How to make planning your first Bali holiday enjoyable!

 Welcome to Bali:

You are now about twenty minutes flying time from Ngurah Rai Airport and by this time you have slotted very nicely into holiday mode, eagerly looking forward to landing on foreign soil for possibly, the first time.

Before you get too carried away, it is now time to check if you still have your boarding pass, which you will be required to give to the Immigration Officer on arrival. 

Currently, the Bali visa on arrival is US$35, per person including children for a maximum period of  four weeks.

There are three options of how you can pay your visa fee, which are Aussie dollars, (Cost dependant on exchange rate) Credit card (can be a very slow process)  or US dollars. However, the easiest and quickest way to advance through the long queue’s is to pay in USD$.

To do this, order your $USD at least four weeks in advance from your post office. The minimum amount you can order is US$200. To exchange your currency, you will require a document for proof of identity i.e drivers license or passport. You will also be required to provide the original purchase receipt at time of pick up. If you choose to pay in Australian currency with say a $50 Aussie note, your change if there is any, will be in Indonesian Rupiah. In the event you wish to cash in the rest of your US$’s, you will find you will get an excellent rate of exchange providing you go to an authorised money changer. To find out more about this subject, go to the heading “Money Matters”.


Handy Bali Arrival Tips

Now I can hear you saying, what can I expect to see and experience in the first few minutes of exiting the plane? Well firstly, you will step out of an airconditioned environment into very warm and humid conditions, which can be a shock to the unsuspecting on their first visit to the tropics. Next, if your flight is unable to park at the terminal for disembarkation, you will probably be herded onto a bus delivering you to the terminal. This is not always the case and can depend on your arrival time as well as which airline you are travelling with.

You are now following the leader on your way into the incoming passenger terminal, where it gets worse because this can be a boring and tiresome experience and in particular if a number of planes land within minutes of each other.


As of August 2014, the comments listed below regarding the airport fast tracking service, are now under review by the Indonesian immigration department. I believe the current situation is as follows. In recent times, there has been a number of local Balinese people involved in an illegal fast tracking service at Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. These people now face a heavy fine or imprisonment, if they continue to offer this service.

Please do your own research on this issue.:

To avoid a possible long waiting time when lining up to pay your US$35 per person entry visa fee and immigration passport stamping, ask your travel agent if the fast tracking service is legal or has it been removed from the airport. (This service is now under investigation) 

For the cost of around US$25 per person (but I do suggest you negotiate the price directly with them via their website). You can organise to be met just before where you line up to pay your visa fee of US$35. Your contact will be holding a placard with your name displayed. (This service is now under investigation)

For complete details on how the service operates for arrivals and departures go to or email [email protected] and ask for a list of services. SMS +62 817 635 5758. This service would be convenient for families with tired young children to cope with after a long flight and in fact  for anyone who dislikes queuing.  (This service is now under investigation)

I am not sure if this service is legal but having used it on a couple of occasions, I found it worked well for me. However, it is as well to note that of recent times, some flights arriving in Bali do not have a problem of  people congestion at the VOA area. In fact if you do use the fast track method, you may not find any advantage at all when it comes to collecting your luggage and exiting the airport.  (This service is now under investigation)

Important Tips To Follow:

Your boarding pass on arrival in Bali is required to be sighted by the immigration officer so please make sure you take care of it at all times.

It is worth mentioning here that after you have retrieved your luggage from the carousel, you may be hounded by eager porters to handle your luggage for you. If this happens and you accept, they will of course expect a tip. In this event you will need to have some small local currency. Rp5,000 (.50 cents) or Rp10,000 ($1.00) Most people who use this service, pay with a AUD$2 coin. If you do not require their services say so in a polite manner. Say no thanks or tidak terima kasih.

Before exiting the terminal, you may be asked to have your hand luggage searched. The officers are usually looking for alcohol over and above your duty free limit of one, one litre bottle per person. If you are caught with more than you should have, they will possibly confiscate it or ask you to pay the tax or give you the opportunity to buy it back. If you decide not to pay the tax or buy it back at whatever the asking price is, your wine or spirits could then be destined for the black market or tipped out in front of you.

For those in the know, I believe the black market is an excellent way of topping up your holiday supplies at bargain prices. Thats the way it seems to work here.

Whatever transport you have organised to whisk you away to your new surrounds for a few days, should be waiting out front. Watch for your name to appear or the name of your hotel on one of the many sign boards being waved in  your face as you exit the building. If you have not arranged to be met at the airport there are plenty of airport only taxis available.

The payment counter for airport taxi fares is to your right, just before you exit the terminal. Usually, there is a price board showing fixed fares to each suburb. You will require local currency if you choose to travel by airport taxi. As a guide only and depending on where you are staying, you could be charged from Rp35000 ($3.50) to Tuban and up to Rp100000 ($10.00) to Kerobokan, however if you booked your holiday through a travel agent this will not be an issue because your transport will be waiting.

The visa entry fee is US$35 per person or equivalent for up to four weeks stay.