VOA and Immigration

Faster Processing at Bali’s Airport

Bali Airport is Adding 4 More VOA Desks to Speed Processing Time on Arrival 


NusaBali reports that Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport will soon add 4 additional visa-on-arrival (VOA) booths in the arrival hall in order to reduce lines during peak periods.

The co-general manager of the Airport Authority (PT Angkasa Pura I), I Gusti Ngurah Ardita, confirmed on Monday, February 23, 2015, that the new VOA booths would soon be operational and manned by immigration staff.

On the average, some 9,000 international passengers arrive in Bali with peak arrival hours often seeing waiting times that are as long as 2 hours for immigration and customs processing. New measures being put in place are intended to reduce the amount of time arriving passengers must spend in the Bali Airport.

During the period January – September 2014 Bali collected US$67.8 million dollars in VOA fees.


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FAST TRACK no longer exists at Bali Airport Immigration…


I Gusti Kompiang Adnyana, the Head of the Bali Regional Office of the ministry of  “Justice and Human Rights”, ensures that there are no more rogue immigration officers who commit extortion against foreigners during the examination of travel documents at the Denpasar Ngurah Rai Airport.

The statement refers to the issue of Immigration staff offering bribery to foreigners who don’t want to stand in the immigration queue for the passport control, often also called “Fast Track”.

“There are no more rogue officers, I guarantee no more. This was an issue a few months ago and has now been rewired, and it doesn’t happen any more,” said Kompiang Adnyana in Denpasar, Bali, on Thursday (11/27/2014).

The issue of alleged illegal payments (bribes) taken by immigration officers came from comments from Made Pastika, the Governer of Bali, through complaints from foreigners who visit Bali. Governor Pastika says he will make a video recording of the poor service from the immigration officer at the airport. Moreover, when long lines occur at the passport control, the number of officers is actually at a minimum.

“We continue to fix. What was once a long queue, we try to improve in order to serve well. It is already better now,” he said.


In addition, long lines take about 2-3 hours to serve 3,000 to 6,000 people. Under these circumstances, the number of immigration officers and technical services should be reconsidered so that tourists, especially foreigners to Bali, can feel comfortable.

Source :  http://www.balistoreluggage.com

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The Indonesian rupiah (IDR) is the official currency of Bali.  Australian dollars are readily exchanged in most of the tourist areas.  Foreign currencies like the US dollar, UK pound, Euro and Singapore dollar are also readily exchanged. Major credit cards are widely accepted too.

Bali, Indonesian_Rupiah_-_100_50

If you’re seeing the rocketing dollar before travelling and wanting to get in while it’s hot by buying some foreign currency, don’t get stung with a stingy rate.  Best buy for the currency is definitely at Australia Post.  The Australia Post rate will equal the best of the banks and no commission on top

If you use Travelex, always order online, lock in the best rate and pick up the cash at a branch since the prices will vary between airport and shop outlets.

Visa on Arrival

Don’t worry if you haven’t changed money to pay the $35US VOA.  This can be paid in Australian dollars (allow approximately $45AUS at current rates) and change will be given in Rupiah.  So handy to have a few rupiah to pay your taxi driver!

Or, if you wish to take US dollars, purchase from your Australian Post Office with no commission.  It will take 3 days and there is a minimum spend of $200.


Changing Money at Hotels

While hotel exchange may seem convenient, beware of high transaction charges. Generally experts advise avoiding exchanging money at a hotel unless you have no other choice.

Exchanging Money via Credit Cards

Generally credit cards offer the most favourable exchange rates for changing money, since credit card companies have access to better rates than individuals. Be careful when using the credit card if your home currency is falling.  Since the transactions are not converted instantly, there is a possibility that you will end up with a less favorable conversion rate a few days later.

Money Changers

Money Changers are everywhere in Bali.  Unscrupulous Money Changers are common:  if the rate on a board seems too good to be true, it likely is!  Always change money at Authorised, reputable dealers.   Generally speaking, Kodak shops and Western Unions and banks are reputable.

It has been said that the best day to change money is a Tuesday between 1 – 2pm since it coincides with the US stock exchange commencement of trading.  I’ve never been pedantic enough to check this, but maybe you will?

Don’t run all over town trying to get the best rate! If you’re only changing $100, the difference will amount to a couple of dollars at best.  Best to change your hard earned dollars in denominations of $100 dollar notes for ease of calculating the exchange too.

Here are some of my recommendations as to where to change money:

Kodak Shops

Fuji Shops

Airport Money Changers – maybe a slightly lesser rate, but usually trustworthy

BMC Seminyak PT Bali Maspintjinra (opposite Bintang Supermarket, next to Sip restaurant on the Kuta side.)

PT Bali Maspintjinra, Head office Jl Raya Seminyak No 16A

PT Bali Maspintjinra, Sanur, Jl Danau Tamblingan No 18

PT Bali Maspintjinra, Kuta Jl Sriwinjays No 16A

Note:  An Authorised Money Changer must be formally authorised and identified with distinctive markers.  All Authorised Money Changers are obliged to use a logo, they must also prominently display their registration number provided to them by Bank Indonesia on their signboard. If there is no logo and registration number then they are NOT Authorised Money Changers.

DO NOT use a Money Changer at the back of a shop, down an alley or laneway.  Always count your Rupiah before handing over your dollars.

DO NOT accept small denominations as it is often a sure sign they will attempt to short change you. (50,000 and 100,000 are best).

DO NOT rely on their calculator as they are sometimes rigged.

DO NOT rely on the person counting out the Rupiah in front of you as their hand is sometimes quicker than the eye.

DO NOT hand over your dollars until you are satisfied they are giving you the correct amount.

DO NOT be distracted or intoxicated either when you change money.

You get the picture!  Be wary.

Having said that, the Balinese are fundamentally honest and helpful people. There is a reliable chain of money changers called PT Central Kuta (blue signs with white writing) that also give good exchange rates. I only change money at PT Central money changers. You will also see signs at the KODAK shops with PT central money changers written on them. These are also safe. Your driver should be able to show you where these shops are.


* Pic above is: BMC Seminyak PT Bali Maspintjinra (opposite Bintang Supermarket, next to Sip restaurant on the Kuta side.)


Hotel Safes

Remember to use the hotel safes or safety deposit boxes for your money and passport.  I divide up my $100 or $50 Australian notes into envelopes containing $200 each.  I label the envelopes 1, 2, 3 etc.  This way I know how much I have left and whether anything has been tampered with.  Hotel safes should be without reproach, but I have sometimes heard stories otherwise.


ATM’s are available.  You can nominate the language you want the machine to use, and it will usually say on the ATM what note and amount it dispenses.  Always be sure you don’t reveal your PIN and be careful that  you do not leave your card in the machine.  ATM’s are handy to use if you would rather not carry large sums of cash and are a convenient way to obtain local currency at a reasonable exchange rate. Keep in mind that your withdrawal may be subject to a nominal fee for an international transfer, so check with your bank before leaving home. The other point to note is that your bank may freeze your card if out-of-the-ordinary transactions (such as withdrawals in 4 different countries over the course of a week) appear, so keep a copy of your bank’s contact information on hand.


Travellers Cheques

Handy if you are taking a large sum of money since it is insured when you purchase this style of currency.  Downside:  Not as good an exchange rate.

Lastly, have fun and spend up.  Bali relies on our tourist dollar.

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DEPARTURES update at the new Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport…


Arriving 3 hours prior to departure, we were unsure of the ease of processing, or of the time-frame now via  the brand new Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (also known as Denpasar International Airport).


We were pleasantly surprised however, with a smooth transition on all levels.  Our departure from Bali was a comfortable and streamlined experience…


With the assistance of a Porter, our luggage was transferred from our car to the Check-in counter.  This was a huge help, especially with heavy luggage and an uphill incline to maneuver.  Such a bargain too at an advised  cost of just 30,000Rp!  (We made sure we tipped generously for such a fantastic convenience).


It was a speedy process through the Departure gate.


The airport is well sign posted in both English and Indonesian.


A map of the International Airport is readily available on signage opposite Check-in.

image image

The processing for our flight had only just started with few passengers having arrived, it seemed.  I was grateful therefore for a speedy check-in.

The airport is spacious and light with an easy walk from Check-in toward Immigration.


Payment of 150,000 IDR Departure Tax was made with only a couple of people ahead.


Then there was more signage and security before arriving at the Immigration counter.

image image

It was an uncomplicated process through Immigration and finally we were in the Departure area.


The Departure area has numerous Duty Free shops operating with plenty of top name merchandise.

image image image

Some of the shop fronts are still temporarily situated along the walkway.

image image

Lounge areas are currently minimal, as are cafe-type shops.  If Departures were busy, I imagine seating may be quite an issue at the moment for those waiting for their flights.

There are still plenty of areas that are yet to be “unveiled” with temporary partitioning still in place.


Spacious carpeted walkways are present throughout.


Currently, the only proper lounge area in the Departure area is the Premier Lounge.  This is a temporarily partitioned off area for “Business class” travelers only.


The Premier Lounge consists of chairs, tables, a food area and free wi-if.

image image

Sadly, we were not travelling Business Class.  We had plenty of time before our flight departure so chose to sit in the adjacent Departure area 4.  This was conveniently empty.  Several ceiling mounted TVs were also in this area.


Departure 4 is directly next door to the current Premier Lounge.  Having spied the username and password in the lounge earlier,  we were able to log onto the Premier Lounge wifi for FREE!!

Here’s the details…
USERNAME: J@5_lounge
PASSWORD: premier2013

PHONE PICS 24-11-13 (781)

Overall, we were fortunate to have enjoyed a comfortable departure experience via the spacious, new Denpasar Airport.  Once completed and fully operational, I believe it will be very impressive!

HINT 1:  Do not queue for the toilets at the gate from which your flight departs.  Walk a few minutes toward the opposite end of the terminal which I found to be not as busy. This is where we found an empty Departure lounge to sit in and there were plenty of empty toilets and several quiet food and beverage stands too.

HINT 2: If possible, eat prior to arrival at the airport since food outlets are currently limited. Having said that, I have heard that after checking in, it is possible to exit the airport and walk over to the Domestic Terminal where  there are several food outlets.  It is only a 5 minute walk away.  (Make sure you take your passport and boarding passes though, as security will ask for it when you return!)

Happy and safe travels!   I hope you too are blessed with a comfortable departure.  xx

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Arrivals update at the new Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport ….


Having only recently opened, I was keen to witness first hand the brand new Denpasar International Airport.


Arrival into Bali has vastly improved with the new Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport (also known as Denpasar International Airport).


There are huge spaces in the new Arrivals terminal and the walkways are carpeted.



It is an easy process to negotiate with good signage throughout.

image image

Visa on Arrival (VOA) can be paid in almost any denomination with change given in Indonesian Rupiah.


At the VOA counter, you will see the VOA figure in varying denominations.

(See Currency and relevant price below).


The current exchange rate at the VOA counter is also clearly shown.

(See pic detailing Currency/Rate below).


After paying VOA, progress to Immigration which again, is clearly marked


Once through Immigration, your luggage will arrive on the new luggage carousel.


The spacious, new airport appears impressive and uncluttered.


The exterior of Arrivals is easy to negotiate.


A coffee shop is open to the right hand side as you exit the airport.


There are several ATM machines situated on the outside of Arrivals, to the right hand side, just beyond the Coffee Shop.


We found the whole Arrivals process speedy and streamlined!

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