Droomreis Singapore-Java-Bali-Komodo (maatwerk groepsreis)
Voor een groep van 30 Belgische reisvrienden hebben we een maatwerk reis samengesteld.
Dag Annemarie, Ja, het was een Droomreis, eigenlijk van A tot Z.
Maar natuurlijk loopt nooit alles helemaal perfect, en wilde ik nog wat verbeterpuntjes aan je doorgeven,
zij het dus DUIDELIJK NIET ALS KRITIEK, maar gewoon om eventueel NOG perfecter te worden in de toekomst.
Ik neem hiervoor nog even de tijd, en zal dat meteen ook in het Engels doen, opdat jij de diverse lokale agenten en hun vertegenwoordigers mee op de hoogte zou kunnen brengen.
Ik begin nu alvast met Singapore:
Very easy-going and friendly wellcome at the airport (where we arrived almost an hour too soon). Our coach nevertheless arrived only minutes later, and off we went...
to the Royal Hotel where of course nothing was prepared for a group arriving so early. They told us to return at 14h, but we could change somewhat in a special room near the reception.
We took the RMT (impossible without cash - but fortunately Jempie had changed enough before arriving). Rather stupid that we couldn't buy all the tickets,
paying with credit card, so we lost 20 mins paying ticket per ticket tot the machines...
We took the "prepared" little walk in the old centre (cathedral, City Hall, Courts of Justice, Harbour front,...) but that was already finished at 9h, when simply nothing was open to have a coffee or whatever.
So we took the hop-on-hop-off opportunity for a full city tour, ending at the observation wheel for a truly magnificent free sight of the city.
After that, most returned immediately to the hotel for check-in, but that took much longer than 14h (it was a Sunday). Some rooms were only ready after 15h (like mine, the only single one...).
The hotel Royal must have been a high quality hotel, but is now on its return. I couldn't phone home from my room (my mobile wasn't working), for instance, and I had to come down to reception, where they could keep me under surveillance and make me pay in cash immediately after the call... A bit awkward, having a private talk with my wife in the middle of the reception hall. Still: personnel was very, very friendly.
Only one real problem was the room (the only one for three ladies) with some kind of leak in the bath. After only one shower the whole bathroom was simply flooding, including all the towels.
We went to reception three times to have this fixed, but nothing happened and in the end I had to complain myself. I wanted to see their plumber on the spot myself and immediately went up to that room.
At last he appeared, including his manager, and then they finally agreed to give another room to the ladies. It was past 22h.
But still: the friendly personnel made up for this, and their opening the breakfast room at 6h (half an hour earlier than "normal") because of our early departure was an absolute plus.
Dag Annemarie, Zoals beloofd, hierbij nog wat opmerkingen (ook voor de betrokkenen):
We didn’t have the least of problems in Jakarta, changing towards a Garuda flight for Yogjakarta. No extra payment for airport taxes either.
Arriving in Yogja, we met Agung, who immediately turned out to be a perfect guide. Within minutes, we had our original programme changed,
although he preferred us to do Borobodur and Prambanan the next day, since Kraton, etc… would be closed on account of the elections.
But two of our group were only arriving one day later, so we kept Borobodur & Prambanan for the Thursday morning, adding Kraton in between (after the fantastic breakfast at Mercure).
Agung improvised a very interesting morning tour of batik and silver factories, and we were all happy with an afternoon “off” at the swimming pool or in town.
The Mercure hotel performed way above standards, and should be a fixed address in what Merapi Tours organizes.
We were glad that Agung even accompanied us to Bromo, and the day after to the airport. He kept the group together on the mountain, and waited for the very last one at the foot of Bromo.
Tosari hotel has a problem with its plumbing. In my room (and that of my neighbours), it was as if somebody was hitting stones in the bathroom.
Later, we heard it’s the working of the warm water, which is good for the warm water, but awful to get some rest.
Even Agung couldn’t do a lot about this (and I must say: the rest of the hotel and its services had enormously changed in many positive ways since my last visit 5 years ago).
Getting from Surabaya to Denpasar involved the first extra payment for airport taxes. In this case, however, I was able to pay for all 30 participants in one go, and check-in was relatively easy. Only when we traveled from Denpasar to Lombok, I was obliged to make everybody pay apart. There, we could only have 10 kgs of luggage, so almost everybody had to pay an extra fee (at the furthest counter), return for the flight ticket, and then proceed to the airport tax counter, where your ticket was stamped after paying the airport tax. Highly inefficient…
Arriving in Denpasar, we immediately found our guide, who was rather a silent (and ever repeating) guy, but then again: we hadn’t asked for a real programme. This was mainly provided by Agus, the manager of Nick’s Pension. A very likeable person, who immediately got everybody’s interest. 18 people decided to participate in the traditional dance-night, and 21 went for the bicycle trip, plus 5 for the cooking course. The hotel was indeed quite centrally located, extremely friendly and helpful, and gets all the marks we can give. Ubud was a treat!
Very soon afterwards, we had to leave again, for Lombok (details airport, see above), where Din was waiting for us, with two Perama buses. Again, an excellent guide, whom we learned to know and appreciate enormously, on board of the ship that became home for almost 5 days. He was everywhere, did anything you could think of asking,… He even taught two ladies WHO CANNOT SWIM AT ALL how to snorkle, in only three “lessons”. Waw.
Everything went well on board the boat, and we hope we thanked the 12-men-crew (!) enough for all their services.
Very glad also with the hotel in Labuan Bajo, although it really is quite far from the harbor. But service and qualities of accommodation, swimming pool, etc… were fantastic. Thanks.