Ever heard of Ngurah Rai? I bet not. How about Denpasar? Maybe heard it once before? Where do you think it is? Alright, it’s in the title of the post, so let’s not play games. But seriously, why don’t they just call the airport Bali International? At least certain flight booking sites like Kayak allow you to search for “Bali”. But then, there are no other commercial airports on this island of the Indonesian archipelago anyway.
But since I’m supposed to write a review of an airport I shouldn’t muck around with naming conventions too much I guess. So, let’s look closely at Denpasar International airport (IATA: DPS). In fact it’s nowhere near Denpasar either. Alright, alright. I’ll stop it. Hmm, what can I say? The airport doesn’t offer too much actually. Bali, after all, isn’t particularly on the cutting edge of economic development. Don’t get me wrong, the charming island is doing fine but it still has that “2nd world” feel about it. Maybe that’s exactly why it attracts Millions of tourists each year.
Most of us would probably first arrive in Bali before we depart. What I mean is, the arrival procedure is probably the thing that’s going to be of interest to you first. And what a procedure it is! Fresh off the plane and bursting with holiday energy you first need to join the queue to pay the entry visa (make sure you bring US$ 25 in cash per person). With the visa voucher you then queue for the actual immigration officer. Check which line is the quickest before you spend 15 minutes looking at the queue next to you moving past swiftly. After that it’s straight forward: find the luggage carousel, pick up your luggage and head towards the taxi counter outside the terminal building and off you go on your Balinese holiday.
Leaving the country requires, you guessed it, another queue and more cash payments. They call it “airport service fee” and it comes in the amount of Rp 150,000 per person (about US$ 16). So don’t spend all your Rupiahs before you head back to the airport or you will have to pay a penalty exchange rate at one of the conveniently located little exchange stalls right in front of the service fee counter.
Once you’re in the inside of the terminal, you will probably still have some time to kill as most airlines require you to check-in 2 hours prior to your departure time. So, let’s look at my list of things to do:
- Check out the funniest McDonald’s outlet ever (a tiny pushcart with a menu)
- Visit the toilets (well you probably are going to do that anyway) but if you can, err if you’re a man that is, check out the fish tanks above the urinals
- Get a shot of Illy coffee close to gates 5 and 6
- You MUST finish you heavenly holiday with a final and oh so affordable Balinese massage at one of several massage outlets (e.g. the one towards gate 7,8,9)
- Why not buy yourself access to the Garuda Indonesia airline lounge for Rp. 100,000 (about US$ 11)
- Grab a Ku De Ta CD to remind you of your partying at Bali’s most famous beach club
|Airport Name||Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport|
[Picture from Flickr – some rights reserved]