Gili Trawangan to Mangsit Beach, Lombok]  Today we’ll take a quick boat ride to the mainland of Lombok and head a bit south to the Mangsit Beach area (just north of the tourist center of Senggigi).  On the way to Mangsit, we’ll head to a pristine pair of waterfalls in the north part of the island. The rugged beauty of this mountain will transport you to ancient times.

June 12th, Friday ~ [Mangsit Beach]  Our resort on Mangsit sits on a delightful beach which offers surfing, swimming, and even fishing options. The pools look out onto the water and, more impressively, over the Lombok Strait onto Bali’s Mount Agung. This volcano on Bali provides a stunning sunset silhouette as the sun sinks behind the island of Bali each evening.

This beach resort also has an impressive hillside spa where we can indulge our bodies in deep massage and treatments, enjoy the refreshing pools, gorgeous beachside qigong class. Here we may also explore the rescued animal farm with exotic birds and even deer.  When we’re not practicing qigong “upstairs” at the hillside location, there’s also a beautiful meditation garden for some breezy morning or evening qigong outside

June 13th, Saturday ~ [Mangsit Beach, Lombok to Ubud, Bali] From the beach we’ll drive inland and fly out from Lombok’s new international airport, heading back to Bali. Our accommodations are a stone’s throw from working rice fields, but a short distance away from the central shopping district with local batik fabrics, artisan handicrafts, jewelry, scarves, wood carvings, coffee, spices, and one of a kind decor pieces. 

photo-for-fb0008June 14th, Sunday ~  [Ubud, Bali]  You won’t believe we’re in the center of buzzing Ubud as you listen to the birds sing while you’re lounging in one of pools on site; sure enough, though, we’re in the beating heart of Bali’s cultural center, with dance performances, shows, museums, and world-class dining. You also have the opportunity for some add-on activities, such as downhill biking on Bali’s volcanoes or hiking. 

June 15th, Monday~ [Ubud]  During our stay in Ubud we’ll attend a first class cooking class that includes a visit to the market; more than just learning how to prepare the food, you’ll understand more about the beating heart of Bali’s beautiful and rich culture. Our class at a family compound will help you understand daily life in this special part of the world and the role of each family member.

June 16th, Tuesday ~ [Ubud]  This is our last full day in Ubud, especially reserved to revisit any of your favorite places or performances or to keep exploring new nooks & crannies! Now’s the time to seek out those special souvenirs or presents for your friends that couldn’t make it.  We can never get enough Ubud cuisine—is there anything left on your list you haven’t sampled yet? Gado-gado, nasi goring, bakso, beef rending… Did you know that beef rendang was voted by CNN readers as the best food on the planet? Click here to read that article and click here to read about 40 of Indonesia’s best dishes.

June 17th, Wednesday ~ [Ubud to home]  We’ll enjoy a final breakfast together before heading back to the airport in Denpasar.  You’ll return refreshed, rejuvenated, strong in body, mind, and spirit.

The all-inclusive price for this trip is $3195, based on double-occupancy rooms. If you wish to have your own private accommodation, there is an additional $570 single supplement in order to provide you with your own room. If you wish to join in a double-occupancy room but don’t have a roommate, please contact Lauren and we will do our best to match you with a suitable partner who is also looking for a roommate (although there are no guarantees we can find you a roommate!)

What’s Included?

INCLUDED IN YOUR JOURNEY IS THE FOLLOWING: all lodging; breakfast, lunch, and dinner; all the water, tea, and coffee your heart desires; all transportation in and between Bali and Lombok; daily qigong classes; site entrance fees; all tips and donations; one spa massage; one cooking class; snorkeling trip around the Gilis.  We also provide a dedicated guest phone for international calls home.

Guests are responsible for: plane fare to and from Bali, required travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads), Indonesian visa (on arrival, $25 USD), specialty beverages (alcohol, vegetable juices, smoothies), desserts, souvenirs, and extra excursions/optional activities.

How do I sign up?

1. Send Lauren an email at [email protected] and tell us that you’re interested! You can also leave a message at 941-363-1065; as we are most likely on Asia time, we will call you back as soon as we possibly can. We’ll also address any questions you may have about the trip. We will send you a contract that you will return with your deposit.

2. Fully reserve your spot by paying the deposit of $700 and returning the contract. We love checks (made out to “Insight Travels, LLC” and sent to the address on the contract) and we’re now accepting credit card payments via PayPal (you can find the form below).  There is a minimum of 6 guests that must sign up in order for this trip to take place. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up.  If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 3 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.

3. Complete the Registration Questions in the next tab on this page.

4. You’re in! Now you need a plane ticket to Bali; we’ll help you with details about flights to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. Please click here to read about some good approaches to buying a ticket to Bali from the US, including questions about flight time and routes. 


Qigong in Bali & Lombok, June 2015



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You will have the opportunity of twice daily qigong classes with Dr. Ashton, once in the morning before breakfast and another opportunity late afternoon before dinner. Of course, it’s totally up to you to participate in them or not.

Margaret has designed this qigong experience with you in mind. She will sit down with everyone as a group when we first arrive to find out what everyone wants to get out of their qigong experience during this retreat. The experience can be as intense or relaxing as you decide. If you have any injuries or chronic issues, please share with us before the trip.

Margaret’s classes are typically a progression into the Ten Treasures of Qigong with elements of Tai Chi Easy included. No previous Qigong or Tai Chi experience is necessary but if you’ve been around the block a time or two, Margaret will make sure you deepen that experience within the overall program.

Qigong is a powerful system of healing and energy medicine from China. It is the art and science of using breathing techniques, gentle movement, and meditation to cleanse, strengthen, and circulate the life energy (qi). Qigong practice leads to better health and vitality and a tranquil state of mind. Qigong has been shown to improve posture and respiration, induce the relaxation response, cause favorable changes in blood chemistry, and improve self- awareness and concentration. Research suggests that Qigong may be beneficial for Asthma, Arthritis, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, Pain, and a wide variety of common ailments. 

Click on a picture for the larger, higher resolution photo. Once inside the album, you can click through using your arrow keys!

 

We travel the world year-round looking for comfortable hotels in gorgeous areas that have stellar locations, relaxing spas, convenient amenities, and innovative yoga and qigong spaces–we boldly do yoga where no one has done yoga before!  We have spent years and a small fortune traveling to, inspecting, and staying in all of these accommodations, so we like to protect them (like our babies!)  We don’t publish the names on the website because we have worked very hard to establish this combination of hotels and we’d like to think of them as “trade secrets.” We can vouch for all of these accommodations, as we have stayed there ourselves and developed relationships with the owners and staff.

All hotels we use have hot and cold water, wifi (in the room or in common areas), and air conditioning. [Note: twin beds are available if you and your roommate request them in our Registration Questions.] Please see the info sheets below for photos (most of them taken by us!) and know that you can click on the pictures to see a larger size; enjoy these descriptions of our lodging for 2015’s Bali & Lombok trips, and contact us if you have any questions!

Bali  2015 accommodations sheet REVISED 2

Bali  2015 accommodations sheet REVISED 2 Bali 2015 accommodations sheet REVISED 1

Optional activities in Bali & Lombok We’ve included in the price activities we think everyone will enjoy. However, there is plenty more to make your time in Bali and Lombok either more exhilarating or more relaxing! Here is an example list of extra activities by town; we’ve included prices when they are available. Please note that these amounts are approximate, based on 2013 prices.

UBUD::

  • Visit coffee, spice & fruit plantation and try Luwak coffee.
  • Downhill biking in Ubud, with a stop at a family compound, a coffee/spice plantation, with lunch included.
  • Visit a temple and a family house/compound. Organic buffet lunch in the village.
  • Climb Mt. Batur for sunrise.  $100 Drive to start at 2am, back in Ubud by around 10:30am. Lonely Planet recently ranked it as the 2nd best sunrise in the world.
  • Shopping trip for furniture/artifacts. $50 includes private transport and lunch. BJ will take you to places to look at furnishings for your home. Shipping & customs can be arranged (reasonable cost but takes ~2 months). You can furnish your whole house for the same cost as furnishing one room at a furniture store in the USA. (Note that the cost is only for transportation and lunch; BJ’s advice is complimentary!)
  • Visit a local Balinese healer/shaman.

GILI TRAWANGAN & MAINLAND LOMBOK::

  •  Scuba diving trips around the island with reputable diving companies; will you see turtles, eels, maybe the namesake of Shark Point? It’s possible!

THROUGHOUT::

  • Massage and spa treatments.

Bakso (meatball noodle soup)

Bakso (meatball noodle soup)

A big concern for many travelers is “What will I eat overseas?!”  There are so many TV shows these days that showcase international dishes that seem unusual, bizarre, or even downright unappetizing to Western palates. As entertaining as these shows might be, I think they do a disservice to would-be travelers. My husband just reminded me that Andrew Zimmern’s show had me convinced that every dish in Indonesia used blood as an ingredient. (And let me tell you that after 4 months in Indonesia over the past 2 years, I have not seen it even once!) Before we get into the basics of Indonesian food, let me tell you that the places we’ll be taking you in Bali & Lombok all have a huge Western food selection, as well: pizza, pastas, burgers, fries, etc. So, if you’re in need of some comfort food or familiar tastes, you’ll be well taken care of.  (BJ & I maintain that Ubud, Bali has some of the best Italian food in the world!) One more note: Vegetarians will find plenty to eat in these areas, particularly with the addition of tofu and tempeh. Pescatarians (those who eat fish) will be in heaven, and we’ve successfully toured with Celiacs (allergic to gluten) in this part of the world with no problem. It is possible to eat plenty of proteins and local vegetables dishes, as well, to maintain a low carbohydrate diet.

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng

Indonesian food is extremely accessible to foreigners, even though it may go by unfamiliar names. In addition, tofu and tempeh are easier to find in Indonesia than anywhere else in SE Asia. (Tempeh is a soy protein similar to tofu but less processed and with greater health benefits due to its fermentation. It’s actually quite delicious!)  Check it out!

  • Nasi Goreng = fried rice (Nasi means rice, and Goreng means “fried.”)  This can be served with meat or tofu/tempeh; typically has a fried egg on top and shrimp rice crackers on the side.
  • Mie Goreng = fried noodles (Mie = noodles).  Typically wheat noodles—think “Top Ramen” style.
  • Sate (satay) = BBQed meat (or tofu/tempeh) on skewers.
  • Bakso = meatball soup, but can be any sort of meat, including fish.
  • Gado gado = bear with us on this one, as it sounds off-putting but is delightful.  It’s a salad of cooked greens and sprouts with peanut sauce on top, served with tofu/tempeh, a boiled egg, and a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumber, and sometimes green beans.  Typically also served with rice crackers. Somehow it all works, and is a solid vegetarian choice.
  • Gado Gado

    Gado Gado

    Lumpia = fried spring rolls

  • Cap Cay (chap chai) = stirfried vegetables, Chinese-style, with meat or tofu/tempeh
  • Beef Rendang = recently won a CNN Reader Poll for best dish in the world (click here for that story). This dish features beef that is slooooow cooked in a flavorful curry until you’re left with melt-in-your-mouth brisket-style beef with just hints of spice. Addictive.
  • Soto ayam = chicken soup

A Quick Glossary Ayam = chicken Ikan = fish Tahu = tofu Air = Water (I know!) Teh = tea Kopi = coffee  (note: coffee is served as a fine powder that is mixed with hot water, not usually a drip-brew.)

  • Will I need a visa? What about a passport?

 Yes and yes!  Your passport should not expire 6 months before the end of the scheduled trip.  That is, if the trip in January 1 – January 15, 2015, your passport should be valid until at least July 15th, 2015.

 You will receive your Indonesian visa-on-arrival at the airport for $25 USD; please do bring US dollars for this (exact change) to make the process as smooth as possible.

  •  What vaccines do I need?

No vaccines are required for entry, but we encourage guests to work with their own physicians or their local health department’s travel vaccine department about these choices.  The CDC’s site (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/indonesia) is also a good thing to check, but know that they tend toward the overly cautious side.

 We recommend all people traveling in Asia receive a Hepatitis A vaccine, Typhoid vaccine, and make sure their Tetanus vaccines are up to date.

  •  What about Malaria?

 When people envision traveling in Asia, they almost certainly imagine a landscape thick with killer mosquitoes; we’ve found that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We actually often comment to each that we can’t believe how few mosquitoes we encounter on our travels!

 While you need to discuss this question with your doctor, we feel that the minimal risk of malaria only warrants a bit of “bite-prevention.”  Neither of us take any anti-malarial medication; rather we use common sense approaches to prevent being bitten, including long sleeves/pants at dawn/dusk, mosquito repellant, and mosquito nets at night when necessary. There is no vaccine for dengue fever, which is also transmitted via mosquito bite, so taking the above precautions is important all around.

  • How will I get by without knowing the local language?

 If English is your first language, you are truly in luck.  We are constantly amazed by how much Asia speaks English—and relatively well, considering it’s usually they’re 3rd or 4th language!

 That said, we always like to provide you with a few words that will go a long way, including the local greetings and words like “Delicious!” (Enak Sekali!) and “See you later!” (Sampai Jumpa Lagi!)  It’s not required, but it always elicits a smile and we think it’s only right to learn at least a few local words.

  •  What about food?  I don’t know if I like Indonesian food!

 This seems to be a common concern amongst our guests, and certainly within our own families. [Lauren’s mom thinks we don’t eat (HA!) and BJ’s mom thinks we live on nothing but fried tarantulas and intestines, thanks to shows like Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods. In all fairness, though…we have eaten tarantulas.

We will always give you the inside scoop on local foods and delicacies; sometimes the dishes often sound exotic (like Mie Goreng) but are usually quite accessible (Mie Goreng = “Fried Noodles.”)  Even if you don’t want to venture into local fare, almost every single restaurant in Bali & Lombok have Western food on the menu, everything from pizza to French fries to spaghetti carbonara (we maintain that Bali has some of the best Italian food in the world!)  No worries (and no judgment) if you’re craving comfort food—it’s available!

  •  I have food allergies/intolerances or I’m a vegetarian/vegan—will I be OK?

 One of our Registration Questions you’ll answer when you sign up for a trip asks about any food allergies or intolerance you may have. We’ve had celiac guests successfully navigate Indonesia (including Bali and Lombok); vegetarians should have no problem anywhere on our travels. Vegans will have to work slightly harder to ensure that no fish sauce is used in their dishes, but it is entirely possible.

 Celiactravel.com has GREAT printable cards in local languages to present to restaurants and hotels about your intolerance of gluten. Click here for the Indonesian version.  If you have multiple dietary needs, it may be worth your while to check out these specialty cards, available in 60 different languages. Let’s talk more about your specific needs—drop us an email and ask!

  •  Do I have to hang out with the group or can I adventure on my own?

 You are more than welcome to participate in all or none of our scheduled group activities. We don’t want you to feel like you are at Travel Boot Camp–this is your vacation after all!  That said, we plan our outings carefully in order to make them the most pleasant (best weather, fewest tourists, etc) so some of our activities DO take place around dawn. If that’s not your cup of tea, feel free to snooze away!  Just make sure you have the hotel business card to show to taxi drivers (or helpful people on the street) in case you get turned around during solo exploration.

  •  Do I need travel insurance?

 We require that our guests carry travel insurance because it just makes sense.  It’s a relatively small expense but affords huge peace of mind!

 When choosing a travel insurance policy we require that you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We also recommend you take out trip cancellation insurance, as this may cover cancellation penalties in certain circumstances if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.

We like World Nomads, but ultimately you have to choose the one that is right for you. If you’re 70 years old or older, you’ll have to use a different company; we like Travel Guard. We’ll be asking for confirmation of your travel insurance 60 days before your departure. Please click on the “Travel Insurance” tab on this page to get a quote. We love the services of these companies so much that we became affiliates, so we would ask that if you do choose to purchase these policies, you do it through our links.

  •  What about money? Can I use credit cards? Will there be ATMs?

 Don’t count on using credit cards except for very large purchases (furniture, rugs, etc); most stores will only take cash. Some high end boutiques and galleries in Ubud will also take credit cards.

 There will be ATMs at every destination, they can be few and far between.  ATM fees can be high (although some banks, like Charles Schwab, refund all foreign ATM fees) so plan to get out a large chunk of money instead of getting a lot of small withdrawals.  ATMs are a very convenient way to get local currency, though.

 Make sure you alert your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling abroad so they don’t put a hold on your card when they see it being used overseas!

  •  Can I smoke?  Will other people be smoking?

 None of our hotels allow smoking in the room and we don’t allow it during group dinners or other group activities. Yes, that means no smoking during yoga class, even  😉  That said, smoking is not uncommon (typically by other foreigners) and should you need to, you’ll be able to find a spot outside to do the deed. Otherwise, we’ll avoid smoking and breathe in that clean Bali air!

  •  How do I get there?

 Read this blog by BJ for a better idea of how to fly from Bali to US: http://www.retreatours.com/2014/05/flying-from-the-us-to-bali; this articles covers travel time and route options. We can help you select a flight that suits your needs when the times comes.

  •  How many people are going?

A minimum of 7 guests is required to make this trip happen, and we’re only taking up to 12 guests total. We will hold your deposit & payments until the minimum number of guests have signed up.  If the minimum number of guests have not signed up 3 months prior to the departure date, we’ll give you the option to transfer your reservation to another tour or fully refund your money.

Bali Qigong RetreaTour™ Packing List  (12 days/12 nights)

Notes:

* You will be able to have laundry done and/or wash small things or undergarments by hand in your room.

We’ve designed the following recommendations with these facts in mind:

* Temples require that legs and shoulders be covered (which can be done with scarves/sarongs)

* Although very touristed and Westernized, Indonesian culture is still relatively modest.

* Keep in mind that Bj & Lauren travel year-round so we’re programmed to travel light; use this as a jumping off point, and know that the lighter your luggage is, the happier you will be while moving it.  Plus, the more souvenirs you can bring back!!

* At the end of the day, you’d be able to purchase almost anything you need in Bali or Lombok, so you don’t need to pack as if you’re going to the moon or a deserted island. Just pack your favorites & have fun!

“The List”

* Undergarments (up to you, but we’d recommend at least 5 pair)

* One pair of athletic shoes /some socks should you decide to participate in some hiking or bike riding

* One pair or more of sandals/flip-flops

* At least one light scarf or sarong for covering shoulders and/or legs if you go inside a temple and are wearing shorts or a sleeveless top.  (Temples require that legs and shoulders be covered. They very often will have shawls ‘for rent.’) You can DEFINITELY buy a sarong in Bali or Lombok for just a few dollars.

* 1-2 pair modest shorts (around the knee or not too much above), skirts, or capri pants

* 1-3 pair light pants or long skirt to cover up at night (added mosquito protection) or when going to temples

* 3-5 lightweight shirts, short-sleeved or sleeveless/tanktops.

* 1-2 swimsuits, as every hotel will have at least one pool or ocean within a stone’s throw! A swimsuit cover up, too, if you want to lounge after taking a dip.

* While we don’t have anything too fancy on the agenda, feel free to bring any sundresses or lightweight dresses you enjoy wearing!

* Whatever you like to sleep in (especially for those of you with roommates!  😉 )

* Some cozy clothes to bum around in by the pool or in your room, if that wasn’t already taken care of above.

* Hat with a brim for sun protection

* Preferred qigong clothes; it will be warm & humid, so base your decisions on that fact!

Non-clothing items:

* PASSPORT!  ; )   Please also have a copy of your passport, as well. (Again, make sure it’s valid at least 6 months from the date of arrival in Bali.)

* Sunscreen; although you can buy it in Bali, it’s MUCH more expensive.

* Insect repellant

* Sunglasses

* Prescription glasses and/or contact lenses & supplies

* Eyeshades or ear plugs if they help you sleep in a new place or on the airplane; there are also more than a few eager roosters around!

* Plug adaptor for Bali & Lombok (they use the 2-prong European-style one there): http://www.amazon.com/eForCity-COTHPLUGUN01-Universal-Charger-Adapter/dp/B000YN01X4/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1391400681&sr=1-2&keywords=2+prong+adaptor+asia

* Notebook or journal is highly recommended!

* Alarm clock in some fashion, be it a watch or your phone.

* Camera / camera battery charger / memory cards

* If you bring your phone (for wifi, etc), don’t forget your charger!

* ATM card for any money for optional activities or souvenirs; please call the issuing bank beforehand to let them know you will be traveling in Indonesia (and any other layover stops) so they don’t put a hold on your card.

* A couple small packs of tissues, whether for running noses, sweaty foreheads, or emergency toilet paper.

* Small flashlight or flashlight app on your phone if you go exploring after dark (or just for walking back to your room some evenings!)

* Any prescription drugs you may need; although there are phramacies readily available in most of the cities we will be staying in, we’d prefer you are well-stocked on both prescription and over-the-counter products you anticipate needing, including things like painkillers (ibuprofren)

* Speaking of over-the-counter drugs, you may want to bring melatonin and/or Benadryl to help you fall & stay asleep the first few nights due to jetlag.  If you have a sensitive stomach when adjusting to new food, some Imodium might also be a good idea.

* Speaking of drugs, we just want to reiterate that Indonesia has a zero tolerance policy on illegal drugs!

* TSA-approved locks for your suitcases

* Preferred toiletries; all of the places we will be staying have soap and even shampoo in the bathroom, but you may want to bring a small bottle of conditioner.  Complimentary hotel toothpaste tends to be pretty gross, so don’t forget toothpaste, too!

* Reading material (print or electronic!) for the plane and lazy days by the pool

singapore Why Singapore?

Singapore is truly a city of superlatives!  While you’re “in the neighborhood,” we would be remiss if we didn’t advise a stop in this island country. It boasts the world’s largest aquarium, one of the world’s best zoos, a phenomenal botanical garden that is under review by UNESCO for becoming a World Heritage Site, a prized National Orchid Garden, the world’s tallest ferris wheel, the best airport in the world, the most expensive building ever built (at $6B) that houses the world’s highest swimming pool (at 57 stories)…. And that’s to say nothing of the shopping and the eating!! This island country is a feast for ALL the senses.  It’s a challenge not to run yourself ragged trying to see everything there is to see, which is why we’ve created a list of the “greatest hits” and a selection of hotels that are centrally located.

A must on this leg of the trip is eating at a hawker center—essentially a covered food court stuffed to the gills with the tastiest, least expensive foods from around the region.  Singapore is a tantalizing culinary crossroads, heavily influenced by flavors from Malaysia, China, India, as well as Thailand, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam.  You can explore the city from hawker center to hawker center, if you wish!  And seeing the laser show at Marina Bay Sands is a must; the only question is, which side of the bay do you want to see it from? And yes, “both” is an option, as it plays twice a night.

Singapore has something for everyone, but not everyone wants to do the same thing! That’s why we’re not offering a structured tour of Singapore. Some people might want to spend all day at the National Orchid Garden, while others might prefer a hefty dose of retail therapy on Orchard Road.  To each their own, we say! Instead, we can customize a trip based on how long you want to stay there (we recommend 3 days, although 2 is doable and more is better!) and how much you’d like to spend.  We can create an itinerary based on your interests that you can easily follow in your own; between the MRT trains (Mass Rapid Transit), buses, and taxis–not to mention how walkable much of the city is–we know you’ll find it a safe, easy, convenient place to navigate.   Hotel options vary between $50 and $5000–it’s all up to you!  Contact us today to start planning your Singapore 2015 extension!

SEA aquarium

We’re big proponents of Travel Insurance. We believe it instills a sense of security and assurance that sets a positive tone for the entire trip, and this is part of the reason that we require it for all Insight Travels & RetreaTours™ trips. We’ve done much research and found that we prefer World Nomads for our guests age 69 and younger (click here to learn more about World Nomads). For our guests 70 and older, we prefer Travel Guard (click here to learn more about Travel Guard). We believe in each of these companies so strongly that we’ve aligned ourselves with them as affiliates. If you choose to purchase policies through these companies, we ask that you please use these links so that we may continue to grow our relationship with them.

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How to Fly to Bali

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