Bali Stopover

Bali Stopover

Monday, March 25th:
We have a 2pm flight from Dili to Bali on Merpati Airlines (we had previously booked a flight on Batavia Air, but they went bankrupt a few weeks before, which is something we luckily found out beforehand purely by accident, when Jen tried to arrange a car pick up and was told, there is not Batavia Air flight from East Timor to Bali. Ironically, the airline’s motto, which is saw on the signs above the abandoned check-in counters was: “Trust us to Fly”.)

We get to Dili Airport quite early, since we were warned about the Dili traffic, but it wasn't that bad, so we had a couple of hours wait at the rather small airport.

The flight from Dili to Bali takes about 2 hours, and gets to Bali around 3pm local time. Now here is an important piece of advice for anyone travelling to Bali. If someone (typically an official in a uniform) asks you if you want to pay extra for fast service through immigration, say 'YES' and pay him whatever he wants. Bali is notorious for long and slow immigration lines, so there are people making extra money by ferrying tourists, who are willing to pay, through immigration quickly. We were rather trusting and gave the man in uniform some money (I think it was about 10 US Dollars), and he then gave our passports and immigration forms to some other random guy in a batik shirt. They lead us around the immigration queues, had us wait on the other side for probably about 5 to 10 minutes, and then the guy came back with our passport, visas and immigration stamps inside and we were done. Amazingly efficient. The lines at the immigration looked to take about 1 to 2 hours, and it cost us 10 Dollars to avoid that.

We did have a few problems finding our driver from the Intercontinental Hotel. And more worryingly, we had big problems getting any money out of any of the ATMs. So here is the next advice on Bali travel: don't bother with an HSBC card. HSBC let us down big time here. Neither our ATM cards nor the credit cards allowed us to get any cash out of the many ATMs here in Indonesia. (We finally called them to find out that we have to go to one particular Citibank ATM at the McDonalds in town. This one worked, but it was a 15 min taxi ride to get there.)

The Intercontinental at Jimbaran Bay in Bali is very nice indeed. We had a couple of cocktails by the beach, then a very nice Italian dinner. Jen was still not feeling great, but good enough to enjoy some of the dinner.


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