Whenever I go to a place I’ve never visited before, there are a few things I do: buy a Lonely Planet, scour the internet for travel blogs and ask my friends if they’ve ever been to that place and what they can recommend. I can spend hours reading about the best places to visit, local street food you definitely have to try (and check if Anthony Bourdain has eaten somewhere), and make a list in my TripAdvisor account. But I can imagine, if you don’t have enough time, or going to a new place is simply overwhelming for you, you would rather get travel advice from a professional. It’s easy to go on Instagram and look for #bali to see all the hotspots you can find on the beautiful island and compile your Bali bucket list, but you can also let Bo Heemskerk from A Bali Point of View plan your Bali dream trip, which saves you time, stress and money. Bo is a Dutch travel planner based in Bali and offers customized travel plans and itineraries, including accommodations, activities, tours and more. Whether you are looking for a soothing wellness retreat, an adrenaline filled holiday, a culinary exploration of the island to pamper your taste buds, a chilled out surf trip or a combination of all of the above; Bo will design an unforgettable experience just for you.
“I love creating Bali dream trips for others as if they were my own”
‘Planning has been always been a passion for me ever since I was little. I used to dive into the travel agency books, comparing the best camp sites and prices for holidays with my parents.
When I was older, my friends always trusted me with booking our trips because they were guaranteed of a great holiday. I helped friends with their holiday to Spain, colleagues of friends with their Berlin trip and the family of a friend with their trip to New York, when I never visited New York myself!
I was always busy planning the next trip for myself and others and it became a sport to find hidden gems. It was a hobby until we decided to move to Bali; it was the first thing I could think of me doing for a living. I love creating Bali dream trips for others as if they were my own. I put my heart, effort and all my Bali knowledge in the travel planning and want to make sure clients will have the best experience they’ve always dreamed of.’
How did you end up working and living in Bali?
‘I’m actually half Indonesian; my mom was born in Jakarta. But this has nothing to do with the story, haha. 5 years ago, my boyfriend and I visited Bali for the first time and we both looked at each other and said: ’Wow I want to live here!’. I thought it was just like feeling spending quality time together on a holiday in a beautiful place. A year, later we traveled to Thailand and the year after to Australia, but we also came back to Bali twice in these years and every time we landed in Bali we had that feeling of coming home. At one point my boyfriend said: ‘let’s do it, let’s just move!’. My first thought was: ‘that’s crazy, I have a career, I can’t go’. But when we came back from 5 weeks Australia and a short stopover in Bali, the idea turned into a plan.
I didn’t want to wait another year for our next adventure. Besides that we’re from the Netherlands where the weather sucks most of the time, we don’t have children yet and we had some savings, so why not start this amazing adventure?!
My boyfriend is a tattoo artist and he already already knew some tattoo shops in Bali where he could work. As for me, once I decided to work as a travel planner and told people about it, my first clients found me through word of mouth. We’ve been here since April 2019 and for me, being in Bali is the best way to connect with people to work with and build my business. We’re not planning on leaving soon, we like it so much that we rented a house for 3 years.’
What do you offer in your travel plans?
‘I specialize in designing Bali dream holidays and itineraries for couples, honeymooners, families and larger groups. In close consultation with my clients, I design a travel plan based on their personal preferences.
It includes a suggested route and personal recommendations such as places to stay, activities, day tours and restaurants, all within the clients budget.
Depending on the clients requirements, I simply send an easy to follow PDF travel plan or I can book the entire trip for them.
I’ll arrange everything from accommodations, transportation, day trips, wellness and adventurous activities. It’s similar to a regular travel agency, but more based on the clients personality and needs. And because I live in Bali myself, I can book everything directly with locals and accommodation companies and therefore have better prices.’
What difficulties did you encounter working in Bali?
‘It’s hard to find a reliable team of locals to work with and who understand you. Mainly because of a big cultural difference. I’ve had some drivers who were enthusiastic to work with me and they were supposed to pick me up the next day but didn’t show up.
Also, many accommodations are not all ‘digital’ yet so sometimes they don’t respond by email and you can only pay cash. One time, I drove 1 hour to pay for an accommodation for clients and they forgot to note that so they let my clients pay again when they arrived.’
What don’t you like about Bali?
‘The popularity of Bali changed everything of why Bali became so popular. For example, the locals try to get money out of every tourist. I know it’s common for a touristic place but the ‘magic’ disappeared in many areas. The real Bali is much harder to find. It’s crazy busy at the Instagram tourist spots where people only come to make the perfect shot and stand 2-3 hours in the line for that one picture.
On the other hand, it’s really good for my business because you have to know where to go and where not to go, and where you can experience the real Bali and it’s something that other travel agencies can’t offer.’
What’s your favorite place in Bali?
‘Definitely Uluwatu. It has the best white sand beaches in Bali and has such a nice, surf, chill vibe around this area. It’s not too crowded and you can still find beautiful beaches and have them almost all to yourself.
Besides that, there are some amazing fancy beach clubs in the area and you can watch the prettiest sunsets almost every day!’
Nyang Nyang beach
Sundays Beach Club
Could you name a few of your favorites?
For coffee and good food, definitely pay a visit to Suka Espresso
A must do is see the sunset at Bingin beach, El Kabron Bali or Sunset Point
And don’t miss out on the famous Single Fin party every Sunday!’
Smoothie bowls at the Cashew Tree
Sunset sessions at Bingin Beach
Why should people have to experience Bali at least once in their life?
‘Bali has a unique vibe which you won’t find anywhere else. The island is beautiful and so diverse and that’s why it’s for every age, taste and budget. You’ll find white sand beaches, jungle, rice fields, forests, waterfalls mountains and volcanos.
Not only the amazing Balinese massages are relaxing but stunning waterfalls and peaceful rivers can be relaxing as well.
Bali is also a food haven! From street food for a few euros to fine dining.
Last but not least, the Balinese people making it even more special because they are in general the most friendly and welcoming people I’ve ever met.’
Planning a holiday to Bali, but want to save yourself time and stress? Let Bo build your Bali dream trip and also make sure to check out her Instagram account, filled with travel inspo and places in beautiful Bali : @abalipointofview
Beautiful view in Amed
Photography by Bo Heemskerk