Republic of Indonesia
Comfortable and clean, somewhat rickety stilt bungalow no. 15 (see detailed price list), with a spacious private verandah and a spotless, convenient Indonesian bak mandi plus Western toilet, all this in an unbeatable location overlooking the dive-resort’s pristine coral reefs; wifi provided.
Click below for an interactive road map of the Prince John Dive Resort in Tanjung Karang, which we would recommend, and for directions:
Applying on-line at Vietnam Visa Pro, a mobbed-up private agent with government connections, for two one-month single-entry, “pre-approved” tourist visas for Vietnam (agent fee of US$ 9.- per person with credit card; added to this the actual visa fee aka “stamp fee” of US$ 25.- per person, payable on arrival in crisp greenbacks to immigration at the airport in Hanoi) and, after only two days, receiving per email the photocopy of a rubber-stamped and officially signed approval letter from the Immigration Department of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in Hanoi (“… the people on the attached list are permitted to enter and exit Viet Nam and to pick up their visa upon arrival at international airports…”) - all this despite the sincere warnings on the Vietnamese embassies’ websites about these private visa agents, but capitalism rules, and the socialist freeloaders in the embassies are only crying because they lose a lot of money in visa fees.
Getting the funny feeling that the time has arrived to move on, taking Junaidi’s +6285399105113 reliable Kijang taxi from the dive resort to Palu’s somewhat agricultural Mutiara Airport (c. 35 km, ¾ hour, a steep harga turis of IDR 150,000.- or US$ 15.60 for the ride), flying with low-cost carrier Lion Air (“We Make People Fly”) in a clean Boeing B 737-900ER to Makassar for a pre-booked IDR 511,000.- or US$ 53.- (one way, all inclusive) plus IDR 15,000.- or US$ 1.60 airport tax for domestic departures per person, having lunch (nasi campur telur for just IDR 8,000.- or US$ US$ 0.80 per plate) at Hj. Nur Halimah’s excellent warung makan (free shuttle bus from the airport) thus metamorphosing back from tamed package tourists to independent travellers and, eventually, connecting uneventfully with Air Asia (“Now Everyone Can Fly”) in an Airbus A 320-200 from Makassar’s modern Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport back to Kuala Lumpur’s KLIA-LCCT at Sepang for only US$ 36.- per person, one way, all inclusive, and being issued with another 90-day-visit pass for a “social visit” to Malaysia (in our case: a short stopover of less than 8 hours) on arrival, free of charge.