I bought my visa on arrival ($25 US) and then waited fifteen minutes for the guy at the immigration desk to stamp my passport. I had read many complaints about corruption at this airport, and now I was experiencing it for myself.
Apparently a slightly smudged Australian stamp makes your passport “no good” in Bali, and requires lots of flicking through the pages with a thumb, which, if he did that for too long, would do even more damage to the passport to be honest. And this is done while repeating “you help me and I’ll help you.” So what did I do? Just stood, kept quiet, and just kept switching between looking at him and the other hundred-plus people waiting in line to get their passports stamped. In the end he stamped the passport, reluctantly handing it over with a last ditch effort of the “you help me, I’ll help you” bullshit.
After immigration trying to rip me off, I was about to be ripped off successfully for the taxi into Sanur. I’m normally very good at researching the best and cheapest ways to get around places, to and from airports, bus and train stations, and so-on before I arrive in places. Due to being busy having too much fun in Cairns, I hadn’t done my research on how much it should cost to get to Sanur from the airport.
I wandered out the airport, straight into the waiting crowd of taxi drivers, who each pick off an individual from the herd of tourists and guide them to their car. It cost me 200 000 rupiahs, about 20 Australian dollars. A bit steep I thought, but it was from an airport and it did end up taking about 40 minutes.
Now once I got checked into the hostel in Sanur, I found out what you’re supposed to do when arriving at Bali’s airport and you need a taxi. You go out of arrivals, ignore the crowd of taxi drivers with $ signs flashing in their eyes, get a pre-paid ticket from a taxi booth and then you can let yourself be guided to a taxi. And if your heading to Sanur aswell, this will cost you 95 000 rupiahs, less than half of what I paid. Heading to Kuta? even cheaper, that should cost about 55 000.
Anyway, onto a more positive point about Bali. BIG Pineapple Backpackers in the town of Sanur. This is where I stayed for my first few nights and it’s a pretty good little place. It has a pool, with a conveniently placed TV room next to it. So after a long day out in the sun walking around the town, you can chill in the pool while watching a movie. It’s got wi-fi, free drinking water and a small kitchen. I stayed in a 5-bed dorm, which had lockers aswell, and this cost 100 000 rupiahs per-night. That’s roughly $10 Australian, or £6.50.
After a few days in Sanur, I went across to the island of Gili Trawangan with some people I met at Big Pineapple. This cost about $50 Australian each for an open return ticket, not bad when some places were advertising more than double that price. It does take a fair few hours though with a bus ride first to the harbour in Padang Bai, then the boat over to the Gili Islands.
When we arrived w on the beach at Gili T, we were swarmed with people tryin to sell rooms to you, trying to give you a better price than the other guesthouses. We ended up getting a room for three, with fan and free wi-fi for $20 Australian per-night at Sunrise Lumbung. A brilliant guesthouse, down a quiet road but still only a 5-10 minute walk from the main street. I’ve been recommending this place to anyone I’ve met heading to Gili T.
So the few days in Gili T were spent lazing on the beach with a cold Bintang and going snorkelling just off the beach. One afternoon we took a walk around the island, just to show how small it is, this took one whole hour. The nights were spent feasting on the fresh seafood and meat BBQs and drinking in the few lively bars there are on this tiny island.