Updated: 3 days ago
It’s now been a year since Covid has let us carry on with our lives.
Back to Normal On April 1st 2022 it was the start of “getting back to normal” for us. Many said we would have a new normal. As far as we can see, it’s "the same normal”, with a few added bumps in the road like inflation going through the roof, however, this is probably a lot more to do with the Russian / Ukrainian conflict than Covid. It feels like five years ago that I flew back to Bali and got the 4x4 out of storage after Covid. The 4x4 looked like it had been in storage for 10 years with all the dust, missing parts, and fading colours. So much money had to be spent straight away with a new turbo, new canopy liner repairs, new stickers, a polish, and interior clean, new motor, new tyres, new battery, plus a new customer viewing glass coming in at around 100 million Rupee before we did our first tour. Of course, all this happened around 12 months ago, however, it feels like a long 12 months.
Increased Fees A few things have changed since then: 50,000 Kintamani Foreigner Entry Fee (up from 35,000) 25,000 Kintamani Local Fee (Up from being 'Free') 40,000 Lava Management Fee per vehicle (No such fee before) 100,000 Conservation Fee for our 4x4 Volcano Explorer Private Tour, & Traditional Village, Bamboo Forrest & 4x4 Volcano Explorer Private Tour (Up from being 'Free') This on top of the price of fuel jumping up by 25% in a single day. More if you use the Pertamina Dex (The best diesel fuel you can buy in Indonesia) we use for our 4x4. Everything is up, and showing no signs of slowing down in the near future. Prices keep rising. Don’t worry, we’ll continue to hold our prices as best we can, and inform you of any new government fees that have to be added on. Our tours will incrementally increase as government fees keep getting added on or are increased.
No Lava Tube On top of this we have had to abandon the Lava Cave in our 4x4 Volcano Explorer Private Tour. The lava cave has completely collapsed, and is no longer fit for guests to visit. People used to love this feature of our tours, I loved it. Luckily no one was inside when the lava tube collapsed. This would have been because there were no tourists. Covid probably saved a few lives here.
Personal Accident Insurance The Indonesian government has recently changed the rules around accident insurance, (January 1st 2023 was the cut off date) and public liability insurance. According to the Indonesian insurance brokers we've been speaking to they have many tour operators looking to get Personal Accident Insurance for their guests, and one insurance company seems to be supplying this much needed insurance however, with limitations. For example one insurance company, wont let anyone above 60 do any tour of any kind, (60 is the new middle age, if an insurance company wont let a 60 year old do Bali tours, they're living in the dark ages) and if you take their insurance they want nearly 100,000 per person below 60 years of age. A lot of our guests are over 60. So, we’ve had to change our wording on our website and all of our Bali tour descriptions. This was a huge undertaking. We also have found that Jasindo Assurance (one of the government insurance brokers) will do personal accident insurance at 30,000 per person, however, they want to know the full name, copy of the guests passport, nationality, and age of each guest before doing a tour. No agent passes on this information to us, and I wouldn't feel comfortable as a guest of another tour company, doing a day tour handing over my passport either. Some people book a tour and are on that tour in an hour, there's no time to collect passports and book insurance. On top of this, Jasindo Assurance don't reply to emails. I’ve had to go in to the Jasindo office many times because they don't answer emails. There would be no guarantee that if I sent all the information and paid the money the guest would be covered as we have to wait for confirmation from Jasindo. It’s to hard, so we put the onus back onto the guest to have their own travel insurance. Our insurance section now reads like this:
Q: Does Expedition Bali Tours have insurance? A: Great question. We used to have accident insurance for our guests, however we've found Indonesian accident insurance to be less than adequate. Please ensure you have your own travel insurance before booking our tours. That said, if you know of a place that has insurance for tourists, that goes up to at least 75 years of age (The new "middle age”), answers their emails within 24 hours, and is reasonably priced, we’d be happy to have a chat with the insurance company and take on getting insurance again.
No More Deluxe Version There is one other step we have taken that needs to be acknowledged and passed on to our guests and agents. We no longer have deluxe versions of our tours. The “deluxe” version was where we added in Toya Devasya Natural Hot Springs. This option has been completely removed from all of our advertising material and our website with no direct guests being able to access this feature unless they ask, however, we’re still doing this for our agents. We’ll add Toya Devasya if if you like as an add on for your / our guests; we're no longer promoting it to our guests that do our Bali tours, that's all. Have a great weekend