Bali Ngurah Rai Airport (Denpasar)
Updated March 2016
Bali's main tourist area is served by Indonesia's third busiest international airport: Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar), which is located 13 km south of Denpasar, 2.5 km from Kuta, and around 10 to 17 Km from Nusa Dua and the Benoa Peninsula holiday destinations.
The design of the very modern Terminals has borrowed from local customs and traditional architecture, ranging from elements used in local temples, to the design of the stepped car park suggesting the terraced rice paddy fields, so typical of Bali. It is, however, the distinctive roof of the International Terminal that sets it apart: a series of wave- like canopies imagined to remind us of the swell of the Balinese sea. Built of heat-absorbing materials that cool and help illuminate the interior, it also collects rain-water, which is channelled for use in the airport's non-drinking facilities.
The imaginative design of the exterior was matched by a spacious, modern, carpeted interior, repeatedly recalling Balinese motifs. State of the art technology has been installed from self-check-in points, to fast, intelligent baggage conveyor belts, or the latest high-level baggage security systems. The brand-new international terminal has three floors: lower for arrivals, and above for international departures. The top floor is used by commercial outlets, catering facilities, and airport offices. It is located in the L shaped building.
Due to recent legislation, citizens of some 190 countries (list has not been fully updated. Check with your nearest Consulate) that include Australia (added in March 2016), New Zealand, USA, Canada, and the European Union members no longer need a Tourist visa to enter the country for up to 30 days (not one month! in fact, 28 clear days as it includes the days of arrival and departure). The visa is not extendable, the passport must be valid for a minimum of six months, and the passenger must hold a return ticket. The facility only applies for entry and exit through a number of approved airports (Bali/Denpasar being one), seaports, and land entry points.
Visitors from the few countries that still require an entry Visa to visit Indonesia should obtain it before leaving through the Indonesian Consulate of the area of residence, especially as there might be specific regulations as in the case of Israeli nationals, that are not allowed into Indonesia under any circumstances.
The rest may obtain a 30-day paid Visa on arrival at the airport in Bali, providing the passport is valid for the the following six months; have return or onward tickets; and have enough funds to cover the intended stay. In fact, it is much cheaper: USD$35 as against £40 if obtained in the UK; $50 in the USA; CAD$65 in Canada; AUD$60 in Australia. Business visitors must apply for the visa through their local Consulate.
You should weigh the pros and cons of the Visa on Arrival: queues after a long and tiring flight (much shorter since the new Visa-free regulations), against the higher cost and time wasted in visiting the Consulate or the uncertainty of successful postal deliveries. If you plan to spend more than 30 days in Indonesia, you could apply for the Visa-on-Arrival, as it may be extended for a further 30 days. The free visa cannot! However, there has been some reluctance, recently, on the part of the Immigration authorities to allow such extensions... Be aware!
Once you are in possession of a visa, go to the queues for passport control. There are usually three, the middle one being reserved for foreigners of non-Asean countries.
You could avoid the queues, especially if you needed visa-on-arrival, by being met just before you came to the passport control area, and be fast-tracked through the formalities, saving valuable time and the annoyance of further delays after a long and tiring flight.
Recently, the fee was $30 per person, plus the cost of the visa: US$35, which you should pay, preferably, in US currency. That way, you were accompanied with minimum delay through all the formalities, including Customs.
Some time ago, the Government prohibited what was basically a form of corruption, whereby Immigration officials allowed foreigners through in exchange for some financial recompense by the agents involved. However, it is now understood that since March 2016 the government lifted the ban and that Bali Fast Track is again able to operate legally.
In any case, passengers travelling with very small children may be allowed to bypass the queues, although there is no guarantee that this will happen as it is at the discretion of the Immigration authorities.
On arrival, after clearing Customs in the public hall of the terminal you can find a large number of booths housing money-changers, on the right and left side of the exit door. They all have the same rates. It is advisable that you only exchange a small amount as needed for tips and transportation to your hotel. Later, you can compare exchange rates in banks and other money changers, which are found in all tourist areas. Besides, as you will probably arrive tired, you may get confused with the astronomical exchange rates, which run into a million for amounts near US$100. Making sure that you are not taken advantage of in the amount of money that you get will be you first major obstacle.
There are several ATM machines situated on the outside of Arrivals, to the right hand side, just beyond the Coffee Shop.
There is a stand in the International Arrivals Hall, as you leave Customs, that sells Sim cards. It is open 24 hours a day. These are useful if you intend to make many local calls during your stay.
They can be obtained in the Domestic Terminal, also, although the vendors there close after the last arriving flight (around 1am).
The airport has two separate terminals, one for domestic, and another for international flights. The old Domestic Terminal has been refurbished and reopened for operations in September 2014. Both buildings are a short distance apart and can be reached with an easy walk along a covered path. If you are transferring from an international to a domestic flight, turn sharp right as you come out and walk to the end of the building. Then, continue along the covered footpath, which turns right a little further on and brings you to one end of the Domestic Terminal. To check-in turn left and go to the opposite end of the Terminal.
The airport's proximity to Kuta makes it convenient to stay at one of the hotels featured in the Bali page of our website.
To get to the city by taxi there are basically two alternatives:
The official taxi counters at both the International and the Domestic terminals are outside just as you exit through the sliding glass doors. In the case of the International terminal the counter you will see an overhead sign "Exit throught Dufry shop" the taxi counters are on the right before you enter the store; while at the Domestic you should find it on the right, once you are outside.
For those who have flown into Bali before, note that the system has changed. Previously you pre-paid the fare to the area where you wanted to go. Now, when you ask for a taxi you receive a note indicating the price that you must pay to the driver on arrival at the destination. It is not unusual, though, that you are asked for money before you depart. If that is the case, you must insist on a receipt stating that the fare has been paid. Either way, you avoid the usual problems with overcharging and a sense of insecurity.
Below is an indication of the current tariff. Different hotels in the same area may have different rates.
Jimbaran Intercontinental 100,000
Tanjung Benoa 175,000
Nusa Dua 150,000
Tanah Lot 300,000
Ubud Centre 300,000
Bear in mind, also, that it is common to be told that the official rates that are displayed at the taxi booths have changed due to price hikes in fuel... Besides, the counters close at night and you must expect to haggle with the driver and pay substantially more!
The airport taxis are blue and are not allowed to pick up fares on the return to the airport. They do not have meters, unlike the ones in and around the town of Kuta.
If you want to avoid the airport taxis and are prepared to walk with your luggage, walk through the car park, turn right, and go to the main exit. Then, stop one of the reliable and reputably honest light-blue Bluebird Taxis (they have the picture of a blue bird in the roof taxi sign).
A pre-arranged transfer, especially if you are arriving late at night is the most advisable option. It can be organized by the hotel where you are staying, or arranged by your travel agent. The cost will probably not be much more than the charge of the pre-paid taxi, and offers peace of mind for an incoming, tired passenger.
The new, blue air-conditioned buses of the Trans Sarbagita Company operate between 5.00am and 9.00pm. The frequency should be around every 15 minutes. However, due to regular traffic congestion it is common for buses to be anything up to half-an-hour late, and at peak hours even longer.
The route (Koridor 2) is Nusa Dua - Airport - Batu Bulan, and vice-versa. The fare is currently 3,500 Rupiah (2,500 for children and students), paid on board to a ticket collector. The bus stops at the roundabout to the left of the airport exit. There should be a uniformed official of the bus company by the exit (see image above) whose job is to help dIrect passengers to the correct stop depending on the direction of travel.
There are plans for the buses to pick-up and drop-off outside the terminals but, at the moment, it is not possible due to the height of the passenger door that needs a special high plaform to allow access (see the section on "Taxis & Buses".
Avis Rent-a-Car is present at the airport and offer self-drive and chauffeur-driven hire cars.
Left luggage facilities are located next to the International Departures Terminal entrance by the drop off zone of the Domestic Departure (lower floor), in the East corner, next to the "Circle K" shop.
In the Domestic Terminal they are in the public hall area between arrival and departure terminal.
The new international departures area, at the time of writing, May 2015, has the Garuda Lounge and the JAS Premier Lounge. Garuda is also present at the Domestic Terminal. If you do not have a Priority Pass, access to the lounges may be restricted.
If accepted at the JAS lounge, the cost for up to 3 hours stay is US$27 for an adult and US$16 for children under 10 years of age. Infants up to 2 years old do not pay. Included in the charge: hot and cold food, beverages (wine, beer, and soft drinks), wi-fi, and shower facilities.
There is free Wi-Fi access at the airport, in both terminals (Domestic and International).
The Wi-Fi ID are @NgurahRaiAirport and NgurahRaiFreeWifi
Plugs for re-charging can be found on the walls and in some pillars in the lounge.
Please note, that as from 9th February, 2015, the departure tax is no longer collected from the passenger. It is included in the price of the ticket.
For tickets that were issued before that date and that do not have the tax added on, it must still be paid in cash at the airport.
The international departure tax is IDR 200 000 for each passenger, from two years of age. For domestic flights the tax varies from IDR 40 000 to IDR 75 000.
Transit passengers in possession of through tickets and continuing their journey the same day, providing they stay within customs area/transit room, are exempt.
There are money changers around the departure gates, where you can change your unspent Rupiahs, back into your home currency.
Bars and restaurants
Restaurants and cafes from McDonald's and coffee shops to smart Balinese dining are open from 6 am until the last flight, in both terminals.
In the walkway between the car park and the old Terminal, there are a large number of low-cost eating places.
You can find a variety of shops at the airport, including the duty-free Plaza Bali located in International Departures with famous names like Hermes, Boss, Burberry's or Fendi, but also the more down to Earth outlets selling local souvenirs.
There is a Post office in the arrivals area.
Other facilities: Public telephones, prayer rooms and mosques, pharmacy.