Denpasar International Airport

Industrial Action may cause delays at Australian Airports…

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As if flight delays caused by a natural disaster of volcanic ash spewing into the atmosphere and affecting flight paths in and out of Bali was not enough, further major delays to international travelers could result when Australian Border Force staff strike for 24 hours nationwide on Monday, November 9, 2015.  Australian Border Force staff are disputing pay and conditions.

It is expected Immigration Department managers may be deployed to plug staffing gaps in a bid to minimise the impact on the public.

The affected airports are Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Cairns and Gold Coast.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has announced its workers will strike from 12.01am to 11.59pm on November 9, the latest escalation in industrial action as the union locks horns with the government over pay, allowances and conditions for those watching over Australia’s borders.

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Exclusively Bali Ultimate Homewares Tour March 2016

Exclusively bali ULTIMATE HOMEWARES TOUR

A ladies getaway focused on fun, food, shopping, pampering and cocktails!

During your stay enjoy a fully hosted tour inclusive of:
– private airport transfers 
– 6 nights luxury beachfront accommodation at the stunning The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali!
– daily breakfast
– fully escorted shopping to handpicked retail and wholesale outlets 
– guided Tegalalang and Ubud shopping
– 5 star dining 
– delicious high tea
– indulgent spa treatment

And still plenty of opportunities to grab some ‘me time’ or relax with some like-minded ladies.

Come along with your bestie, your mum or your daughter or be very welcomed as a solo guest.

Dates are from 19-25 March 2016

Note: This tour will be kept small and exclusive. Numbers are strictly limited!

Email your expression of interest to exclusivelybali@gmail.com

Mother Nature strikes again!!

Volcanic ash is seen during an eruption inside the crater of Mount Rinjani on the Indonesian island of Lombok October 25, 2015 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. REUTERS/Lalu Edi/Antara Foto

Volcanic ash from Mount Rinjani, Lombok.  photo taken by Antara Foto.

Mt Rinjani, situated on Lombok has erupted with ash and debris being blasted about 1 kilometre into the air and blowing north-west from Lombok towards Bali.

Flights continue to be disrupted. Last night, the Indonesian transport ministry announced that it would close airports in Bali and Lombok until further notice, on advice from the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.

Even though Indonesia had the most active volcanoes of any country in the world, Bali had been “terribly unlucky this year”, Dr Tupper, a volcanic ash expert, said.  And vulcanologists have warned that they do not expect the eruption to finish any time soon.

Workers cover a plane engine with a plastic sheet in their attempt not to be damaged by volcanic ash. Picture: AP/Firdia Lisnawati

See FLIGHT DISRUPTION INFORMATION via the following links:

Exclusively Bali Ultimate Homewares Tour March 2016

***Join us on the:  

Exclusively bali ULTIMATE HOMEWARES TOUR

A ladies getaway focused on fun, food, shopping, pampering and cocktails!

During your stay enjoy a fully hosted tour inclusive of:
– private airport transfers 
– 6 nights luxury beachfront accommodation at the stunning The Royal Beach Seminyak Bali!
– daily breakfast
– fully escorted shopping to handpicked retail and wholesale outlets 
– guided Tegalalang and Ubud shopping
– 5 star dining 
– delicious high tea
– indulgent spa treatment

And still plenty of opportunities to grab some ‘me time’ or relax with some like-minded ladies.

Come along with your bestie, your mum or your daughter or be very welcomed as a solo guest.

Dates are from 19-25 March 2016

Note: This tour will be kept small and exclusive. Numbers are strictly limited!

Email your expression of interest to exclusivelybali@gmail.com

* Follow Exclusively Bali posts by clicking “FOLLOW”  

and receive new posts straight to your email ~

* Head over to FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM pages and hit ‘LIKE”  

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Faster Processing at Bali’s Airport

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

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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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source balidiscovery.com

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VISA ON ARRIVAL – Lives on !!

IMG_0910Following the 2014 announcement of a proposed withdrawal of Visa on Arrival (VOA), to date, no withdrawal has been made. The proposal was for tourists arriving from Australia, Russia, China, South Korea and Japan to have the VOA waivered, hence FREE entry for up to 30 days.

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On the 5th of January, 2014 an immigration document was released stating,

  1. “Although there have been proposals to expand the provision of Visa Exemption for Short Visit Purposes by adding 5 (five) other countries, namely China, Russia, Australia, South Korea and Japan. But to this day there is still no new provisions in addition to the President Decree No. 43 of 2011.”

See link here:

http://www.imigrasi.go.id/index.php/en/berita/berita-utama/636-visa-exemption-for-short-visit-purposes-refer-to-president-decree-number-43-of-2011

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In Response to Complaints, Bali Airport Adds Counters and Immigration Staff

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Regional Office of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Bali add immigration staffs and immigration counters at Ngurah Rai Airport after a number of complaints from foreign tourists about long lines when they arrive at the international arrivals.

“The staffs will be added again. They start to work in December 2014,” said the Head Office of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Bali Province, Kompiang Adnyana found in the Special Immigration Office Class I Ngurah Rai Kuta, Badung regency, on Thursday.

According to him, the staffs were brought in from Jakarta, so from 16 staffs its turning out to be 28 staffs

He realized that in December is the season of year-end holiday marred by the hectic international tourist arrivals to Bali.

Besides the addition of immigration personnel, they also add the counter of “visa on arrival” in the international arrivals terminal.

“We added three counters and one is still in the process for a total of 14 counters,” he said.

Previously, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika suggested all counters of immigration office that are available in the International Arrivals Terminal Ngurah Rai Airport to be opened especially during peak hours to avoid long lines.

In a meeting with Chairman of Regional Office of Law and Human Rights Bali, in Denpasar on Wednesday, the governor said there has been a complaint from tourists because of many counters which are not operated while tourists crammed into only a few counters and as if it is done in purpose.

To dispel the impression, Bali governor suggested adding employees so at rush hour all the counters can be operated and long lines can be reduced.

Pastika regretted about the condition because most of foreign tourists have taken long journey, but they do not get maximum service when they arrive in Bali.

Kompiang further explained that the long lines occur at the international arrivals peak hours starting 12:00 to 18:00 pm there are about 17-20 flights with passenger amounting 3,000 to 6,000 passengers.until the evening.

“It concerns the flight slots which is difficult to be anticipated technically,” he added.

sourced: The Bali Times, December 09, 2014

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MONEY, MONEY, MONEY….

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.

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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.

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* 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

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.

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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…

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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).

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

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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).

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It was a speedy process through the Departure gate.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Spacious carpeted walkways are present throughout.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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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