Every few years, we take a big family vacation. Somewhere fun, where none of us have ever been. Our, my husband’s and my own, thoughts are to travel somewhere in the world where we want to go, somewhere child safe and mostly child friendly, and somewhere to make new memories together as a family that we will recall forever.
For this family trip, we are traveling to Bali from Tokyo. We left our home in the Kanagawa prefecture of Japan, took the JR train to Yokohama, and then boarded the Narita Express train to Terminal 1 of the Narita Airport.
We exited the train station below the Narital Airport at Terminal 2, and went through part of the airport which included a passport check, and then went to the bus pickup area, took our hotel’s bus to our hotel. The Narita Airport is large, a confluence between many cultures. Everything seems to be depicted in Japanese, then English, and then Korean. You hear everything three times.
We stayed at the Tobu hotel. Easy to get to, and excellent customer service.
I left my large camera on the bus. I discovered it was missing it this morning as we were leaving the room. Entirely disappointed, and feeling disheartened that I’d misplaced my expensive, family memory/ trip capturing camera, I decided to check with the front desk just in case. My camera was there at the front desk! Another testament of Japanese honesty and cultural respectfulness. I am so grateful that a fellow traveler or bus attendant or bus driver turned it into the hotel. Now my husband doesn’t trust me with our camera. Ha. One less thing to carry, eh?
From hotel this morning we took the hotel bus to terminal 1, which included a Japanese police check at the entrance to the airport where they checked bus and passenger’s passports. Police were checking all cars and all potential traveler’s passports. I’m not sure if this is a customary practice or if it is because of current heightened security measures at airport and on JR East Train System.
We checked into our Singapore Air flight, then proceeded to Tullys Coffee for breakfast. Suddenly our daughter started throwing up, multiple times, and took toddler throw up duty and my husband finished ordering breakfast. Meanwhile several Tully’s customers watched silently, and awestruck, as C threw up in the traditional Japanese trash can sorters in the shop. Once the vomiting stopped, we progressed to bathroom to clean her up and change her clothes. Poor girl. The rest of the morning we took turns holding her. Every vacation should start with at least one person in the party puking?!?! Yuck.
We made it through security. Then through the passport check and got our fresh stamps out of the country. I found it traditionally and culturally apropos, that here in Japan you would fill out Embark card for Foreigner form that instead of last name it says family name. It makes me smile. Family is so important here in Japan.
We found our gate, quickly boarded as families with small children get more time, and found our seats. Great service, attendants brought Mickey Mouse cards to entertain G and C, we flew over Mt. Fuji, and then C took a much needed nap.
Delicious food brought to us. Children’s meals came at first, just as they do in Japanese restaurants. There was a chicken or eel meal option for adults. I picked the eel.
Singapore Airlines is amazing. Our second flight was also wonderful.
Their are three large terminals at the Singapore Airport, with an efficiently running sky train connecting passengers to each terminal. Beautiful butterfly gardens, shops, koi fish ponds, a children’s play area, a sleeping area and a Hard Rock Cafe (our fix for American food)!
We arrived in beautiful Bali. First we went through the visa line, which was $35 per visa to enter country. Then, we had to go through customs, and then immigration; long lines for each and inefficiently ran (might I add my opinion)! Then, we exchanged some of our American cash for Indonesian Rupiah. The current exchange rate is about $1
US dollar equals about 11,000 Rupiah. Seeing all those extra zeros at the end of these items for sale and cash throws me. I’ve realized I know less about other countries money systems and currency than I should. (Note to add studying this to the when I am bored this fall/ things to accomplish list.)
Then we had to find our driver in a large crowd of drivers waiving signs with last names and hotel logos.
We had reserved a driver in advance to take us to our hotel, but their were several drivers available for hire without reservation.
We made it to our hotel easily, checked in with some yummy iced tea at the Holiday Inn Resorts Bali, and then quickly made it to our room to put everyone in their beds to recover from our long day traveling via foot, trains, planes and automobiles (with a stroller, baggage and three sweet children).
The next morning we were rewarded with this gorgeous view: