Arriving in Bali: A Quick Start Guide

Welcome to Bali! Upon arriving at Denpasar International Airport, a few essential steps await you to ensure a smooth entrance. Let me guide you through what you should do. The two main steps at the airport are the Visa On Arrival (VOA) Payment and Customs declaration.

Visa On Arrival (VOA) Payment

The VOA can be paid using a regular credit card. A 3% transaction fee is applied, and as of today, the charge is $35. This will be your first step. After payment, you will proceed to passport control. This can sometimes take a while, but ensure you have a return ticket as it may be requested. After passport control, you’ll collect your luggage and then proceed to the Customs declaration, where you need to have your QR code ready.

Custom Declaration

Airport terminals offer several computers for free use, but they’re often busy. After a 35-hour flight, every minute is precious. If the Wi-Fi is working well, you might try using your phone to obtain the QR code. However, I recommend creating the QR code a day before or at your last airport before DPS using this link: Once you have it, take a screenshot, just in case the Wi-Fi isn’t performing well. Remember, having an address in Bali where you’re staying is a requirement for the QR code.

Transportation and SIM Card Tips

Once in Bali, you’ll encounter dense motorbike traffic, and you might want to rent one immediately. Many streets lack sidewalks, and motorbikes dominate the transportation scene. You’ll see entire families, dogs included, on tiny scooters. Moreover, many streets are unnamed, necessitating the use of Google Maps, for which you’ll need a SIM Card.

Prices at the airport are usually triple the regular rates, so I would advise skipping the airport sellers. If you have a physical SIM slot, opt for Telkomsel. You’ll need your passport, and you can get a good deal for 100k rupiah (around $7). For the latest iPhones without a physical SIM slot, you’ll need an eSIM. Currently, there are two providers: SmartFren and XL, with the latter generally offering better service.

After completing these steps, you are almost set to blend in like a Balinese… unless you are not yet accustomed to chaotic left-side driving. Prepare to be a bit challenged, and remember to keep a smile ready for when you find yourself in unexpected traffic situations. A good smile is the perfect attitude to adopt, and you’ll notice that the locals will often respond to your smile with one of their own. This friendly exchange is part of the charm of Bali, making your experience on the island even more memorable and enjoyable. Welcome to Bali, and embrace every moment with a smile!

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