My girlfriends and I decided to have a week-long getaway slash joint birthday celebration in Bali. I’ve already been to Bali when I was travelling South East Asia few months back but that didn’t bother me as it captivated me the first time and wouldn’t mind going there for part deaux.
Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport
So the ever pushy friend that I am, I told them I want to fly on my birthday no matter what and they knew they didn’t have a choice. Lel. Air Asia had a promo for $149 AUD direct flight to Bali but unfortunately whilst waiting for one of my friend’s go signal, we missed out on that one and got the normal price one instead for $368 AUD. These promos sell out fast so you have to be extra quick!
Our flight was at 11AM on Sunday which was good because it’s not during the wee hours of the morning. I live roughly 20mins away from the airport so I know I have enough time to move in a slow pace and still get there on time. My friend Tabea said she was already on the ferry to Circular Quay when I woke up. Keen as! There was a massive traffic on the way to the airport; the usual 10min bus ride lasted up to what felt like 30mins. I was starting to get worried but thankfully I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare and I was the first one to arrive of the four of us.
Check in was ridiculously slow especially for us because we didn’t even had luggage and I’ve already done the web check the night before. They were trying to check in 2 different flights in the same queue which caused nothing but hassle for everyone!
Immigration went fast and smooth considering the volume of people travelling on a Sunday morning. When it was my turn to go through the scan, of course the machine beeped! -_- Mr. Officer asked if I was wearing any bracelet, I lifted up my arm in a surrender position showing my x number of bracelets and rings. Bloody hell, I never learn. After that encounter, I was chosen for a random test and another officer swiped this detector thing on my clothes, shoes and bag. Oh the inconvenience!
The one thing I hate about Air Asia is their boarding process; they let on the children, elderly, disabled and premium seat holders first as per and then followed by the rest – basically they don’t have a seating system unlike the majority of the other airlines.
Of course save the best for last; upon descending, one of the flight attendants announced there’s a passenger on board who’s celebrating her birthday today and he started singing like he was on the finals of X Factor. When he hit that last note, boy, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Nonetheless, the feeling of having everyone on board singing happy birthday to me was one for the books!
Ngurah Rai Airport / Denpasar International Airport
The smooth flight took approximately 6.5 hrs. We landed in Bali at roughly past 4PM (3hrs time difference from Sydney) and the humidity welcomed us with arms wide open. Immigration was quick because none of us (Germany, Italian, Thailand and UK citizens) needed a visa to enter Indonesia. Since I didn’t have any Indonesian Rupiah with me, the first agenda in my books was to find an ATM; there’s also currency exchange kiosks so you won’t have any trouble.
As soon as you step foot outside the airport, hundreds and I mean hundreds of taxi drivers will greet you. The airport has its own taxi company which has a
fixed price list. By fixed, it means they have a board but they still assess how many passengers and if you look naive – the guy on the counter will charge you extra no matter what.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
* Some countries require VOA (Visa On Arrival) which costs 35USD. Fortunately they have added United Kingdom to the visa exempted countries recently. Check here for the list of countries.
* I suggest you to preorder the inflight meal because it’s cheaper and chances are, they will run out – like what happened to us; we ended up getting pot noodles and cookies.
* Make sure you have Indonesian Rupiah if you want to purchase anything on the plane (Air Asia) because their exchange rate is pretty shit. They do take Australian dollars but you’ll end up losing at least 3AUD. I paid in AUD and got my change in Rupiah.
* ATMs will charge you 3AUD per withdrawal (maximum withdrawal amount is 2.5M Rupiah) so it’s better to take enough cash that will last depending on the duration of your stay. There are plenty of ATMs so it’s not a problem; they even have Commonwealth Bank ATM.