Ica (pronounced ‘ee-cha’) Rahayuni is, at 22 years old, one of our youngest guides in Bali, but already one of our best. A few months ago we introduced Mexico guide, Andy Sosa, and endeavored to get to know more of our guides a little better. Bali seemed a great destination to continue the series, a place famous for its friendliness and where tourism has come back particularly strong this year.
When we asked our Operations and Reservation Leader, Seruni Sudiharta, to select a guide for an interview, she didn’t hesitate to nominate Ica. Find out why she makes a great companion for your travellers’ journeys in Bali.
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Ica joined us very soon after graduating from high school, in 2019. She’s learned a lot along the way and, above all, loves travelling and being able to show visitors the beauty of Bali.
“When I was a senior in high school, I learnt that a tour guide is the first representative of Bali to welcome and greet guests when they arrive. As I continued to learn about tourism my interest grew.”
“When I graduated, I didn’t have any experience and couldn’t speak English fluently. Then I got the chance to join the Guide Ambassador Program at Discova. It really helped me to practice and learn how to be a good guide. It made me realise that being a guide is not only about greeting and welcoming people – we also get to show the guests our culture and our traditions.”
Our Discova Guide Academy ensures that our tour guides are continually trained and up-skilled. The Guide Ambassador Program specifically constitutes a six-month education scholarship split into an intensive 3-month curriculum of classes and 3-months of practical experience and specialised workshops.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Academy designed and offered continued online training.
“During the program I learned how to manage difficult situations that might arise during tours. We also did ChildSafe training and it helped to me to understand the importance of child safety in tourism.”
It also exposed Ica to different destinations, if online: “During our online training, I had the opportunity to meet guides from other countries, and it was so interesting to learn about their culture and their experience of being a tour guide.” So although it meant that the in-person contact was missing, she was able to expand her world (and guiding) view.
Ica is Bali-born and raised, and grew up in a small village near spiritual haven, Ubud. After high school she not only trained with us to become a tour guide, but also completed a bachelor’s degree in English Literature.
“I believe what makes me a great tour guide is my communication skills and my personal understanding about Balinese culture and traditions.”
For Ica, guiding is also more than just about teaching travellers about her heritage – she gets to learn on the journeys too: “I’ve learned so much being a tour guide, like time management and being able to adapt quickly.”
She’s also said that she’s explored and gotten to know Bali even better than before, and continually gets the chance to learn about others too: “When I prepare for an activity or a tour, I first study the itinerary, and then I do research about where my guests come from and what their culture and traditions might be.”
One of Ica’s favourite regions is Nusa Penida, a smaller island just a 50-minute boat ride from Bali, which she loves for its incredible scenery, views and pristine beaches. It’s no surprise then that one of her best experiences on the job has been here.
“One of my favourite memories was when I went to Nusa Penida island with a group. It didn’t feel like work, because we were having so much fun exploring the island. The last night we had a dinner at one of the restaurants and ended up dancing and singing together. The guests became like friends.”
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