This is an ongoing list and info and links will be continually added as appropriate
The list has been compiled from thoughts, queries and we will keep adding points as they arise. Hopefully over time we’ll have a reasonably comprehensive list of travel tips for trave/stay at the Ashram, Bali or Indonesia in general.
Before you leave
Passport: You need a valid passport with at least six months before expiry and a valid return flight ticket out of Indonesia on your arrival
Visa On Arrival (VOA) at DPS airport: Non Indonesian passport holders from approved countries can apply for 30 day VOA for free.
Travel Insurance: No mincing words here – IT IS A MUST! esp. in these days of budget travel/airlines with fixed date flights which are more prone to flight changes or cancellation, not to mention horrendous implications of emergency medical needs (in the past from Australia I found that STA or AAMI are offering competitive rates or simply go through the airlines’ travel insurance).
Currency: I have also been asked about what cash or currency to bring. Any major currency is fairly easy to exchange at the money changer so there is little reason to ‘arm’ yourself with USD apart for paying for your visa at the airport. Cash attracts slightly higher rates than travelers cheque (also slightly easier to exchange) and then of course there is the ATM (there is a fee of about AUD 9.00 in my case so it’s prudent to ‘plan’ your cash needs and limit the withdrawals). There are plenty of money changers around Candidasa and the new ATM is now right outside the Ashram for withdrawal limit per transaction to IDR 1,500,000 (yup, we’re all millionaires and its about AUD 150) whilst its half an hour away at Amlapura you can get up to IDR 2M transaction.
What to bring to the Ashram: In each room the Ashram provides clean sheets, towels and toilet rolls but you must bring your own soap and toothbrush etc. One very handy thing to bring is an LED battery powered Miner’s Light which is very handy for reading in bed (extra handy when you are in a shared bungalow so you won’t disturb your ‘roomie’) and also for finding your way around in the dark at night, or on your way to the main buildings for meals etc.
Electric Plugs: I always travel with a small power board for all my appliances (shaver, mobile phones, pc etc) as it requires only one power socket point and one adaptor from local to your own country’s plug. Bali/Indonesia uses the unearthed two round prongs plug system 220V. Power adaptors are also avail from the Gemini shop.
Ashram Airport Pickup: If you have arranged for an Airport Pick-up with us then look for your driver who will be waiting at the passenger exit (ie after you go through then exiting the Duty Free Shop). He will be holding a Gedong Gandhi Ashram sign with your name and flight number as his ID (so do not volunteer this info) and if he is not there simply head to the nearby Information Desk and wait there as all our drivers are instructed to keep an eye on the Info Desk. The fallback plan is to ask the Info Desk to call for the Gedong Gandhi Ashram driver through the PA and/or for them to call the Ashram +62 363 41108 (or if you are part of the organised yoga retreat program the cell number provided to you) for you if you have no roaming phone or VOIP call access
Departure Tax/Out of DPS flight: This used to be IDR 200,000 but is now all included in the airline ticket as part of (very commendable) efficiency drive by President ‘Jokowi’ to do away with collectors (and a welcome reduction of one queue from the travelers point of view) at airports.
To stay connected: The Ashram has a wifi available to guests for free, but the range is limited to around the office or Bale Puja where the members pray and where we have our ‘communal’ meal (also the best time to chat/catch up without raising the ire of our yoga teacher!) Mobile phone roaming is expensive but if your phone is unlocked you can buy the cheap SIM card for local calls and also to receive overseas calls from friends with no penalty (your friend will still pay international rates but at least you don’t have to pay it as well). These days of smart phones it’s much more effective to call using WhatsApp, FB Messenger and of course Skype over the Ashram’s wifi for free. Of course you can also try to refrain from using your internet connection to a minimum and immerse yourself more to the day to day things at the Ashram.
Security at The Ashram: While we rarely have problems with thefts, number one rule while traveling is always to limit your risk exposure or temptation to others. As part of the community focus we do have the odd villagers fishing from our seawalls so it’s best to be security conscious. Close all windows without security bars and lock your bungalow even when you go just ‘for a moment’. Also it is important to leave your valuables and passports and extra cash in the office for safekeeping and keep the odd 1 or 2 million rups (approx the equivalent UD 200 or US 140) which is more than you are likely to need for the odd ventures to the cafes, bars, massages and the likes as you won’t need any cash at all for food at the Ashram where the meals are supplied).
Yoga Mat: is provided along with yoga straps, blocks but if you have favourites or other paraphernalia, please bring them along with you. If the yoga mat is a weight concern when it comes to traveling back then why not consider donating it to the Ashram for use by both the members and the guests (and muchas gracias in advance!). Small towels sometimes come handy for yoga, but you can buy these and batteries in the Gemini shop across the road from the Ashram
Insect Repellant: all beds are provided with mosquito nets and most of the time the sea breeze would deter the mossies from the sea fronted bale (pronounced bah-leh meaning building) yoga. However, there are times such as meal times (normally at bale puja) when there is very little breeze and a personal insect repellant comes handy. Or do what a young Danish volunteer backpacker taught me at the Ashram, she goes to the kitchen and asks for garlic cloves that she swallows in whole as insect repellant. Makes good sense to me as that’s what we feed our pets to rid them off fleas. Light coloured, long sleeve clothing also helps, as advised by my GP.
Gemini Supermarket: This simply FANTASTIC mini supermarket across the road from the Ashram stocks your everyday needs from toiletries, shampoo, insect repellant to snacks, clothing, sarongs, Bali shirts or gifts to snacks at very locally competitive prices. So don’t stress about leaving some things behind or, if you travel light cabin only then this shop can be part of your travel light solution. For greater range of clothes/sarongs or small gifts we can highly recommend The Lucky Shop (turn left from the Ashram and about 10 odd properties on LHS of road). Just mentioning that you are from the Ashram will get you a 10% discount on the already competitive prices