How was your Explore Tour Leader?
Ari was very knowledgeable and easy going, and related well to us all. He seemed to quickly pick up on the interests, strengths and limitations of those in the group. He had a good sense of humour and adjusted the itinerary when possible to ensure we were able to get good snorkelling or to find the best island for our beach barbecue, avoiding the planned one which was hosting a wedding party!
What tips would you give to someone else booking this tour?
Try to download as much as possible of the trip notes provided by the tour operator Sea Trek Adventures. We only found out once on board that free laundry (2 items pp pd) is included, thus reducing what needs to be packed, as are all soft drinks. Beer prices on board are reasonable, but wines and spirits very expensive - but taking 'your favourite tipple' on the ship is ok. Unless you are very choosey about your snorkelling gear that provided onboard was very good - certainly the best we' ve had on previous trips. And be prepared to go on a diet on your return as good and ample local cuisine provided.
Do you have anything else to add?
Explore's use of Swastika Bungalows is good, but a lot of variation in the size of the rooms. The room allocated us via Explore was very good but be prepared to query the room if the hotel gives you a smaller one in a less good position. The local travel agent who is around reception offers numerous tours in Bali and we found him genuine,reliable and competitively priced. We also took a day trip to Borobudur etc in Java, which at $240 each is pricey but in fact good valueas all inclusive of flights, entrance fees, guide and driver, lunch. We booked that from UK with BaliTours.