Greg, a power wheelchair user from Australia, is a frequent traveler to Bali. “Flying domestically or international can be fraught with a number of issues, though with proper planning you can avoid some of these difficulties,” he shares.
Getting into the airplane as a wheelchair user
The first part of his trip is boarding the plane. “Transfer onto the aisle chair at the boarding gate (most airlines will allow this if you ask at check-in),” he recommends. “The less time you spend in an aisle chair the better.” Greg is 6ft tall and has little control of his legs, so he also uses Velcro straps to keep his legs in place and requires assistance from the airport staff to transfer into his seat. This trip, Greg flew with Garuda Indonesia, who provide assistance to people with disabilities. He recommends calling the airline offices 48 hours before your flight to specify the assistance you require. “Overall, I found Garuda Indonesia to be a positive experience and l would recommend them over Virgin or Jetstar,” Greg explains. “They were also very competitive in price.”
Greg invested in a ProMove lifting sling to help with transfers. “I found this invaluable,” he explains. “The sling has four handles to grasp and is designed to be placed underneath to allow two or more people to safely and comfortably transfer me.” This was very useful to him as he finds the transferring aspect of flying the most challenging. “I don’t let this discourage me from travelling as it’s only a small price to pay to experience an enjoyable holiday,” he shares. Be sure to check with your airport AND airline to see if they carry an Eagle Hoist, which is another way to have assisted transfers.
On the ground in Bali
Greg had no troubles getting off the plane at Denpasar, Bali’s international airport, thanks to the aerobridge and helpful staff. He then transferred to Villa G at Ellora, an accessible villa that is only 10 minutes from the accessible beach at Sanur. “I was in the wheelchair friendly Villa which provided a hoist, pressure mattress and commode, though the only down side was I couldn’t get under the basin in the bathroom,” he explains. “They also have a hoist to access the pool. The accommodation is very well suited for groups travelling together.” The added bonus of Villa G is that airport transfers are free for guests who stay 7 nights or more. It’s also possible to arrange transport at the airport. Greg recommends organizing any day tours through Bali Access Travel.
“Sanur is a lovely place. It’s peaceful and has a great beach with a five kilometer beachfront walkway ideal for the wheelchair user to cruise along.”
Greg was happy to find a number of restaurants with accessible entrances; however, “the toilet facilities leave a lot to be desired.” Greg insists it only requires a bit of extra planning, but since everyone’s bathroom needs are different, it will be up to the individual. Sidewalks are also no picnic. “Getting around in Sanur with a motorised wheelchair, aside from the beachfront walkway, is not ideal. The footpaths in Sanur are cracked and undulating so therefore l take to the roads.” He stays as close to the curb as possible and keeps moving with the traffic.
“At night l set my wheelchair up with an array of bicycle lights and a torch so I can be seen by the traffic. I survived the trip doing this!”
Lastly, Greg organized his own personal care through Bali One Care. “The owner, Romi, is very supportive and provided two great Indonesian guy’s that were appropriately skilled and very professional,” he explains. Peace of mind in that regard is worth its weight in gold!
“Bali has some of the most friendly people you will ever meet,” Greg shares. With his tips, you can get started on planning an island getaway!